Commentator

Commentator: (n) a person who delivers a live commentary on an event

His name was Walter.

People under the age of forty probably don’t even remember who he was.

His last name was Cronkite. He was a commentator. At one time, he was voted “the most respected man in America.”

In this age of controversy about the news media, Walter stands out as historically unique. Case in point:

I have no idea if he wore ladies underwear.

I have no private information on whether he ever sexually harassed his office staff.

I do not know if he was secretly gay.

These are things that seem to be important to us nowadays. We not only want people to do their job, but we want them to do it to our standard of morality.

But what set Walter Cronkite apart from the rest of the commentators of his day–and certainly of our season–is that he really believed what he was doing was valuable.

It was so important to him that he always delivered the news with sincerity, neutrality, gravitas and yet in a reassuring way, letting the American people know that the sky was not falling–there would be another day, and a good chance it would be better.

Maybe it was the bit of “gruff” in his voice, which hinted at crankiness, or the bristle of mustache, perhaps outdated–but aging uncles and grandfathers never seem to care.

Or maybe it was the fact that when the President of the United States was shot in Dallas, Walter, like us, was mortified–and found himself breaking into tears.

There are three things Walter knew about humanity:

  1. When you run across goodness, proclaim it. It’s not always easy to be human and good.
  2. Don’t expect humans to be good in every arena, but make sure they respect the holy ground of their calling.
  3. And Walter knew that as a human being, he needed to make sure he kept his ears tuned to the mission of his heart, and far away from the gossiping rabble.

Walter Cronkite was a commentator.

But history has shown his mercy, his faithfulness and exactly how uncommon he was.

 

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Caw

Caw: (n) harsh cry of a crow or similar bird.

Everybody seems to prefer when I’m sweet. They relish my gentle tone. They will tear up when discussing my merciful nature. If they were describing me in aviary terms, I would be the nightingale, the dove or the robin offering the promise of spring.

That goes on for a while. And then the need arises to be the crow–the blackbird that offers a darker view, with a bit of cackling, complaining
and crankiness.

No one likes this old bird. They even speculate that perhaps I’m not feeling well or I’m vexed by a bad mood.

It never occurs to them that my crow shows up when things are not right–so that my robin can return in good conscience.

People’s ears are tuned to the tweeting of the love bird instead of the caw of the flying scout, who scours the field ahead to offer a warning.

I suppose I enjoy being the songbird much more than being the “cackler.”

But every once in a while, the crow has to show up and remind us that the scarecrows we’ve set out to frighten away danger aren’t nearly as terrifying as we hoped.

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Becoming

Becoming: (n) the process of coming to be somethingDictionary B

She was pretty sure of herself. Matter of fact, she stated it as a fact: “Young people get more conservative as they get older.”

I guess this can be stacked up with other definitive phrases like, women belong in the kitchen, Asians can’t drive and baked beans create farts.

We certainly do love our categories.

But if I were to stop and think about it for a moment, I would have to contend that the true power of longevity and surviving near-disaster is to come out of the experience more compliant, less sure of oneself and granting grace to others.

My life has not made me more conservative or more liberal. But it has taught me to be more merciful.

I have only one function left to me in breathing air, moving about and meeting others: Becoming merciful.

It is the only becoming that truly makes me becoming to others.

Without it, I am a cranky plant, growing without flowers and sprouting ever-increasing, ugly leaves.

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Beagle

Beagle: (n) a small sturdy hound with a coat of medium length, bred especially for hunting.Dictionary B

Shall we discuss the word “rescue?”

For you see, when people tell me that I should get all my pets from “Rescues,” I must remind myself that these creatures have been salvaged from dire straits.

Therefore, since they do possess a brain, they just might have memories of being dangled over the flames of hell.

So when my young son wanted to get a dog, we went to the local Rescue, stepped behind the desk where they keep all the animals in cages, and were suddenly confronted with a collage of confused, frustrated, angry and sometimes even half-starved dogs crawling over one another to gain favor of this most recent human entering the room.

I suggested to my son that he pick one in the corner, who was not quite so survival-minded and seemed to have a sweeter temperament. Unfortunately, we found out that the reason this particular pooch was so silent ended up being that he was near death’s door.

But we nursed him back to health.

He really was a mutt, but the breed he most closely resembled was a beagle. We were pretty sure he would never get too large–except the other unknown portions of him did not know he was supposed to remain small.

So we ended up with a midsized dog who obviously had some brain damage from the trauma he had experienced, and therefore was a little cranky with strangers, while also picking up the personality and goofiness of our clan.

Even to this day, if you mention his name, there will be a split vote in the family on whether he was Snoopy or the Hound of Hell.

He didn’t care.

He had opinions on everything, similar to an old man at a Chinese buffet. But in his own way, he lived a full life of sixteen years before wandering away and apparently forgetting where he left his keys.

One of my favorite memories of that unique creation was his “hidden hound.” Even though I think he aspired to be a full beagle, if you began to howl like you were wailing at the moon, in no time at all, he would join you with a most baleful rendition.

He fought it.

He tried to pretend he didn’t understand, but always ended up with a bit of Southern heritage, barking at the air.

The dog’s name was Madez, and in honor of him, I will place this essay under the title of…”Beagle.”

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Anal

dictionary with letter A

Anal: (n) a stage in Freudian psychosis denoting infantile psychosis as seen by a preoccupation with the anus. 2. Anal-retentive: obsessively preoccupied with details.

Perusing this particular definition, I was struck with a notion.

Even though words do have specific meanings, they gradually assimilate into the culture based upon whether we choose to view a thought as positive or negative.

Freud, with his usual obsession for body parts, was quick to point out that “anal,” from his perspective, had something to do with the ass.

Yet in our society, when we refer to somebody as anal, we are connoting an attention to detail–or if we find that attitude unacceptable, we make reference to someone being “picky.”

But I think if you blend the definitions, it’s quite fun, isn’t it?

Because after all, people who don’t take care of their own bum, cleaning it and maintaining its hygiene, will eventually be considered nasty.

Likewise, without a little bit of fussiness about maintaining order and the dignity of things, we will disappoint those around us and convince them quite quickly by exposing the hole in our ass.

  • What is too much attention to detail?
  • What is being picky?

I think three things are necessary to be considered solvent and of sound mind:

1. I don’t make my problems your problems.

Even though we like to help one another through difficulty, the specific dilemma needs to be complex enough to warrant intervention.

2. Generally speaking, I am a person of good cheer.

After all, to be around efficiency which is grouchy makes you soon forget the quality of the work and only remember the cranky.

3. I’m improving.

In other words, we can get by with being inefficient once or twice, but after that, it becomes an annoying vice.

So there is a certain amount of attention to the caboose necessary to maintain a good train.

And as human beings, without being obnoxious … we can still strive toward adequacy.

 

 

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Amour

dictionary with letter A

Amour: (n) a secret or illicit love affair or lover.

I think it’s absolutely terrific that there is a dignified word and pleasant expression for a romantic encounter other than referring to it as a fling, adultery or fornication.

Even though I understand the importance of moral purity and the value of keeping oneself sexually focused, I will tell you this–we are human beings and:

  • We like to make out.
  • We like to feel that we’re wanted.
  • We certainly yearn to be desirable.

And the notion that in a moment of weakness we will not give in to our sensibility to be appreciated, and even lusted after, may not only be optimistic, but against all that makes us interesting.

Even though I have to be honest and say that sexual promiscuity comes with its own stinging barbs of retribution, I have equally found that sexual repression is also a destroyer of human beings.

So what is the right amount of sexuality in our lives to keep us balanced, involved and moving forward instead of dragging our butts on the ground in depression or feeling cheap and sleazy?

I’m happy to tell you … I don’t know.

I will say this: if I removed one ounce of amour from my life, I would be a worse jerk than I presently am, and certainly riddled with self-pity instead of purposefully using, of my own accord, self-deprecation.

I like the idea of somebody wanting me–I will not lie. Yet I have resisted the temptation to turn that into a torrid affair. But I am grateful for every human being who considered me viable enough as a potential lover to invite the possibility.,

I am not so religious that I believe that God is cranky about our glandular inclinations. And I am not so enamored by “free love” to contend that such encounters are without recompense.

Amour is necessary to us or we soon cannot fathom why love exists in the first place.

 

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