Coroner

Coroner: (n) one who investigates deaths

Then there’s the joke.

“I went to the morgue to see the body. I asked the receptionist where I might find the corpse. She pointed to her right and replied, ‘Just around the coroner.’”

(I didn’t say it was a funny joke.)

But when you talk about things like the coroner, you have to use some humor. A little tongue-in-cheek is helpful.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I have personally dealt with an actual coroner only once in my life. My son, who had been involved in a hit-and-run accident six years earlier, which had left him in a vegetative state, suddenly developed pneumonia and died in about a four-hour period.

We were in the state of Oregon, and according to their statues, anybody who dies that quickly has to be observed by a coroner and have an autopsy.

I probably should have looked up “coroner” and found out what was involved with the profession, but there was no Internet at that time and my encyclopedias were packed away back home, two thousand miles away. So I entered into the whole situation very ignorant.

He was a nice enough fellow—just creepy enough to fulfill the parameters of the occupation. I was emotionally disturbed from the death of my son, so I began to yammer without much awareness, trying to explain to the gentleman some of the extent of my loss. In doing so, I offered a very child-like request. “Please be gentle with him. He’s been through a lot.”

I remember the look on the chap’s face—a combination of tenderness, surprise, confusion and mercy. For after all, he had already done the autopsy and chopped my young son into many pieces.

Fortunately, I didn’t think of that in the moment. I was granted a blessed ignorance, and a bit of grace, by a man who had to deal with death every day and realized that I would not benefit from any further understanding of his plight.


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Cooperate

Cooperate: (v) to work or act together or jointly for a common purpose or benefit.

Life sent me a text.

It asked me if I had a few minutes to sit down and discuss some things. Normally I would have been responsive, but it was a busy day.

Sometimes I intend to return messages to people but then I get absorbed in happenings and my very, very good intentions are set to the side. These people are often offended. They don’t understand how much I really wanted to get back to them.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So Life texted me again. This time the request came with four exclamation points. I hate it when people overuse punctuation on the Internet, don’t you? It’s so ignorant. Do they really think that’s going to get my attention?

So this time, I refused to respond on principle—surely it must be some sort of scam.

The following week Life texted me again, and insisted that something needed to be done very soon, or else.

I despise it when people threaten me. Don’t you? Because if you follow up, trying to find out what it’s about, you discover they just played you to get your attention.

Honest to God, if I chased every person warning me about something, or informing me about another thing, I wouldn’t get anything else done.

So I came up with an emoji which I sent back to life. A cute one. I think it was a creature sticking out its tongue.

That kind of summed up my feelings about Life’s interference in my daily activity—especially the pushiness I was feeling from the unwanted messages.

Then all of a sudden, I died.

I arrived at some sort of place that seemed to have an atmosphere, but was completely suspended in time. Standing there waiting for me was Life.

Not seeing anybody else to talk to, I stepped up to Life and said, “What happened? I was too young for this.”

Life looked at me smugly and said, “Did you get my texts?”

“Yes,” I replied, wondering what in the heck that had to do with anything under the sun.

Life took a deep breath. “I texted you because I wanted to let you know that several alarms had gone off in your body which you were ignoring, and you needed to go get yourself checked out.”

I frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me it was important?”

Life groaned, then spoke slowly. “You see, that’s the problem with human beings. You think anything that you don’t know about is an interference, never realizing that most problems can be avoided if you will just stop, listen, receive the message, and cooperate.”


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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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