Curtail

Curtail: (v) to prevent, reduce or diminish

Imagine a door.

Standing at the door is a tall fellow—broad shoulders—a bit intimidating.

You are pleased to see that he has a smile on his face.

Yet as you stand back and watch, someone approaches the door. Our guard steps in front of it and says some words to the person that you cannot hear. He responds belligerently. The doorman holds his ground and the visitor stomps away, infuriated.

Now you’re curious.

You wonder what’s behind the door. Let me tell you. Yes, to make the story more interesting, I will let you know.

Beyond that door is joy without shame.

The acquisition of being happy with the world around you and pleased with yourself without being haunted with the regrets of bad choices or unnecessary shortcuts.

Are you interested?

So now that I’ve told you that, are you prepared to approach the door?

Of course not. You just saw someone rejected, and he didn’t look any worse or better than you.

Beyond all means, the worst thing, in our minds, is to be rejected.

Even in the pursuit of joy without shame, it wouldn’t be worth being refused entry, dragging your ass away, refused entry.

So let me give you another clue.

The man standing at the door will only ask you one question.

(Don’t roll your eyes. I didn’t say it was a great clue.)

Just one question.

You still seem perplexed.

Okay—let me give you one more clue. I’ll tell you what the question is.

That perked you up. Here it is:

What are you willing to curtail and change to receive joy without shame?

Be careful, now. Because all the religion, politics, philosophies and entertainment have flattered you and me to believe that we are fine the way we are. Just misunderstood.

Since our youth, we’ve heard it: “Be yourself.”

And now you’re coming to a door where you’re being told that you will be required to deny false gratification, insincere sentiments and dispel lies to come in and find joy without shame.

Are you prepared?

Are you willing to look into the face of politics and say, “There is no hope in you because you lie to me, thinking I’m a liar, too, and will understand your lies?”

You will have to gaze into the glassy eyes of religion and say, “I need more than eternal salvation. I require a human life that is abundant with experience.”

Can you curtail your faith that entertainment will provide the necessary food for your emotions, soul and body, and instead, call it out for failing to recognize your whole person?

And finally, push away from the false comfort of a pop psychology, giving you false confidence instead of challenging you to learn your world.

Are you ready to walk up to this “bouncer?”

Or do you need some time?

Yet I will tell you—the question will always be the same.

Certainly, the smile on his face will always be there, but the choice remains.

The decision is yours.

Are you prepared to curtail foolishness to gain wisdom and peace of mind? 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creole

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creole: (n) a person born in Louisiana but of usually French ancestry.

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of leaps into quicksand, with the excitement coming from each escape from foolishness.

Would any of us truly have a reason for being if we weren’t finding creative ways to correct our mistakes?

For a very brief time in my life, I thought that because I possessed faith, it was my responsibility to infuse it into others. This misconception led me to make a brief missionary trip to the country of Haiti. Never has one small nation been so inundated with religious propaganda and promises of eternal life with so little prospect for earthly sustenance. Yet I decided to add my own drivel to the propagated myth. I arrived in Haiti convinced that if I preached the Gospel, I could save souls. It didn’t occur to me that there were actually people linked to those souls.

People who got hungry.

People who needed love.

People who valued romance.

People who just thought, felt and dreamed about “people things.”

I was in the middle of my third little sermon in an adobe building, in front of a packed house—eager faces who had obviously been told by their leadership that the arrival of white people from America always offered the possibility of financial relief.

The language was Creole.

I did not take the time to learn the tongue, but over the several days that I had been there, I picked up a word here and there—maybe even a phrase.

I suddenly noticed that my translator, who had a grin foretelling of sin, was not exactly sharing what I was saying to the congregation.

So after I finished my teaching, I cornered him and asked him what he was doing. Never dropping his smile, he looked me right in the eyes and said, “You come from a country where your biggest concern is getting too fat. You are visiting a country where our biggest concern is staying alive. Sometimes you say dumb things that would be offensive, and I just find happier ways to translate them.”

A chill went down my spine. Even though I believed myself to be a plain-spoken individual who always wanted to hear the truth, I kind of wished he’d lied to me.

But I’m glad he didn’t—because he made it clear that my preaching could not be eaten and my Bible verses didn’t provide warmth; that even though I might have good intentions, my efforts were worthless to the needy.

That day I started trying to learn some of the Creole language.

It was literally the least I could do.

 


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Crapshoot

Crapshoot: (inf) anything unpredictable or risky.

 Very few things.

It used to be that there were very few things we regarded as a “crapshoot.”

The statement was considered comical—referring to something that was obviously beyond our control—like whether it was going to rain or how many potato chips would actually be in our latest bag, since they had begun to steal them from us each and every time.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

“It’s a crapshoot.”

It was a cynical way of gently admitting that something was out of bounds and therefore wasn’t worth the amount of hair on a worry-nut.

Then something changed.

We found ourselves somewhat comforted by our depression, relieved of the responsibility of trying to solve difficult situations, and so, as time passed, more and more often events, relationships and circumstances were dubbed “crapshoots.”

Once we had stated that this is what they were, we could roll our eyes and walk away, pretending we were victims of circumstance, or swept away by trends and attitudes which had overwhelmed us.

Bullshit.

Below are five questions we should ask before we call something a crapshoot and walk away, giving up on it:

1. Is there anything I can do?

2. Is there anything I can get you to do?

3. Is there any obstacle I can throw in the way to impede the digression of a really bad idea?

4. Can I make fun of it until it goes away?

5. Can I go “over there somewhere” and start a countermovement to this foolishness?

If you ask all five of these questions and still end up helpless, then you may go ahead without condemnation, roll the dice and let the crapshoot begin.

 

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Confederacy

Confederacy: (n) the Confederate states

As I sit quietly, my mind sometimes conjures the memory of something really dumb I have done. I am most comfortable when that piece of idiocy is well in my past.

But it is important, when that nasty memory comes to the forefront, that I own it, regret it and establish how ridiculous it was and how it mustfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
never be done again.

It’s part of being human.

Rationalizing all of our activities and granting them license immediately turns us into assholes.

Assholes, in this instance, are people who think they do not have elements in their past that need to be remembered with shame.

There was a time in this great nation when we denied our creed of the equality of all mankind and decided it was all right to own people as long as their skin was black. So intensely were we deceived that we were willing to go to the battlefield, bleed and die as feuding brothers.

A Confederacy challenged our Union.

It was shameful–a frightening part of our past.Yet it is a chapter of the book we call America.

We have two responsibilities:

  1. Don’t deny it happened
  2. Offer the necessary regret and shame required to eradicate it from happening again by eliminating all the prejudice that brought about such foolishness.

 

 

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

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Concentration

Concentration: (n) the action or power of focusing

Pain is insane.

Especially when it is self-induced.

It is an automatic thought that springs into our head: if things aren’t difficult, they’re not real accomplishments.

This is certainly one of the greatest pieces of human foolishness.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I need to concentrate” without frowning. They are communicating that they are so damn mature that they must go into contortions funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
to acquire achievement.

What the hell?

If life was intended to be difficult, yet we are all universally intended to live it out, how cruel is our Creator? For we are not all suited to the same regimen.

Of course, a certain amount of concentration is necessary to alert the brain to turn off all phones, ignore other messages, and place focus on the project at hand. Undoubtedly.

Yet if that experience is not rewarding–and dare I say, joyous–we will run away from concentration in favor of erratic behavior.

So I taught all of my children, and those who ever came within my earshot, a very simple principle, which both initiates concentration and provides fulfillment through it:

Wherever you are, be there.

Don’t split your attention. Don’t be considering lilies and weeds at the same time.

Allow yourself the glorious blessing and luxury of inhaling the atmosphere which has drifted your way.

 

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Coagulant

Coagulate: (v) to change a fluid into a solid

Every once in a while, my silly little boy shows up to take over my manly frame.

For what I hope is a brief time, I start thinking like a child or an adolescent instead of taking advantage of the library of my journey.

One day I convinced myself I was having a heart attack. Of course, the more I considered that my heart was being attacked, the more abundantly symptoms leaped to the forefront to do their best imitation, trying to reinforce my foolishness.

Eventually I found it necessary to drive to the emergency room and check in.

Well, nobody questioned my contention because…well, because I’m fat. After all, that’s what fat people do. They eat too much cake and pizza and have heart attacks. Since I wasn’t eating, the possibility of cardiac arrest was available.

So they put me on a treatment while they tried to figure out what to do with me. One of the things they gave me was an anti-coagulant. This is a drug that keeps your blood from clotting. I didn’t think anything about it.

But when it turned out that I had mingled a case of indigestion with an anxiety attack to simulate a cardiac event, they sent me home. They offered one warning: “Keep in mind, if you cut yourself, it’ll be very difficult to stop the bleeding.”

I ignored them.

That evening when I went into my bathroom to shave, I did nick myself. I put a little piece of toilet paper on it, as gents often do, but it continued to bleed down my neck, over and over and over again.

I do not know when it eventually coagulated, because I had to lay down and wrap it in gauze.

Whatever they intended for that particular drug was very effective.

I could not coagulate.

So as it turns out, on that particular day my greatest danger was not having a heart attack, but rather, bleeding to death from shaving.

 

 

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Claptrap

Claptrap: (n) absurd or nonsensical talk or ideas.

“Come, let us reason together.”

If we’re going to accept the idea that politicians lie, how will we know when they’re telling the truth?

If women want to be equal but still think it’s “kind of cool” when guys open doors for them, how will they ever gain equal footing?

Our generation is filled with the claptrap of contradictions. We want to insist that we’re not bigoted as we awkwardly use a phrase like “African American.”

We want to appear intelligent as we negate the value of studying history to learn what to avoid in our past.

We think if we say something stupid enough times, it becomes smart. Silliness is silliness, whether it’s promoted or not.

There is a lot of claptrap–a lot of concession that things are rotten but perhaps they’re meant to be that way.

There is angst in our souls because we are weary of hypocrisy, yet unwilling to cease being hypocritical.

Claptrap is when we speak things that seem to be popular in the moment even though in our hearts they ring untrue.

It fills the air with fake helium, causing all of us to talk funny.

We are a country which has accepted claptrap as being inevitable instead of squinting at it and offering a quizzical, “Pardon me??”

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