Comport

Comport: (v) to conduct oneself; behave.

In an attempt to avoid being considered assholes, we have gradually deteriorated the quality of character in almost every profession in our country.

By no means do I want to come across as a prig, and certainly not self-righteous, but it does occur to me that without some guidelines on howfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C we should comport ourselves–conduct our affairs–in the everyday world, we will start settling for less…until we have none.

For instance:

If you’re going to be a teacher, you should comport yourself by being willing to listen to things that sometimes may seem ridiculous.

If you’re a father, you should choose strength by respecting the equality you have with the women around you.

If you’re a preacher, you should comport yourself by being a student of humility.

If you’re a banker, you should reluctantly refuse loans and joyfully and gratefully accept deposits.

If you’re a politician, you should comport yourself by rejecting the erroneous concept that dishonesty is necessary to propel good ideas.

If you’re a writer, you should be an encourager.

If you’re a musician, you should uplift.

If you’re a laborer, you should believe that your work will endure.

If you are a believer in God, you should make God believable through the life you live.

If you’re an atheist, make sure you bring something to the table of caring humanism.

It is not necessary for us to judge one another.

But it is certainly required that we set standards on how we comport ourselves when we’re given the humbling opportunity of serving others.

 

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Chock-full

Chock-full: (adj) filled to overflowing

I ended up being a father to many sons. This doesn’t qualify me as an expert, but eventually it rescued me from the dangerous status of novice.

You can always pick out a newbie in the realm of parenting. Mother and father are always overly concerned about how the little one is
thinking or feeling.

Realize this: they haven’t lived long enough to create stable emotions. They drift from one shoreline of expression to another without any sense of meaning, trying to convince you that they are permanently scarred by the most recent disciplinary action.

Often, it was my job to take these children on trips–long ones, at that.

After surviving one car tour from hell, I realized that the key to a pleasant experience with children in a car is to either drug them with cough syrup, so they sleep (which I unfortunately found out was illegal) or chock-full the trip with a whole series of activities which wear them out, causing them to beg for a nap.

Once asleep, children in a car are unlikely to awaken for many hours. Matter of fact, you probably will have arrived at your motel, unpacked your suitcase, turned on the television set before it becomes necessary to carry them in.

If you wait too long, children will tell you they’re bored. At that point, you are at the mercy of their mood.

But if you plan activities, games, music, a stop at a rest area to investigate the squirrel in the tree on the left, creating an agenda chock-full of exhausting possibilities, you will be able to enjoy at least half of your journey with them lying in the back seat–nearly comatose.

 

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Bothersome

Bothersome: (adj) troublesome

When I was eighteen years old, I got my girlfriend pregnant. So by the time I was nineteen, I was a daddy. Perhaps better stated, a father in name only.Dictionary B

Being unprepared, unaware and barely beyond the scope of a child myself, I had no idea what to do. Matter of fact, from the time I was nineteen until I turned fifty-six, I parented seven young men–four of my own and three I adopted.

Can I tell you how I would describe the experience?

Bothersome.

Why?

Because children do not come into the world to confirm our intelligence and prowess, but rather, to challenge it.

Yet anyone who questions my personal authority and space is annoying. If they happen to live in my house, eat the food I provide and nag me for money, it is even more treacherous.

But in the process of realizing that parenting is bothersome, you come to an understanding that living is not about finding a sense of well-being, but instead, taking the chaos, calming yourself and stilling the storm.

In doing this, you find your sense of satisfaction, purpose and achievement.

Life always arrives at eighty-five miles an hour.

It is up to you to be the traffic cop to slow it down.

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Bedwetting

Bedwetting: (n) involuntary urination during sleep.Dictionary B

Let me see.

We have Traffic Court. It is used very effectively for handling traffic cases.

Then there’s Divorce Court–for those who want to split the sheets in a legal way.

Family Court, which is more or less an oxymoron, since usually those who attend are having great difficulty being a family.

We have the Court of Appeals, which is obviously desperate for attention.

Yet over the years, we have gradually eroded the power and importance of the “Kid Court.”

This is the jurisdiction and judgments levied by children upon each other, creating the natural peer pressure which promotes general civility.

Let’s make something clear: refusing to pee in your bed is not a natural conclusion.

We are born urinating everywhere. We don’t care–take the diaper off too quickly and the baby will do it right in your face.

So somewhere along the line, we develop an aversion to the idea of peeing ourselves.

This has to come through some sort of instruction or protocol which forces us to fall in line and urinate in porcelain instead of linen.

I contend that every time we try to find a reason for bedwetting–other than the fact that the kid has not yet figured out to get up from a sleepy condition and void–we become overwrought, over-analytical and refuse to let “Kid Court” take care of the matter.

I occasionally peed the bed until the time I went to kindergarten. I thought everybody did.

So one day at recess, when someone complimented my pants, I explained that they were my second choice, since I had pissed on the others.

There was a silence that fell over the crowd that day near the merry-go-round. All my fellow students stared at me in disbelief. They had already made the journey away from bedwetting.

They did not bully me.

They did not ridicule me.

But it was made clear that until I learned how to use my “pee-pee’er” at the right time, I could not be “one of the gang.”

It put a crease in my brain so deep that it remains to this day.

I will tell you that nothing my mother or father could have said would have been more effective than the reaction of my chums, who found my conduct to be Neanderthal.

Taking away all peer pressure, which allows for kids to work out many foibles and weird inclinations, is a huge mistake. The best thing we can do is stand back and monitor it–and pull them apart just short of bloody noses.

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Beacon

Beacon: (n) a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.Dictionary B

Flashing lights.

No one likes them.

I suppose they’re okay on a Christmas tree. But if you’re in a room for a long time and the decorations are too garish, it can become annoying.

We were taught that flashing lights warn us of danger or at least, pending inconvenience. So I guess we need them.

Yet by the same token, a world without flashing lights is a sudden discovery of disaster without any way to prepare or avoid it.

Therefore a beacon can be one of the more unappreciated necessities in the world. They appear in our lives at a very early age.

For instance, you’re five years old. The first snow has fallen and you want to run outside and play–throw it in the air and maybe make a snow man.

You are stopped.

A beacon–your mother or your father–steps in and feels the need to take at least ten minutes of your precious snow time to don you in garbs which inhibit your free movement, all because they want you to be warm and not get sick.

Who knows if they’re right?

It isn’t like you can look back and say, “Yeah, because I wore my ear muffs and toboggan, I avoided a cold.”

No, it’s just an annoying flashing.

And then, when you become a parent and find the need to “beacon out” some piece of wisdom or counsel, you suddenly realize that you are the annoying, flicking going on in the life of a child who loved you moments earlier, until you interrupted the flow.

Case in point: I just finished seeing family for Christmas. One of my jobs is to be a beacon.

That means if I see something that could be ridiculous, dangerous or lead to unhappy conclusions, it falls my lot to flash out a warning.

God, it’s horrible.

For you see, everybody wants to be a cheerleader and not the director of the cheerleaders, who has to decide whether the skirts are too short.

Yet a world without beacons would probably end up being one big explosion of light, producing destruction instead of intermittent blinking.

 

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Basket

Basket: (n) a container used to hold or carry thingsDictionary B

I have never been particularly fond of work.

I do prefer work that I make up instead of chores that are made up for me. But like every other God-fearing American, I enjoy money.

So when I was a kid–about twelve–my dad, for a very brief time, grew strawberries on our little farm, with the intent of picking them, selling them and procuring an extra income.

Nobody in our family knew how difficult it was to pick strawberries. The plants do not have the decency to grow tall enough to reach up to you. No, you have to go down to get them on the ground.

My dad wanted to sell a pint of strawberries for a quarter. He offered me a nickel for every pint of strawberries I picked.

So I picked and I picked and I picked–and every time I brought him a pint to examine, he said it was not quite full.

At the end of the first day, I had only picked two pints, earning a dime. So overnight, practically in my dreams, I came up with a plan.

Unknown to my father, I carried a roll of toilet paper with me into the strawberry patch, and filled the bottom of my basket halfway with toilet paper, making sure that when I picked the strawberries, they covered the toilet paper so that it would take half as much to achieve a pint.

That night I not only received great praise for picking more baskets–eight in all–but proudly walked away with 40 cents.

I pulled this off for two days until people who were purchasing the strawberries began to complain to my parent about being cheated out of product by being given bathroom issue.

My father was furious.

I don’t know whether he was more unhappy because of the complaints of the people or because I was such a cheat.

But I learned that day that a basket is a basket and never will cease to be a basket.

If you find the basket is too small, then you need to get a larger basket.

And, as in the case of my strawberry picking, if you find the basket is too big, rather than cheating, you must acquire a smaller basket.

 

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Aunt

Aunt: (n) the sister of one’s father or mother or the wife of one’s uncle.

dictionary with letter AThe value of one’s relationship with an aunt is based upon the quality of the memories they have with your mother and father.

I wish I would have known that.

I had some pretty pukey aunts.They would not agree with that, I’m sure, but since they’re dead, I will risk offending their consciousness.

They were picky, they were self-righteous or they were completely disengaged.

I took it personally.

Being a kid, I tried to please them because I heard rumors at school about kids who had great aunts. Matter of fact, the abiding notion was that aunts were nicer than parents, or even grandparents, because they had so little invested in the future of the prodigy.

But my aunts were toads–and I don’t mean good toads. They just kind of sat there and peered at me, waiting for me to be either too loud or unmannerly.

Now that I’m older, I realize that these aunts didn’t have anything against me–they just didn’t like my mom and dad. So they decided to take it out on me.

After all, I was the swill that came from their bog.

I was the offspring of these people who the aunts had found fault with for years, had developed grudges against, and now persisted into the next generation.

I didn’t know this at the time. I thought I was perniciously ugly, fatally stupid or satanically infested.

It’s a good idea, if you happen to be an aunt and you’re pissed off at your sister or brother, to try to work that out with them and not pass the anger onto the kids.

Because in the long run, a good aunt is a treasure.

But a bad aunt would be better off living on the moon.

 

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