Dean’s List

Dean’s List: (n) a list of students of high scholastic standing

I am not sure that I will remain faithful, but I would like to begin to take a moment to speak up when I discover a blatant contradiction.

I think it’s ridiculous to have a Dean’s List.

For that matter, it is equally humiliating to have grade cards at all.

It’s not that I think everybody needs a goose-up or a booster chair.

Other awards are just fine.

Competitions can be very beneficial—as long as we understand we’re actually competing instead of participating to the best of our ability.

I guess I always believed the goal in school was to learn.

In other words, teach the subjects, give the tests, determine the level of understanding, and then either pass the students on to the next grade or ask them to remain in the same classroom and help with redecoration.

What is the difference between an A and a B?

Astronomical. Just ask any child who’s expected to get an A and accidentally “let it B.”

How about between a B and a C?

Please remember that we refer to those who garner a C grade as being “average.” Such a flattering term. (In a room full of C’s, you would be hard to see.)

D: Isn’t that just dumb?

F—failure. Or if you’re emphatic—fucked.

Meanwhile, who’s learning what, and who can translate that knowledge into working life situations?

Are we graduating people from college needing another ten years of adjustment in the “real world,” before they can leave their family home and rent an apartment?

At one time, we tried to avoid teen marriages.

Now we’re recommending “waiting until you’re in your thirties.”

Why?

It’s the unspoken confession of the educational system, admitting it does not know if those who wear cap and gown are cognizant of much at all.

Let’s stop grading—because depending on who you are and where you are—it can be very degrading.

Dap

Dap: (v) to dip lightly or suddenly into water

Excuse me, America.

How would you classify your philosophy of life?

Pardon me, but I seem to have bewildered you with the question. Maybe I should clarify both the term “philosophy of life” and the word “classify.”

“Classify”—as in determine a common ingredient.

And “philosophy of life?”

The motivator that motivates you–to keep you motivated.

Does that help?

I see. You don’t misunderstand the question, you just resent it. After all, why should any one person be trapped into making a distinction on what is important?

But just for little ole’ me—how would you classify your philosophy of life? Just for conversation’s sake.

If you’re still unwilling to answer the question, may I offer an observation or two:

It seems to me that many of my fellow-Americans are very interested in the dap—or dapping—which might place them in the category of being dappers.

  • A little religion.
  • A splash of science.

A post or two on social media, with a tiny splat of generosity and a splurt of opinionated tweets, which some might deem prejudice.

Just a little, if you don’t mind.

“A little off the top. A little off the sides.”

A little off the norm so we can proclaim ourselves “inventive.”

Just a dap.

Because it is ridiculous to become sold out on a show that no one may attend.

What is going to be popular?

Where can I put my toe in the water without making a foothold?

Where can I taste it on my tongue without having to swallow?

Just a little.

Then, if it doesn’t work out, I can always say I was just curious—or deep in my heart, I always knew differently, and certainly, no one ever got me to definitively sign on the dotted line.

I smile when any politician believes he or she has gained the support of America.

Do you ever reach the heart of a dapper?

One who daps? One who just grazes opportunity?

If we’re not too involved, we can always have plausible deniability. That’s why gradually, America has gone from a 93% belief in God, down into the mid-to-high 70’s. And we will continue to drop our belief in the Divine One as we discover how unpopular it is to be registered among the faithful.

It’s much easier to say, “We are spiritual. We have a sense of wonder.”

Much better than proclaiming, “I believe.”

Because the pronouncement of “I believe” is always followed by someone staring you in the eye and challenging, “Prove it.”

 

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Daniel in the lion’s den: Bible story about bravery.

Mark, Sandra, Jackson, Benjamin, Bartholomew, Crystal, Jesse and Thomasina also found themselves cast into the lion’s den.

They were just as brave as Daniel.

They were equally as faithful to their God and their purposes.

But they got eaten.

The writer of the book felt that their stories would not be quite as dramatic as Daniel—who survived a full night with lions without being devoured.

We don’t know why.

It could have been that the lions picked up a stomach virus and couldn’t keep anything on their tummies.

It could be that the cave he was thrown into was darker that evening because of a rainstorm outside.

Yet we choose to believe that Daniel was spared because Daniel was special.

But if you choose to believe that scenario, then you have to assume that all the good saints and souls who have lost their lives for a cause selected to be self-sacrificing on a week when God found them somewhat mediocre.

I don’t think that’s the way it works.

The big stories always make the news–and a man surviving a night with lions is certainly worth some print.

But let us not forget those who were faithful, whose deeds were not rewarded on this side of mortality—did hopefully receive great prominence in eternity.

Dabble

Dabble: (v) to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner

I would like to introduce myself.

My name is Mr. Dabble.

I can’t think of a word that more describes what I have done throughout my life than dabble.

As a teenage boy, I was interested in Southern Gospel Quartets. That particular dabbling had me doodling for a while. So if I’m ever in a gathering where such old-time music becomes a point of conversation, I can hold my own.

Then, for a long time, I was involved in the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee—at least up to my armpits, though it never quite reached my eyeballs.

I met famous people.

I recorded in famous studios.

And I appeared on stage in a variety of ways—from having my own music group to doing backup singing for a Las Vegas show.

I dabbled for a season by taking my clan on the road and having my own little Partridge Family—singing, traveling in a car, pulling a trailer, wearing colorful costumes and attempting to believe that we sounded good enough to be doing what we were doing.

I dabbled with writing novels.

I dabbled by flying coast to coast putting on shows.

I dabbled in writing classical music for a symphony we began in Tennessee.

I dabbled in screenplays. Thirteen of them turned into independent movies, which won awards at film festivals.

Why did I dabble?

Because I am a curious sort.

I have never believed that fame is possible—mainly because it is unsustainable. So the second-best option is to continue to try new things, and conquer them one by one, and have your own personal awards ceremony for your efforts. The nice thing about this is that you never come in second, but can always bestow top honors upon your performances.

The question might be asked by sane men and women everywhere:

What would have happened if you had focused, and not dabbled?

For instance, what would have been the conclusion if you had begun with screenplays and faithfully stayed with them?

I don’t know.

Because then I wouldn’t be a dabbler.

And I wouldn’t be able to write this article about my dabbling.

Consistent

Consistent: (adj) acting or done in the same way over time

No human being is consistent.

Before you decide that’s a bad thing and you scrunch up your face in disapproval, may I point out that inconsistency is one of our better funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
virtues.

Since the Earth is filled with tribulation and chaos, being consistent is one of the better ways to make sure you’re either ignored or a total and complete failure.

If you do not realize that everything around you is evolving continually–whether it be part of natural selection or the standards, goals and aspirations of the Earth itself–then you might accidentally try to adapt to patterns which will leave you choking on the dust of the acceleration of progress.

Certainly there are times we want to give our best effort to a cause–what we might call a “consistent representation”–but only until we are shown that these practices have been phased out and discontinued.

It was a consistent belief in this country that women were inferior to men.

It was a consistent contention that the races should not mix.

It once was a consistent doctrine that divorced people were going to hell.

Consistently, the human race has claimed the right to judge other people–only to discover that when the same judgments were placed upon them, they fell well short of the glory of anything.

In place of being consistent should be faithful.

Faithful to love, to humanity, to change, to acceptance, to forgiveness, to creativity, to kindness, and to perseverance.

If we are consistent in these attributes, and stay faithful to the cause, it will be made known to us what to change, so that we can continue to consistently be on-point and valuable to our own lives and the lives of others.

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Cog

Cog: (n) a subordinate, integral part

Hell, I’d love to be a cog, but nobody’s showing up with the damn wheel.

I faithfully tried to learn my part, prepared to insert it into …

Nothing.

Even though it sounds very noble to be a cog in a great experiment of human progress, it does require that everyone bring their part, ready to be put into place and withstand motion.

Since it’s become much more fanciful to complain about lack than it is to pick up the slack, if you arrive with your cog, you could be standing there holding your cog in your hand.

This is why some people have become bitter.

Other folks have given up on the idea that human beings are capable of completing anything.

My solution is to build a cog that is able to link up with other forces, but also can perform some function of its own if necessary.

Even if it’s a simple as cracking nuts, I want my cog to be able to stand alone–just in case other cogs fail to deliver.

For let me tell you, the common way to become cynical is to assume that everyone has your level of dedication. It is mercy that makes the world go around, and mercy requires that we create a cog that works well with others, but also can make a damn good cup of coffee.

 

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Bilingual

Bilingual: (adj) fluent in two languages.Dictionary B

Perhaps one of the better definitions of “honorable” is sharing one’s experience while freely admitting it is limited.

I have an exciting life, filled with many journeys, but most of them have occured within the confines of the United States. I have been to Canada several times, and made a ten-day journey to Haiti.

It hardly classifies me as a world traveler.

I share this preface because I want you, as the reader, to understand that it is fine to offer our testimony as long as we’re willing to warn the hearer of the limits of our scope.

So since Canada speaks English (though some of my brethren in the deep South would disagree) my only true experience of bilingual situations lies in my escapade to Haiti.

The thing I immediately sensed upon arriving in this country is that I wanted to be able to communicate with them in their own tongue. My lack of preparation for such a maneuver left me quite aggravated with myself.

So I set about to rectify the situation by learning as many phrases as possible. Since I was actually doing some public speaking, I was issued a translator. He was a delightful young fellow with a desire to please.

As I gradually assimilated a few words here and there, I realized that this fine youthful translator was editing many of the things I was saying.

So after one of my little talks, I confronted him. A bit red-faced, he candidly replied, “Well, I tried to make sure that everything you said would meet the approval of the audience so they wouldn’t be upset with you.”

I laughed, but instructed him to be more faithful with my content.

We are so afraid of words that even as they are translated into other cultures, there is a gnawing fear that we might say something unacceptable.

The chances of that happening are highly likely.

So that is the reason–whether we’re speaking our native tongue or a tongue that is native to our audience–we always need to remember that humility should precede our words, gentleness should accompany them and a willing spirit should follow.

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Advantage

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Advantage: (n) a condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.

“Tall, dark and handsome.”

I never acquired any member of that trio. I do not possess that advantage.

IS it an advantage? I think if you’re tall, dark and handsome, you do get an immediate pass to the front of the line. Unfortunately for you, if you don’t back that up with “smart, hard-working and caring,” you probably will be booted to the curb quicker than someone who is plain-looking.

Why? Because you’re disappointing. You promised SO much with your looks and delivered SO little with your personality.

Therefore what seems to be an advantage quickly can become a disadvantage if you end up thinking you are a fleshly mannequin instead of a real human being.

Yet I will tell you that we all NEED an advantage–something that truly sets us apart instead of us merely “moving our parts” and getting “set in our ways.”

So I worked on ME. Actually, it’s a work in progress, so please do not think that I’m done. Three areas, paralleling “tall, dark and handsome:”

Since I couldn’t muster “tall,” I decided to be faithful. By faithful, I mean true to my own word while sensitive to the needs of others.

I went opposite on “dark.” I decided to be a light–to bring possibilities and hope instead of merely stating the obvious and offering gloom to the room.

“Handsome” out of the question, I chose to be attractive. Now you may think those are the same, but they aren’t. What is most attractive to other human beings is a glorious blend of humor, talent and humility. When you are able to mix those three spices together, you can put them in any dish and create a delicacy.

  • There is no advantage in being good-looking if you’re dumbfounded.
  • There is no advantage in wealth if you’re selfish.
  • And there is no advantage in being popular if you’re not prepared for the day when you will be pushed away by the latest fad.

The greatest advantage any human being can have is to tap your resources … and give a damn.