Decatur

Decatur (n) a city in Eastern Indiana

 I’ve always tried to take my little and make it more.

I don’t think it was solely based on pride.

I felt a calling to make things better and more harmonious through the use of common sense and humor.

That being said, there is a danger with aspiration. To aspire often means we need to perspire, and even expire.

Putting forth effort often invites futility.

So long, long ago in our country, which seemed far away, I had a music group. We met a fellow in Detroit who was an ex-drug addict, was very clever, comical and had a good message. It occurred to me that we possibly could get him into some schools to speak on the dangers of drug addiction, and that our music group could “play him on” and “play him off.” I shared this idea with a young minister at a Christian church in Decatur, Indiana.

He was so enthralled with the idea that he enacted it.

Yes, he scheduled our group and our ex-druggie friend into three schools in the county, with a rally in the evening to be held at the City Auditorium.

It was big. At least, big for us.

It was especially promising when our friend from Detroit agreed to drive down and do the schools and the rally. He arrived, we went to the first school—and everything went pretty well.

I was a little uncomfortable with how freely he bragged about the drugs he took as a way of communicating to the students that he knew what he was talking about.

It was worse at the second school. Matter of fact, the only times he really connected with the students were when he was promoting his former drug use instead of his conversion.

I was upset.

I asked him if he could calm down the drug talk a little bit, and he explained that without him appearing hip to the students, none of them would listen.

I disagreed.

To my surprise, he became upset with my intervention, stormed out of the third high school before the program began, left and went back to Detroit.

Our little white Middle-America group was left alone, to do the third school and the evening rally.

I would like to report to you that it went great.

I would like to say that we didn’t need our Detroit friend. But when the students arrived for the rally that evening, they were greatly disappointed that Mr. Cool was not in the building and they were stuck with us.

It was a long night.

I really don’t know what the moral of this story is.

I suppose you could take away that making a stand in the middle of something that’s been pre-planned is a dangerous idea. Or you could say that objecting to something you disagree with is always necessary, no matter what the repercussions.

But I have to tell you, even as I relate the tale to you now, I sure would like to know how good it would have been if our Detroit token toker had stayed around.

 

Death Wish

Death wish: (n) having a desire for one’s own death

Life is the opportunity to live.

More life is what we get for solving our problems.

But I have to be honest with you—continued life is not very interesting if it doesn’t possess purpose.

I’d rather be dead than bitchy.

I’d rather be dead than bigoted.

I’d rather be dead than poked and probed for the rest of my days by young doctors who are trying to make their reputation by discovering something wrong with me.

I’d rather be dead than harm a little one.

I’d rather be dead than remain silent as the world flirts with annihilation—simply lacking the common sense of cordiality.

I’d rather be dead than live without knowing if another human being finds me hopelessly attractive.

I’d rather be dead than be religious.

I’d rather be dead than be an atheist—although that’s problematic.

I’d rather be dead than continue to curse after I’m blessed.

I’d rather be dead than live in a country whose people believe they’re better than everyone else.

I’d rather be dead than find myself buying into the idea that lying is just a human thing we do.

I’d rather be dead than sit around all the time, wondering how and when I’m going to die.

Dying doesn’t look very complicated.

But once its accomplished, it does alter your social calendar.

So having a death wish is really wanting a decent burial for what is already dying inside.

Dazed

Dazed: (adj) to be stunned or stupefied

Perhaps the worst piece of advice I’ve ever received is, “Keep your cool.”

The words would be unnecessary to share if I weren’t in an environment where I had been dazed by a predicament or circumstance that left me reeling.

We Americans are very big on “cool.”

Often we even avoid apologizing because it doesn’t seem cool.

We certainly shirk our duties because we’re afraid it will be made obvious that we aren’t cool.

But as human beings, the chances of us being cool—especially when we want to be—are slim.

We’re just not cool.

Some people would take offense over this. I understand that.

It might even seem uncool to admit that you’re not cool.

But there is so much going on in the world today—twists, turns, tragedies, disasters and sometimes just a spirit of meanness—that if you have an ounce of sensitivity, it will pound on you.

You will feel dazed.

Often the word “confused” follows.

There is the unnecessary step.

I don’t know if I can pull off “dazed and cool,” but I certainly don’t need to be “dazed and confused.”

There is no plot against me.

There are no hellish demons chasing me, trying to destroy my life.

But there is a very specific natural order—and a scientific kingdom that needs to be honored to survive the pathway of Earth journey.

Mingled into all of it is a little word called “chaos.”

And even though chaos makes everything balanced (because it truly does rain on the just and the unjust) it can unfortunately leave us so dazed that we’re confused.

There is a maneuver I’ve learned.

When I’m going along with my plan and it begins to fall apart, I sit down.

If there’s a chair nearby, that’s fine.

If not, any piece of ground will do.

Because the worst thing to do when you’re dazed is to pretend like everything’s fine. That’s not cool—it’s dangerous.

And when you’re sitting, you’re much less likely to have your head whirl in confusion.

I may never be cool, but I don’t have to be confused.

When I become dazed, I’ll just find a place and sit for a spell—until the brain clears and sense returns.

Cyanide

Cyanide: (n) a salt of hydrocyanic acid, as potassium cyanide, KCN.

 If, in your job description, there are instructions describing the circumstances, conditions or situations in which you are required to drop cyanide tablets in your mouth to commit suicide, then, in my opinion, you’ve chosen a poor profession.

I don’t care for any philosophy, religion or nationalism that promotes the idea that ultimate devotion requires the loss of life.

For instance, I would be very happy to assist my country in diplomacy, giving food to the hungry or even trying to find a way to motivate myself to dig a ditch.

But when you refer to the ultimate sacrifice—that being, giving your life in a war for freedom—I must tell you, I find this hideous.

Likewise, in Christianity, when they discuss the disciples becoming martyrs for the faith, I have a tendency to mull over the possibility that there might have been a way to skip out of the pagan land that was so pissed with their preaching and just go to more receptive audiences.

I know this might make me sound shallow.

But death, suicide and popping cyanide in the last moments to make sure you are not captured and interrogated is not only unappealing, but anti-human and anti-common sense.

I will not dwell with those who revere death as the supreme statement of consecration without objecting to such futility in favor of using our hands, our minds and our spirits to enhance the world.

Certainly this eliminates me from being a spy.

I probably will never work for the CIA.

Even the FBI might pass me over in favor of a more death-willing applicant.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cum Laude

Cum laude: (adv) with honor

The pressure to be pressured.

It is prevalent among human beings.

We are little satisfied with satisfaction.

We seem to be possessed with the need to be superior.

It apparently does not help that we are heads and beaks above the animal kingdom in intelligence. No, there is a gnawing desire to be dominant at everything—to be acknowledged as the winner.

So in the educational system they came up with cum laude. This means you graduated just a little higher than the average, and there are no noticeable mars on your record.

At the moment of graduation, every cum laude would like to be at least a summa cum laude. The problem with being summa is that it’s not magna.

No one tries to be summa cum laude—second place.

No one has it as a goal.

They’re shooting for magna cum laude and fall short.

But they’re just a “nose-in-the-air” better—so they require a category to distinguish them from being a mere cum laude.

When the work life begins and the cum laude, summa cum laude and magna cum laude arrive at the company, park their cars and walk in at 9:01 A. M., the grades or the courses that decided the varying degrees of recognition vanish. Now they have to live off their common sense and their kindness.

Yet the human race thinks it really is—a race, that is.

We want someone, somewhere to know in some way that we were a magna instead of a summa, or at least became a cum—not just ending up a “laude-mouth.”

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cross-Reference

Cross-reference: (n) a reference from one part of a book, index, or the like, to related material, as a word or illustration, in another part.

I think there are three.

Yes, there are three books that I feel are necessary to be used to cross-reference one another.

In doing so, they help us to land on common sense and some measure of universal truth.

Unfortunately, people normally revere only one of these books–or might include two.

But it is the enjoining of all three that gives us the perspective, the insight and the balance to understand where we’re going and why each one of these volumes was written in the first place.

For me—in no particular order—for me this trio of books is:

1. The history book

2. The science book

3. The Bible

Rather than trying to find out where these particular collections of knowledge contradict one another, I think the wise human journey is finding out where they coincide.

What part of our human history helped us discover a scientific fact that can be cross-referenced in the Bible?

I will go as far as to say that if these books do not cross-reference each other, we should look at the situation with suspicious eyes. For just as the history book certainly needs to be updated with events, and the science book needs to be refreshed with available data, so the Bible needs to have inclusions enlightenment that is everlasting instead of temporary, acquired from a former time.

But if history, science and the Bible all agree on a matter, it is pretty safe to chase the dream.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Coup

Coup: (n) a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment.

Pleasant.

Pleasant is a very pleasant word.

Pleasant is what happens when our minds are set on the possibility that our efforts, when placed in the right moment and position, can effect a positive change.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Pleasant becomes unpleasant when those who are able to arrive with the relief of wisdom, common sense, humor and gentleness have given up or just slept in.

So because pleasant does not get its day, we begin to believe that life has a sallow sameness which makes our faces pucker in anticipation of bleakness.

The idea of a coup rarely occurs to the mind of the defeated.

I, as a human being, have two functions:

  1. Find abundant life.
  2. As I enjoy it, break off a piece, crumble it in my hands and sprinkle it on the folks I meet.

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Counterintuitive

Counterintuitive (adj) counter to what intuition would lead one to expect

Spirituality and practicality meet together in a holy ground called common sense.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Common sense is the wisdom that is so obvious to each and every one of us, that as long as we’re not rebellious or being bratty, we can see the intuition and understand the next thing that needs to be done.

So what makes us become counterintuitive to common sense is either a lack of belief in spirituality or too much spirituality and not enough function in practicality.

Of course, there is the danger of being so practical that you don’t think anything can actually be spiritual.

We seem to be going through a phase. If I were trying to characterize the present of social thinking and parallel it to the years of our growing up time, I would say the whole world is acting like it’s sixteen years old. In other words, we all have permission to drive and put our lives in gear, but we don’t necessarily have the maturity to achieve it.

We need to come back to the better parts of ourselves and allow the spirituality that we believe in and the practicality we possess to mingle and become our new common sense.

It is certainly counterintuitive to think we’ll be able to make valuable decisions without having common sense.

And it is also counterintuitive to try to achieve common sense without a spiritual practicality.


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Core Curriculum

Core curriculum: (n) a collection of courses with a central theme

I tend to run out of the room in a bit of horror when I hear voices raised and people begin to stomp around sharing their opinions with more energy than wisdom.

I know it may be popular to be sold out on your convictions, but too often I see people’s convictions sell them out, leaving them ignorant or inept.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Every once in a while, you’ll stumble across a discussion laced with some humility—and the participants will admit that the reason a conversation is necessary is because knowledge is lacking.

For instance, what does an eighteen-year-old American teenager need to know, think, believe and feel upon graduating from high school? Candidly, college offers new choices the student can take advantage of if he or she is so inclined, but I do think we should be very interested in what the average eighteen-year-old already knows upon completing the core curriculum in the American educational system.

And in a sense, it does boil down to “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic”—but may I add a fourth “R?” Rationality.

Reading is necessary because if you’re eighteen years old, and you insist that everything you need to know you’ve already learned, then you are certainly a danger to those around you.

‘Riting because if you’re only going to use words in vague half-sentences or tweets, then you will often leave the world around you bewildered as to your intentions. Can you write a decent paragraph that conveys what you’re trying to say?

‘Rithmetic—because entering the adult world, you must understand that things need to add up, and if they don’t you must subtract something and learn to divide up your efforts to grant you the possibility to multiply.

And finally, rationality. Teaching an eighteen-year-old that most of the time, he or she is either wrong or deficient of the data necessary to make a good decision will calm things down, with a bit of needed uncertainty, instead of becoming overwrought, chasing unrealistic dreams.

Yes, there is a need for a core curriculum—where we start out agreeing on common sense principles.


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Co-pilot

Co-pilot: (n) a pilot who is second in command of an aircraft.

It used to be a very, very popular bumper sticker: “God is my co-pilot.”

Years passed.

Somebody decided that God was not a co-pilot, but rather, the pilot. The joke became, “If God is your co-pilot, then you’re in the wrong seat.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Ha, ha, ha.

It seems like a rather innocent exchange—a meaningless disagreement, but at the root is probably one of the greater problems facing individuals who want to believe in a Creator yet have not found a common-sense way of discovering exactly what role this Divinity should play.

Is God flying the plane, and I’m along for the ride?

Am I privy to the flight plan?

Am I granted free will until He decides I’m not?

Is He in charge of the journey, but I get to pick whether we’re having fish or chicken for the in-flight meal?

Or am I behind the steering, and God is standing nearby, enjoying the trip?

I don’t really think it’s either one. I don’t think God’s in my plane at all.

I think He’s waiting for me at the next airport, to give me a lift—so I don’t have to take an Uber.


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