Complacent

Complacent: (adj) showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements

Sometimes we forget the Earth is still evolving.

Because it doesn’t go on television, shout and scream, nor advertise itself unashamedly on the Internet, we believe that the Earth did its Darwin thing and decided to settle down somewhere near Naples, Florida, for a good, well-deserved retirement.

But the truth of the matter is, the Earth may be old in years, but it is constantly going through its “terrible twos.” It is a demanding toddler, requiring our funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cattention–otherwise it starts breaking things.

So even though the word “complacent” is normally considered to represent a negative emotion, connoting that one does not care, a bit of complacency is in order so we don’t come across thinking we are in charge.

I, for one, am complacent on the weather.

I know how to buy gear for the various threats and precipitation, so rather than studying it, cursing it or attempting to pray it away, I allow my emotions and soul to develop a needful numbness with a twinge of gratitude.

I am complacent on race.

Since it doesn’t make any difference and it’s foolish to talk about it, I will play like I’m mentally challenged when it’s brough up in front of me, because I don’t want to accidentally pop off something from my erroneous training, nor foolishly present myself as Mr. Universal.

Other areas where I’m complacent:

  • Gay rights
  • Abortion
  • Heaven
  • Hell
  • Chauvinism
  • And rising prices at the grocery store

Since most of these things do not affect me–and if they do affect me, they are completely beyond my control–any fretting, opinions or stomping on my part will be useless.

There is a wonderful phrase which I often remind myself of whenever I’m tempted to be engaged: “Be still and know that I am God.”

If there is a Being named God, and He has created a Universe, my stirrings are comical at best, and at worst, aggravating.

 

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Competition

Competition: (n) the activity or condition of competing.

“There is no competition between us,” she said with a smile.

And then we sat around the room trying to answer Jeopardy! questions. As the moments passed, the intensity of her responses increased, with evidence of a bit of froth at her mouth.

Of course–we’re all in competition.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

If we’re not competing for money, we’re competing for parking spaces.

As children we compete for the affection of our parents.

Sometimes we even stand in line at the grocery store and check to see if our tally is more impressive than the person before us.

Life may not be a competition, but in the process of living it, we develop a strong need to compete.

Some people call it greed or avarice.

Others deem it motivation.

I think it’s just quicker to call it human.

 

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Circus

Circus: (n) a traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent

I’m about to break one of my own cardinal rules when it comes to writing.

I don’t mention too many “pop culture” references from the past because they’re irrelevant to the majority of the people who read my blogs.
. But when I saw the word “circus,” my mind went to only one place.

When I was a kid I was portly. (Now, this is a “grandma word” used to describe a fat boy.)

I fell in love with a TV show called “Circus Boy.” I can’t tell you much about it but there was a little kid just my age, with blond hair just like mine, blue eyes–the same–and he was part of a circus. He walked around wearing an adorable hat which might cause the worst cynic to beam a smile.

I loved that show.

So one day when shopping with my parents, I noticed they were selling a replica of Circus Boy’s hat. Oh, my God–I begged. I pleaded with my parents to get the it for me. It must have been very reasonable because they didn’t quibble.

I never took it off. My greatest joy was that when people saw me in the hat, they often commented, “He looks kinda like Circus Boy.”

It was almost like I was a leper and Jesus had just touched me.

One day I was in the grocery store with my mom and dad and a man and woman came up and the lady said, “Is this your son?”

My mother nodded with pride. Then the lady said it. “You know, he really looks like ‘Circus Boy.'”

I was about to explode with a huge smile and share with her that “Circus Boy” was my favorite show on TV when the man piped in, “Yeah, kind of. Except he’s fat.”

The earth stood still.

I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t look in any direction without seeing human beings who needed to be far away from me at that moment.

I turned on my heel and ran out of the store, wedging myself against the back of a Coke machine in a corner, crying.

You see, the guy wasn’t mean. Just matter-of-fact.

It was such “matter-of-fact” that even I knew it was true.

To this day, “circus” brings up “Circus Boy,” which stirs a memory of my fondness for the show, circulating images of the hat I wore, pretending–but deep in my heart, knowing I couldn’t be him.

I was too … portly.

 

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Circulate

Circulate: (v) to pass or cause to pass from place to place or person to person.

I have recently been accused of being anti-social.

The diagnosis was offered because I failed to attend a party. It was assumed that anyone who didn’t want to come to this social adventure
had to be out of his or her mind.

I was supposed to come and circulate among people whom I have known for years, and read about ever-too-frequently on my Facebook page. As a matter of fact, I know so much about these folks that I could probably write personal bios for them.

But they were convinced that I had sunk into some sort of despair because I wasn’t going to come and hear the same old stories while partaking of a dip with only subtle new inclusions.

I do need to circulate–but I need to do it among people who are not necessarily related to me or benefit from me personally or financially.

A great man once said that if you only love those who love you, what in the hell is so special about that?

For instance, I just came back from the grocery store. I encountered at least twenty-five people I have never met before.

I circulated.

I conversed.

I opened up my heart to the possibility that these were good folks and I would benefit from the exchanges. I suspect about half of them thought I was crazy for being so talkative. But the other half took a risk, jumped in and, well…circulated.

We do not circulate when we only hang around those who resemble us or are friends because we buy presents for them on birthdays or Christmas.

We circulate when we allow the blood of human relationship to mingle among castes, races, genders and ideologies.

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Cereal

Cereal: (n) a breakfast food made from roasted grain

When I was a child, I ate as a child. Now that I’ve become a man, I’ve put away good taste.

As a boy, breakfast was sweet cereal. I had many favorites. My choices were layered–there were those cereals I begged for at the grocery
store, but my mom refused to buy because they were too expensive (though she insisted it was because of the sugar content).

I ate those varieties when I stayed overnight at my friends’ house. For the record, Lucky Charms were magically delicious. And if you’re going to spend some time with Captain Crunch, make sure he’s peanut butter flavored.

Then there were the cereals my mother would buy, which were sweet enough for me to be tantalized. Sugar Smacks. And one of my personal favorites–Honeycomb, which I would describe as very sweet air.

But my mother preferred Raisin Bran, Puffed Wheat (because it was cheap) and Life cereal.

I remember throwing a tantrum for nearly fifteen minutes because I was required to consume a bowl of Life cereal. I explained to my mother that there was something wrong with the concoction–that it tasted rotten, fermented, or maybe even poisoned. She disagreed, citing Good Housekeeping’s approval.

Then one day–oh, and it was sudden–I woke up and became an adult, and started considering the nastiness of nutrition.

No one has actually proven that fiber, vitamins, minerals or oat bran actually lengthen your life. Perhaps it just makes you feel like you live longer. But now I check the fiber on the side of the cereal box instead of whether there’s a prize inside.

Something is missing.

Something is amiss.

I miss something.

 

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Butcher

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Butcher: (adj.) a person whose trade is cutting up and selling meat in a shop

Growing up in Central Ohio, it never occurred to me that I was surrounded by German immigrants. The last names of my friends should have been tell-tale–Steinmetz, Moodesbaugh, Ristine–but I took it in stride, as normal.

So when our local butcher was named O’Dell (which was his first name) it didn’t even register on my young mind that this was unusual.

First of all the whole idea of having a butcher is relatively uncommon–except I guess some large grocery stores have sections where somebody dons a white cap and does a good imitation.

But O’Dell was a character. He hawked his meat to everyone who came into the little shop with great aplomb and grace. He was famous for his ham loaves. The ingredients were, of course, a secret. (I don’t know whether that’s because there were mysterious spices or perhaps unknown meats.)

But what he was most famous for was grinding his own hamburger–and then to prove it was really fresh, he would reach in, grab a small pinch, roll it into a ball, throw it in the air and let it land in his mouth, consuming it raw.

I don’t know how many times a day O’Dell did this. But certainly enough that he got a gut full of raw cow.

Unfortunately, about twenty years later, O’Dell got stomach cancer and died. Now I’m not saying this happened because he ate raw hamburger.

But it does give me pause … and has prevented me from ever indulging in uncooked meat of any type.

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