Correctional Facility

Correctional facility: (n) a prison, especially for long-term confinement.

I think it’s safe to say that a plurality, if not a majority, of people think about prisons just about as much as they do the city dump or changing the batteries in their smoke detectors.

It’s not that we’re uncaring. It’s just that sometimes we are at such a loss as to know what to do that rather than taunting ourselves with the frustration of considering something, we pretend it vanished into thin air. (Kind of like when you pick your nose and pull one of those crusty funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
things out and rub it between your fingers until there’s no further evidence…)

Early on in my career in music and the arts, our musical group was invited to come and perform at the State Prison. I was traveling with two girls, and most folks thought it was a very bad idea for us to go to such a dangerous and potentially violent arena.

But if you think about it, as long as you’re not sleeping in, a prison is one of the safest places on earth. Everyone is restrained, threatened and guarded. (Perhaps we should consider this profile for Washington, D. C.  I digress.)

We did not take the gig because we wanted to bring hope or good cheer to the prisoners. No—it was because we were just starting out, and anyone who wanted us to play was our next best opportunity. (After all, you get tired of performing at nursing homes or church pot luck dinners.)

We arrived at the prison and discovered that the entire population was not invited to the concert. Matter of fact, only 150 inmates would be present—these being members of a Bible study held twice a week in the rec hall.

Well, I was young and impetuous, so I objected. I said that if I’d wanted to come and play my music for a bunch of Christians, I could have gone down to the Baptist Church, which “may or may not have just as many felons.”

Both the warden and chaplain were patient with me. They realized that I was immature and did not understand that I was carrying along with me two delicious “human treats,” which these men had not partaken of in some time.

They explained that even though they could protect the girls in our group from attack, they certainly could not shelter them from the trauma of being accosted with foul language.

I grumbled.

Well, we did our first show in front of the Bible Club, and it went so well that the warden asked me if we would do another show in front of about 200 of the inmates who were presently on “good behavior status.”

I immediately agreed.

Boy—did I learn a lesson. If those 200 prisoners were the “good behavior boys,” I shudder to think what would have happened if they had released the lions on us young Christians.

It was loud, overbearing, and it was difficult to get the inmates quiet enough to listen to the music—and only when the beat reached a certain level of intensity did they clap their hands and participate in the event.

Afterwards I felt humbled. I told the warden and the chaplain that I was sorry for being such a jerk.

They corrected me. The warden said, “Don’t you ever give up on the idea of trying to help someone—especially if it looks hopeless.”

I nearly cried.

Even though there’s a reason they call them correctional facilities—because most of the time, correction is the name of the game instead of rehabilitation—it is not our right to ever give up on those that God decided to create in His image.


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Comprise

Comprise: (v) to consist of; be made up of

Dear me,

I have wanted to contact “me” for some time to discuss us.

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to put too much focus on our struggles or our goals, but it has come to my attention that both me and I need to sit down (or stand up, for that matter) and decide what the hell we’re doing.

I like our conversations, because I don’t have to be too gentle with me. After all, we share a space. I am the thinker and me is more or less the doer.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I just feel it’s time to stop doing so much and pause for a thought. For I will tell me this–life is racing quickly by, and soon, or definitely later, it will be over. At that point, all that I have thought and all that me has done will come to a completion, and will be up for review.

What do we want this journey to be comprised of, and determine who we are?

I had some thoughts. I think the good news is that these are ideas that I really believe me can implement with ease.

I do not feel we are going to be able to represent ourselves well unless we show up every day with good cheer. It just seems to I that any other profile is too negative or too suspicious.

I think it’s a good idea for us to be a little vulnerable, making it clear to the world around us that we don’t have all the answers, but find ourselves in a “willing to learn” position.

May I also suggest, as we comprise our future, that we show up with talent instead of excuses, and a work ethic rather than procrastination?

And we should have just enough optimism to prevent us from being the classic naysayer.

And finally, I suggest that we question everything we learned as children, and be very prepared to put away childish things.

I would like to thank me for listening. I know me is always very busy and sometimes forget that I is here.

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Component

Component: (n) a part or element of a larger whole

Bob thinks intelligence is the key. So he studies, but ends up being overbearing with his opinions. Therefore no one can stand him.

Reverend Thompson contends that prayer is the answer but generally speaking is so busy holding seminars on the issue that he misses manyfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C phone calls from those in need.

The man running for Congress insists that political maneuvering is the essential component for a successful run for office, but then discovers there is a lot of lying that accompanies such choreography.

The women’s rights organization feels it is necessary to diminish the role of men in order to gain air for their cause, and after all the arguments are done, they are quietly and privately referred to as “bitches” behind their backs.

On the other hand, the chauvinists are darned tootin’ certain that if we could get back to the “nuclear family,” everything would be all right, as they lead their nervous wives and frightened children into the next over-planned activity.

Everybody thinks they have the component to make our society run more smoothly. Even though I see great worth in many of these efforts, I have found that the best piece to bring to the puzzle–the component that always seems to be needed for any occasion–is a simple splash and dousing of good cheer.

 

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Commitment

Commitment: (n) the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

Religion gets in the way of my faith.

Politics robs me of my freedom.

Budgets take the joy out of money.

Discussing morals makes me too weak to enjoy sin.

Every time a committee gets together and decides something, a little piece of me ends up dying.

So I have become a rebel with a cause. The cause is to maintain the integrity of my sanity. So here are my commitments:

  1. I will pursue good cheer all the days of my life to avoid being obnoxious.
  2. I will notice when people do good and blind myself to stupidity.
  3. I will create something every day.
  4. I will appreciate the efforts of others, and linger for a moment to celebrate with them.
  5. I will stop talking about God and try to impersonate Him.
  6. I will continue to think of life as a comedy club instead of a prison.
  7. I will not put anything in my body that struggles to come out.
  8. I will laugh more than I cry, and all my crying shall end in laughter.
  9. I will avoid becoming adult because only children can truly lead us.
  10. I will honor these commitments and commit myself to pursuing not to be committed.

 

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Clown

Clown: (n) a comic entertainer

There are actually three types of clowns, offering varying degrees of danger.

Yes–clowns are dangerous. They forewarn of outrageous comedy but soon become common, needing to push the envelope, opening the
door to all sorts of excesses.

Clown 1: Often referred to as the “class clown,” although he or she can be quite classless.

This is a person who feels it is their job to bring a giggle, even if a sigh or tears is required. He or she is quite angry if you suggest that the insertion of levity is poorly timed. And God forbid that you would ever try to take away their First Amendment right to be funny. After all, what gives us the authority to determine what is comical as opposed to offensive? (Wait! Isn’t that what being mature is all about?)

Clown 2: The Classic Clown, wearing a red nose and floppy shoes, to warn those around him or her of a calamity of errors, which is supposed to be interpreted through the slapstick antics, as side-splitting.

Physical comedy is an instinct to laugh at another human’s pain. When stated that way, people wrinkle their brow and suggest that you’re an old fuddy-duddy.

Clowns have to work too hard to get the job done. This would be similar to a fire-fighter attending a backyard barbecue just in case a three-alarm blaze might break out.  And finally…

Clown 3: These are the people in government, religion and business who have discovered they have gotten away with some egregious action, and nobody has stopped them, so they continue their path of errancy, adding on boxes of insult to the shipment of injury.

“Since I got by with THAT, and nobody challenged me, I wonder if I can do THIS.”

These clowns are particularly annoying because they don’t sit in a classroom, nor do they wear fright wigs. (Well, at least most of them don’t.) What they do is fit in–while not fitting in at all.

They take a code of ethics and turn it into a paper airplane, which they toss through the air to prove how free-wheeling they truly are.

They question values which have proven to be gold, and pretend they are nothing but yellow bricks.

As you can see, all three clown roles seem to have more drawbacks than positive contributions. Yet we continue to allow them to exist under the canopy, “we all need to laugh.”

Actually, we all need good cheer, which means most of the time, if we’re going to mature, we should be laughing at ourselves, not at the pratfalls of others or the decimation of common sense.

 

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Cholesterol

Cholesterol: (n) a compound of the sterol type found in most body tissues

She told me my cholesterol was a little high–“she” being my doctor.

She didn’t seem terribly concerned, but she still had a pill she thought would be jim-dandy to use. I took the pill, came back for my next visit
and my cholesterol was down.

She clapped her hands. She was glad.

I, on the other hand, felt no difference whatsoever.

I’m not trying to put forth the theory that there needs to be a physical or emotional pay-off for every good deed, but it sure helps. For if your cholesterol goes from 212 to 108, you should have some sort of bell that rings.

Maybe your eyelashes get fuller. I’m not asking for much.

Effort and reward. It’s the basis of the theory of human habitation. “If I do this, then I get that. But if I do THAT, then I’ll get THIS.”

I buy into the concept like everyone else.

Supposedly, cholesterol gums up your arteries and increases the possibility of a heart attack. But in a moment of true candor, may we state that what the medical field insists is beneficial in this particular season, will be completely out of fashion by the time autumn arrives.

Being a veteran of “oat bran,” and more recently, “gluten free,” I realize there are things that may be good, but not necessarily essential, and their worth is not equal for all humans.

I wonder why more doctors don’t encourage good cheer. It certainly does give immediate results, and may very well be good for your health

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Chirpy

Chirpy: (adj) cheerful and lively.

Coming upon the dead body of the strangled prostitute, the young woman declared, “At least she’s with Jesus.”

That is classic “chirpy”–the optimistic thought which is suddenly expressed at what certainly is an inopportune time.

It reminds me of an occasion when I was traveling with my music group and our vehicle caught on fire. We were standing about a hundred
yards away from it, watching it burn so as to not endanger ourselves with a possible exploding gas tank.

We were only able to salvage our cooler from the fiasco. One of the young ladies from the group, sitting on the cooler, remarked, “I think we have Coca-Cola and Fritos in the cooler.”

I know she meant well–but it seemed that I was commanded by the heavens to scream at her over such simplistic optimism.

When is “chirpy” an expression of good cheer instead of an annoying bird sound, pecking at our aggravation? Now, there’s a good question.

My conclusion has always been, if a statement is not going to build the faith of those around you, it’s best to honor the silence.

 

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