Criminal

Criminal: (n) a person guilty or convicted of a crime

If my recollection holds any accuracy of memory, I believe it happened right after my twenty-eighth birthday. I was in a room with a bunch of friends—and some strangers—and a question was posed.

“What was your first job?”

Well, I let three or four people go before me so that I could understand if I was on point, what the question really meant and the best way to answer it.

After the fourth teller finished his story about being a bag boy at a grocery store, I raised my hand and explained, “The summer between my junior and senior year, I joined some sort of national work program for teenagers sponsored by the government, which offered opportunities for local jobs at minimum wage. After volunteering, I discovered that the possibility afforded to me was working at the cemetery, cutting the grass and taking care of the gravestones.

“I was torn between being grossed out and wondering whether anything could be any more boring. But the only other thing available was with a farmer, bailing hay. I did not like hay. I didn’t like heat. I didn’t favor sweating and knew the farmer would be there the whole time, and I’d have to really work hard. I thought that the keeper of the graves might actually trust me to do the job without peeking over my shoulder.”

“I was right. Matter of fact, after about four or five days, I discovered he never showed up to confirm my work. So I started coming to the graveyard, signing in, and then leaving. I was able to continue this practice for about two weeks, collecting my check—until I finally got caught.”

At this point I stopped speaking, thinking I was going to get some laughter and maybe even a round of applause for my tale. But instead, a young woman sitting across the room gasped and said:

“Geez…that was criminal.”

Looking into all the faces around me, I waited for someone to speak up and offer at least some support for my ingenuity.

No one did.

I was angry.

Although I did not stomp out of the room, I made my exit from the party as quickly as possible without drawing attention to my frustration.

I fumed. How dare anyone accuse me of being a criminal? I knew what a criminal was. It’s someone who commits crimes, right? An individual who breaks the law and is tracked down by the police and thrown in jail, to stay there until they learn their lesson or complete their sentence.

Then a horrible thing happened.

My conscience showed up.

For some reason, my conscience was in a mood to talk, in a most accusing way.

Mr. Conscience reminded me that three years ago, I had skipped out on rent that was due.

He also brought up the fact that I copped some money from a drawer when I was at a friend’s house.

There were four or five examples that my goddamned nosy conscience decided to dredge up. Each one could be individually explained away—and had been, by my glib nature.

But collectively, they showcased an individual who felt he was superior to everybody else—certainly high and lifted above the rules—and therefore could do what he wanted.

The conclusion was simple. I was a criminal because I committed a crime by breaking the law, which was really a rule set by those who have the uncomfortable job of trying to make things run smoothly by seeking common ground among diverse people.

I was thoroughly ashamed.

Since that day I have not lived a faultless life, but I’ve never been a criminal again. Because even though I don’t always agree, I always know that agreeable is necessary.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Coup de Grace

Coup de grace: (n) death blow

I keep waiting.

With my vexation of waiting comes a curious wondering.

And while I wonder I grow anxious to see sanity have a seat at the table with the family of man. (I have no problem with it being the family of woman, too. Shall we say humankind?)

But escaping that piece of political correctness, let me say I’m a bit baffled as to what coup de grace must occur to startle us from the mediocrity of hatefulness, and the deteriorating status of our conscience.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Not only has kindness become suspect in the ongoing criminal activity of our social disruption, but we’re beginning to believe that anything or anyone who expresses compassion and tenderness is weak. In doing so, we make it seem that to express the weakness of gentleness, one has to be very strong-willed to endure the sarcasm.

I don’t know what’s wrong with pausing before condemning.

I’m confused why we consider it to be ignorant to go on a quest for a deeper understanding of faith.

And I’m not so sure that any deal can be made if there is a human toll extracted to ratify the terms.

Where is the coup de grace?

When will we finally pull up just short of a death blow which tries to remove the oxygen from the breath of our generosity?

I don’t want to go any further backwards. I don’t want to see how bad things could become.

I don’t know if it’s possible for us to come up short of Armageddon, pull away just in time, breathe a sigh of relief…and go get a beer.


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Corral

Corral: (n) an enclosure or pen for horses, cattle, etc.

The key to building a corral is to make sure that the animals you’re trying to hem in are not aware that they are being limited. If they are constantly eye-balling the restriction, they will also be challenging the fences and breaking them down.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Therefore, you give a horse a long way to run before you close off escape.

You make sure all the cows have plenty of grass under their feet, so they don’t start looking to the other side of the fence.

And you give the chickens plenty of huntin’ and peckin’ room, so they don’t try to use their tiny wings to lift off the ground and vault the barricade.

I guess since human beings are creatures of Earth, we also resist being corralled. I don’t know about you, but sometimes just the existence of Ten Commandments makes me want to break ’em all.

Seeing a tag attached to my mattress reading, “Do Not Remove by Penalty of Law,” festers me into a ripping mode.

And I have found the children who have no discipline and the children who have too much discipline are always the least disciplined.

How can you corral the human appetite without encumbering the spirit?

I’m not saying I have the answer for that—but I will tell you, if you build a corral of legalism, attempting to scare people into submission, or if you construct no restraining wall whatsoever, you end up punishing people due to constraint or permissiveness.

My thought is, go as far as you want to—and keep going—and just ask yourself, your conscience and any God you might believe in to let you know when going further is unnecessary.


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Conscience

Conscience: (n) an inner guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.

I am discovering that my mind has become a garage, where I store all the memories and stuff that can no longer be used–simply because most of them are more than twenty years old.

Therefore, they are viewed as useless.

If you don’t believe me, just bring up something from the 1980’s, and look at the confused, frustrated and sometimes angry faces of the young humans around funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
you, who don’t understand that you forgot that “they weren’t born yet.”

So I have to be careful as I mention Jimminy Cricket. I do so because when I think of the word “conscience,” he is the pesky insect that comes to mind. He insisted that we should let our “conscience be our guide.”

Well, it doesn’t take me long driving down the freeway to notice that if the conscience actually does exist, it has not been evenly distributed. There are people who are courteous, and there are folks who only got the first part of the word: curt.

So I have to ask the little cricket if he could help me understand whether this conscience thing was there at birth, or if somebody didn’t need to hover over all living souls to make sure that they grew up giving a shit about anything but themselves.

Having raised a number of children, I can tell you that they do not arrive on Earth as human beings. They are actually more of a confirmation of Darwin’s theory of evolution–they are little monkeys who scream, wiggle, piss, poop and grab for everything in sight, until they are trained to escape a life in the jungle, and can be welcomed to Suburbia.

A conscience is not something we’re born with. It’s something we are taught–and hopefully taught so well that we retain it once we are no longer able to be sent to our rooms.

 

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

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Cold-blooded

Cold-blooded: (adj) without emotion or pity; deliberately cruel or callous

The reason we call someone a sociopath is because our social abilities should be on a path. When they aren’t, it is odd, it is dangerous and it shows that something is horribly wrong.

Although it seems to be popular to imitate ruthless, the conscience placed into us by a Creator keeps us from being able to pull it off without great personal destruction.

I remember coming into the yard of my home and seeing that my dog had killed some guinea pigs my son was using for his science fair.

I could have sworn that my puppy was smiling.

That canine had no idea that he had done anything wrong. Matter of fact, he seemed a little proud of his teeth prowess.

Not until I began to yell and chase him did he realize there might be a problem and that he should get the hell out of the way.

You see, that’s not the way it is with people.

Maybe we watch too many TV shows.

Maybe that one hundredth horror movie was detrimental to our thinking.

But even though human beings are temporarily capable of cold-blooded actions–where it seems like they have no soul whatsoever–they actually are so tormented that they often end up mentally ill, committing suicide.

The danger with being cold-blooded is that too often guilt sets in–and it’s your own blood that’s cold.

 

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Chintzy

Chintzy: (adj) cheap and of poor quality.

It’s no accident that “save a buck” rhymes with “bad luck.”

There certainly is validity to the proverb which warns, “Let the buyer beware,” but there is greater value in this euphemism: “Let the buyer
BE aware.”

Sometimes money does buy quality.

Sometimes trying to get a deal ends up with very little appeal.

Sometimes the effort and time you put into trying to save a dime costs you twenty dollars in exhaustion.

Sometimes you go ahead and pay for what you want because you want it–even though you know in two weeks it’ll be on sale.

Sometimes you have to realize that squeezing a dollar doesn’t really work that well–because the ink’s dry.

Sometimes being thrifty is a synonym for being chintzy.

And the best way to make a million dollars in the United States–if you have no conscience about how you do it–is to offer an inferior product at a lower price, with no guarantee.

That way, you can make all your profit margin, and even though people are very angry, you can calm your hurt feelings on the way to the bank.

Let the buyer BE aware.

It’s fine to look for a good deal–seeking one out is often merely uprooting the selfish rodents and the cheating cockroaches from the wall.

 

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Charger

Charger: (n) Archaic a large, flat dish; platter

Long, long ago, when an epidemic of the simple common cold could kill people off by the thousands, a flat serving tray was referred to as a “charger.”

It has very little significance to us, as we now view a small cord which attaches to our phone as the only charger of note.

But long ago, when a young girl breathlessly finished a dance, nearly naked from her exuberant efforts, her step-father, a king, greatly
aroused by her choreography, promised to give her anything she wanted as payment for her little strip-tease.

He was obviously staring down at a beautiful temptation, and also at the evidence that she had succeeded in waking up the “little king.”

She was a nasty little vixen, with a mother who had been trained to be ruthless and cruel. So the two of them got together, and the girl requested the head of John the Baptist–“on a charger.”

(This is origin of the slogan, “I want his head on a silver platter.” I assume that the request for the platter was to express extreme indifference.)

But it is a warning.

For the Prophet John made the mistake of generating enemies of souls with no conscience.

And the young girl, who had been raised by a bedeviled mother to use the lust of men to her advantage, was able to take the Baptist’s indiscretion in judging a queen, and the queen’s fury over his insolence, and turn it into a tragedy.

It teaches us all that we should choose our words carefully — and avoid making enemies of people who really wouldn’t mind putting our fate on a plate.

 

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