Decoder

Decode: (v) to translate data or a message from a code into the original language or form.

There actually was something called a “decoder ring.”

It was a little plastic ornament put into Cracker Jacks, for kids to place on a finger to make them believe they were decoding.

Candidly, I had no idea what “decoding” was.

But possessing the ring was still important.

As I become an adult (mainly confirmed by the number of my birthday parties), I realize that the whole Earth and everything around it and in it has a code. If you do not know how to decode it, you will begin to believe things at face value, or try to put faces on faceless values.

May I assist you with what I have garnered from having once owned a decoder ring?

Religion

When it comes to religion, if it doesn’t help people, make people better, make people think, make people feel or make people more generous, it is nothing but superstition or witchcraft.

Politics

In the realm of politics, if it doesn’t make people better, make them think, make them care for each other, improve their status and create equality, it is a really bad party, which will only make you drunk on your own ego.

Science

If you’re talking about science, there’s only one thing to remember: every living thing will do whatever is necessary to continue to be living. A second thing could be added: every mystery to continue living is hidden somewhere in the rocks.

Business

Customers are the little devils that make the business world work. Calling them little devils does not help. Treating them like little devils is even worse. Becoming a little devil to battle with them yourself could put you in jail.

And even though there are many subjects I could address, let me conclude with:

Romance

Romance ultimately is not about feelings, but instead, orgasms. To achieve orgasms, people have to cooperate with each other, which only makes the world a better place anyway.

I present this today just in case you did not get your decoder ring in your Cracker Jacks box.

If you did, I apologize for my presumption.

 

Clumsy

Clumsy: (adj) awkward in movement or in handling things.

Sexual intercourse looks dumb.

It is so awkward and clumsy that when we first meet a potential mating partner we have to get ourselves all worked up–sometimes drunk--to participate in the ritual, and then, after several months or years of interacting, marriage often occurs, where no one is quite able to get as worked up again, so merely on the stimulus of doing the act, we often find ourselves embarrassed, if not unmotivated.

It’s clumsy.

What makes it even more clumsy are people who think they are adept, talented or professional at it. Then it becomes similar to a bull in the pen, bragging about his graceful ability to take a dump.

What truly makes sex significant and endearing is how clumsy it is. If both parties would submit to the stumbling aspects of the action, giggle a little bit more and listen to one another, it could continue to be pleasurable for a long time.

But we view it with a funeral-home grimness.

How can anything be important if monkeys can do it eight times in an hour? Really??

Is there such a thing as a sacred vagina or a sanctified penis?

It’s clumsy.

And if we discuss it too much as if it’s a pertinent issue, the clumsiness of it becomes ridiculous, and we, fools for approaching the topic with such gravitas.

I’m clumsy. I’ve never been with anyone who isn’t clumsy. Although some people insist they are excellent lovers, the truth of the matter is, they have an over-exaggerated sense of their own prowess, which is not necessarily shared by their bedfellow.

Let’s relax.

Things that should be clumsy, like sex, are regaled as great art forms. Things that should be meaningful, like concern for one another and kindness, are treated as lowly.

This would be a good place to start. Have a serious conversation with your love partner about how to be kind to your neighbors, and when you get done, run to the bedroom and have clumsy sex…and laugh about it.

 

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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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Banquet

Banquet: (n) an elaborate evening meal for many people, often followed by speeches.Dictionary B

Just yesterday.

After finishing up a successful gig, where I was inundated with the presence of fine human beings and the fortune of good finance, I was ready to celebrate.

I was shocked to discover that I wanted to eat–large quantities.

Then I realized that universally in our species, we reward ourselves for good behavior–or even good attendance at work–by holding a banquet, devouring fattening foods, and patting each other on the back as we listen to someone speak for 34 minutes on a subject on which we all agree, trying to keep from dozing off from the overindulgence in carbs and sweets.

God bless America.

Even though I was critical of myself for wanting to glutton after my success, I had to stop and wonder what alternatives are granted to us for such occasions.

  • I could get drunk. I never have done so.
  • Some people would grab their bong and sit on the “grass.” Once again, not my style.
  • I suppose I could sip coffee and ruminate over the elements of the success. That’s a little too “Mad Men” for me.

Yet I have never heard of anyone exercising or running after such a bounty.

No, I have to be honest–a banquet seems to be our universal answer when we feel the need for self-acclaim.

Maybe it goes back to our Norse roots–when we were Vikings and felt that overeating was required after all debauchery and pillaging.

I’m not sure.

But I will keep you updated.

If I find any good replacement for shoveling food in one’s mouth to fuel the human ego, I will certainly write you … so that we all might have healthier ways to feed our egos.

 

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Antiquated

dictionary with letter AAntiquated: (adj) old-fashioned or out-dated.

I have never drunk alcoholic beverages nor viewed pornography.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t taken fluids into my body nor that I haven’t pleasurably released them.

It just means that I don’t like substitutes.

That’s what I think about alcohol, pornography, drug use, profanity and any number of imitators of joy, which fail to deliver the true impact of the experience.

Of course, my tee-totaling and puritanical attitudes are viewed as antiquated in this era of libertarian domination.

Old-fashioned it is, my friend.

But see, what I find antiquated is the assertion that after thousands of years of pursuing carnal futility, we still persist in advertising actions, vices, and practices that leave us, in the end, deserted and unfulfilled.

  • Why is it antiquated to try to find inebriation in life instead of a decanter?
  • Why is it antiquated to have a real flesh-and-blood lover instead of one darting across a computer screen?
  • Why is it old-fashioned to want to inhale the beauty of nature and life instead of the smoke from one plant?
  • What makes this so meaningless?

I am very suspicious of those who want me to give up some aspect of my choice and freedom in order to attain a more expansive expression.

I like being free.

It’s why, after all these years, I continue to battle obesity, even though the deck is stacked against me and it seems that I am no longer able to bluff with a poker face.

The absence of dependence is the presence of independence.

I don’t think it’s antiquated to want to be free.

I don’t think it’s old-fashioned to believe in life.

And I don’t think it makes me a grumpy old man to tell you that I, for one, am not going to bottle up my feelings and then try to find the answer … in a bottle.

 

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ABV

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

ABV: (abbr.) alcohol by volume

Let’s even things out. I get it.

Politicians are generally considered to be greedy, nasty folks, out to get a vote, who will do anything to be elected.

People involved in religion are portrayed in our society usually as a bit ignorant, with an ax to grind and with the horrible side of being judgmental.

Corporate fat cats are only concerned about the bottom line and will personally kick your butt to get it.

Let’s just say that I don’t argue with any of that. But by the same token, WHY are alcohol and weed portrayed as “fun, glamorous, intriguing and giggly?”

I’ll tell you the truth: I saw a woman walking down the hallway of my motel the other night who was drunk. She was obnoxious, loud, out of her mind, a little scary and right near the front door, she threw up–which by the way, even though they cannot portray this in movies, STINKS.

I also stopped and asked two young men parked in front of a convenience store for directions . They rolled down their window and the waft of marijuana smoke floated out to my nostrils. Not only could they NOT give me adequate guidance to get to my destination, but I don’t think either of them ever knew I was there.

They weren’t HIGH. They were LOW.

The lady in the hallway wasn’t partying–she was vomiting.

Let’s try to create a society where we start with candor, move to balance and end up being able to make intelligent choices for ourselves. Let’s not attack government and spirituality and leave ABV and drug stupors in some sort of imaginary world of untouched revelry.

  • Alcohol makes people nuts.
  • Marijuana makes people dull.
  • Politics makes people compromise.
  • Religion makes people overly dependent.
  • And corporations make people too worried about profit margins.

I get it. I would just like to see this represented fairly. Alcohol is not better than the Baptist church simply because the people in the movies want to sell beer so they can get funding for their next project.

The alcohol blood volume in this nation is ridiculous. The political gridlock is equally stupid. The religious insignificance offered is insipid. And corporate greed is not making better products.

Call ’em like you see ’em–and make sure you test for the right volume in each situation.