Civil

Civil: (adj) courteous and polite.

Civil is what you end up with when you can’t convince people to be kind but you’ve talked them out of being assholes.

The possibility of showing mercy seems weak to them, but they would like to escape the “old man” or “old woman” profile of grumpy.

Now, there’s an aspiration.

Stop judging people because they’re not nice.

Stop judging people because they’re not nice enough.

Here’s an idea: stop judging people.

Instead, look for reasonable acts of civility. Don’t demand kindness. Maybe that’s just a profile reserved for saints. What we’re looking for is civility. Civility is the presence of a realization with a threat hanging over it. Simply stated:

“You can have what you want as long as you let everybody else have what they want. The minute you don’t let other people have what they want, you cease to have what you want.”

As long as our “wanter” is not killing people, stealing or destroying, it should be taken into consideration and given equal place with the “wanters” of others.

This is called civil.

It’s a decision to refuse to overlord (since you’re not really a god in the first place.)

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Cinder

Cinder: (n) a small piece of partly burned coal or wood that has stopped giving off flames

I really did not want to complain, even though I was quite capable of doing so.

After all, I was just a kid. If you tell a kid he’s complaining, he’ll explain that you never listen to him, and he’s “sharing his feelings” as you snuff them.

Here’s my story:

One day at church camp one of the more energetic counselors decided we should take a hike through the woods. He had sought out a trail and measured it at 1.2
miles. His contention was that “anybody should be able to do that.”

I apparently had not joined the “anybody family”–not even related. I had chubby legs that moved slower, reluctant to leave space between my sole and the ground.

On top of that, we could not have been more than twenty yards into the trip when my right foot started to hurt. I apparently was grimacing in some pain, because the zealous counselor came back and told me I needed to step up the pace–otherwise there was a danger the other kids would start making fun of me, and even though he would hate for me to be bullied, he did not know what would happen once the lights went out in the cabins.

Not knowing what that meant but sufficiently alarmed, I soldiered on. Every step hurt.

When we finally arrived at camp after the 1.2 miles, I had broken out in a sweat, was ready to pee my pants and fell to the ground like a sack of rotten potatoes.

I reached down, took off my sneaker (which is what we called them back then) and a tiny pebble-like substance fell out of my shoe. Apparently the night before, when we were sitting around the campfire and I removed my shoes to warm my feet by the flames, I had acquired a cinder in my footwear.

I had walked 1.2 miles on that cinder, leaving a sore spot which upon further inspection, was bleeding.

I did not try to make anyone feel bad, but the counselor did that all on his own.

All I remember is that I was required to put my foot up on a pillow during Vespers and the counselor, who was dwelling in a wilderness of guilt, toasted all my marshmallows and brought them to me. (He got a little grumpy when I complained they were not cooked all the way through, but got over it.)

Even today I have to remind myself that people who have a crooked walk, or have difficulty being what I would consider “righteous,” may be overcoming cinders of burnt-out experiences that I can’t even imagine.

 

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Bagpipes

Bagpipes: (n) a musical instrument with reed pipes, esp. associated with ScotlandDictionary B

I have yet to figure out how to be nice and honest at the same time.

  • The pursuit of nice is essential to the human race–otherwise we will constantly be on the verge of grumpy, lending itself to war.
  • The quest for honesty is equally as important, or we will be labeled as deceptive or openly proclaimed a liar.
  • The trick is in blending the two.

Case in point: traveling on the road, playing an instrument and performing always, after the show, tends to draw individuals to me who are also aspiring artisans.

On one such occasion, a gentleman walked up and said that he had played his instrument for twenty-five years. I admired him for longevity of his craft.

He said to me, “Would you like to hear my instrument? It’s just out in the trunk.”

I should have come up with a quick excuse to escape the moment by pleading some form of busy activity. but I got cornered by my own lack of response and replied, “Well, I’ve got a few minutes…”

He disappeared and shortly came back in–carrying bagpipes.

My skin actually crawled. (I realized that this is not just a saying but an actual physical condition.)

For the next twenty minutes I received not only a concert, but instruction on correct ways to breathe and squeeze, in order to become an accomplished bagpipesman.

I did not have the heart to tell this man that bagpipes give me the creeps. Even during the traditional use of them, playing Amazing Grace at a funeral, I often find myself thinking, “Was there no flute available?”

But in my desire to be nice, I ended up being dishonest, which placed upon me the burden of appearing interested.

Fortunately, he finally disengaged himself because he was too busy to continue the lesson. He apologized for his necessary departure.

I do not know if I will ever be able to balance the quality of cordiality with the action of truthfulness, but I can guarantee you that I will never allow myself to be trapped in a room again…with a set of bagpipes.Donate Button

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Appreciate

dictionary with letter A

Appreciate (v): 1. to recognize the full worth of. 2. to understand (a situation) fully; recognize the full implications of.

I appreciate life being a blank canvas, allowing me the chance to paint.

I appreciate second chances, which are offered as long as I admit I screwed up the first one.

I appreciate friends who are well-practiced at knowing when to interfere in my life.

I appreciate grace given to me because I have shown mercy.

I appreciate a sense of humor which is able to cover a multitude of stupidities.

I appreciate that I am debtor to others so I don’t become obnoxiously self-sufficient.

I appreciate ignorance so I can value knowledge.

I appreciate the time I’ve been given, never assuming it has to be one minute more.

I appreciate that being wrong is even more powerful than being right, because it gives me the chance to be legitimately humble instead of falsely arrogant.

I appreciate that the rain falls on the earth without my consent, permission or consultation.

I appreciate that there’s something bigger than me so that I learn not to despise small beginnings.

I appreciate appreciation. Without it, I grow too quickly grumpy and old.

 

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Append

dictionary with letter A

Append (v.): to add to the end of a document or piece of writing.

Much truth comes out through silliness.

I have found this to be very accurate and on point.

When we’re unable to speak our feelings clearly, we often cast to the wind a sideways remark, later insisting that we were “just kidding.”

For instance, certainly the people who wrote the books of the Bible had no comprehension that thousands of years later, souls would be poring over their thoughts, seeking eternal insights for their internal workings. If they had, they probably would have added an “append” at the end, or a P.S. which read, “By the way, when I wrote Chapters 4-7, I was grumpy and suffering from indigestion” or, “Just kidding.”

Likewise, the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention knew almost immediately that they had left out some very important ideas, so they added a ten-point “append,” which we now refer to as the Bill of Rights. (Also some of them from the Northern colonies probably wanted to take their quills and jot down an apology to the black race for the three-fifths assessment of their value.)

There isn’t anything I write each day in my columns and blogs that I would want to become everlasting “gospel” for humankind. Maybe I should close with T.I.C. (Tongue In Cheek). So I reserve the right to append all of my pennings almost immediately.

If we really believe that documents are divinely inspired, then we must clarify by saying that they are not divinely scrawled. Even in the process of inspiration flowing through the human being, it picks up some trash, ignorance and dirt along the way.

The truly intelligent reader of great manuscripts must possess the discernment of the spirit which inspired them.

  • So I listen to Beethoven not to worship his talent, but to appreciate the creativity and the frailty which make it human.
  • I read Thomas Jefferson knowing that he had higher ideals than his morals could acquire.
  • And I study Moses and the Apostle Paul from the Good Book, understanding that the yearning they had to be universal was somewhat stalled by their sheep-herder and tent-maker mentalities.

It doesn’t limit the beauty.

It just brings focus to it.

 

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Antiquated

dictionary with letter AAntiquated: (adj) old-fashioned or out-dated.

I have never drunk alcoholic beverages nor viewed pornography.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t taken fluids into my body nor that I haven’t pleasurably released them.

It just means that I don’t like substitutes.

That’s what I think about alcohol, pornography, drug use, profanity and any number of imitators of joy, which fail to deliver the true impact of the experience.

Of course, my tee-totaling and puritanical attitudes are viewed as antiquated in this era of libertarian domination.

Old-fashioned it is, my friend.

But see, what I find antiquated is the assertion that after thousands of years of pursuing carnal futility, we still persist in advertising actions, vices, and practices that leave us, in the end, deserted and unfulfilled.

  • Why is it antiquated to try to find inebriation in life instead of a decanter?
  • Why is it antiquated to have a real flesh-and-blood lover instead of one darting across a computer screen?
  • Why is it old-fashioned to want to inhale the beauty of nature and life instead of the smoke from one plant?
  • What makes this so meaningless?

I am very suspicious of those who want me to give up some aspect of my choice and freedom in order to attain a more expansive expression.

I like being free.

It’s why, after all these years, I continue to battle obesity, even though the deck is stacked against me and it seems that I am no longer able to bluff with a poker face.

The absence of dependence is the presence of independence.

I don’t think it’s antiquated to want to be free.

I don’t think it’s old-fashioned to believe in life.

And I don’t think it makes me a grumpy old man to tell you that I, for one, am not going to bottle up my feelings and then try to find the answer … in a bottle.

 

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Allude

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Allude: (v) suggest or call attention to; to hint at

I don’t think there are a whole lot of things that frustrate and aggravate me to the point that I become a cantankerous old fool. Maybe I’m too prideful, but I think I’ve overcome getting upset over simple inconveniences.

But I will tell you–I absolutely hate it when people try to hint or allude to what they want instead of coming right out and asking for it.

Matter of fact, one of my sons, in his early years, had the history of doing this practice so much that whenever we get together we joke about it. When he was in high school, if he came in the room and I was eating ice cream, he would start by questioning me about the flavor or comment on how “lovely it appeared in the bowl.”

Obviously, he wanted some. But because it pissed me off that he was alluding to asking for ice cream, I played stupid and pretended I didn’t understand–which made him allude even more.

Having counseled many married couples over the years, I will tell you that the most common reason for the demise of a relationship is when people begin to believe that they have asked for something, but never really did. Just hinted at it, and assumed their partner picked up on the points.

  • There’s something powerful about the spiritual notion of “ask and ye shall receive.”
  • How about this one? “You don’t have it because you haven’t asked for it.”
  • Or a third: “Enter boldly and make your requests known.”

I don’t know whether we’re afraid of hearing a no, or if we just think we come across humble when we skirt the issue, trying to make it someone else’s idea to be generous.

But in the long run, human beings admire clean much more than they do the little escapades we attempt in order to avoid the simple process of making a request.

If you’re ever around me, don’t allude. It turns me into my mother and father … who could occasionally be of the grumpy sort.