Curtsy

Curtsy: (n) a respectful bow made by women and girls

I cannot officially report that the stigma ever went away.

I think it passed after a couple of years—but Glenn certainly carried the sniff of it all through his general education days in our small town.

It all happened quite innocently.

For some reason, our high school decided to have a square dance for homecoming.

One of the teachers, our Spanish instructor, was quite the proponent of square dancing, and apparently made a case to the other teachers—how “cute it would be” for a bunch of high school students to participate in the old form of hoofing.

I remember that learning the square dancing was particularly mind-numbing, partly because it was so abstract to my adolescent mind, and also because I thought it looked like some of the stupidest shit I’d ever seen.

But the worst part was when we took one whole day—yes, an entire school period—to learn how to bow and curtsy.

Because somewhere in the process of doing this ridiculous dance (that should have been killed off with the rest of Dixie) there is a lot of this bowing and curtsying nonsense.

So each one of us had to come forward and show off our best bow, if you were a boy, or best curtsy, if you were a girl.

At first, the reluctance in the room hung like moss from trees.

But when the threat of extending the lesson into yet another day was put forth, we all realized we needed to get through this quickly and efficiently, so we became filled with (fake) enthusiasm, which nearly brought our Spanish teacher/square dance aficionado to tears.

Because we were trying to be exuberant, and even a little madcap, when Glenn took his turn–because the girl in front of him had just curtsied–his brain apparently froze and he did a curtsy also.

The room grew still.

Our teacher/instructor was so offended that Glenn was “mocking” her that he ended up being sent to the principal’s office.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Being teenage boys, we made the assumption that unbeknownst to Glenn, his body was screaming from some homosexual prison to be free.

And in doing the curtsy, he was manifesting his real desire, which was to be a fag. (This was long before “gay.”)

Even as I write this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. But so did everything else I thought when I was fifteen.

Glenn later went out for the football team–probably to prove he was a man.

I think he expressed disdain for girls (like the rest of the macho locker-room gang) just so nobody would think he was “overly sensitive.”

Glenn had to be careful when we showered after gym class—not to cast his eyes in the direction of any fellow. So normally he sat on the bench, quietly dressing and staring into his locker.

This is why I can tell you of a certainty, through this tragic story of Glenn, that the curtsy is mighty dangerous.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Culminate

Culminate: (v) to end or arrive at a final stage

Many folks do not get to see how their actions culminate, because they get caught up in the muddle of the middle or the slump of the start.

Is it possible that we’re so afraid of losing that we don’t persevere?

Or do we quit because we get more excited with the energy of starting up?

Do we fail to get started because talking a good game is exhilarating, but responding to the alarm clock is quite difficult?

Yet if you were able to pinpoint one of the major problem areas in society—government, entertainment, education, business or religion…

You would have to say that nothing ever seems to cross the finish line.

Fascinating to me is that everything that does not culminate by coming to a righteous conclusion instead culminates with an excuse. And of course, once we learn to make excuses, we develop a need to embellish. (And embellishing is just another way of setting out to lie.)

So absent fruit born from the seed of our notion, we must quickly provide a story to explain the source for the failure or exaggerate any success.

How courageous do you have to be to line up all your ducks, and without fear, let them go?

What is the source of the anxiety that prevents us from such an action?

Maybe it’s because we believe nothing is ever what it’s “quacked up to be.”

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Critter

Critter: (n) any creature.

Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.

Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.

I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”

Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.

If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.

Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.

I might be viewed as a hillbilly.

Considered quaint, but not cute.

And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”

I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.

No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.

The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”

You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.

I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.

It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.

It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Concur

Concur: (v) to be of the same opinion; agree.

Kindness doesn’t cost you anything but an occasional pint of ego.

I concur.

Men and women are not nearly as different as they are reported to be.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I concur.

Voting is the best way to prove that you’re a good citizen.

I do not concur.

Loving your neighbor begins by practicing with loving yourself.

I concur.

The citizens of the United States are more exceptional than those in the rest of the world.

I do not concur.

An education is best proven by how wisely you apply what you’ve learned.

I concur.

There are no contradictions in the Bible.

I do not concur.

Democrats and Republicans are just people who love to choose up sides.

I concur.

We are judged on how we treat others.

I concur.

There is a heaven and there is a hell.

I reserve judgment.

 

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Concept

Concept: (n) an idea

Discovering the central theme and focus of life on Earth is similar to realizing that the hurricane has passed through your town and your house is the only one that still has electricity.

If you don’t understand the concept, it is easy to fall for the decept–or deception.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Once you grasp the concept and don’t limit it to education or religion, entertainment or commerce, you gain a confidence that makes you humble instead of obnoxious.

The concept is not difficult.

It appears to have three parts, but they work together so beautifully that they actually weave into one magical motion.

Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the Earth.

Fruitful–take what you are able to do and use it to bring you success, satisfaction and hopefully benefit others.

Multiply–increase what you have, whether it’s emotional security, children or finance

And replenish the Earth–since you are so satisfied and well-off, spread the love around and take care of Mother Nature.

Everything else which is promoted and thrust into our faces is a mere attempt to prevent us from embracing the responsibility that ushers in true joy.

 

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Complement

Complement: (n) a thing that completes or brings to perfection.

The greatest complement to beauty is humility.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

The greatest complement to talent is hard work.

Likewise:

Spirituality…simplicity

Leadership…awareness

Lover…sensitivity

Comedian…vulnerability

Joy…compassion

Education…application

Health…gratitude

Confidence…introspection

Strength…mercy

Speaking…listening

Faith…charity

Hope…endurance

Finding…seeking

And of course, the greatest complement to God is humanity.

 

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Collage

Collage: (n) a combination or display of various things.

I have a “collage education.”

I have taken misshapen, unpredictable, often dangerous, meaningless, joyous, sad and uncertain circumstances and molded them
together into a life, inserting my face.

It doesn’t come with a sheepskin diploma. Matter of fact, being sheepish in any way keeps you from forming a good collage for your education.

It is that moment when you realize there’s only one thing that stops any of us from achieving joy: fear.

A young man asked me, “How can I become a good writer?”

I responded, “Stop writing. Express yourself. Stop worrying if it makes sense. Matter of fact, stop being concerned about forming sentences. You can always come along and edit later.”

Do what you do without doing it in fear.

Don’t listen to people who talk about mental blocks. Turn your ears off when people are full of warnings more than encouragement.

Life is a collage, and therein we find our education.

And we receive our graduate degree when we take our collage and use it to tutor others.

 

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