Croak: (slang) to die.

There is a general reluctance among the populace to admit to things deemed frailties.

I believe lots of individuals would cautiously, but freely, be tagged as “sex addicts.” Or if someone attributed the fault of “over-talented” to them, they would sheepishly hang their head but allow the assertion to remain unchallenged.

Yet I suspect a good number of human beings would be offended to accept the term “hypochondriac” if attributed to them.

Even when you’re in the presence of an admitted hypochondriac, he or she will insist that you are ill-informed and have not read up on their mysterious, unknown or unproven condition.

So I am going to step out and tell you that for most of my life I have battled being a hypochondriac.

From the time I was a nine-year-old boy, frightened to go to sleep because I thought I might swallow my tongue, to my early twenties, when I was trying to stay awake driving, and overdosed on the caffeine in No-Doze, and had to go to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack, to any myriad of symptoms that might stumble my way, I am frighteningly susceptible to dwelling on them longer than they deserve.

As a father of young sons, I occasionally yelled at my children for getting colds—not because I was concerned about the pain they were experiencing or the discomfort of runny noses. No, I was just pissed because I was afraid I would get their cold, too.

I am not happy to report this to you, but if you spend all of your life wondering when you’re going to croak, then, in that brief season when it actually happens, you will be quite disappointed that you squandered the non-dying time.

I realize this.

I never thought I would live as long as I have.

So rather than wondering whether I’m going to live a lot longer, I have chosen to believe that I’m on borrowed time. In other words, “playing with house money.”

This makes me happy.

Because as exciting as it is to be alive, there is an extra thrill in knowing that by the grace of God, you’re cheating death.


funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Coach: (n) a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team

The same tenacity and grit which is necessary to make one successful can just as easily be used to commence a life of crime.

This is the difficulty the adults in our lives face when they train us, and of course, coach us.

They certainly know that initiative, spunk and creativity are essential for forming the building blocks of a prosperous lifestyle. Yet in the moment, these particular attributes, especially when spoken from the nasally nastiness of adolescence, can be obnoxious.

So our instructors often have to find out whether our conduct, being sweet and kind, is a foretelling of goodness or brain death–and if our unwanted opinions prophesy greatness or the possibility of time spent “upstate.”

Let me give you an example.

During a football game, when we were losing 48 to nothing, I ran to the sideline and said the following to my coach: “Come on, coach! This defense you put together for us is just not working!”

I was fourteen at the time, and he was probably in his mid-twenties, trying desperately to survive the humiliation of being drummed by his rival on this field of debauchery.

I noticed that my coach’s face began to twitch. His eyes expanded. The veins in his head popped out, and his countenance became crimson as he slowly said, “Please sit down. Our defense is fine.”

I noticed that he avoided me for the rest of the game, as I avoided many tackles.

Fortunately, he did not personally address my inadequacies and focus on them because of my snippy, snarky comment. He restrained himself, and therefore, I believe I grew up using my precocious nature for good instead of joining forces with the villains to destroy Batman.

It’s not easy being a coach. You don’t always win, but end up stuck with your team, no matter what the score. You can’t blame them or you look like an idiot. You can’t accuse the referees or you appear to be a sore loser.

All you can do is teach what you know, and hope, by the grace of God, it’s enough.



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j-r-practix-with-border-2Boy: (n) a male child or young man.

The ultrasound.

It’s when the doctor or nurse tells the parents whether they’re going to have a boy or a girl.

How is it determined?

The boy has a penis, the girl doesn’t.

It is an effective way of confirming sexuality before birth.Dictionary B

Yet it is a terrible way of illuminating humanity after birth.

For you see, we begin to do additional ultrasounds on our children throughout their upbringing.

  • Are they playing with the right toys?
  • Are the young men rough and tumble and the girls feminine and meek?
  • Are they crossing lines which connote there may be some ambiguity?

We silently push all of our children toward sexual stereotypes instead of trying to allow them to become human beings.

It is my contention that the penis and the vagina will find each other without us turning it into a cultural mandate.

What we should be doing is teaching our children how to be human.

We should be sharing the beauty of cooperation and the power of respect.

We should stop being afraid of blurring the lines between the male and female, and realize that the wall we’ve built betwixt them is the atrocity.

I was born a boy.

I struggled with my manhood, and now, by the grace of God… I am discovering my humanity.

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Ate: (v) past tense of eatdictionary with letter A

“Eating” is not my problem.

“Ate” is my problem.

Merely thinking about eating or sitting down to a table, acquiring a plate, spoon and fork and looking at food, deciding what I’m going to partake of, is all part of the natural process of rejuvenating my body.

Having done that to an excess, stuck with not only unwanted calories but a conscience that seems to have the tenderness of a young Baptist Sunday School girl, becomes a torture to my soul. (I often wonder why that young Baptist little girl doesn’t show up before I eat things, to tell me how I should avoid them instead of arriving to taunt me with my sins of gluttony.)

I’m also accosted by a society that believes it has no responsibility for plumping us all up like Thanksgiving turkeys, to be slaughtered off by a myriad of ax-wielding disorders and diseases.

So I’m forced into a corner where two conflicting spirits are constantly battling over my mortal soul.

The first spirit is what I call the “what the hell” specter. For after all, I’ve survived a long time being fat, and how much extra life span am I going to gain by eating lettuce instead of smoked sausage? And my “what the hell” demon also asks if that extra extension of months or weeks is worth losing the flavor?

Then I have a little tiny spirit, somewhat dwarfed in comparison, who insists that any time I can acquire to extend my creativity and fellowship with humanity is well worth a bit of sacrifice over one plate of food.

It is a battle I occasionally win.

  • Sometimes I can look at what I ate for the day and believe it is normal, or maybe even capable of reducing my girth.
  • Often I can look at what I ate and professionally present to you exactly where I went astray, and tilted the scales–literally–to my detriment.

It is impossible to believe that either my willpower or our society will ever gain the compassion to free me from my obesity.

I have three recourses:

  1. I can try to win, one plate at a time.
  2. Eat my way into an early grave
  3. Or attempt to live off the grace of God…while convincing myself that bacon is healthy.


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dictionary with letter A

Aquiline: (adj) like an eagle, esp. referring to the nose. EX: “hooked like an eagle’s beak.”

It arrives at about age twelve, and hopefully, by the grace of God, disappears on one’s eighteenth birthday. Honestly, it will not disappear if we allow its friends to come and shack up.

“It” is insecurity.

When I was twelve years old, I was convinced of the following:

I believed my nose was aquiline because my dad was German and had a hooked nose. I failed to realize that my mother’s genes were also in there, so my hook was not as pronounced. (I once referred to my nose as a “hooker” until my Aunt Minnie explained that the term was inappropriate.)

I also believed that my lips were very large and that I possibly was the love child of my mother with a black man. (There was no basis for this since there were no black people within thirty miles of our community. But I chose to believe my mother had made some sort of journey.)

I also thought my eyes were crooked, and began to tilt my head to the left to compensate for the poor horizon of my peepers.

Keeping up this craziness was the notion that my B were “pinned to my head,” which I assumed was the sign of some sort of mental retardation.

Moving along, I totally was possessed with the frustration that I had horribly chubby cheeks, so I tried to elongate my face by holding my mouth in the shape of a small “O” all the time.

This insecurity is present in all adolescents, and is only dangerous if it’s allowed to link up with intensity, culminating in a bit of insanity, which in adulthood can lead to plastic surgery, therapy sessions and late-night heart-wrenching honesty with your mate, drenched in tears.

I know we think the answer to this question is to convince people that “we are all beautiful just the way we are.”

But since none of us really believe that deep in our hearts, wouldn’t it be more logical for us to come to the conclusion that we’re all ugly in our own way?


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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alligator: (n) a large semiaquatic reptile similar to a crocodile but with a shorter head, native to the Americas and China.

Sometimes I think my brain is really bizarre–and then my actions confirm it.

When I saw today’s word, “alligator,” for some reason, the old rock-and-roll blues song, Polk Salad Annie, came to mind. Now most of you probably don’t even remember this 1970 tune, but it was sung in a gravelly voice by Tony Joe White, and had one great line, where he enthusiastically piped:

Polk Salad Annie, gator’s got your granny

Chomp, chomp.

Can you beat that? It doesn’t matter if I’m watching a show on Animal Planet, or merely hear the word. This song comes to my mind and I giggle–which of course, makes people stare at me. After all, an alligator crawls out of the swamp to eat flesh.

I also think of what used to be called Alligator Alley in Florida before it became an Interstate. I drove it one time in a very small car called a Fiesta Ghia. As I crept along in my little four-cylinder wonder machine, sitting in the middle of the road was about a four-foot long alligator, who had apparently taken a wrong turn at the last marsh. I tried to go around the gator, but I think he thought my car was small enough for a winnable attack.

So every time I moved, he chased me. I didn’t want to run over him, mainly because the car might have lost the battle.

By the grace of God and all things natural, this creature was suddenly distracted by some other sound or sniff from the nearby creepiness and waddled away. But I have often wondered what might have happened if he hadn’t.

Perhaps: “Gator got my fanny. Chomp, chomp.”