Consignment: (n) agreement to pay a supplier of goods after the goods are sold.

There are three of them.

Yes, three different interactions with human beings that are disconcerting because they require a certain amount of trust in a stranger, which seems completely irrational.

May I start with a car mechanic? I don’t care who he knows, who knows you or who knows him.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

When you are bringing your vehicle in to be checked over, you are walking in the assumption that this attendant standing before you, glibly relating what has befallen your transportation, is speaking the truth.

Now why would he do that?

We don’t trust anybody else that much.

If you live in a household with children, you don’t bake three dozen chocolate chip cookies without finding a really good hiding place. Even though they’re your children and you’re supposed to trust them, you don’t.

But we take our cars–and put them in consignment–to a complete stranger under the assumption that he is going to love that four wheels as much as we do, and for some reason, give us a good, jim-dandy deal.

Secondly, a pawn shop. I suppose if you get desperate enough to go and pawn something, it may not really matter if it works out well in the end. Survival may be so important in the moment that considering future moments might be irrelevant.

But what’s to keep a pawn shop guy from tearing up your ticket, selling your thing, making some profit and then pretending he never even saw you before?

So to a certain degree, we consign to this broker virtue that just may not exist–because we are desperate to receive a financial fraction of what our item is worth.

And of course, finally and obviously, there is the actual consignment store. You bring in your clothes or your used appliances, and they agree to set them out for people to buy–and later they present you with a check. And you have no idea if it represents any fair portion of the amount for which they sold your treasure.

So please don’t come to me and say that you have difficulty putting your faith in your loved ones or your trust in God.

For any person who will believe a mechanic, a pawn shop broker or a consignment store owner, should believe everybody


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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

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Clout: (n) influence or power

Liars talk too much.

It’s one of the sure ways to pick ’em out. Rather than just stating the facts or presenting the situation, they feel the need to emphasize some
aspect of their story to further impress you with its validity.

That’s always been my problem with the word “clout.”

How much more reinforcement is necessary for a good idea?

How many times do we need to recite our accomplishments before we understand that nobody cares?

How often will we find ourselves stumbling over words because we are not yet convinced that the room has been swayed by our argument?

Does a nation have clout because it has a big army? (Candidly, the nations which have had big armies throughout history are no longer around.)

Do a people have credence because of their faith in God or their morality? If that were the case, the Puritans would still be very popular instead of deemed assholes for killing little girls as witches.

Does a woman gain clout by convincing everybody that she’s just as good as a man, when being a man may not be good enough?

How many characters do we need to introduce to develop the plot?

How many promises should be secured before we decide to move out and attempt a noble deed?

When I was in my thirties, a very prosperous music producer told me that I had no future because I didn’t carry enough clout. I looked him in the eyes and said, “I decided a long time ago not to carry anything I didn’t need.”

We don’t need clout. Actually, it warns of insecurity, pomposity and arrogance.

If I believe I am the best at anything, I need to leave my house more often.

If I think that God favors me because of my numerous religious inclinations, it may be necessary for me to encounter those human beings who scrape together fifty cents, knowing they need sixty cents to survive.

If you want to legitimize the word “clout,” then here is a better definition:

Clout is when I have the humility to realize I don’t really matter, so if I want to keep from being invisible, I should open up my heart and do what I can for the human race.



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Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce: (n) a civic organization which promotes a town

Some things are not meant to be.

We gain wisdom whcn we understand this.

I was once invited by some friends to go to a nude beach. Nude is not my best profile. So I asked them if it would be all right if I came to the beach without being totally nude.

They stared at me, aghast. “What? You’re going to sit there and ogle everyone else?”

I didn’t go. I kept my ‘ogle’ to myself.

I once went to a tent revival. They even brought out snakes. I was told that if I had faith, I would handle the snakes, thereby showing my devotion to God.

I asked them if I could just avoid the snakes, thereby showing my prudence to God. They did not think I was funny and asked me to leave.

I also went to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. It was in my home town. In a strange sense, I felt it was my civic duty to at least give the event a chance.

Everyone was so grown-up–trying hard to act mature. They talked about budgets, plans, the cost of concrete, whether to bring a Winn-Dixie into town or how to improve the image of our little city in comparison to others flourishing around us.

I cracked a few jokes. That’s just what I do when I’m nervous. (I think one of the ways you can find out if an idea is valuable is to make fun of it and see if it survives.)

They did not like my jokes.

I didn’t like the turkey Tetrazzini they served for lunch.

It was a wash. I never went back again. They never invited me again.

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