Davenport

Davenport: (n) a large sofa, often one convertible into a bed.

Language is made out of razor blades.

It took me a while to learn this.

If you’re not careful, you’re going to cut people.

And if not agile, you may end up slicing yourself.

Whenever you contend that a certain word is necessary in order to communicate sophistication or perhaps being a well-rounded human, you’ve grabbed the razor blade and slashed out at the world around you.

Over the past fifteen years, I have made a concerted effort to make my language out of marshmallows. Even if they occasionally bounce off someone, it produces a giggle-fest instead of a bruise.

To do this, I had to get rid of the assertion that I became a “better person” by using “better talk.”

Example:

The best way to describe a large seating place in a living room is to call it a couch.

Once you abandon the word “couch,” everything else you say is an attempt to separate yourself from the milling masses and the ignorant idiots.

Even calling it a “sofa” is filled with such pretension that people immediately know you’re trying to communicate your verbal—or even perhaps natural—superiority.

I won’t even discuss the word “divan,” because truthfully, friends, it is not divine.

Yet when I was growing up, there were those who referred to a couch as a davenport. Generally speaking, they were old, white, and held their noses a little higher than others. It was obvious they were in a constant search for obscure terms to describe common things.

Many of them said tomato and potato with a soft sound on the “a.”

“To-mah-to.”

“Po-tah-to.”

Occasionally, when using a word from foreign extract, they actually fell into an accent which they mustered for the moment.

The pastor’s wife from my church had a davenport. That’s what she called it. Now, she never corrected anybody for calling it a sofa or a couch, but she refused to join them in such lollygagging of the tongue.

So let me tell you:

If you want to find out what your profile is on Earth, see how many attempts you make to establish patterns of speech that you have decided are more “high-minded” than others.

If you have many, many of them, you are officially an Earthly asshole.

If you have a few, you’re pretentious.

The recommended number of fussy words that you dare keep around in your lingo is zero. 

Dancer

Dancer: (n) a person who dances professionally

In the world of fruits and vegetables, it would be pretty well assumed that string beans would make good dancers, but cantaloupes and pumpkins–not so much.

Matter of fact, when you see a rotund human dancing, it normally is on a YouTube, which has many views by people who find it hilarious to spy such a sight.

I don’t know whether it’s the mixture of the bouncing jowls in the face, the pinking of the cheeks or the extra blubber shifting like the tide.

But it’s pretty well accepted that those who dance on Broadway live on lettuce and smells.

So when I—more in the melon family of appearance—put on a play many years ago which demanded some dancing and found myself unable to cast one of the major parts, I was encouraged by the other cast members to take on the challenge, break down some barriers and hoof my way through the performance.

I’ve always been pretty athletic. (Candidly, when you’re fat, athletic can be walking through a china shop without knocking over some bullshit.)

So I learned the dancing, practiced it, and got to the point that I could do the numbers without completely gasping for breath.

But as I stood backstage on opening night, getting ready to make my entrance, hearing the mumbling of the audience, I was completely terrified.

All the stereotypical reactions about “prancing fat boys” raced to my brain and did their own little tap dance all over the state of my confidence.

And sure enough, when I entered the stage in my costume and began the shuffling of my feet that would lend itself to dancing, I heard giggles from the gallery.

I was humiliated.

I was frightened.

But I also realized that doing it halfway would only make it look worse.

So I sold out.

And—as often happens when one sells out—half of the audience admired the hell out of me, and the other half was pissed because I made them feel a little naughty about their judgment.

I am not a dancer.

At best I am an agile beach ball, bouncing on the sand—scurried by the wind.

 

Cucumber

Cucumber: (n) a long, green-skinned fruit with watery flesh, usually eaten raw in salads

There are times I feel that the only thing I have available to show off is my ignorance. It is rather annoying.

Because sometimes I don’t know I’m ignorant.

The world is filled with so much information that it is completely impossible to be up to date on everything, leaving one and all with a spotty perspective.

One day I was at a luncheon with four dear women, and the waiter asked the ladies if they wanted cucumber on their salads.

On cue, they all giggled vigorously.

I joined them, not knowing what I was laughing about. (I hate it when I do that, because then people assume I’m in on the joke, and for the next terrifying minutes I have to listen carefully for context clues in the conversation, to try and figure out what has brought about the hilarity.)

These women were very tricky. They actually began to carry on a conversation about cucumbers that was so mystical and laced with code that I was unable to ascertain any true insight.

They started to discuss the smell. This brought on more comic relief. (At least I had the sense to stop laughing and just listen.)

One girl said she enjoyed the texture, which made everybody burst into rolls of levity.

One of the young ladies asked if anybody else had a preference with the size. Did they like their cucumbers short and round, or long and lean? There was not much discussion or disagreement on this one. Short and round won the day.

It became really frustrating to me when the salads arrived and as they nipped and chewed at their cucumbers, they looked at one another and moaned.

I realized they must be playing with me, but there was no hint of deception from any of them. They seemed to be lost in their world of cucumbers, without me knowing how to get to their location.

Wanting to join in, and chomping on my salad, I remarked, “I like cucumbers, too.”

My comment won the laughter fest of the day—although I felt it was directed more in the realm of humiliation than appreciation.

 

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Crossed Eyes

Crossed eyes: (n) a condition in which one or both eyes turn inward.

Today’s essay is very simple.

Wordings that grownups find clever often terrify children.

Let’s start with:

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Or:

“I’ll leave the light on in the hallway so the monsters will be scared away.” (What if the bulb burns out?)

Or the one I always hated:

“Don’t cross your eyes like that or make that look. Your face might freeze.”

At this point, the grownup turns his head and giggles.

But terror fills the soul of the young child.

Face freezing—a whole new idea.

Is it possible that this respectable adult is sharing a truth which needs to be harkened to, or one might find oneself going through life becoming the frozen-faced monster, with crossed eyes, that children fear coming in the middle of the night to torture them?

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Burlesque

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Burlesque: (n) a variety show, typically including striptease.

There are certain words that evoke an immediate reaction–usually either shock or giggles.

It’s amazing to me that we actually become mature adults, but still insist on acting surprised or chuckling nervously about subjects that we think are “inappropriate.”

They are not unpleasant issues.

For instance, orgasm.

I would guess that if orgasms were put up for a vote in this country–pardon the expression, up or down–that people would cross party lines and even the Bible Belt would unbuckle.

Another word is masturbation.

I grew up in an era when it was considered to be evil, spent my adult years when it was perceived acceptable but taboo, and now you occasionally run across someone who actually speaks the word out loud in a conversation at Applebee’s.

It’s also true with the word burlesque.

Even though the shows involved comedians, jugglers, dancers and sometimes even animal acts, burlesque will always be remembered as a platform for strip-tease.

It’s amazing that even though each and every one of us do at least one or two strip-teases each day, we feel that it is gauche in front of footlights.

Well, I’m not connoting that I, myself, would attend a burlesque show to see such a strip-down performance, I just think it is humorous that we are so picky about what we deem unconscionable.

We let our children watch kids being poisoned by gas in Syria, but would be absolutely horrified if they ever saw a titty.

I don’t know what the right thing is. I certainly have grave misgivings about pornography.

But since the removal of clothing leads to one of three experiences–showering, sleeping or sexual intercourse–and I don’t find any one of those to be unpleasant, I will reserve my judgment on criticizing those who have the fortunate DNA of being attractive enough to stand and disrobe in front of the public.

 

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Amuse

dictionary with letter A

Amuse (v): cause someone to find something funny or enjoyable

The true definition of getting old: when you start lamenting why things aren’t like they used to be instead of trying to improve the way things are.

The most annoying thing about young people is they believe a fad that is four minutes old will be here in forty years.

The advantage of having a few more birthday candles under your belt is knowing the difference between something innovative and something insane.

It doesn’t demand that you hearken back to a former time, wishing you were strolling through those aisles, but it does require having a sense of history and realizing that human beings function best in an environment in which they are truly amused.

First of all, let’s list the three things that are not amusing:

  1. Hurting people.
  2. Making fun of people, to their detriment
  3. Lack of being funny, trying to make that funny

These are actions which presently in our time may gain a few giggles and applause but will eventually be deemed childish, stupid, out-of-step and meaningless.

What is universally amusing?

  1. A great story with a surprise ending.
  2. A great story that makes fun of ourselves.
  3. A great story where everybody in the room relates to it because they’ve been there.

You can see–the linking force is a great story.

Life is humorous enough without us having to make up scenarios that are anti-life. At least that’s what I think–and I believe historically, and even in the future, it will prove to be true.

I know “amusing” is in the ear of the receiver, but as time goes on, we will realize…merely ridiculing people and circumstances does not have much lasting quality. 

 

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