Café

 

Ca: (n) a small restaurant selling light meals and drinks.

All of my life I have been surrounded by friends who enjoy discovering out-of-the-way, little cafes.

I won’t even mention the fact that these establishments usually last about six months before someone finds one down the street that’s
“cuter.”

I am a big person. (By big, I’m referring to the size of my body, not necessarily my soul.)

So these little places are tedious, if not arduous, for me to negotiate. The tables are tiny and the chairs provide a landing area for only one of my butt-cheeks.

Then there are the toy meals:

Croissants–which can be consumed with three bites.

A Danish–which doesn’t really taste that much better than the one I once ate at a flea-bag motel off their free Continental breakfast.

And of course, the over-emphasis on the coffee and tea.

My friends sit there, cross their legs and chat with one another, munching on the tiny provisions as if they have found a precursor to heavenly bliss.

I am uncomfortable. I am misplaced. I am a dog at a cat rodeo. I am an apolitical advocate who finds himself at a get-out-the-vote rally.

Over the years, I have learned ways to excuse myself from such awkward pretense.

So now when I hear the word “café ,” my brain just naturally translates it into “caf-nay.

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Brain

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Brain: (n) intellectual capacity

A friend of mine bought a German shepherd. He did so as a means of protecting his house.

He named the dog Rugby.Dictionary B

Rugby was probably one of the sweetest animals I’ve ever encountered in my life. I was absolutely enthralled with the kindness of this creature, but certainly convinced that Rugby was incapable of guarding anything. He was even patient with the four-year-old child who lived in the house, who was enamored with the animal’s nose, and continually tried to pluck it from his face.

I laughed at my friend when he insisted that Rugby was a replacement for a burglar alarm.

Then one day we went off on a brief shopping trip. As we returned, pulling into the driveway, we heard barking and growling. It sounded very aggressive–frightening to the ears.

Stepping into the house, we discovered a terrified gentleman penned in the corner, held prisoner by a very intimidating Rugby.

Apparently the man had decided to come into the house to steal some items to sell at the pawn shop–only to discover that the house was well protected by a deceptively dutiful German shepherd.

The man begged to have the dog called off.

As soon as my friend called the police, he motioned to Rugby to come to his side, and the family pet returned–with a wagging tail and a panting tongue.

You may ask me what this story has to do with the brain. Here it is:

The brain is like Rugby.

It doesn’t have any natural inclinations of its own, but only brings forth its training when the situation arises.

  • If you think being smart makes you generous, you are sadly mistaken.
  • If you believe that a formal education causes you to be ingenious, you will be disappointed.

A brain is merely a “thing” until something breaks in, and it does what it was trained to do.

 

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Blown

Blown: (adj) past participle of blow

Dictionary BYou can’t make a duck bark. It’s a simple statement.

Therefore, it’s virtually impossible to get your dog to quack.

Patterns of behavior are established through choice and genetics, and maintained by stubborn tradition.

So as I listen to people complain about leaders who are causing turmoil and steering the American public into bad decisions, I look on, perplexed.

  • Nobody can make me prejudiced.
  • Nobody can turn me into a bigot.
  • Nobody can suddenly convince me that black people are evil or that people from China are out to get me.

I am the one who is ready to hear the nonsense.

So therefore, it is the responsibility of our citizens to own up to the fact that the transitions which have occurred in our lifetime, which have promoted truth or at least tolerance, have been avoided by many, who have sat by, pretending to be part of the parade, only to whisper complaints to each other as the floats go by.

There is a disgruntled spirit in our country which is blown by every ill wind.

It is unconfronted.

It is denied–as we pretend that everything is alright.

It isn’t.

We are still one of the most bigoted countries in the world, intolerant of the behavior of each other, and willing to become violent if someone takes our parking space.

I don’t think we will change these attitudes by hatching meanness to address the meanness.

But as long as people are blown by every wind of doctrine and every carnival barker, we will suffer under a cloud of uncertainty.

 

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Befuddle

Befuddle: (v) to make someone unable to think clearly.Dictionary B

It all boils down to one question:

What do you want?

Do you want to look good or do you want to live with the truth?

They aren’t the same, you know.

The truth does make you free. But if your goal in life is to look good, freedom doesn’t always achieve that purpose. Freedom just makes it possible for you to walk around without guilt.

That’s why the truth befuddles human beings.

We actually see no advantage to telling the truth–because we prefer lying and deceiving our fellow-travelers to telling the truth and sleeping well.

The truth befuddles.

It befuddles politicians because then they’re stuck with their record, which is always a mingling of achievement and carelessness.

It befuddles theologians because the obvious question of “now, how is God different from Santa Claus?” makes them defensive and causes them to fall back into an attack mode of scriptural brattiness.

It befuddles the educational system, because just about the time we are convinced that education has progressed us, new knowledge shows up to confound the wise.

And since we do not want to appear befuddled, we select to become aggressive and childish, protecting our egos at all cost.

Befuddled is the ridiculous idea that we should always be in a position of power. What could be more silly?

Why would we think that any part of creation would have the advantage of understanding all creation?

I never met a dog who was actually aware of my needs.

Why would I think that I, a mere mortal, should not occasionally be befuddled, since I don’t hold the keys to any kingdom … but only find myself stuck in traffic?

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Astray

Astray (adj): 1. away from the correct path or direction 2. into error or morally questionable behavior.dictionary with letter A

One of the things that bothers me the most about God is the insistence by His followers that He is perfect. Fortunately for my faith, God does not insist on being perceived that way.

The Bible is not a “Holy” book, but rather a “wholly” book.

In other words, it puts all the information in there–good, bad and ugly–and shows us the evolution of a Creator who created us in His own image, with the aspiration that we, too, would evolve.

God makes an earth without form that He has to mess with because it’s pretty useless.

The story says that He gets so fed up with people that He kills them, and then He’s really sorry He did.

He tries to put His faith in one people–one culture–which He hoped would be a beacon to others, but instead, they tout their predominance, causing Him to abandon the notion of a “chosen people,” in favor of people who choose well.

He’s worked His way through prophets, religious revivals, social upheaval and revolutions, always moving towards humanity and away from abstract divinity.

Read His book. It’s a tell-all.

He’s very willing to let us know where He went astray, as long as we are equally as willing to admit where we have gone astray.

It is a wholly truthful story of a Spirited Being finding better ways to love all the time.

I go astray.

It usually isn’t because I have become morally depraved, but rather, have become self-righteous over what I viewed as somebody else’s moral depravity.

Asking human beings to avoid carnal activity is similar to asking your dog to watch your plate of food for you while you go grab some iced tea.

It is not only ridiculous and irrational … but ends up being a cruel set-up.

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Armadillo

dictionary with letter A

Armadillo: (n) a nocturnal omnivorous mammal that has large claws for digging and a body covered in bony plates. Armadillos are native to the south central US and Central and South America.

Along with crocodiles and spiders, armadillos clearly remind us that our world is ancient and was once occupied by really scary creatures.

Even though these animals are now much smaller and have a shrunken fear factor, you can certainly comprehend that in their heyday, they must have turned a head or two.

Matter of fact, the first time I saw an armadillo in the middle of the road while driving through Texas, I pulled over and stared at it for a while.

In some ways it looks like a knight in unshining armor. A really ugly knight, mind you.

Rather than seeming to be something natural, the bony plates on the outside of the body look like some kid placed them as a joke on his pet dog and then released the puppy into the wild, and stood behind a cactus and laughed.

The armadillo is also kind of like the pineapple of the animal kingdom. Even though the fruit inside the pineapple is really quite sumptuous, the outside looks like it was constructed by a medieval tinsman.

So it always causes me to reflect on the great debate between creation and evolution.

I will have to admit, if God made all of these creatures at the same time, He certainly had to be on some sort of heavenly acid trip.

And if evolution is completely accurate, it’s difficult to comprehend why the armadillo survived and the stegosaurus ended up in the pits.

So for me, I land somewhere betwixt: envisioning a God who used evolution to create, and a Creator who even to this day, continues to evolve.

 

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Appliance

dictionary with letter A

Appliance: (n) a piece of equipment designed to do a specific task, typically a domestic one.

I have often thought it would be a very intelligent maneuver to set my mind to becoming more of a handy man.

I have a very firm conviction (though many of you would consider it a superstition): I think my appliances know that I’m ignorant.

I think secretly they hide out in the kitchen, the bathroom or the office and plot ways to make me nervous by pretending to pull up lame at the most inopportune times so they can view me fidgeting nervously, wondering how to accomplish my task without them.

If you think about it, this is the only self-worth an appliance has. No one pops the bread in the toaster, has it cook to a golden brown and then pats the chrome while saying, “Thank you, toaster for doing your job.”

The only time we actually acknowledge the toaster, or any number of appliances, is when they decide to go on the fritz or become intermittent in some disgusting pattern. It is only then that we appreciate the value they bring to the household.

Is it too far out for me to believe that these appliances might have some sort of agreement among each other, to seek approval by refusing to operate?

So I think becoming a little more handy with tools, threatening to break them open and play with their innards, might be enough to rein them into submission.

Of course, the times I’ve hung around such skillful laborers, I have quickly deterred from my passion to pursue their abilities, because within moments, their explanations and terminology leave me totally baffled. (For instance, a friend of mine talked a good ten minutes about various types of screws before I realized he wasn’t being lascivious.)

So since I’m pathetic with the implements which might be able to fix my appliances, I’ve decided to be very polite, gentle and appreciative to them. Landing somewhere between encouraging a baby to walk and a dog to retrieve a frisbee, I have developed lingo for each and every one of them to let them know how much I value their service.

  • So the dishwasher is “dear.”
  • The toaster is “cool, man.”
  • And the blender is “wow.”

I hope by using these little bursts of encouragement, I can keep them operating in tip-top shape…so they don’t feel the need to threaten me with the silent treatment or their shut-down mode.

 

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