Curveball

Curveball: (n) a pitch thrown with a strong downward spin

If I tell you it was his favorite phrase, I do not want you to assume he said it all the time.

But whenever he found himself in a predicament, an unusual situation or a circumstance not to his liking, he would utter:

“You threw me a real curveball.”

He was the minister of my hometown church—normally h just an average fellow. Occasionally, in the pulpit he became verbose, excitable and perhaps even profound. But once he took the few steps down from the Holy Desk, he was just a typical sort.

Except for the fact that he absolutely hated any form of transition.

Even when that change was for the better.

Once we were getting ready to go on a church picnic, and one of the ladies arrived late to line up her car in the caravan to the park. Pastor Fussy became distraught. When she explained that she was delayed because the owner of the IGA Grocery heard the church was having a picnic and offered a free ten-pound slicing ham for the festivities, the shepherd of our flock still grumbled, “Well, it would have been nice if he had done it yesterday.”

We must understand why the curveball came to be.

It is a pitch, if executed correctly, that causes the batter to reach for the ball before swinging. It doesn’t always strike him out—but if he does make contact with the ball, normally the hit will be a grounder and easily retrieved for an out.

I suppose at this point that I should tell you that life is full of curveballs. You might anticipate that I’ll make an analogy about how we should all be ready for the curveballs, and not swing and miss or get grounded out.

But actually, curveballs are unusual.

They’re not easy to throw.

They rarely stay in the strike zone.

So a good pitcher saves them up for the right moment.

I will say the same thing about our lives. We don’t spend our time preparing for curveballs—that would make anybody grouchy.

Matter of fact, I heard one batter say, “A curveball is so rare and hard to hit that when it comes my way, I step back to see what it does instead of messing with it.”

Here, here. May we all learn from that.

Preparing for disasters may be the easiest way to welcome one.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crotchety

Crotchety: (adj) given to odd notions, whims, grouchiness, etc.

There are three words that seem to travel together. Buddies, if you will.

I don’t think you can see “crochety” without the word “old” hanging around, accompanied in the back seat by the word “man.”

Crochety old man.

Women aren’t crochety—women are bitchy.

Men, on the other hand, get a “cushioney” word, perhaps pulled out of a hat owned by Charles Dickens: “’Tis crochety, old boy.”

Also, men are old. Women, on the other hand, are decrepit.

At least with the word “old” you have the possibility of “wisdom” traveling alongside. But decrepit immediately conjures a vision of an old witch with a fondness for dining on the carcasses of little children.

The gentleman in the story gets the advantage of maintaining the word “man” to describe him, while the woman would be a hag.

So if you have a penis, you get to be a “crochety old man.”

Absent that appendage, you are a “bitchy, decrepit hag.”

After all, what does it mean to be crochety? It means that nothing is going your way anymore because your way is so old it’s covered with dust.

What can one do to age and still be a person who isn’t crochety?

I think there is a three-step process, whether you’re male or female:

  1. Shut up.

No one wants to hear all your stories.

  1. Listen.

And as you do, learn some of the lingo so you don’t talk like you came out of a 1970’s movie.

  1. Think funny things, think serious things—share the funny ones.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Cranky

Cranky: (adj) ill-tempered; grouchy; cross 

A Conversation

She: I was wondering if you were ready to write the blogs.

Me: Wouldn’t I tell you if I was ready?

She: Yes, but I just thought I would ask so I could get…well, get my things together.

Me: Yes. There you go. Why don’t you get your things together?

She: You don’t need to be cranky.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Me: I’m not cranky.

She: What would you call it?

Me: How about, “Not in the mood for any nonsense?”

She: Isn’t that a definition for cranky?

Me: No, cranky is when you’re just feeling sullen or put out and decide to dump your attitude on everybody around you.

She:  So, me asking you if you’re ready to type your blogs and you barking back at me is not dumping?

Me: No. It’s a warning.

She: What are you warning me about?

Me: I’m warning you that I’m not in the mood for nonsense.

She: So nonsense is asking you if you’re ready to type the blogs in a nice voice because I want to get ready to do so?

Me: Now you’re making me cranky.

She: Why is that?

Me: You’re taking my normal reaction and blowing it out of proportion because you are in the mood to be easily offended. There you go. Another definition for cranky. “In a mood to be easily offended.”

She: So what you’re saying is that because I asked you a question and you responded coldly, that I apparently arrived in a mood to be affronted by anything that was going to be spoken my way.

Me: Now you’ve got it.

She: Thank you for clearing up cranky for me.


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Coprecipitate

Coprecipitate: (v) to cause to precipitate together.

I am going to the store. I will invite a good mood.

I am on my way to work. Play my favorite rock song.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night. Plan and look forward to my nap.

Family is crashing in for a visit. Organize with activities outside the house, which don’t require tense conversation.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I am going to vote. Try to pick the best candidate.

I’m going to take a shower. Spend thirty-five seconds letting the hot water run on the back of my neck.

My wife is grouchy. A good occasion to spend some quiet time together.

I am going to church. Make a decision to be nice to someone on the way.

I am going to be lecturing. Mingle it with learning.

I’m going to a very serious event. Never underestimate the power of unexpected laughter.

I just got really offended. Don’t post anything on social media.

I put on some weight. Pick one food and don’t eat it for a week (broccoli doesn’t count).

I am a person of faith. Back it up with some works.

Actions do coprecipitate each other—simply because they don’t exist without including that close friend.


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Connection

Connection: (n) a linking relationship

I have a heart that’s full of emotion. Every time I deny this, I feel sick.

I have a soul that’s rich with God. Ignoring this makes me grouchy.

I have a brain which is peppered with notions. Setting them to the side causes me to seem erratic, lacking focus.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I have a body that wants to be healthy. Damn well better listen.

I am connected. These parts are connected.

My heart needs a soul to seek the comfort of divine reassurance, so when I renew my mind I can come up with inspirational possibilities, causing my body to do great things.

When I meet you, all four of these kick into gear. Sometimes I smile when people say “we had an emotional connection.” Or, “it was like we were mental twins.”

I just don’t believe that.

Every person I’ve ever been spiritually enlivened by also caused my physical body to become erect.

All the humans who touched my emotions initiated my brain to think of ways to enjoy them more and bless them fully.

We are humans–we connect. When we don’t, we become insincere and phony, quietly hating ourselves and making other people avoid us.

 

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Codger

Codger: (adj) an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric.

It is not because I keep piling up birthdays–nor that there seems to be a new wrinkle in my countenance.

No, it is the fact that I believe that “codger” is not based on age. Instead, it’s a disposition.

Going through the store the other day, I noticed a fellow–no more than twenty-five years old–who was with his wife and little daughter.

He trudged.

I’m sure he didn’t need to. I’m quite positive that his legs were still filled with lots of power. But somewhere along the line, he convinced himself to adopt the profile of the masses when it comes to everyday living.

I describe that condition as a perpetual visual and emotional proclamation of, “It’s too much.”

  • It’s too much debt.
  • It’s too much crime.
  • It’s too much trouble with the kids.
  • It’s too much argument with my spouse.
  • It’s too much pressure on the job.

Once convinced of this, any individual–at any age–becomes a grouchy codger.

He or she spews the venom of a sour soul, giving up on the possibility of the possible–checking out, absolutely certain that there’s no need to check in.

Now, I will grant you that many old people have also donned this persona in honor of their ancestors, simply to prove they were no better nor worse than their predecessors.

But it seems to me that it keeps starting younger and younger, and considering the fact that we seem to be living longer and longer, it certainly might make for an awfully dreary lifespan.

If you want to keep from being a codger, you have to use both eyes and ears:

One eye on what’s going on, and one eye on the blessing that might be coming your way.

One ear on the complaints that surround you, and the other listening intently for the song of hope.

 

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Chasten

Chasten: (v) to reprove

There are things that work and there are things that don’t.

Perhaps one of the most misleading ideas promoted in our society is the notion that a thousand paths lead to the same singular destination.
This has caused us to believe that we can ignore the wisdom of time and forge our own thoroughfare–and as long as we get “somewhere near it,” we’ve done a good thing by being independent.

Independence is over-rated. More often than not, it’s permission to fail instead of succeed–because leaving the sanctity of good counsel to prove your autonomy usually comes with a bundle of extra problems which have to be explained away later, as you cautiously tout your victory.

But let’s make three things clear:

1. Complaining is not chastening.

Human beings should not have to endure the incessant repetition of a grouchy spirit hounding them over their actions.

2. Assuming is not chastening.

Trying to take on the profile of “the gentle soul” who innocently assumes everyone knows the truth of the matter is often useless and can be vindictive if the silence causes another soul pain.

3. Prejudice is not chastening.

Asking a black man to hold his tongue because he’s “the son of Cain” and therefore not as worthy as white people is not a rebuke granting growth, but instead, instilling inferiority and fear.

Chastening is understanding what needs to be done–seeing that someone has taken a faulty turn and correcting him or her before the misstep turns into a tumble.

It must always be done in love, it must always be done quickly, and it must always be drenched in mercy and grace.

 

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