Crackhead

Crackhead: (n) a habitual user of cocaine in the form of crack.

Let me start off by saying that what I’m about to write on is not like I’ve invented the wheel. It has been a topic of conversation for some time.

But I do feel it is my duty to roll that wheel along.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We are a society that despises outward evidence of bigotry while encouraging—and even in many cases, promoting—internal methods. We mainly propagate these misrepresentations through our art.

The Law & Order series on television will happily and continually distinguish between its affluent and impoverished characters by assessing wealth and position to the use of cocaine, and denigration and crime to the crackhead. But as the definition has already told you, both substances are derivations of the same poison.

But cocaine is a “phase” that rich people go through, while crack is evidence of urban blight and proof that the inner city is perniciously flawed—and therefore continually dangerous.

It is a racism that continues because we feel that if we don’t have some release for our fears of color and culture, we might just go back to wanting to lynch again. So we become party to socially acceptable principles that have no basis in anything but bigotry.

If you take crack, it affects your head. That’s why we insist you’re a “crackhead.” But there is no such thing as a “cocaine head,” or a cocaine user who is going to break into your house and steal your television to support his or her habit.

Bizarre.

You fight racism by noticing the little places it crops up, and confronting them as simply as possible. If you wait until racism is actually in your presence, it’s too late.

I remember when I was renting my first apartment and I discovered cockroaches, I hired an exterminator, and when some of the cockroaches were still hanging around two weeks later, I angrily called and asked him to come back and “do his extermination right.”

After spraying one more time, he patiently turned to me and said, “I am more than happy to spray your place, but I must ask you to do something on your part.”

He walked over and pointed out dirt on the counter and food that was laying out. He looked me in the eyes and said, “If you want the cockroaches to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them.”

I will tell you—likewise, if you want the cockroaches of racism to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them with your quick smirk, your nervous titter or your frightened silence.

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Collie

Collie: (n) a sheepdog of a breed originating in Scotland

I was eleven years old before I realized they were not supposed to stink.

I’m talking about dogs.

Up to that point, I knew one dog–and this dog stunk. Ironically, her name was “Queenie.” Any pomp and circumstance associated with that name were purely accidental. She stunk. I could tell very time I drew near.

And near I drew.

Queenie was my Grandpa George’s animal. She was his favorite beast, person and thing.

Queenie felt great security in her job, and so pursued no personal hygiene. Half the day she wandered through the woods, living the life of a wild dog, to come
home to the little A-frame house as night was falling, to spend time with my grandpa.

I had jobs to do with Queenie. I kept praying that my grandpa would get old enough that he would become forgetful, and therefore fail to remember to ask me to do the job.

It was a two-parter.

Because Queenie was a collie, she had long fur which might have been lovely had it not been matted with dirt and grime, and filled with little stickers (which my grandpa referred to as “nettles”).

Grandpa wanted me to sit there during the visit, with Queenie’s snout lying in my lap, stinking up the room, and remove these little thistles from her fur. That was the first part.

The second part was that Queenie was a wild-type dog, and did not know how to get all the poop out of her butt with each bowel movement. So dangling from her backside were little sprinkles of dried turds, which Grandpa allowed me to remove by snipping them off with a small pair of scissors.

I will give Queenie one kudo: she never objected to any of the processes. Matter of fact, it reached a point that whenever I came into the room, she came over and laid her head on my knee, awaiting the treatment.

She smelled like everything bad that no one should ever inhale.

Her nettles always yanked out little pieces of hair, and the clippings from the back end–well, fortunately, time has healed me of the vision (as long as I don’t talk about it).

That is my experience with a collie. So you can see why, under no circumstances whatsoever, could I enjoy watching “Lassie.”

 

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Collar

Collar: (n) a band of material around the neck of a shirt, dress, coat, or jacket

Feeling very comfortable with my interactions with a dear young lady, I explained to her that I preferred collarless shirts. She listened intently,
coming very close to feigning interest.

I explained that the collar rubbed against my neck–itched–and when I sweat, made my skin burn.

It was further aggravated if I inserted a tie into the shirt, needing to fasten that top button. She listened and listened. She even smiled a couple of times.

At the end of the conversation, when I felt I had thoroughly explained the reasons for my preference, she walked over and looked around my neck and said, “I don’t think the collar is your problem.”

I was stupefied. (Well, at least confused.)

I said, “Okay… What is my problem?”

“You just have a really, really dirty neck,” she said.

I was offended. I suppose there were other choices available to me, but fortunately, she stepped in and offered to wash my neck for me so I would understand that my skin was soiled and therefore overly sensitive.

So she got a sudsy washcloth and gently rubbed my neck until it was clean. I was embarrassed, enticed, curious, dumbfounded and a little turned on.

She finished washing my neck, dried it with a clean towel and put some lotion on it.

She was right.

I never had another problem wearing a shirt with a collar.

The only problem was scheduling the times for her to come and wash my neck.

 

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Club

Club: (n) an organization dedicated to a particular interest or activity.

It reminds me of Dickie. He was a friend of mine.

Dickie had one thing he was very proud of–he loved to dupe adults. He explained this to me one day. He said the key to tricking grown-ups
was finding out what they wanted, and then discovering a way to do it which was more fun.

For instance, Dickie had a lot of dirt clods in his back yard. We used them to throw at each other, playing war and anticipating what it might be like to be hit with a hand grenade.

Dickie’s mother came out in horror and told us to stop throwing them, saying that we would certainly destroy an eye–or at least sully our pretty shirts.

Dickie waited about thirty minutes, then went in and said to his mother, “Mom, maybe it would be a good idea if we got rid of all that dirt and those dirt clods, and dumped them in the nearby woods.”

She thought it was a grand idea, and even offered some bushel baskets that had recently held apples. So Dickie and I went out, collected dirt clods in the bushel baskets, escaped into the trees–and continued our game.

God, we felt smart.

We had our own little club which we had formed, and was built around the notion that since we were the honorary members, it confirmed that we were more intelligent than others.

From that point on, I have wondered if it is possible to separate oneself off from the mass of humanity into smaller and smaller units and clubs without promoting a sense of superiority and propagating a cloud of bigotry.

Does the Methodist feel superior to the Baptist as he drives by on the way to his church?

Does the white man feel empowered when he passes through the black neighborhood and sticks his nose up at the urban blight, touting that he’s part of the Caucasian Club?

Here’s a frightening and perhaps intimidating thought–we’re all part of one club, and that’s human beings.

Breaking us down any further and insisting that the differences are imperative and unique makes us just about as dumb as a bushel basket of dirt clods.

 

 

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Churn

Churn: (v) to move about vigorously.

It all depends what you disrupt.

If you stir up and churn milk and have the patience to stay with it, you get creamy, sweet butter. On the other hand, you can probably sit all
day long churning dirt, and even if you add water, you will end up with muddy conclusions.

It isn’t always effective to motivate people or circumstances. If there is quality, intelligence, spirit and humility, then churning can bring about a beautiful, natural change.

But if people are stubborn, angry, racist and ignorant, churning normally initiates violence.

You’ve got to judge your circumstances.

Is there enough milk of human kindness in the people you’re dealing with to see them turn into butter?

 

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Brown

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Brown: (n) a color produced by mixing red, yellow, and blue, as of dark wood or rich soil.

Dirt is brown. Actually, more like soil.

Hair can be brown. Some people get nasty and call it “mousey brown.”

So I guess that means a mouse can be brown, although many of them are gray.Dictionary B

Tree bark’s brown. Which means some wood is brown. Some isn’t.

Eyes can be brown. Matter of fact they can be quite attractive when they are, though for some reason we extol blue.

Poop is brown, unless you’re sick or ate at an Indian restaurant.

But when I sat down and thought about brown, I realized that the times I’ve heard brown mentioned were never particularly favorable. Like I asked some guy what color his TV set was. He replied, “Well, it’s kind of an ugly brown, but you’re not gonna look at the casing anyway. You’re going to watch TV.”

Is brown ugly?

After all, if you have a pair of brown shoes, you can’t wear them with black. And they don’t look good with white. You can kind of wear them with beige and darker, right?

What happened to brown?

Was it targeted?

Or did it just try to add too many colors to itself and end up with mush?

Is mush brown?

No–it’s kind of “yellowish.”

Which brings up the term “brownish.” Is that a good thing?

How about brown skin? Does it suffer from the traditions of prejudice?

Or did it just lose favor because people don’t like brown?

 

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Broom

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Broom: (n) a long-handled brush of bristles or twigs used for sweeping.

I know what a broom is.

I have seen one.Dictionary B

I could even identify one at a distance.

If sent into a large room to find it, I would be successful in no time at all.

Yet I really don’t know anything about a broom.

I’ve had one thrust in my direction with belligerent orders to “help clean up.” But I’ve always been a little bit of a loss as to what the correct process is in “brooming.”

I’ve seen people take short, brusque strokes–like they were angry at the floor or infuriated with the dirt.

Then I’ve seen people take long, easy passing with the broom, sweeping up the dirt gently in front of them.

There are brooms that work sideways.

There are brooms that work up and down.

(I guess that’s it.)

But I am a little embarrassed to admit that my “broomsmanship” has been lacking, partially because I’m lazy, but mostly because when I tried to use one, a nearby competitor (normally a female) would snatch it from my hands because I was failing to be reverent.

She’d demonstrate and then hand it back to me, and rapscallion that I am, I would realize that if I could simulate an additional failure, in no time at all she would insist I was incompetent and do the job herself.

It always worked.

I’m embarrassed to share it with you.

But I must be honest–I have no great stories about “brooming”–only being able to tell you that I can identify one.

 

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