Collide

Collide:(v) to hit with force when moving

I lied like a rug, therefore I assume my feet stunk.

I have no witnesses to the odor, just as there really were no “Amen-ers” to my testimony (which was really a lie).

Taking my old beat-up van onto the road, I was not entering the freeway with safety and concern.

The gentleman who was already driving on the freeway, probably using his cruise control, made the foolish assumption that I was going to honor his position,
perhaps coming in behind him.

I was yearning for something a bit more intimate.

So I smacked him in the side. Being very young, I decided to collide. So I smacked him in the side.

He was an older gentleman–perhaps in his late sixties or early seventies. He was so upset by the collision, and also how quickly the highway patrolman arrived at the scene, that I was able to come up with the story for the accident, which left him dumbfounded, bereft.

I explained to the policeman that I was already in the lane and that this gentleman came across and hit me.

The facts didn’t measure up, and if the cop had been any kind of investigative sort whatsoever he would have challenged me.

But since the older gent stood there slack-jawed, with bulging eyes, he looked horribly guilty. I, on the other hand, did my very best Shakespearean rendition, portraying much of the hurt and pain of Prince Hamlet of Denmark.

So not only was I deemed free from responsibility for the accident, but the ancient dude got a ticket.

I ended up getting a check for $450 from his insurance company to repair my van, which I chose not to do, since any part on my van I repaired would have been yelled at by the other parts, which were more terminally ill.

I so enjoyed my $450–and as far as I know, the innocent gentleman I hit went to court and spent even more money to cover the expanse of my lie.

Now, I know at this point we need a moral to the story. For instance, later on I saw the gentleman and paid him back, or I drove all night to the highway patrol station and confessed my misadventure.

None of this happened.

So I guess the true lesson from this story is, you should do things because they’re right–not because you’re expecting a payoff. And if you get a payoff, it certainly does not mean that it’s right.

“What goes around comes around.”

It doesn’t always come around your way.

Or go around, for that matter.

 

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By-pass

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By-pass (n) a road passing around a town

I’ve driven through Los Angeles about a half a dozen times.

Every town has unique traffic hazards.

For instance, Chicago has so many lanes and so much foul weather that you feel you’re in a congested arena of bumper cars.

San Francisco doesn’t have enough land for the number of cars that want to make their way up the coast.

Atlanta is filled with people who like to stop and gaze at traffic accidents, therefore creating jams which don’t seem to have a point of origin, but are endless anyway.

But Los Angeles is unique. They seem to always be working on parts of the freeway, or there are guest dignitaries who are blocking off segments of the road–so there is always a detour or a by-pass.

One day I was driving on the 405 when all the cars suddenly began to exit to honor a detour. We ended up going through the residential district of one of the poorer areas of town. For a while, there were signs encouraging me to pursue. But then, all at once, I realized there were no signs and no more freeway traffic to follow–just me, driving around haplessly, staring at unfamiliar surroundings.

I realized I was lost. I pulled over and asked a gentleman where the by-pass was to take me back to my destination. He laughed and said, “That’s about seven miles back, on this street.”

I frowned. “Well, I didn’t see any signs taking me there.”

He then roared with laughter. “Signs? Well, the kids in the neighborhood love to steal those signs. They put ’em in their rooms to decorate their homes. You can’t follow the signs. You need to follow the guy in front of you, who looks like he lives here and knows where to turn.”

I had not done that.

I was looking for a by-pass with signage.

What I ended up with was a by-pass which required you to be led of the Spirit.

 

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Bonkers

Bonkers: (adj) mad; crazy.

Even though the word “bonkers” is often used as a gentle or even comical way of describing an errant idea or philosophy, we sometimes fail to realize that there’sDictionary B actually something in life that is bonkers.

Fortunately for us humans, it’s only a singular trespass, yet we continue to pursue it like it’s toilet paper attached to our shoe.

Here it is simply stated: “I think I can get by with this.”

It certainly is displayed in all of its glory when you’re cruising down the freeway and the speed limit is 70 miles per hour, and you set your cruise control to that number, only to discover that everybody flies by you–until suddenly each one observes a highway patrol car perched on the side of the road. Then what follows is a universal slamming on the brakes, which nearly generates a fifteen-car pileup.

Why?

Because we’ve convinced ourselves “we can get by with it.”

Both of the people currently running for president are convinced that if they deny their sins, foibles and missteps, they just might be able to fool the fools.

It’s ludicrous, since everybody on the planet is an investigative reporter, trying to catch me in my crimes–and I, alone, am my alibi witness.

Sooner or later, to keep from being bonkers, we have to realize that 1 must be called 1, and 2 must be called 2–or we will be called down when things don’t add up.

 

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Bison

Bison: (n) a humpbacked shaggy-haired wild ox

Dictionary BWhile driving through Wyoming, I saw a bison standing along the side of the freeway, not more than fifty yards away.

A buffalo.

It was such a strange sensation.

I had seen many pictures of the bison, but to suddenly be in such close proximity with its three-dimensional form translated me back to a time when America was young, settlers were traveling across the prairie in Conestoga wagons, and the Native Americans were struggling to maintain their integrity without becoming belligerent.

These bisons were everywhere. They were sustenance.

I had a sweeping awareness that came over my soul, realizing how hard it was to live when the bison roamed the Earth at will.

Nowadays, we have an interesting dilemma in America: we want to feed the horse, but no one wants to shovel the shit.

Matter of fact, sometimes we try to stop feeding the horse so there’s not as much shit. Or we let the shit fall where it may, insisting it’s just reality.

But on this Memorial Day, what really impresses me about those who have gone before us and have given their lives to a cause is that they completely comprehended that feeding the horse does produce shit that needs to be shoveled.

In other words, for every bison you kill, there’s one less bison.

And for every human being you hurt, there’s one new enemy.

Likewise, for every war you start, there’s a few less sons and daughters who will grow up and live full lives.

And finally, for every prejudice you express, there’s an anger that will come back your way from those who have been oppressed.

Sometimes it’s just good to drive along the freeway, see a bison and appreciate the beauty of life–because the truth of the matter is, all matter demands truth.

And truth comes with a balance of feeding the horse and shoveling the shit

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Billboard

Billboard: (n) a large outdoor board for displaying advertisements.

Dictionary B

I am gradually learning to be reluctant to assume that my common practices or inclinations are universal across our species.

It is a natural posture we tend to take when justifying our feelings to make ourselves a part of the mass instead of separated like the math nerd from high school who’s too skinny and has pimples.

So I will phrase it this way: I read billboards.

I don’t know why. Probably because driving on the highway, I am a prisoner to the miles. And even though I may be listening to the radio or having a great conversation, 5,280 feet, which makes up only one mile, can still be a long way.

So I’m grateful for the reading material along the side of the road which fortunately is set in a large enough font for me to discern.

I read ’em all.

So I’m not so sure that television advertising always works with me. I have heard many commercials on radio and never given them a second thought.

But I have often stopped at a Chinese buffet advertised on a billboard, which was only five miles ahead, finding myself more and more excited as I speeded toward it.

I’ve gotten good deals on motels.

I have occasionally found an inspirational message.

There are folks who consider billboards to be an eyesore, but I do not believe anyone can claim that they’re ineffective. In the course of a single day on an average freeway in America, tens of thousands of people pass by and at least have to glance up and see the promo.

It is very effective–at least with me.

And I don’t even think they’re ugly, even though the ones in Kentucky that say “Hell Is Real” may totally and completely disprove my assertion.

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Ancestor

dictionary with letter A

Ancestor: (n) — a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended.

I certainly am glad that all my ancestors decided to have sex, so they would set in motion the possibility of my existence.

After all, it’s pretty miraculous. After working twelve-hour days in the fields, planting, cultivating and harvesting, they were exhausted after sunset, and must have had pretty good libidos to have worked up the energy to culminate the day with hanky-panky.

So for that I am grateful.

I know there are people who are very sentimental about their lineage and pay good money to acquire information on their family tree. But honestly, if I had known my ancestors, I would be very disappointed because they probably wouldn’t like me.

  • Their work ethic was stronger than mine–mainly because they had to survive. And I talk about words like “success.”
  • They died much younger than me from exhaustion and lack of healthy choices and medical care. During that shortened life span, they probably suffered more pain due to overexertion.
  • They had bigotries and prejudices which I would have found annoying or ignorant, which they might have misinterpreted as rude behavior.
  • Their spirituality was peppered with superstition instead of salted with knowledge and faith.
  • They controlled their lives through morality, which was regionally defined, and also locally monitored and enforced.
  • They weren’t in favor of new-fangled gadgets, often resisting them until such discoveries were forced on them by city councils or national laws.
  • My ancestors revered ignorance as a badge of honor and the symbol of their faithfulness to a God they truly did not understand.

There was much good about them. Their hard-headed, strong-willed and determined natures made it possible for them to survive the wilderness, which I now call a freeway.

But the disregard for the progress of history and the rights of people would have rendered me a radical and a renegade in their midst.

I believe it’s possible to be grateful and at the same time, fully aware that I was born in the right time and the right place to do the right thing–so that my descendants will not have to look back and giggle too much … at my stupidity. 

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Alacrity

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alacrity: (n) brisk and cheerful readiness: e.g. she accepted the invitation with alacrity.

I think the greatest debate in the human family is this: to understand that there is a difference between what we think should be and what we are actually stuck with.

Lots of folks spend a lot of their quality time complaining about the injustice, unfairness and inequity of what has been perpetrated against their circumstances, only to discover that “raging against the machine” does not seem to turn off the engine.

It’s really a simple principle.

If you decide to manufacture good cheer as a reaction to everything that happens in your life, at least you buy time to receive the opportunity to rectify the violation.

Sometimes it seems like Mother Nature and humanity have joined together to piss us off just enough to have us impudently stomp our feet and run from the room without ever contributing our talent or faithfulness. Yes, it is possible to be rendered ineffective, not because we lack ability, but because we cannot maintain stability.

Alacrity–it’s a decision:

  • I would rather be at peace with myself than right.
  • I would rather produce a sense of humor and cheer than be acknowledged.
  • I would rather reflect on better ideas than park my soul in the middle of a busy freeway, inviting others to bang into me.

Is it easy to do? I guarantee you–it is no more difficult than finding yourself fighting with others for the rights to your life, which they have already decided not to grant you.

It’s a great word–because it is the belief that as long as we’re pursuing a sense that is common and a joy that is needful, to fake it is truly to make it.

The play-acting is well worth the effort.