Czar

Czar: (n) the former emperor of Russia

I keep anticipating an outbreak of acne.

I haven’t heard Russia discussed this much since I was thirteen years of age, with oily skin.

I know that everything that comes around goes around, to reappear not that much different than it was on opening night.

For the life of me, I do not understand why Russia is regaining such interest, except for the fact that they willed themselves back into prominence.

When you live in a world where a threat has more thrust than a gift, you have to be careful not to be drawn away by false advertising–Chicken Little reprising his role as the proclaimer of falling skies.

At one time, Russia had a czar.

More or less, their rendition of a monarch. Tired of monarchy, they overthrew the czar and instituted communism.

Communism lasted from 1918 until just around 1989—seventy-one years.

During those seven decades, wars were prevalent, poverty was the normal status of the Russian citizen and those who objected to government programs were toted away to Siberia, never to be heard from again.

It was a continual Reign of Terror—from Lenin to Stalin to Khrushchev—until Gorbachev grew weary of leading an impoverished nation—only rich in nuclear weapons.

So from 1989 to approximately 2014, the Russians did their best impersonation of democracy, adding their personal touches of felony murder, graft, money laundering and drug smuggling.

Now, sporting a whole new tyrannical leader named Putin, they are beginning to believe they should be back in the game again. (Back, back, back in the USSR…)

For some reason, the United States has chosen to take them seriously instead of mocking their ever-lengthening bread lines.

Sometimes the best cure is to refuse medication to the dying patient.

There is no Russia without the United States.

If the United States were suddenly eliminated, Russia would not be able to springboard off our country’s prominence and spit in the eye of our more powerful nation.

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to handle a bully is not to stand toe-to-toe, giving him credence and making him believe that he is worthy of attention.

Sometimes the best way to handle a bully is to run away with all your friends—leaving him all alone to complain about his isolation.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cushy

Cushy: (adj) involving little effort for ample reward

If you keep insisting that you have “nothing against hard work,” someone will eventually make you do it.

Hard work, that is.

I don’t know where we got the idea that sweating, struggling, grunting, groaning, bitching and moaning are the virtuous parts of adult life—signs that we are truly getting something done.

Without shame—minus guilt—jubilantly, I proclaim to you that I will always seek the cushy path.

I don’t care if you think that makes me lazy or if you feel me less trustworthy because I will not trudge along with the weary.

I have worked for many years to be speedy, efficient and good at what I do in my particular lane on the human highway. So when the need for other labor comes up, I can reach in my pocket and pull out good, cold, hard cash to give to someone who is willing to do the jobs that I am not.

I never plan on mowing a lawn again. You can explain to me that it’s good exercise, or there’s a sense of satisfaction when you complete the ordeal. I am ecstatic for you.

But somewhere there’s a young man who wants to go to college who can use my cash for his adventure—and all he has to do is trim my green.

I understand there may be some merit in knowing how to change your oil, fix your toilet or go into the wilderness and live off the land for three days.

But I do believe if I dug up my ancestors and they were suddenly given body and breath, they would tell me, “If you don’t have to dig, plant, hoe and harvest…go for it.”

I will never bitch to you.

I will never complain.

Because I will sit over here, really cushy, admiring you as you struggle.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crawl

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crawl: (v) to move on the hands and knees

It is a story found in the Good Book. What makes that book good are the tales that enlighten us, inspire us and cause us to question our mediocre choices instead of covering them with the doctrine of grace.

She was a woman.

This particular lady in this specific story had been crippled for eighteen years. The passage has a detailed description of her problem—she was bowed over, couldn’t walk, and basically found herself uncomfortably situated in some sort of heap, lying on the ground.

Jesus comes upon her. She is some distance away from him, and the assumption is made by everyone in the room that he would walk over, talk to her for a few minutes, and then do some of his jim-dandy magic and heal her. But that’s not what he does.

He calls her to him.

Yes, he requests of this disabled, disheartened woman, that she make the journey across the room, pulling herself along on her arms, elbows and thighs—inch-by-inch making her way to his side.

Can you can imagine the reaction of the room? “This is gross. He’s making her crawl.”

The woman does not complain.

The prospect of being made whole, improved, or even just included was worth it.

She crawled to Jesus.

He did not make her do this because he was a son-of-a-bitch. He wasn’t trying to showcase his authority.

He was giving her a chance to be an intricate part of her own miracle. “Crawl over here and get your blessing.”

Even though each one of us may feel it is cruel or unusual, there are times that we cannot heal the psychological burden of our pain unless we feel as if we are making the crawl to our solution.

I have crawled.

I have made the crawl in joy.

I have crawled, knowing that without the crawl, I would not be able to overcome the anxiety in my soul.

After the crawl came the miracle.

Now…imagine that.

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Complain

Complain: (v) to express dissatisfaction or annoyance

To make it better.

To make it different.

To make it go away.

These are the three options we have if we’re going to be productive citizens of the Planet Earth.

If we can’t make it better, different, or make it go away, all the objections we lodge are just added on to the impact that the nasty thing is generating.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

After all, complaining does not achieve anything but great advertisement for the evil which we wish were not there.

Yet when people complain to me, and I suggest something better, different, or a way to make it go away, they often become disappointed to lose the rock they were kicking across the playground because they didn’t want to join into the game.

That’s what complaining is.

It’s arriving on Earth, discovering how things work, and deciding to object to the process, refrain from participating and simply act aggravated that you find yourself inconvenienced.

Complaining kills learning, frightens friends, creates acid reflux and makes the corners of your mouth turn down so that you look like the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz.

So if you can’t make something better, different or chase it away, don’t choose to complain.

Because all that does is make you appear worthless.

 

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Compile

Compile: (v) to produce by assembling information

Sobering.

It’s too bad we associate the word “sober” mainly with being free of intoxication from alcohol–because “sobering” is a great word.

To me, it describes those moments in my life when I am struck with the magnitude of the importance of the journey instead of allowing myself the audacity of complaining about the seating.

I had a friend–not really a close friend. Unfortunately, I think he viewed me as his best friend. I never had the heart to contradict him.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Not many people liked him–and that included me. Maybe I was just a better liar, or perhaps I believed there was something noble in feigning affection.

He was an aspiring something-or-other. I guess he fancied himself an artist.

I don’t know if you can actually be an artist until someone appreciates, enjoys or even purchases your art, but that’s a conversation for another time.

When my friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he picked up a cardboard box at the local grocery store to compile his writings, songs, thoughts, journals and work.

An avid cigarette smoker since he was sixteen years of age, he sat puffing away, faithfully putting this material into the container.

All of his accomplishments filled about half the box–with plenty of room to spare.

He handed it to me and said, “I want you to have all of this. Please do something with it.”

About two weeks later he died, leaving me his papers and cassette tapes, the distinct odor of cigarette smoke permeating the cardboard.

I sifted through it once.

I wondered what my responsibility was to what he had compiled. I felt guilty.

And then a realization came to my mind.

If he didn’t have time to do something with this material when he was alive, vibrant and caring, what significance does he think it should have now–for anyone else?

My thinking seemed cold and heartless. I rebuked myself.

Time passed.

I never did anything with his material. Honestly, I’m too busy working on my own compiling. Every once in a while I think I should take the box out and look at it again.

You see, the only problem is… I don’t know where it is.

 

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Cinder

Cinder: (n) a small piece of partly burned coal or wood that has stopped giving off flames

I really did not want to complain, even though I was quite capable of doing so.

After all, I was just a kid. If you tell a kid he’s complaining, he’ll explain that you never listen to him, and he’s “sharing his feelings” as you snuff them.

Here’s my story:

One day at church camp one of the more energetic counselors decided we should take a hike through the woods. He had sought out a trail and measured it at 1.2
miles. His contention was that “anybody should be able to do that.”

I apparently had not joined the “anybody family”–not even related. I had chubby legs that moved slower, reluctant to leave space between my sole and the ground.

On top of that, we could not have been more than twenty yards into the trip when my right foot started to hurt. I apparently was grimacing in some pain, because the zealous counselor came back and told me I needed to step up the pace–otherwise there was a danger the other kids would start making fun of me, and even though he would hate for me to be bullied, he did not know what would happen once the lights went out in the cabins.

Not knowing what that meant but sufficiently alarmed, I soldiered on. Every step hurt.

When we finally arrived at camp after the 1.2 miles, I had broken out in a sweat, was ready to pee my pants and fell to the ground like a sack of rotten potatoes.

I reached down, took off my sneaker (which is what we called them back then) and a tiny pebble-like substance fell out of my shoe. Apparently the night before, when we were sitting around the campfire and I removed my shoes to warm my feet by the flames, I had acquired a cinder in my footwear.

I had walked 1.2 miles on that cinder, leaving a sore spot which upon further inspection, was bleeding.

I did not try to make anyone feel bad, but the counselor did that all on his own.

All I remember is that I was required to put my foot up on a pillow during Vespers and the counselor, who was dwelling in a wilderness of guilt, toasted all my marshmallows and brought them to me. (He got a little grumpy when I complained they were not cooked all the way through, but got over it.)

Even today I have to remind myself that people who have a crooked walk, or have difficulty being what I would consider “righteous,” may be overcoming cinders of burnt-out experiences that I can’t even imagine.

 

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Chiller

Chiller: (n) short for spine-chiller.

My parents tried.

As I get older, I vaguely understand that my mother and father attempted to comprehend what was in the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy.

They didn’t do well–that’s why I used the word “tried.” Maybe I should have added “and failed.”

But once a month they would let me have some friends over to spend the night on Friday evening, and after my parents went to bed, we would gather in front of the only television in the house, which happened to be in the living room, and watch “Chiller Theater.”

The movies weren’t really scary–they were 1930′ or 1940’s ilk, chocked-full of silly props and plagued with over-acting.

But with seven or eight young boys in a dark house, poking each other and wrestling, the experience soon turned into a scream fest.

My father would appear from the bedroom, which was adjacent to the living room in our tiny bungalow, and mutter something to the effect of, “You boys need to keep it down.” But my recollection of how it sounded in my ears was: “Youwse keep the clown.”

So since the order was vague, we would quiet ourselves for a small period of time, and soon be right back to the decibels necessary to make us feel like we were really partying.

I think my parents hated “Chiller Theater” night. This was proven by the fact that they always insisted, when the fourth Friday came around, that I had added incorrectly, and it wouldn’t be until next week. Unfortunately for them, I carried a calendar with me and pointed out their mistake.

So when I hear the word “chiller,” I think of six or seven pubescent and pre-pubescent boys gathered in a tiny living room, wrestling, trying desperately not to knock over furniture, while screaming just enough to prove that we were the true “Monsters of Might” instead of those displayed on the screen before us.

 

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