Commemorate

Commemorate: (v) to recall and show respect for someone or something

Mediocre is always so busy dragging down excellence that it doesn’t have the time to lift up inferior.

Because of this, mediocre keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the sag of inferiority, desperately trying to change the rules of operation and the requirements for the rewards provided.

We have a system of entertainment and information that streams in our country, which feels the need to commemorate events by finding the heroes, the standouts and those who fared well, interview them, extol them and then, within short weeks, dig up dirt on them to prove there was really nothing exceptional about them in the first place.

Why? Because without this kind of reporting, Ma and Pa Kettle, sitting at home, start getting depressed–thinking less of themselves because they don’t measure up.

After all, the problem of going to a nude beach is that you’re fully aware that everyone is stuck with an eyeful of you.

How do we commemorate the attributes, the virtues, the kindness and the intelligence that sets the human race on fire with an explosion of knowledge and unveiling of great cures and advances?

Well, we certainly can’t do it if we spend all of our time mocking initiative and making it seem that those who portray a classy morality are really just stuck in the past.

These are the three great things we should commemorate if we expect to shine:

  1. Empathy

Any time someone feels for someone else, it is miraculous.

  1. Research

Stop settling for the status quo, and find a better way to accomplish things.

  1. Humility

The only way to achieve the first two is to be humble enough to know when you’ve made a mistake so you can change it quickly and improve your cause.

May we step out of our doldrums of self-satisfaction and begin to commemorate–and therefore imitate–those who are actually doing matters better than us?

 

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Colon

Colon: (n) large intestine or large bowel

Talk about “it’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.”

How’d you like to be a colon?

“What’s your job, Mr. Colon?”

“My entire function is to take the shit to the hole.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies in my life. That’s where they go into your intestine with a camera to make sure that it’s ooey-gooey and doing its job. They want to confirm that you don’t have cancer or polyps, which are possible precursors of the disease.

The first time I had a colonoscopy I went into the hospital feeling really bad. A beautiful young woman from China was my doctor. She was so sweet–but I knew
she thought I had cancer. It’s not that I believed I was free of the affliction, but I saw no particularly good reason to etch my tombstone until I had more information.

So they prepared me for the whole process.

The day before the event they brought in a gallon of fluid and told me to drink all of it in as short amount of time as possible. The drink loosens the bowels and empties everything inside–or at least, everything that is willing to be dislodged.

I was faithful. I pooped until my poop looked like water. (And that is a little weird.)

Well, long story short, she went in with her camera and found out there was no cancer and gave me a clean bill of health.

What I remember most about that experience is the legitimate joy on her face when she came to tell me I was alright. It was so intimate, tender and childlike that I teared up and cried.

Was I crying over her gentleness, or was it releasing tension I didn’t know I had about the possible diagnosis?

I don’t know. But it was beautiful.

So every time I go to the bathroom–well, nearly every time–I think about my colon and how patient it is to do its job.

And I also think about someone who was a complete stranger to me–a doctor–who possessed such empathy that she took a moment of grace and the memory of it will last for my whole lifetime.

 

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Citadel

Citadel: (n) a fortress on high ground

How can you take the high ground without instinctively looking down on those beneath you?

It became an issue in the recent presidential campaign. Both candidates insisted they were taking the high ground, while simultaneously
using the concept to proclaim themselves superior.

Unfortunately, any insistence on superiority renders us weakened by the kryptonite of pride.

I need a citadel.

I need a place where I can climb a little higher in my consciousness–not to peer down at the infidel, but to have the chance to see things the way they are, and not the way they appear at ground zero.

My life requires a sweetness of morality, a gentleness of empathy and an awareness of my talent.

In order to mingle these factors, I must don the cloak of humility. For humility is not the absence of ability, but rather, the evidence of it without needing to overpower all comers.

Yes–America should be a citadel.

Our faith should be a citadel.

My life should be a citadel: a piece of higher ground that does not insist on being worshipped because of its elevation, but instead, uses the bird’s eye to consider all the sparrows.

 

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Bumble

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Bumble: (v) to move or act in an awkward or confused manner.

Some things should be bumbling.

Yes, there is nothing wrong to bumble during certain events.

I think sex should be bumbling.

I think when we portray sex as a free-wielding, professional action done by two gymnasts, it loses its humanity, and also ceases to encourage the participants to talk to each other about how to make things better.

I think it’s alright to bumble over describing your achievements. This sense of over-confidence and “staring-the-devil-in-the-eye” defiance which is promoted in the business world just makes us look so much worse when we can’t back up our claims.

I think it’s good to bumble when you’ve done something stupid and in the process of apologizing, some tears of real repentance sprout, halting the flow of speech.

There is a charm to bumbling over answering something that you’re not completely sure is true, and cautioning those around you to check it out and confirm your accuracy.

It would be inspiring if a politician bumbled on a question, only to explain the delay by offering an unexpected, but divinely inspired, “I don’t know.”

We are so intent on coming across as adept, worldly and well-seasoned that we fail to realize that a certain amount of vulnerability gains us the empathy of people around us … who wish they had the guts to bumble.

 

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Brutal

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Brutal: (adj.) savagely violent.

On occasion, I comically refer to human beings as “monkey angels.”

A little bit of jungle, a little bit of heaven.

Because of this mixed breeding, the climate for our species requires a careful mingling of tough and tender.

I get in discussions with my sons about this all the time. They are convinced they can watch Dictionary Bmurder and mayhem in the movies and experience brutal treatment of God’s children, and be no worse the wear.

But the true diet for our spirit is an enduring toughness about complications and a tender empathy for our fellow-travelers.

In other words, celebrating, commemorating and being challenged by those who overcome difficulty through their determination, while emotionally impacted by gentleness among all brothers and sisters.

We’ve flipped it.

I think we try to be tough with our dealings with each other as we tenderize ourselves with decapitation, devastation and depravity.

It screws us up.

So I, for one, have no desire to become stronger by watching brutal acts.

Brutal is for brutes.

And “brute” is the part of our monkey that wants to act like a gorilla.

 

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Black Hole

Black hole: (n) a place where people or things, especially money, disappear without trace

Dictionary B

For years, in moments of frustration, I succumbed to calling individuals around me who found my disfavor, “Asshole.”

I never felt good about it.

It was a rather sleazy term, with no real meaning. After all, the problem was certainly north of their posterior.

Yet it made me temporarily feel empowered and superior, so I gave in to the inclination.

But no more.

I have found the perfect insult for those around me who are oblivious to the needs of others and think they are driving on the highway of life in the carpool lane.

They are black holes.

When anything full of life, potential, mercy, goodness, gentleness or legitimate humor gets anywhere near them, they swallow it up into the darkness of their oblivion. They do not possess the ability to retain, but instead are bottomless cups, constantly needing refilling.

The danger is that our society might become so accepting of these “black holes” that we start believing it is human nature to be devoid of empathy.

That would be most unfortunate.

Because even in the carpool lane, it is required for you to have two people.

 

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Beaver

Beaver: (n) a large semiaquatic broad-tailed rodentDictionary B

The word “beaver” torments me–mainly because I have no personal experience with the creature. But it has entered my life through story, myth and even double-entendre.

It is so unfair.

Truthfully, I can’t hear the word “beaver” without considering the sexual implication, which has been placed upon it by a generation of goofballs.

I do feel I would have great empathy with the beaver (if I actually knew one) because I, too, would occasionally like to “dam it all.”

Yes–rumor has it that beavers build dams.

I don’t know if these structures are required, and I’m not quite sure why the beaver wants to do so, and certainly totally unmotivated to find out–even for the purpose of adding some credence and intelligence to this essay.

I know there’s a football team in Oregon called the Beavers.

If memory serves, beavers have large, protruding front teeth (I assume for gnawing wood in the process of building their dams.)

And of course, I have memories of a television show called “Leave It To Beaver,” which had nothing at all to do with building anything and had no purposeful double entendres.

So if I happened to run across a forest agent who identified himself as a “beaver inspector,” I’m afraid it would be difficult for me to carry on a conversation…without giggling. 

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