Burglar

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Burglar: (n) a person who commits burglary.

For the sake of maintaining the privacy of the individual, I shall refer to him as Mick.

I met Mick many years ago. He was a nice fellow. We had great conversations and he was very interested in my work. He was so interested in my efforts that I began to ask him about his.

At first Mick was reluctant to share his occupation, but then one night, in a very relaxed atmosphere, he told me that he was a burglar.

I was a little shocked.

First, I never envisioned this person in front of me to be that style of individual. But secondly, I was astounded that he was so forthcoming. He wasn’t ashamed to admit his burglary, but rather, went on to explain that he often found himself coming up financially short at the end of a month, and did not know how to make ends meet.

Because of this, he had often had his electricity turned off, his little son had gone without shoes and his wife had eventually left him.

So Mick decided to become a burglar, but one with a conscience. Here was the way he justified it to me: whenever he found himself a bit short of cash, he would go out and burglarize some old lady or old gent’s house, stealing only the few things he knew he could pawn, which would give him the cash to pay his bills to get him to the next paycheck. When the paycheck came, he took some of the money, went back to the pawn shop, bought back the items, and when he was sure the families were not home, he returned them in a box on the front porch with a typed note which read: “Sorry I had to borrow these. I was short this month.”

When Mick finished explaining this to me, I was simultaneously baffled and impressed. He seemed to have come up with a way to sin which had no immediate ramifications.

I had no idea what to say to him. I wanted to become moralistic, and suggest that stealing in any way, shape or form was wrong.

So I did what I often do in uncomfortable situations. I conjured an elongated clearing of my throat, followed by an anemic nod. 

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Apostle

dictionary with letter A

Apostle: (n.) 1. each of the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ. 2. an enthusiastic supporter of an idea or cause.

Titles are what non-talented people cling to in order to avoid being evaluated on the quality of their work.

You can tell exactly how useless these assigned names are by how popular they are in our present-day society, which seems to be stuck in the muck of ego, unable to maneuver in any direction.

I, too, am often asked to produce my running list of titles. These are supposed to be words that inform the hearer that I am worthy of being listened to and that I have jumped through enough hoops to be part of the circus.

I’ve even had people correct me when I’ve addressed them by their first name, to inform me that their title must be included–otherwise they have a sense of what we might call “nomenclature nakedness.”

So instead of granting people dignity and appreciation for their deeds, we bequeath them with titles.

And this is why the original apostles nearly suffocated the message of Jesus of Nazareth–because they spent most of their time sitting around discussing who was greater and who Jesus liked better. In the process they began to kiss up to the very same individuals who originally had crucified their Master.

Fortunately for us, they stopped being apostles and turned back into rag-tag fanatics.

Because I will tell you of a certainty, King George III was not impressed that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of electricity or had constructed a stove. He considered him a rebel and a rapscallion and was prepared to hang him.

And the American history books can be grateful that Mr. Franklin did not take offense, but agreed to don the role of rebel so that we might be free.

Titles frighten me. They assume that their mere inclusion should produce respect.

What should give us our respect is whether we follow through on what we say is truly important.

 

 

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Anthracite

dictionary with letter A

 

Anthracite: (n) coal of the hard variety that contains relatively pure carbon

 

Occasionally I find myself waxing philosophical, for which I truly apologize.

It’s not that opinions are like assholes, it’s more that opinions make assholes.

At least that’s my opinion.

So I pre-apologize for what I’m about to share, even though I think there’s much validity to the idea. Sometimes I think we forget that for “everything there truly is a season.”

For instance, for one time in our existence as a planet, we needed coal.

Brave workers went into the heart of the earth to extract this treasure so that we could fuel our lives and progress the human race beyond the escapades of mere fire.

Many of them gave their lives.

It was a season of coal.

But the truth of the matter is, as we learn to be more expansive, we as people might stumble upon ideas that are improvements, and rather than being sentimental to concepts that have “aged out,” we cling with a maudlin sense of loyalty.

I have this abiding belief that everything in life has been placed on this planet with two purposes. Often the first function is very obvious, but when that viability wears out, we should be prepared to find the additional goal intended for the object.

There are so many examples of this that I shall not bore you. Matter of fact I would encourage you to take this simple notion and study it for yourself rather than having me expound upon it in an attempt to convince.

But this is what I feel about coal: in the 21st century, to have men and women don hard hats and go into the core of the earth to extract this rock of interest seems both antiquated and unnecessary.

Yet for it to become completely unnecessary, we must do two things that the human race pursues with reluctance:

  1. Actually stop mining coal and find a less destructive and debilitating alternative.
  2. In the meantime, let our scientists find that second anointed purpose for this valuable substance.

Without this kind of wisdom, we generally work an idea until it’s exhausted and falls apart or we prematurely abandon a good gift and cast it aside.

Can we learn?

Can we realize that oil lamps were once the rage and very valuable for lighting up our streets, but when we took the time to allow Thomas Edison to illuminate our minds, we found a better way?

We also found other uses for oil.

I am optimistic.

For truthfully, my dear friends–I would rather end up being a fool who believes in human beings instead of a cynic, trying to explain my sarcasm to God.

 

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Amish

dictionary with letter A

Amish: (n) the members of a strict Mennonite sect that established major settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere in North America from 1720 onward.

I grew up around the Amish.

Which in turn, means they also grew up around me. But you see, there’s the problem. They really didn’t.

They came into town to buy groceries. They were civil. They were kind. They were gentle.

It didn’t bother me that they dressed differently or that they all wore beards. (I guess the women didn’t…)

I wasn’t particularly upset about them living without electricity or the comforts of the modern world. After all, I went to a church camp or two where such restrictions were levied for a week to get us all mindful of things non-electronic.

It’s just that I have grown weary of all human attempts of separation, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who would like to hold on to a nice big slice of the popular culture, so as not to abandon existing relationships with friends who have reserved a lane on the broad path. I just don’t understand how we expect to co-exist–(Oh my dear Lord, forget that. Survive!) if we continue to build smaller and smaller boxes wherein to place those we consider to be more valuable–from our strain of DNA.

I, for one, am tired of the word “culture.” Has anyone noticed that the root of the word is cult? Normally we look down on cults. We consider them to be limiting, segregating and self-righteous. But I guess if you put a u-r-e on the end it’s ok, because it denotes some kind of honor of your ancestors.

I watched a show on PBS about the Cambodian community. Many of the young transplants from Cambodia have begun to hold weekly barbeques, eating only the food of their former land. It makes for a rather bizarre bit of recipes and diet, including cow intestines, bugs and various broths. The young people are very proud of it.

But here’s what I thought: there’s a bunch of people in their graves who would like to tell these youthful adherents that they would gladly have eaten hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, but could only afford cow intestines. They would like to encourage their offspring to upgrade.

Much of what we call culture were merely survival practices of our forefathers and mothers, who struggled to get us where we are–so we wouldn’t have to partake of their pain.

So be careful.

If you want to live on a farm somewhere, turn off the lights, grow a beard and wear plain clothes, it is America and you are free to do so. But when you include the name of God in it, who claims to be no respecter of persons, and insist that there is some special holiness in doing without, I have to shake my head.

It won’t keep me from buying your food products, though. They’re really quite good.