Coulter

Coulter: (n) a surname

I have made it a practice to never insert someone’s real name into one of my essays or articles. Whatever that person and I chose to do in our adult moments of living shouldn’t be regaled for all the world to read. At least I owe them that.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But I could not help myself when I rolled across the name Coulter, and realized that a very dear friend by that name once strolled into my life and took me from a status of nearly homeless to a position in which my music and art was given the chance to be considered as viable.

Coulter was my friend. He was part of a music group I joined, and in no time at all they had me singing his vocal parts. Rather than being angry or jealous, Coulter was appreciative and supportive.

He tried many things. Coulter’s problem was that he was good at everything he attempted.

For instance, he started working at a doughnut shop and within two months, they made him manager. (I benefited from that experience, because my wife and I were without an actual place to sleep at night, nor regular food.) Coulter always provided a big box of day-old doughnuts, which he set outside the back door of the establishment with his blessing)

He always believed that underneath my neediness—and sometimes grubbiness—there was someone worthy to be heard. Eventually, because of his love of the entertainment business, he started his own agency to book acts. Completely in line with his employment history, in no time at all he had a stable of artists and was scheduling them into everything from conventions to churches to county fairs.

He helped our fledgling group along, throwing us work every now and then, and when I wrote my first musical theater piece, he became so excited that he found ten investors, who gave a thousand dollars each to fund the effort.

He not only helped me put together the cast for the production, but also got on the phone and scheduled dates in twenty-five cities around the country, so we could go and perform it.

He was so enthralled with the music from the play that he wanted to promote to large publishing concerns. All he needed from me were lead sheets and chord charts. Unfortunately, my technical knowledge of music was limited, and I ended up handing him materials which were pitiful and comical at the same time.

But he never held it against me. He never became enraged or upset about anything.

Even when we were in the midst of promoting our musical play, and a minister who believed he possessed both the knowledge of God’s will and the right to judge others who didn’t understand, attacked Coulter because he heard rumors that my friend was a homosexual (that’s back when they were homosexuals instead of gay) Coulter refused to retaliate.

Even though I was a stupid kid with a gnat’s worth of sense, I defended him and stood up against the Pharisee. It’s one of the better things I ever did in my life.

I don’t know where Coulter is today—or even if he is today.

But wherever he may be, I want him to know that his good buddy turned out okay—due in large part to a friend who arrived in the early days with a box of doughnut—just at the right time.


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Core Gender Identity

Core gender identity: (n) a person’s inner sense of being male or female

A couple of weeks ago I woke up convinced I was handsome. It was magnificent.

It lasted until I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom. Then I was conflicted. Should I believe what I woke up with? Or should I deal with funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
what I see? And is what I see what is really true, or rather, my perception of what I think truth should be?

After all, maybe I am handsome and my inner thinking about being handsome has been tainted by years of being deemed average.

Which notion in my brain should I follow?

Which path seems to have the most promise?

I remember when I was a young boy, just eight years old, I heard a performance by a man playing piano. After the concert hall cleared, I slipped back in, walked up onstage, sat down at the instrument and began to move my fingers the way I had seen the man perform. It didn’t sound a thing like what he produced. At first, I was angry. I wanted to be a piano player. (At least, right at that moment I did.) But it seemed that nature, or God, had favored this man over me.

I remember the first time I asked a girl out on a date. She said no. As did the next three in a row. It crossed my mind, “I wonder if they think I’m gay? Am I gay? If I can’t get a date with a girl, maybe that’s just Earth’s way of telling me that I’m gay.”

This thought quickly disappeared when the fourth girl said yes, and we went and made out like two fish swimming in the bayou.

Turns out I wasn’t gy—but maybe I was gay until I wasn’t.

I saw a man lift weights. He grunted and groaned but was very successful at it. I thought, how hard can this be? I walked over and tried to lift one end of the bar. Could not budge it. Does that mean I’m weak? That I should go out and buy protein powder to build up my muscles, or else I will be overcome by an enemy?

In the process of one day, the human brain of every person alive goes through so many contortions, so many questions, so many different ideas, that it is very difficult to land on true identity.

I don’t think we should ever deny, ignore or reject someone’s core gender identity, faith proclamation or personal belief.

But I also think if we are to be kind to one another, we will allow each other the chance to be dreaming, wondering or even confused—without holding each other to the present whim.


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Copernicus

Copernicus: (n) Polish astronomer

I wonder what people would say about Ludwig von Beethoven if he’d never written music.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Absent being able to consider his art, any relatives who passed along an impression of him would be offering trivial details:

“He belched a lot—he always had a problem with gas.”

“I think he heard better than he pretended.”

“He had a bad temper.”

“He disrespected women.”

“He was kind of crazy.”

“But overall, a nice guy.”

You see, if you don’t create an entity separate from your everyday life that can be set apart as evidence that you thought about something other than yourself, then the memories of you end up being whether those who knew you were inconvenienced by your personality.

Beethoven wrote symphonies—so people don’t talk much about how grumpy he was.

Abraham Lincoln helped free the slaves, so if he ended up being a little bit gay, who in the hell cares?

John Kennedy helped us come through the Cuban Missile Crisis, preventing World War III. We will allow him a couple of boinks with Marilyn Monroe.

Copernicus pissed people off because he told them that if you looked through a telescope, you would discover that the Earth and planets in our solar system actually revolve around the sun, instead of everything circling the Earth.

It made people angry.

Was it because they wanted the Earth to be important?

Was it because they hated the sun?

Or were they aggravated because they couldn’t afford a telescope?

We may never know—but Copernicus was right. And even though he may have made an amazing goulash, we will never know—because he will forever be known as one of the first dudes to tell us the truth about our little Universe.


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Controversy

Controversy: (n) a prolonged public dispute

It seems to have become a pastime of the human race—to make every statement, thought, feeling and action controversial.

It’s a way for us to feel important, by judging the world and the people around us.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But factually, the only legitimate door of controversy—the true opportunity to open a discussion which might warrant disagreement—is when common sense has been broached.

What is common sense?

It’s the glue that holds the dust of humanity together. It’s what we’ve learned from Adam to now—to be functional, workable and pleasing.

Every once in a while, common sense has to be challenged, because it failed to keep the door open long enough to include all of God’s people on the ark of safety.

Then we have a reason for controversy. For instance:

Are black people lesser than white people?

At one time, common sense said they were, so it had to be challenged and amended.

Are gay people perverts?

The common sense at one time, even among the psychiatric community, was that they were. Therefore, some controversy was necessary to embrace our brothers and sisters who found themselves in that situation.

Controversy is not somebody doing something you don’t like.

Controversy should only happen when the common sense we have all accepted needs to be challenged and expanded.

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Constellation

Constellation: (n) a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern

Christmas: when the nays and yeas get together to discuss a baby born in the hay.

To me, It is the only wearisome part of the season. One group tries to convince the other group that the Christmas story from the gospels of Matthew and Luke is not only possible, but also historical.

The other contingency works really hard to dismiss the whole, ridiculous notion of a virgin birth, a Star of David and “angels we have heard on high.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I take a different approach.

I like to consider what the world needs and what the Earth craves, and then find things in the perimeter which feed that urgency.

The world desperately needs all of us to become human instead of men, women, gay, straight, family, country and culture.

So I flip to Christmas: “We bring you tidings of great joy. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.”

The Earth also desires respect. Yes, we are a bratty species which thinks the environment is our personal roll of toilet paper.

And then we have the story of the Star of Bethlehem. Somewhere out there in the constellations there emerged a star. The popular belief is that this would have to be a huge star–not necessarily true since the people who followed it were star-gazers, and would not need to be “star-struck” in order to be intrigued with a particular heavenly body.

The elements of the Christmas story are concepts that we, as humans, would have to pursue even if there was no God. For example:

  1. Be prepared to do what is unusual, or expect the usual results.
  2. Don’t expect everything to come the way you predicted it. Maybe a woman will be the hero of the tale.
  3. Look to the stars. Look for some light. Look for some hope. Follow it.
  4. Listen for the better angels, who tell us to try to get along.

My only regret at Christmas time, as an author, is that Matthew and Luke beat me to the publisher.

Because I’ll tell ya’–I would write that story any day of the week, knowing that it was not only needful, but destined to be a hit.

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

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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Commie

Commie:(n) a communist

Growing up, there were three great insults we used repeatedly to decimate the character of those around us, while greatly inflating our own sense of self-importance: retard, gay and Commie

Although they were often used interchangeably for all seasons and all reasons, there were specific times when “retard” was applied. Whenever anyone did anything that inconvenienced us he or she was a retard.

When anyone did anything the least bit unusual, and we were afraid they would ask us to do it, too, they were gay.

And when our parents told us that certain children had mothers and fathers who were questionable in their politics–well, those kids were Commies.

You could probably survive being a retard, as long as you didn’t get too upset.

You could flee from being gay.

But once you were identified as a Commie–an enemy of the state–a Ruskie–a member of the Soviet Union–a sympathizer with killers–well, it was just a little hard to shake that off.

I remember once when two friends and I refused to listen to a girl who came to school wearing jeans and a t-shirt (which was unheard of at the time) and spouted opinions on such things as ecology, civil rights, and even, God forbid, anti-war. She was especially upset with the war in Viet Nam.

In our freshman year, we had one view of this girl–but by the time we were seniors, the national opinion on civil rights had changed, ecology had been honored by the creation of Earth Day, and because of the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Nam War had been exposed as an unnecessary exercise in futility.

We were uncomfortable about it. The Commie had been proven correct.

So to compensate, we just started calling her gay.

 

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Commentator

Commentator: (n) a person who delivers a live commentary on an event

His name was Walter.

People under the age of forty probably don’t even remember who he was.

His last name was Cronkite. He was a commentator. At one time, he was voted “the most respected man in America.”

In this age of controversy about the news media, Walter stands out as historically unique. Case in point:

I have no idea if he wore ladies underwear.

I have no private information on whether he ever sexually harassed his office staff.

I do not know if he was secretly gay.

These are things that seem to be important to us nowadays. We not only want people to do their job, but we want them to do it to our standard of morality.

But what set Walter Cronkite apart from the rest of the commentators of his day–and certainly of our season–is that he really believed what he was doing was valuable.

It was so important to him that he always delivered the news with sincerity, neutrality, gravitas and yet in a reassuring way, letting the American people know that the sky was not falling–there would be another day, and a good chance it would be better.

Maybe it was the bit of “gruff” in his voice, which hinted at crankiness, or the bristle of mustache, perhaps outdated–but aging uncles and grandfathers never seem to care.

Or maybe it was the fact that when the President of the United States was shot in Dallas, Walter, like us, was mortified–and found himself breaking into tears.

There are three things Walter knew about humanity:

  1. When you run across goodness, proclaim it. It’s not always easy to be human and good.
  2. Don’t expect humans to be good in every arena, but make sure they respect the holy ground of their calling.
  3. And Walter knew that as a human being, he needed to make sure he kept his ears tuned to the mission of his heart, and far away from the gossiping rabble.

Walter Cronkite was a commentator.

But history has shown his mercy, his faithfulness and exactly how uncommon he was.

 

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