Decoy

Decoy: (n) anything used as a lure.

The only reason a duck-call works is because there are ducks out there who are horny.

When they hear that duck-call, they assume there’s a potential Tinder connection. If they weren’t so lascivious, they could just think to themselves, “Oh…there’s another duck. I hope he or she is having a nice day.”

Yes, a decoy works because there is a part of our consciousness that drags us toward mischief before we have a chance to consider the danger.

Whether it’s politics, religion or purchasing items at the grocery store, all of us are tantalized into making bad choices.

In politics, we’re told that “the other guy out there” is going to take away all the fun stuff we like to do because he’s just a “big, greenie-meanie.”

In religion, because of our fervency, we’re offered the possibility of being so favored that we can actually attend the ceremony to cast fools into hell.

And at the grocery store, we are informed that certain items are super-foods, and should be purchased if we want to be healthy. (Of course, the easiest way to identify them is by their super-price.)

Beware of decoys.

They are set up to trap us in our weaker parts by using a stronger signal.

Can we ever be free from them?

Will we ever consider what’s best for us before jumping in to follow the Pied Piper, like a bunch of rats?

Probably not.

But if you’re going to be a rat, it’s good to travel in packs.

Maybe one of you will remember to ignore the tune.

Danger

Danger: (n) risk, peril

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Perhaps danger is in the heart of the fearful.

There is legitimate danger. Becoming too familiar with a tiger during feeding times is not faith, but rather foolishness lending itself to lethal danger.

But some things are not dangerous. Some things are poorly marked that way, by the timid minds of those who are afraid of human freedom.

My last year of attending church camp was froth with controversy.

The counselors were convinced that the best way to avoid difficulty was to cut any danger off at the pass. “Danger,” in this case, referred to activities which might stimulate teenagers to think about sex.

It is fascinating to me that once people cross the age of twenty-one, they forget that sex, to a teenager, is not a thought nor a temptation but instead, oxygen to breathe. Curiosity, sensuality, raging hormones and immense amounts of energy always collide in some way to manipulate an indiscretion.

We were given five simple rules for high school campers:

  1. Boys and girls were never to be left alone without supervision.
  2. Girls could not wear bathing suits around boys, only knee-length shorts and appropriate tops.
  3. Dirty jokes were forbidden, and if continued, would result in expulsion from camp.
  4. Girls would dine with girls and boys with boys.
  5. When swimming in the lake, a distance of two feet must be maintained between a girl and a guy.

The list ended with this admonition:

“In following these guidelines, we hope to avoid the danger of promiscuity and illicit behavior.”

Yet, nature always makes a way.

That summer, all the guys and girls learned of a cave just outside the camp, which was quickly referred to as “The Humping Hole.”

The girls—adorned in their knee-length shorts—would go in with their favorite guy, and hump through their clothes.

I will tell you—it was much more popular than the class on the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul.

Girls and guys also learned how to sit in such a configuration that they could hold hands behind their backs, and counselors never saw what was going on.

There was always a way, where there seemed to be no way, for teenagers to be horny.

For you see, the only danger in life is ignorance.

The more you know about a situation and the greater the knowledge you can possess, the better chance you have of escaping tragedy and forming a plan that is blessed by honesty and truly works.

Culpable

Culpable: (adj) deserving blame or censure; blameworthy.

I was born in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Honestly, the single incident didn’t do a whole lot for me except provide me life.

I was born again in a little church and got baptized.

It felt good for a while, but then I discovered that I had to keep going and scrounge out some purpose.

When I was eighteen years of age, I wrote my first musical number.

It felt mighty good to be creative. It was rewarding on that first composition and continues to be so. But it’s not the highlight of my life.

I saw sons born into my household and sons who came through my front door.

They were all amazing, but they didn’t provide the backbone and meaning for my journey.

I really became a human being the day I allowed myself to be culpable for my actions and I was not afraid to admit the wrongs I engineered.

Before that day, I avoided confrontations—even lied, cheated and rewrote history to prove I was not at fault.

This dodging of responsibility occasionally made me the “Bad Dad,” a mediocre workman, an insufficient artist, an unpredictable lover and a horrible Christian.

My life began when I was prepared to admit where I screwed up.

Any human who is not willing to be culpable for his or her own actions is not only obnoxious but dangerous to the whole tribe.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

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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Circumspect

Circumspect: (adj) wary and unwilling to take risks.

I have decided that the best way to protect our country from terrorists is to let moms and dads examine the bags at airports.

Think about it.

Your mother and father could always find a reason that anything you planned to do would either a) hurt you; b) make your grades drop; c)
keep you from God or the church; d) kill you.

If we put these moms and dads in charge at the airport, it would only take about two weeks before frequent flyers would grow weary of bringing along anything
that might be questionable. For after all, not only would it be rejected, but also you would have to listen to the lecture on why it was stupid to consider bringing it in the first place.

Mommys and Daddys are circumspect–careful to a fault.

In the process they possibly spare their children some potential danger, but also plant seeds of suspicion and “Mommy-and-Daddyism” inside them, until such an hour that these children are in charge of their own little offspring, who likewise need to be ferociously protected.

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Brave

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brave: (adj) ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage

I have discovered that one of the more brave things to do is choose the correct moment to be a coward.Dictionary B

First, you have to be fearless about the characterization. Is it cowardly to know that you’re outnumbered, ill-prepared, uncertain, or to proceed with caution–even delay?

I don’t think so.

Bravery always reminds me of the Native American going hunting, only having the resources and time to make four arrows. Yet at the end of the day he knows two things: he must come back with dinner, and he’s only got four shots.

So what is the goal? Avoiding foolish undertakings that may seem noble or adventurous but will steal the quality of his supply.

So he waits.

He waits for that moment when he can get close enough to the deer.

If he does that–if he passes over the long shot, refuses to chase tracks that lead nowhere and simply allows the opportunity to come close to him–he has a much better chance of returning home with game … as the brave instead of a foolish archer.

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Beware

Beware: (v) to be cautious and alert to the dangers of.

Dictionary BDanger should be dangerous.

We can’t call it “danger” simply because it’s intimidating, ominous, unusual, separate, different or innovative.

When we do that, we become prejudiced instead of prepared.

So what is dangerous?

I think if you broaden your definition of “dangerous” any further than explaining it to be “that which kills you,” then you are certainly communicating your willingness to expand the fear base in your life. In an age when we should be shrinking fear because of the tremendous availability of communication, we seem to be actually increasing our aggravations in order to give us purpose in life or conversation with our fellow scaredy-cats.

Of what should we beware?

I’m certain that discussion would have many hours of implications and derivations. But I think we need to understand that perhaps the greatest thing to beware of in our lives … is the unnecessary need to beware.

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Beacon

Beacon: (n) a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.Dictionary B

Flashing lights.

No one likes them.

I suppose they’re okay on a Christmas tree. But if you’re in a room for a long time and the decorations are too garish, it can become annoying.

We were taught that flashing lights warn us of danger or at least, pending inconvenience. So I guess we need them.

Yet by the same token, a world without flashing lights is a sudden discovery of disaster without any way to prepare or avoid it.

Therefore a beacon can be one of the more unappreciated necessities in the world. They appear in our lives at a very early age.

For instance, you’re five years old. The first snow has fallen and you want to run outside and play–throw it in the air and maybe make a snow man.

You are stopped.

A beacon–your mother or your father–steps in and feels the need to take at least ten minutes of your precious snow time to don you in garbs which inhibit your free movement, all because they want you to be warm and not get sick.

Who knows if they’re right?

It isn’t like you can look back and say, “Yeah, because I wore my ear muffs and toboggan, I avoided a cold.”

No, it’s just an annoying flashing.

And then, when you become a parent and find the need to “beacon out” some piece of wisdom or counsel, you suddenly realize that you are the annoying, flicking going on in the life of a child who loved you moments earlier, until you interrupted the flow.

Case in point: I just finished seeing family for Christmas. One of my jobs is to be a beacon.

That means if I see something that could be ridiculous, dangerous or lead to unhappy conclusions, it falls my lot to flash out a warning.

God, it’s horrible.

For you see, everybody wants to be a cheerleader and not the director of the cheerleaders, who has to decide whether the skirts are too short.

Yet a world without beacons would probably end up being one big explosion of light, producing destruction instead of intermittent blinking.

 

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Anthrax

dictionary with letter A

Anthrax: (n) a notifiable bacterial disease of sheep and cattle, which can be transmitted to humans, causing severe skin ulcerations or a form of pneumonia.

 

People often demand that sensibility requires a certain amount of fear.

Matter of fact, one of the easiest ways to portray yourself as an idiot is to suggest to a roomful of people that they stop all worrying, relax and enjoy the journey.

There are just certain words that evoke terror in the human spirit and cause us to reject all common sense in deference to abstract horror.

Anthrax is one of those.

It’s not really clear to me what happens when you have anthrax, but it is the substance of theatrical tale and myth, which leads us to believe that an outbreak of this disease could wipe out the planet, and more importantly, harm us.

I do not know what is adequate apprehension to make sure that you do not accidentally kill yourself with a condition or calamity that smacks you in the head during your season of unawareness.

But I grow weary of being warned more than enlightened, cursed more than blessed, alerted more than informed and frightened more than loved.

Is there a balance?

Is there a correct amount of information imparted to us which allows us to be knowledgeable without becoming irrational?

Here’s the approach:

1. Explain to me what the danger is.

2. Freshen my mind with ideas of how to avoid the danger.

3. Balance it by letting me know what power I have to prevent, alleviate or eliminate the pending doom.

To me, if you don’t include all three of these in your announcement of Armageddon, you will find yourself failing to really enjoy the days leading up to the end of the world.

(By the way, the most dangerous condition passed on by sheep and cattle is heart disease…)

 

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Alzheimer’s Disease

dictionary with letter A

Alzheimer’s disease: (n) a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age due to generalized degeneration of the brain.

When you read the definition, there’s nothing funny about it.

But candidly, I think everybody feels a little nervous about taking this disease seriously.

It isn’t that we don’t have empathy for those who suffer from it. It’s just that the one-liners, comedic set-up and potential sketches available on the subject of older people becoming forgetful are so ripe with scenarios that it’s difficult to pass them up in favor of more sensitive profiles.

So when are we being callous?

I remember once in a show I joked about the fact that “considering my size, you know I’m not anorexic.” A lady walked up to me afterwards and complained about my choice of humor, saying that her daughter suffered from the condition and that it was not a jocular matter.

I apologized.

The reason I offered this remorse was that I had offended her. I didn’t do anything offensive, but because the subject matter was so personal and close to her, she was offended by my making light of the gravity of the situation.

But honestly, I do not know if we can progress the human race without learning to laugh at ourselves.

Would I think jokes about Alzheimer’s Disease were funny if I had it? Since I probably wouldn’t know–yes. (See? There are people who probably would find even that turnaround crass…)

All of us are going to get old, and that looming condition is both real and frightening at the same time. To approach it without some sort of good cheer is probably the greatest danger.

So I follow a simple philosophy: I try to find humor in everything, serious or not. It is not because I don’t care. It is because the only way to care is to relieve pain, not merely point it out.

We must be careful in a time when we are touting our personal feelings more than understanding our human need–that we don’t lose sight of the escapism of comedy.

I do not condone those who are rude and crude. I am not saying that any kind of disease is pleasant. I’m just saying that as an obese man, plagued with many of the complications associated with it, I have never gained ground by digging in my heels, weeping or looking for reasons to be offended.

The only light I’ve ever seen at the end of any of my tunnels … is humor.