Cuticle

Cuticle (n) the epidermis that surrounds the edges of the fingernail or toenail.

Being healthy is a good thing.

There’s nothing particularly insightful in that statement. But may I follow with this thought?

Being worried about your health is the Suck Master of Life.

This is why I am careful not to watch too many shows on Discovery Channel or programs about bizarre medical procedures—because in no time at all, I am perfectly capable of sprouting some of the symptoms, with actual visual evidence.

I’m not normally paranoid but am willing to be flexible.

In other words, I can go pretty nuts wondering if I’m nuts.

I can get a queasy stomach just thinking about indigestion.

And I can sprout a headache at the mere mention of a brain tumor.

Yet, knowing this about myself, I accidentally watched a program on the danger signs of disease that can be found in our cuticles and fingernails.

  • What happens when they’re yellow?
  • Should we run to the doctor if they’re brittle?
  • Do white spots on your nails mean you have a calcium deficiency?

After all, human beings and other primates are the only animals who have nails.

Watching this particular documentary, I learned that men’s nails grow faster than women’s. Worse, the nail on one finger grow at a different speed than another. (It’s a little unnerving to realize that even my fingernails are competitive with each other.)

It was reassuring to learn that typing is good for your nails—except that I don’t do typing anymore. I have someone who takes my dictation and achieves the job in one-tenth the time.

Water is very helpful for healthy nails, and cuticles are there because they protect the tips of our fingers from infection.

One of the things that made me giggle was that they had a two-minute expose about the danger of cutting your nails in the dark.

Yet, when it was all said and done—and I calmed down my internal gag reflex—I realized one thing:

My nails probably won’t kill me.

And, as Kelly Clarkson once said, what doesn’t kill you helps you open packages.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cobweb

Cobweb: a spider’s web, especially when old and covered with dust

I have watched with some nervous curiosity as a confident individual handles a snake.

They always seem to feel it is hilarious to offer the snake in my direction, waiting for me to step back in horror to ​provide​ them a hideous giggle. But everyone has small “somethings” that turn us into nutty little girls, running away in terror from a bee.

The other night I was sitting in the living room with my son, who is a large, burly man, when he suddenly winced and shimmied in his chair because a fly had come close to his ear. He was adequately embarrassed so I did not tease him, though greatly tempted.

​Yet ​I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone walk through cobwebs with​out​ getting an icky face and batting with their hands in all directions to rid themselves of the sticky strings.

I once owned a house near a lake. I built a beautiful porch. Every morning there was a spider web in one corner. I took a broom and swept it away, but the next day it would be back again. I asked a friend about it and he said, “Well, the only way to get rid of the cobweb is to kill the spider. Otherwise, ​it​ will just continue to do ​its job faithfully.”

After all, a spider web is just a home for a spider, which doubles as a trap for flies so he can get good eats. It’s a rather ingenious ​invention​.

If I could figure out how to turn my house into a trap for hamburgers, steaks and fried chicken, I’d do it, too.​

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Cluster

Cluster: (n) a group

To anyone under the age of thirty, the word “cluster” is mentally followed by “fuck.”

To anyone over the age of thirty, that particular interpretation may be bumped by the consideration of peanut or almond candy.

Because I’m writing and interacting with people of all ages, I must be careful not to use words like “cluster.”

A “cluster of ideas,” which might be included in one of my essays, would cause the millennials to giggle, and those older folks to salivate for chocolate.

Some words have worn out their usefulness, or have been so tainted or tinted that they cannot be slid into normal conversation.

Such is the word cluster.

So even though I may be tempted to refer to a “cluster of activities” or a “cluster of problems” or a “cluster of opportunities,” I must catch myself–because cluster has already established its mission and is not allowed to take on any new significance.

 

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Clumsy

Clumsy: (adj) awkward in movement or in handling things.

Sexual intercourse looks dumb.

It is so awkward and clumsy that when we first meet a potential mating partner we have to get ourselves all worked up–sometimes drunk--to participate in the ritual, and then, after several months or years of interacting, marriage often occurs, where no one is quite able to get as worked up again, so merely on the stimulus of doing the act, we often find ourselves embarrassed, if not unmotivated.

It’s clumsy.

What makes it even more clumsy are people who think they are adept, talented or professional at it. Then it becomes similar to a bull in the pen, bragging about his graceful ability to take a dump.

What truly makes sex significant and endearing is how clumsy it is. If both parties would submit to the stumbling aspects of the action, giggle a little bit more and listen to one another, it could continue to be pleasurable for a long time.

But we view it with a funeral-home grimness.

How can anything be important if monkeys can do it eight times in an hour? Really??

Is there such a thing as a sacred vagina or a sanctified penis?

It’s clumsy.

And if we discuss it too much as if it’s a pertinent issue, the clumsiness of it becomes ridiculous, and we, fools for approaching the topic with such gravitas.

I’m clumsy. I’ve never been with anyone who isn’t clumsy. Although some people insist they are excellent lovers, the truth of the matter is, they have an over-exaggerated sense of their own prowess, which is not necessarily shared by their bedfellow.

Let’s relax.

Things that should be clumsy, like sex, are regaled as great art forms. Things that should be meaningful, like concern for one another and kindness, are treated as lowly.

This would be a good place to start. Have a serious conversation with your love partner about how to be kind to your neighbors, and when you get done, run to the bedroom and have clumsy sex…and laugh about it.

 

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Blab

Blab: (v) to reveal secrets by indiscreet talk.

Dictionary B

It has taken me too many years to learn to shut up.

All through my youth, I was enamored with the power of my own speech and the intelligence of the insights I possessed.

I was prepared, at the drop of a hat, to comment on hat dropping.

I felt it was my duty.

I thought it asserted my individuality.

Yet too much talk is a premature revelation of the limit of one’s intelligence.

It also quickly reveals hidden prejudices.

And it fills the room with the fragrance of one’s verbiage–overwhelming those all around with the noxious fumes.

I was guilty of blabbing.

I got too comfortable, shared secrets that were meant to be holy and made them common.

  • I wanted to be smart.
  • I yearned for acceptance.

And then one day, I discovered the power of well-selected silence.

I could still have the thoughts bouncing around.

I could have an inner giggle over a humorous idea that popped into my head.

But I didn’t need to make it public domain.

There’s too much blabbing in America … and unfortunately, all the speaking does not seem to increase the hearing.

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Bicker

Bicker: (v) to argue about petty and trivial matters.

Dictionary B

Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions of our time is the idea that we, as human beings, are actually able to agree to disagree.

We’ve all heard it.

Some impasse will be reached between two individuals and one of them will suggest they cease the discussion, admitting that resolution is impossible, and pretend to accept the opinion of the other person as viable.

We don’t do that.

We might set out to portray ourselves as open-minded citizens, able to tolerate variance of opinion without any retribution, but actually, we eventually fall back on bickering with those who disagree with us, while still, amazingly, insisting that there is no real problem.

  • We pick.
  • We fuss.
  • We cast aspersion on the character of another.
  • We raise our eyebrows when they walk out of the room to connote how crazy they truly seem to be.
  • We giggle to ourselves.

We are dishonest. We pretend the situation is calm, but actually, it’s a fomenting sea.

It is why husbands and wives are well-known for taking cheap shots at each other–bickering–even in the presence of others, under the guise that this is “just what married people do.”

Actually, it is what humans do when they have unresolved conflict they have swept under the rug … leaving a bumpy pathway for future walking.

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Bassoon

Bassoon: (n) a bass instrument of the oboe family with a double reed.Dictionary B

If the goal of every endeavor is to gain fame or money, then we will end up doing very little in our lives–for fear of ending up with something that fails to deliver the goods.

I learned this early.

I made a decision to pursue things that made me happy, giggle or feel inspired. Whether other people found them to be equally as inspirational or entertaining was only secondary to my deep-rooted concern for entertaining myself.

In the process of chasing that philosophy, I found myself in Tennessee working with a partner to begin a symphony in a town that probably was completely uninterested in even learning how to spell the word.

Intelligently, we held our first concert very near Christmas and because of that and the basic human nature to be curious, we had a huge attendance, which seemed to bode well for the project.

I was so excited about the event that I wrote a special composition called Christmas. This particular piece of music began with a sprightly bassoon solo, establishing a bouncy, joyous melody which to me personified the uncontrollable anticipation of a child at Christmas.

We hired a bassoon player who just happened to really love playing the instrument. He didn’t get to perform very often in Tennessee, since there isn’t a high calling for bassoonists among the populace. So when he discovered he was going to get to play this delightful ditty, he practiced and practiced–and by the time of the concert, he literally exploded the musical magic off of his double reed.

When the audience heard the tune being played, they giggled like school children because it was such a pleasant representation of childhood memories.

I love the bassoon because it cannot hide its true personality. It is a growly, jubilant tone foretelling of grandfatherly wisdom … with just enough mischief.

 

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