Confine

Confine: (v) to keep or restrict someone or something

There are no bars.

There are no cells.

There are no guards.

There is no visible punishment.

Matter of fact, it would appear that the prisoner can come and go at will.

But nonetheless, it is a jailhouse.

It is a slammer.

It is a penitentiary.

It’s name is worry.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a COnce a human being is sentenced to a lifetime of worry, the gentleness, creativity, happiness and open-mindedness that might be available is stolen away, and in its place, the convicted soul is confined to limited thoughts laced with anxiety.

It is not necessary to kill someone to destroy him or her.

It is not required to lock in a concrete building, surrounded by steel.

All you have to do is convince any person that there’s something to worry about, and that worry itself is virtuous.

He or she will take the keys to life and lock away potential … until death mercifully pardons.

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Concern

Concern: (n) anxiety; worry.

Concern is the word we use when we want to establish that we are way too mature to be worried. After all, we are mentally balanced, funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
spiritually enhanced and emotionally stabilized to such an extent that we are able to express concern without, shall we say, losing our shit.

But this week, I have taken inventory of what should truly be concerning and what is merely passing rumor, attempting to generate fear.

I am concerned about my apathy.

It causes me to do ill-advised things for my health and also not be sensitive enough to the health and feelings of others.

I have a concern about my ego.

I’m not always certain when it shows up or if it’s the good guy of my motivation is in control.

I don’t have a concern for my family.

I took my best shot. And if that wasn’t good enough, they have had plenty of time to acquire other shots.

I do have a concern for my country.

Historically, every nation that ceases to have a world vision for the human family becomes obstructive to good will and has to be exterminated.

I have no concern for tomorrow.

There is no tomorrow until I make it.

I do have a concern for death.

I am not one of those verbose, fearless individuals who claims he is not afraid to die. If a vote were taken, I think it’s a horrible idea. Death, that is. But since my vote does not count, let me try to scare it away instead of vice versa.

I have no concern about the existence of God.

If He exists, His comprehension is so far beyond my grasp that any attempt on my part to ascertain His will must come across as a roaring farce at the Pearly Gates.

If He doesn’t exist, I will handle those “grave concerns” when they unearth.

 

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Cobalt

Cobalt: (n) the chemical element of atomic number 27, a hard silvery-white magnetic metal.

My dad decided to die when I was sixteen years old.

He had planned it for nearly thirty years.

As a cigarette smoker who actually bought tobacco in the can and “rolled his own,” he had pretty well determined the end of his story long before he’d lived out all the plot lines.

I was one of the plot lines.

Before I found out that he had terminal lung cancer which had spread to his brain, there was a brief, three-month period when he became warmer, more tender–wanting some closeness with me.

Unfortunately, by that time I had created so much distance there was no way for me to transport myself to his side–even when I discovered he was dying.

They sat down and explained it to me, pointing out that he would be going through radiation treatments, which involved cobalt. He did.

Yet he barely survived the only cure they had available. When he returned home, he could barely walk and had trouble breathing. His skin was red like he had a deep sunburn, and he smelled like the trash we burned in the back yard.

Being around him just scared the hell out of me.

Everyone wanted me to turn into the devoted son who held the hand of his ailing father up to death’s door.

I just couldn’t do it.

Even when his breathing became so heavy that I could hear it through the walls while sitting on our porch stoop, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I loved him or even be present when the last gasp escaped his being.

This is my memory of cobalt.

It was used in the early years of radiation treatment, and left the patient nearly vacant of the resources to think and move.

As I sit here today, I can wish that I had been a better son and he a better father.

But that is because I have an older mind, and sometimes find it difficult to regain the fury involved in being sixteen.

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Clear-cut

Clear-cut: (adj) sharply defined; easy to perceive or understand.

In the pursuit of writing you a delicious essay or a tasty tidbit of insight, I suddenly was completely overwhelmed by the fact that I am not so
certain I know of anything that’s clear-cut.

It’s not so much that life is ambiguous as it is evolving. There are two reasons it evolves.

There is the scientific fact that there is an upward mobility to evolution that is going on at all times.

But there is also the presence of free will, which often makes our attempts at predicting reaction and conclusion to be a farce.

Just when we think we know how Nature works, Mother will surprise us. And after studying humanity incessantly, we are still bewildered by many of the choices made by those within our species.

Some people think their faith is clear-cut. They believe they’re going to heaven, even though many people of deep spiritual conviction have died, promising to send back a message. So far all mail boxes are empty.

Some people think democracy is clear-cut, raising it up onto the shoulders of “Truth”–as the best form of government. Of course, democracy, like everything else, is at the mercy of science and free will.

So being unwilling to disappoint you brilliant, lovable people, I concluded that the only thing that is clear-cut in life is for me to use my free will carefully, to make decisions based upon my current understanding of science.

Because to understand science is to be introduced to God, and to be introduced to God is an open door to the Universe.

 

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Cistern

Cistern: (n) an underground reservoir for rainwater.

Until I was twelve years old, I thought a cistern was the female version of brethren. (Well, I probably didn’t, but it seems funny,)

I’ve had one encounter with a cistern. My grandfather lived about two miles outside town in a small home which most dignified citizens would call a shack.

It had no inside toilet, but offered an “outlander” version for brave souls who didn’t mind. Also, right outside the door of this humble domicile was a pump, sitting on top of a cistern.

For years, my grandpa asked me to go out and pump it until I got water to come out of the spout, and bring him what he called “the good drinkin’ stuff.” Matter of fact, he purposely attached his indoor sink to the cistern, so when he turned on the tap he received the superior fluid.

I didn’t think much about it.

One day I was sitting with my grandfather in the front room as he was chewing his tobacco, and trying, with his fading eyesight, to spit in his ‘toon. He offered me a glass of water, and I poured myself a cup. I was just about to drink it when my mother raced into the room as if she were saving me from a burning building, knocked the glass from my hand and scared me to the point of eunuch.

My grandpa laughed. He turned to me and said, “Your Mama thinks the water’s bad. No accountin’ for taste.”

Two weeks later we stayed overnight at the house, and my mother drew a bucket of water from the cistern and set it out on the porch. She left it there for about five minutes and then called me out in the moonlight to look into the bucket.

I had never seen water in a bucket moving around.

It was filled with tiny, tiny little worm-like creatures, swimming like it was their weekend at the Riviera.

I nearly threw up.

I don’t know why the water didn’t make my grandpa sick.

I suppose after you chew tobacco for enough years, it just might be difficult to find anything else that would kill you.

 

 

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Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis: (n) a chronic disease of the liver

I do not remember his real name, but I know it wasn’t Hank. So for the sake of the story and his anonymity, we shall call him Hank.

Hank was married to Barbara.

Barbara owned an antique shop which was really just an extension of her home in the basement. She was a nice woman. Of course, when
you’re a kid, adults tend to blur.

But I remember that once every two years or so, Barbara came to our house and spent a few days with us because “Hank was on a binge.”

Now, I did not know what a binge was. When I asked about it the first time, I received a frown, so didn’t feel it was a good idea to pursue.

But hanging out behind doors and listening to conversations, what I gathered was this: sometimes Hank decided to just go down to the town tavern and drink until he got “good and mean” and for some reason, blamed Barbara for all the problems in his life and started hitting her.

Eventually he would pass out, wake the next morning–apologetic–but still head off to the tavern again. Apparently this process was repeated for a week every couple of years, until Barbara would finally call the sheriff and have Hank put in jail until he could dry out, come home and act normal for a while.

The interesting thing was, in the process of Hank going in and out of rehabilitation, he developed liver disease.

Cirrhosis. It’s what happens when you choose to pickle your internal organs instead of your beets.

So at the age of fifty-two (which I thought was ancient) Hank died.

Barbara was a mess; as they say in the Midwest, “fit to be tied.”

She sold her business, left town and was never heard from again. I remember the last thing she said to my mother: “I just don’t understand why God took Hank.”

Fascinating.

You see, God didn’t understand why Hank took himself.

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Cemetery

Cemetery: (n) a burial ground; a graveyard

No racial tension.

The same space available for everyone.

No complaints.

No gender bias.

No discussion about sexual preference.

No religious distinction.

No hurry.

No worry.

No flurry to scurry.

No argument.

No political debates.

No special treatment.

No punishment.

No ego.

No money required.

No need to tout your resume.

No disease.

No more death.

Welcome to the cemetery.

Come and spend a spell.

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