Critter

Critter: (n) any creature.

Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.

Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.

I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”

Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.

If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.

Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.

I might be viewed as a hillbilly.

Considered quaint, but not cute.

And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”

I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.

No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.

The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”

You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.

I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.

It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.

It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Axle

Axle: (n) a rod or spindle (either fixed or rotating) passing through the center of a wheel or group of wheels.dictionary with letter A

If I weren’t stupid, I would have no stories to tell. Smart people have a list of accomplishments instead of tales of mayhem.

I was a mere 24 years old and driving along in an airport limousine that looked like it should have been used in a 1940 Clark Gable movie. It had six seats in it, dual air conditioning units, and even had a metal cage in the rear to protect the luggage.

It was the most unpredictable vehicle I have ever driven.

First and foremost, you could not drive over 55 miles per hour because of some sort of “governor” they had placed on the engine.

But I was grateful to have it so that my singing group could travel across the country and annoy people with our increasing prowess.

One night as we were leaving Jacksonville, Florida, we noticed that the back passenger-side wheel was wobbling a bit. These are things a normal adult would be concerned about, but not a 24-year-old vagabond.

To counteract the wobbly wheel, I tried to drive faster. Suddenly I looked in my rear-view mirror and noticed that the back of the limousine was lighting up.

This seemed unusual.

So I pulled over and discovered that the rear of the vehicle was on fire.

I did have enough mechanical understanding to recognize that this fire was very near the gas tank, so I got the members of the group out, and we ran about a hundred yards away and watched it burn.

I thought about doing something brave, like taking off my shirt and beating out the flames, or trying to acquire some water from a nearby ditch to extinguish the blaze–but I didn’t.

We watched it like it was the latest release from Hollywood.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “The axle of my limousine is on fire…”

This was the end of my reasoning.

Fortunately for us, a truck driver arrived with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames as we gradually, but bravely, inched forward.

He was also kind enough to take his “breaker-breaker” radio and get us a tow truck.

The whole back axle was destroyed.

I guess someone felt sorry for us, and the man who worked on the vehicle replaced the whole axle, put on a new tire and only charged us $150. We even found a family to stay with while it was being repaired.

It was a remarkable event.

But still, every time I hear the word “axle,” I have the instinct to run like a little schoolgirl.

 

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Affront

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Affront: (n) an action or remark that causes outrage or offense

Sixty years.

If you think about it, it’s not really that long. But in sixty years of life, I have been offered many ideas, which, as time has passed, have gone from being the common sense of my day to being opinions that AFFRONT.

Let me give you some examples:

When I was eight years old, I was told that black people were inferior. They weren’t “bad,” just more or less one step up from monkeys, but a step down from my Midwest, white friends and family. Yet you can see, if I held any part of that conviction today, I would affront many–or maybe even most–people.

When I was fourteen years old I was told that rock and roll was “of the devil.” Matter of fact, I read a book about how the beat came from Africa and had the potential to turn us into animals instead of enlightened creatures of Eden. Alas, if I promoted this idea today, there would be great possibility of affrontation.

May I proceed?

All through my teenage years, I was told by my church and even my school that a woman’s place was “in the home.” Interestingly, most of the girls in my senior class were encouraged to take Home Economics, and any boy who might decide to join the class would be ridiculed right out of the school. Move ahead. Stating such a premise in public nowadays would put you in danger of being shunned, if not stoned.

I go on.

When my wife became pregnant with our first child and we were not ready, we considered abortion. But because our upbringing and the world around us told us it was murder, we passed. Now, if you were to state that abortion is murder in a public arena, you would be labeled an ultra-conservative right-wing nut.

Can I give you another one?

“Marijuana is a dangerous drug.” I grew up with that conviction. But just the other day I discovered that fifty-eight percent of the country now contend that it should be legalized. How “backwoods-bumpkin” would you look to disagree?

And finally, throughout my childhood and even my young adult years, it was common knowledge that homosexuality was abnormal. Move ahead a couple of decades. Such an assertion would be met with violent opposition and you certainly should be prepared to be ostracized.

It reminds me of the question that a governor once asked a convicted felon right before his execution. His name was Pilate and he said, “What is truth?”

Is truth what is best for human beings, or what is easiest to sell to the masses? It may take a generation that decides to discuss and learn what is functional instead of getting up in arms over their cause to finally arrive at what works for the human family.

Who knows? Maybe sixty years from now.