Cutlet

Cutlet: (n) a slice of meat, especially of veal, for broiling or frying.

One of the more shocking aspects of life is when you escape your childhood home and begin to mingle with the pilgrims on the way to the Promised Land, discovering that all the things you heard in your house did not translate into the lives of other beings.

For instance, my mother used to say, “Don’t freeze your typooker.”

As a child, I assumed there were typookers from sea to shining sea.

But the first time I spoke it aloud in front of friends, post-high-school graduation, they laughed voraciously, and hee-hawed even more when I became defensive. No one had heard of typooker (though one girl thought it was something naughty.)

So I was surprised when I realized that the pressed-together hamburger/ground round patties I was familiar with as a child were universally referred to as “cutlets.”

During my growing up years, we called them “cube steaks.”

I don’t know whether this was wishful thinking in the minds of my impoverished parents—musing that referring to them as steak translated them during dinner time—or if they had run across a cult of “cubers,” which they immediately  joined, touting fake steak.

But it was embarrassing.

I was on a date with a girl and asked the waiter if they had some sort of cube steak. He looked at me, much more bewildered than necessary, and humiliatingly asked, “Could you draw a picture of it?”

My date for the evening, instantaneously sure she would never go out with me again, mercifully stepped in and said:

“I think you’re talking about a cutlet.”

Prideful and unwilling to sacrifice the turf, I responded, “No. I’m talking about cube steaks.”

At an impasse, the waiter suggested the beef stew (if I had ever heard of beef or stew). I was bruised.

Language is so powerful, yet so personal.

And it is so easy to convince ourselves that the words in our mouths are much more sacred than those lodged deep in the throats of our brothers and sisters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis: (n) A confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1962 over the presence of missile sites in Cuba;

I was two months from my eleventh birthday when I was informed that the world was about to blow up. I didn’t know much about what was happening on the planet.

My life was simple.

I was climbing in the bathtub every night, looking down at my pubic area for any signs of hair, since a rumor had spread that one of the guys in our class had some.

This was the most important thing to me.

But all of a sudden, my attention was temporarily nabbed by the news that those bad people over there on the other side of the world were trying to kill us good people over here—by blowing us up with bombs which seemed to be a lot more explosive than I could even imagine.

I was very angry.

Matter of fact, over dinner I expressed my rage by explaining that it was completely unfair for a bunch of old people to destroy my life just because they couldn’t get along with each other

The problem was that there were now missiles in Cuba.

I didn’t know anything about Cuba. When I heard the word “Cuba” the first thing that popped into my mind were cube steaks, which were some hybrid of hamburger and sirloin. So the way I remembered the word was to think of “Cuba Steaks.”

Therefore, people in “Cuba Steaks” were planning to fire bombs at us that turned our bodies into dust through fire.

I was not going to get to live long enough to kiss a girl or do any more hair-raising.

That’s what it meant to me.

And honestly, as I think back on it, having studied it, heard renditions of the story and considered the insanity of the times, my ten, nearly eleven-year-old objections seem quite suitable.

It would be wonderful to tell you that the Cuban Missile Crisis is a thing of the past. But now we have a whole new generation of leaders who apparently cannot remember what it was like to be terrified, living in a world of “duck and cover.”

Now they are trying to reintroduce these weapons into everyday thought.

If I had a poison in my cupboard and I knew it would kill someone if they drank it, the only sane solution would be to remove the poison from my cupboard, not expect everybody to remember that it’s lethal.

Perhaps we should all pray that logic will win the day and we will grow so weary of thinking about being destroyed that we’ll finally put the poison away for good—those weapons that snuff out all life.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C