Common Sense

Common sense: (n) good sense and sound judgment in practical matters

Many years ago I wrote a book called “The Gospel According to Common Sense.”

I was very young.

I did a radio talk show, and the fellow asked me, “How would you define common sense?”

Now, one would think I would be prepared for that question, since I wrote a book with “common sense” in the title. But I think I was expecting “what is your favorite color?” much more than a legitimate question that had meaning.

But fortunately for me, I did not freak out.

I paused. Then I said, “To me, common sense is where Father God and Mother Nature sit down and agree.”

God might be a little idealistic, and the Natural Order does tend to be gruff and unforgiving.

But common sense is where mercy and Mother Earth embrace one another, and come up with ways to make things function–ways that don’t hurt anyone, have a bit of genius to them, and are so simple that everybody can do them.

We don’t talk much about common sense nowadays because we like to alienate ourselves off from others by proving our superiority–be it intellectually, spiritually or racially.

Common sense is looking for a logical solution that also happens to be common to us all.

If you’re determined to be better than the people around you, you might find common sense insulting.

If you’re depressed and think the whole world is out to get you, you might avoid common sense because it robs you of your vacation into self-pity.

There is no real power in life unless you can get God and Mother Nature to work together–His will being done on Earth as it is in heaven.

Yeah. There you’ve got it.

Common sense: heavenly answers that still work on Earth.

 

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Claim

Claim: (v) to state or assert that something is the case

I often find myself caught between the emphasis in our society on speaking up for oneself and the wisdom of the ages, which quietly screams, “Shut the hell up.”

I sometimes tremble when I hear people make claims. I especially find it curious when men or women insist they are great lovers. Oh my
God–that’s one that is proven out fairly easily, and can certainly leave you with your pants down.

Why do we need to claim? Maybe Yoda was right. “No try. Just do.”

But for some reason, the braggadocio that precedes our efforts makes us feel reassured. Maybe it’s because we know that when the game is over and the score is tallied, we’re going to lose, so we might as well have some pre-game appreciation.

I don’t know.

But most of the claims human beings make are altered by circumstance, lack of talent, nerves, superior fire-power or just dumb luck. For after all, time and chance happens to each of us.

Recently I was asked at a party, “What is it you do?”

I piped back, “Are you asking what I claim to do? Or what actually gets done?”

They looked at me with a hint of a smile, but perplexed. After all, I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do–tout the bloated extent of my capabilities.

For what would happen if we claimed less, and then, on rare occasions, ended up doing more? Isn’t that the true definition of a genius? Someone who scores higher than expected. Someone who exceeds expectation. Or someone who fills a need that seemed unfillable.

I don’t claim much.

Maybe my best claim is that I don’t have really anything to claim.

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon: (n) an aromatic spice

Neil Young, in a burst of creative brilliance, wrote a song entitled “Cinnamon Girl.”

Many of you will not know who Neil Young is, but you certainly know what “cinnamon” and “girl” are. Let’s deal with that.

When he wrote this song, I was so impressed, because envisioning a woman as food is just divinely inspired.

Matter of fact, every time I hear the tune I imagine a lovely lass who looks and tastes like cinnamon toast–and if I lick her, I will get the sensation of great pleasure and oodles of flavor.

Genius.

Not in the sense that Neil is a genius–but anytime we can connect human appetites with human feelings, to create human understanding, we are on the Road to Glory.

I’ve never had the courage to ask a woman if I could smear her with butter, cinnamon and sugar, to fulfill Neil Young’s recipe.

But believe you me, if I ever do run across a cinnamon girl, and it’s obvious that the tastiness awaits, I may not be responsible for my actions.

 

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Caffeine

Caffeine: (n) a crystalline stimulant that is found especially in tea and coffee

I was twenty years old and was thoroughly convinced that every idea that popped into my head was granted by the supreme fairies of genius notions. I was in the midst of the seduction of a particular inspiration, working feverishly, with pen in hand, when I realized I was getting
sleepy.

Successful people don’t sleep, I thought. A budding impresario does not yearn for the pillow.

So I went down to the local drugstore and bought a product called “No Doze. ” I didn’t even read the instructions. (You have to be twenty-five years old to consider such a mature move.)

I just took two. Nothing happened.

So I chased it with two more, waited half and hour and took two more.

Within the span of two hours, I ended up taking eight No Doze, when I finally decided to read the instructions, which explained that each tablet contained the caffeine equivalent to fifteen cups of coffee.

Shortly after reading this warning, my heart started to palpitate. My face blanched, Sweat burst out on every part of my body. I thought I was going to die.

For the first time in my life, I went to the emergency room of the hospital and explained to them what I had done.

The doctor quipped, “You shouldn’t have taken so many.”

True, but not poignant.

By this time my chest was cramping and my legs were twitching. The doctor reached over into his magical cabinet and pulled out a shot of something, which I later learned was a tranquilizer.

I slept in that examination room for six hours. I awoke drained, embarrassed, and desperately trying to explain how I planned to pay for the late-night visit.

So over the years I have convinced myself that I am allergic to caffeine–so as not to accidentally stimulate any reaction similar to the one I had that night so many years ago.

 

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By-stander

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By-stander:(n) a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part

Most people know what an oxymoron is. It’s a statement or collection of words that seem to contradict one another–case in point, jumbo shrimp.

That being said, I will tell you the little known oxymorons is the pairing of the two words “innocent by-stander.”

Although I admit meteorites do fall from the sky and hit people in the head, most of the time there’s a warning and an opportunity before a conclusion.

The warning can be subtle. Sometimes you need to tune your ears to Mother Nature in order to heed the precaution. Even though we consider people who focus on warnings to be paranoid, they rarely find themselves categorized as “innocent by-standers.”

After the warning, there’s usually some sort of opportunity:

  • A chance to say something.
  • A door to do something.
  • A way of escape–a few seconds where thinking can be clarified.

Shortly after that opportunity comes a conclusion. It is random and always certain. It doesn’t care about our status–it just follows through on the warning.

An example:

Driving in Seattle, Washington one summer, I was returning from a recording session when I looked ahead–almost a quarter of a mile–and saw a back-up of traffic. But worse, smoke was beginning to rise in small puffs, letting me know that collisions were going on between cars.

I had a very brief opportunity to avoid being part of a huge freeway pile-up. My brakes were not going to be useful–the person behind would just plow into me.

So as I saw the chain reaction developing in front of me, I moved onto the berm and traveled on it for about a mile, as cars continued to pummel one another in the calamity.

It was very close, but I was able to get in front of the origin of the collision. There was no traffic and I was on my way.

Do I think I’m a genius? No.

Have I always been so observant? No.

But when I haven’t, the problems have piled up on me. 

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By

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By: (prep) identifying the agent performing an action.

If you want success to radiate around your efforts, you have to discover what makes things work best.

Finding out by what means peace of mind and joy are enacted is probably the most important pearl we can recover.

This happened to me the day I accepted the idea that faith works by love.

A loveless faith is just a braggart spirit–a person filled with presumption who decides to make bold statements, hoping that eventually he or she will luck into achieving them.

By the same token, love that does not prompt us to expand our faith becomes cloistered and sappy.

What are some other possibilities? What additional “teams” can be brought together for righteousness?

Politics works by truth. Wow.

Marriage works by communication. Certainly.

Good health works by good eating. Not medication.

Prosperity works by labor. (After all, you even have to buy a lottery ticket.)

And human appeal works by good cheer. Everyone loves the funny guy or gal.

Finding out by what means things are achieved is the actual definition of genius.

 

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Burp

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Burp: (n) a belch

The definition of crazy: believing what is in your head because it had the spunk to come to your mind.

If a persistent idea can survive some scrutiny, it should be granted merit. But if the notions floating in your gray matter cannot be confirmed by other independent gray matter, then you may need to have a full brain-flushing.

I bring this up because in the first couple decades of my life, I found it difficult to burp. People even tried to teach me how to do it at will (since it was a favored pastime of males age twelve to sixteen). I was never successful.

Now, I won a gold star at farting. It was the burping that escaped me. Often I found myself struggling with some gas and pain because I couldn’t be relieved through the burp.

It became an obsession with me. When other people heard a loud burp from an individual in a room, they would crinkle their faces and say “gross.” My thought was much different. In my brain, I mused, “God bless you, genius. Could you teach me to do that?”

It seems so silly.

But worst of all, when I did occasionally burp, it was so poorly performed. It was more like a silent hiccup that barely lifted my shoulders. That resounding, basal explosion of vibrating magnitude of sound totally and completely avoided me.

So I guess I have a different attitude toward burping. Although I do not hold to the Aramaic tradition of thinking that it’s a sign of expressing appreciation for a meal, I do think it is an art form–which will probably never receive its due.

You know.

Similar to poetry. 

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