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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Children

Children: (n) plural form of child.

Four sons were brought into this world by my sexual cooperation. In other words, I’m their dad.

Three other young gentlemen arrived on my doorstep because they were no longer safe and sound in their home environment.

As I look back on it, I must be truthful–because I’m a writer, a vagabond, a searcher and a proclaimer, I may not have been the best choice of a man to have
children. Fortunately for me, my offspring generally disagree.

My approach with children was really simple: I have a life. It is my time to have a life. You are welcome to come along if you don’t complain too much.

They quickly became convinced that their dad was cool, because he wasn’t like other dads. Of course, when they came into their teen years, they became critical of me not being like other dads. The charm of my uniqueness had worn off.

Children exist for two reasons:

  1. To remind us how bratty human beings really are.
  2. To give us a chance through instruction, love and tenderness to make a better generation.

I cuddled with my children but I never coddled them.

I loved them but I avoided getting lovey-dovey.

I gave to them, but never gave into their demands.

I respected them as long as they respected themselves.

I laughed with them as long as they realized there was a season to weep.

And when it was time for them to move on, I granted them the autonomy to be themselves without feeling loaded down with ancient family history.

The Good Book says we are the children of God. It’s very true–because after all, we are a bratty group which needs discipline, but still possesses the potential of bringing new hope for a new generation.

 

 

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Cheap

Cheap: (adv) at or for a low price.

It is time, once and for all, to resolve the conflict between what is being cheap and what is being thrifty.

Since there were no smart people available, I have decided to take on the task.

You know you’re cheap when you really want it done for free.

You know you’re thrifty when you know it should cost money, but you’re just looking for the best deal among several pricings.

The problem with our nation is that we’re a bunch of cheap bastards. We’re not really happy unless somebody gives us something. If we have to open our wallet at all, we’re prepared to complain, no matter how reasonable the price may be.

Capitalism is a system that works on the basis of a free market, with businesses competing with one another to gain customers. If you insert cheap people in there–who want something for free–then you’ll get fakes, shams, hooligans, grifters and thieves who come in to hoodwink the selfish masses.

If somebody does something for me, they deserve something back.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but we do live in a time when the anticipation of “free stuff” has driven us to the point that the poor in our country are just as greedy as the rich.

If I go to a restaurant and a server brings me food and drink and asks me if I like the way my hamburger was prepared, that person deserves money from me. Not just from the boss. From me. He or she is serving me.

We need to stop saying, “They’re just doing their job.”

And if the server ends up not being very likable or helpful, he or she should get nothing from me.

Everybody knows that money talks. It’s what we communicate with.

So when you walk around hoping something will be free, then be prepared to be cheated.

Because even though the bar offers free snacks, they just charge more for the watered-down beer.

 

 

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Blown

Blown: (adj) past participle of blow

Dictionary BYou can’t make a duck bark. It’s a simple statement.

Therefore, it’s virtually impossible to get your dog to quack.

Patterns of behavior are established through choice and genetics, and maintained by stubborn tradition.

So as I listen to people complain about leaders who are causing turmoil and steering the American public into bad decisions, I look on, perplexed.

  • Nobody can make me prejudiced.
  • Nobody can turn me into a bigot.
  • Nobody can suddenly convince me that black people are evil or that people from China are out to get me.

I am the one who is ready to hear the nonsense.

So therefore, it is the responsibility of our citizens to own up to the fact that the transitions which have occurred in our lifetime, which have promoted truth or at least tolerance, have been avoided by many, who have sat by, pretending to be part of the parade, only to whisper complaints to each other as the floats go by.

There is a disgruntled spirit in our country which is blown by every ill wind.

It is unconfronted.

It is denied–as we pretend that everything is alright.

It isn’t.

We are still one of the most bigoted countries in the world, intolerant of the behavior of each other, and willing to become violent if someone takes our parking space.

I don’t think we will change these attitudes by hatching meanness to address the meanness.

But as long as people are blown by every wind of doctrine and every carnival barker, we will suffer under a cloud of uncertainty.

 

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