Crypt

Crypt: (n) a subterranean vault used as a burial place or a location for secret meetings

“You are dead to me,” said the coroner to his rebellious son.

Or how about this?

“Let’s hang out and share some gallows humor.”

Or:

“She is not dead; she is asleep.” (That one’s from the Bible.)

Jokes about death are probably some of the more difficult ones to pull off.

I preface this essay with that thought because some of you may not think my little story is very funny.

I do not remember which one of my sons possessed this apprehension. (Actually, I probably do remember but just don’t want to humiliate him.)

HBO used to have a show called Crypt Keeper. It was hosted by this raspy-voiced creature resembling E. T., if E. T. had just survived an opiate overdose and was craving a fix.

I didn’t find the creature to be particularly scary, nor did my other older children. But this one son could neither see Crypt Keeper or even hear him, without going nearly berserk with anxiety—wanting to run out of the room, screaming.

Now, if I were a good Dad I would have been sensitive to the situation, making sure that my sons never had the show on or even kept the volume up during commercials.

But I was much younger and had not yet learned the parameters of good fatherhood.

So, God forgive me, and any angels who are interested, I found it completely hilarious when my young boy exploded like a firecracker and ran around the room trying to escape Crypt Keeper, breathing heavy, with his eyes bulging.

There may be much legend about this situation I’m about to share, so you must be careful who you listen to.

For instance, don’t believe any of my family members.

They will exaggerate the number of times I tormented my son with Crypt Keeper.

On this occasion, I had him seated next to me on the couch, with the volume turned down on the TV. We were eating popcorn, singing some songs. I had prearranged for my older son, sitting next to the television set, to turn up the volume as soon as a commercial about Crypt Keeper came on.

Faithful he was. Suddenly the volume came blaring through the room, with the Crypt Keeper’s voice, and my little son was so frightened that he threw a whole bowl of popcorn in the air—and wet his pants.

From that point on, I stopped pursuing my little practical joke.

Because when he wet his pants he was sitting on my lap.

 

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Cruise

Cruise: (v) to sail about on a pleasure trip.

I stumbled upon a little piece of personal revelation, which after much thought, might just end up being worthy of universal application.

(Not everything I think falls into this category. Many things that I pursue pertain mostly to me, and would not be helpful or even interesting, to an outsider.)

For instance, my daily regimen in approaching healthy eating would certainly bore the most prideful listener.

But what I’ve discovered is that nothing in life has immediate appeal—nor is it dead-on-arrival.

Each one of us ends up talking ourselves into everything.

So it only stands to reason that we talk ourselves out of other things.

For me, one of those things is a cruise on a ship.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with such an adventure. There have even been television shows produced extolling the pleasures of food, fun and romance—even promising that the boat itself might just be “love.”

But somehow or another I have talked myself out of this.

I talked myself into being a musician. Honestly, there’s little that’s more tedious.

I convinced myself of the glories of fatherhood. Yet this did not happen until children were afoot.

But I’ve also talked myself out of… Let me see:

How about a daily run? I think a daily run would be possible for me if there were someone trailing me slowly in a jeep, firing a machine gun at my heels. Yes, I would need adequate motivation.

So as I think about a cruise, the following four things immediately annoy me:

  1. Walking up the plank to get on.

I don’t know why. It just seems like I’m lining up in a prison yard for daily gruel.

  1. Cramped quarters.

To make money, a cruise ship must have little cabins, and of course, the smaller they make them the more people they can put onto the ship, and therefore, the more profit.

I am a big man, constantly perturbed by living in a medium world.

  1. A constant barrage of food.

Perhaps I’m odd, but after I eat, the last thing I want to do is go dancing in the Mambo Room.

Doesn’t that sound horrible? Where is the time for digestion?

  1. And finally, the pool.

If the boat is for love, then people are peering extra carefully at one another for the potential of unexplainable romantic entanglements.

When I go swimming, I’m thinking more about cannonballs and floating. Probably not the mindset of Carnivale.

So you see, I have not given a cruise a chance—because I have convinced myself that it is not worthy of my consideration.

I probably should have done that with bologna and sausage years ago.

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Cosby, Bill

Cosby, Bill: A twentieth-century comedian

“He used to be funny.”

I overheard someone make that comment. They were talking about Bill Cosby. They had decided he was no longer funny because he was convicted of sexual harassment and assault on women.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I thought to myself, did that rob him of his humor? Are we the sub-total of everything we create and do? Or is our creative life separate from our personal life, which we live out based upon the dictates of our own conscience?

Would Abraham Lincoln be as well-liked for freeing the slaves if we knew he was assaulting women who worked at the White House?

What if we discovered that Mother Teresa was abusing little girls while simultaneously and almost single-handedly touching the lives of the lost souls of India?

Religious people certainly seemed pretty upset when they heard rumors that Jesus might have kissed Mary Magdalene on the mouth.

Although we know better, we think that people who do good deeds should also be morally impeccable. How does one achieve that?

And for that matter, how is it possible to look objectively at Bill Cosby without coming across as if you’re trying to defend his iniquity?

Should we burn all the Michael Jackson records because it appears, from the testimony of several sources, that he molested children?

Should Catholic priests be forbidden to be alone with altar boys and girls because the history of such encounters is filled with sexual perversion?

Am I prepared to have the deeds I do and the person I truly am merged into one being, which is evaluated in totality instead of broken into two categories—the me I wanted to be and the me I was?

I honestly would have no problem listening to a comedy routine from Bill Cosby. But I don’t think I could tolerate hearing him postulate on fatherhood and how to get kids to behave better. And I do believe many of the accolades he received for citizenship and the leadership awards should be retracted.

He was still funny.

It may be the only thing he’ll have left when he dies in a cage.


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Boat

Boat: (n) a small vessel propelled on water

Dictionary B My dad liked to hunt and fish.

He was not a “manly man,” but discovered his inner macho with rod, reel and rifle.

My older brothers quickly learned that the best way to curry his favor or spend any time with him at all was to join him on one of these expeditions to seek out game.

I wanted to. He placed a rifle in my hand and set up some targets. I shot it and knocked over a few cans, so he felt confident to take me rabbit hunting.

Do you know how fast rabbits run?

I do.

Every time he set me up with a shot to kill a bunny, I would miserably miss, failing to anticipate the hair-brained escape pattern of the hare.

Fishing was much the same. At first I was a little frightened to put the worm on the hook–and then an additional problem came into the mix. Because I was a fat boy, the little boat my dad was able to afford did not sit well in the water when I sat on the seat. Matter of fact, I came near to sinking us with my “weighty matter.”

The motor didn’t work as well, and my dad wanted to scream at me about my blubber, but restrained himself so as to maintain a few vestiges of fatherhood.

What eventually transpired was that my dad made it a secret when he was going fishing or hunting, and I would never find out until he was long gone and my mother confessed his plans.

So there is a part of me that wishes my dad had been alive when the movie “Jaws” came out.

You remember the line, right?

“We need a bigger boat.”

 

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Began

Dictionary BBegan: past tense of begin

If you acknowledge the source, you can avoid remorse.

Even though it’s very popular to talk about how to begin, the celebration is much more powerful if we first commemorate how we got to where we are now.

Yes, our “begin” is much more efficient if we laud our “began.” May I explain?

I began several years ago to stop being so fussy about trying to get my personal avenue in life. Yes, I have preferences. No one cares. Lamenting their apathy only makes me aggravated and grouchy. So I began to take care of myself and not require that others do it for me.

A decade ago, I began to be self-critical about my projects instead of waiting for the criticism of others. I would much rather be overly analytical of my personal affairs rather than having to recoil from critique.

I began to realize that financial responsibility is not optional.

I began to give independence to my children, so they could have a life separate from their allegiance to my fatherhood.

I began to talk less and think more.

I began to celebrate that intervention by problems is the only way to coax innovation.

I began to begin.

And in beginning … I can now celebrate what I began.

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Amusement Park

dictionary with letter A

Amusement Park: (n) a large outdoor park with fairground rides and shows.

A magical time and a magical result.

Being the father of several sons, I had the opportunity to instill into them the most important virtue available in the human arsenal of emotions: trustworthy.

After all, eventually you have to reach a point as a parent, where you trust your children to do something–because if you trust them to do nothing, you not only taint their self-worth but also turn them into little scavengers always looking for a way to cheat without getting caught.

One of the tools I used to create this trustworthiness in my children was the local amusement park.

When they reached preteen, I purchased a yearly pass for them at this establishment, which was not more than a few miles from our house. It became the means by which we communicated with each other concerning the importance of chores, truthfulness and family obligation.

Quite bluntly, I was fully aware that my children would love to live at this amusement park with their sleeping bags, two weeks worth of potato chips and candy bars. Since this was out of the question, instead I afforded them the opportunity to attend the amusement park frequently if they showed me that their work ethic and honesty were up to the challenge.

Proving this to me long before they entered the amusement park, I could go in with them, sit on a bench and eat really cheap, delicious hot dogs and send them off on their own, telling them to return in exactly an hour and a half, and know with great confidence, that they would honor this commitment i order to maintain an ongoing passage to this magic world.

  • It was magnificent.
  • It was illuminating.
  • It was one of the greatest teaching tools I ever used in my years of fatherhood.

Some people would call it a bribe. These are the folks who have bratty children but insist they always tell them the exact truth and never deviate from the facts.

I am a parent. Like the New York City police, I am allowed to be deceptive if it stops a crime.

So those yearly passes to the local amusement park was one of the best investments I ever made to ensure that my sons would grow up with some understanding of responsibility … which lends itself to the righteous position of tapping pleasure.

 

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