Corner

Corner: (n) the place at which two converging lines or surfaces meet.

Jerry was my friend. His dad was a conservative preacher who refused to own a television.

Jerry didn’t share his father’s convictions. When he was around his papa he was as silent as a mouse, and as soon as he walked out of the door of his home he turned into a roaring lion.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He was fun.

But even though I was just a kid myself, I knew there was something a little bit mixed up with Jerry. There was a hidden rage which was not very well disguised. It was like a box sticking out from under your bed that you thought was put away, but everybody knew there was something beneath.

Jerry got angry easily. Matter of fact, one night we were at my house and went into the garage. We found a possum next to our freezer. (I share this with you because it was unusual. If we normally had possums next to our freezer, I would have left it out of the tale.)

The possum was a little surprised to see us. It acted like it was pursuing a normal routine and we had interrupted the process. It gave a quick snarl in our direction. It was enough to convince me to get the hell out of the way. If you’ve never seen a possum up close, it’s ugly enough to avoid without the snarl, but if you put a growl with it… Well, I was ready to head to the next county.

But not Jerry.

Jerry seemed upset that the possum had dared to emit disapproval. He ran over to a shelf in the garage and picked up a hammer. I know I probably should have said something, but honestly, it was my first time being in a garage with a man who was going to attack a possum.

The possum scurried over into the corner of the garage.

Bad maneuver—now it was trapped. It was either going to have to fight its way out, or it was going to face whatever verdict Jerry had chosen for it.

Jerry changed right in front of my eyes. He was breathing heavily, standing with his legs spread, hammer over his head, eyes bulging—and it became obvious to me that he planned on attacking the creature.

I did finally gain speech. “Jerry, let it go. We’ll just leave the door open and it’ll scurry away.”

Excellent advice—especially coming from a teenager whose frontal lobe was not yet complete.

Jerry did not hear a word I said. He was ready to “kill possum.”

He moved closer. The possum snarled even more ferociously.

And even though I liked Jerry, when I heard that possum, I got the hell out of there. So peeking through the window from outside the garage I watched as Jerry grasped the hammer tightly.

One, two, five, ten…twenty blows. With all his strength, he killed that possum.

I don’t think Jerry had anything personal against the possum. Jerry’s outburst was coming from somewhere else.

When he was done, he backed up, panting, with the bloody hammer in his hand.

As I slowly walked back into the garage he spoke, “I got the goddamn motherfucking thing.”

I was completely shocked, I had never seen anyone kill a possum. Matter of fact, I had never encountered a pissed-off possum. And I sure had never seen Jerry so out of control or heard him spew such profanity.

About that time, my mother arrived, came into the garage, looked into the corner and saw what remained of the smashed possum. She gazed carefully at Jerry, who was still clutching his weapon.

Honestly, my mother was not a sensitive or intuitive person, but in that moment, she knew that Jerry was not all right.

She put her hand on his shoulder, gradually reached over and took the hammer away, and then cupped her hands around his face and said, “Good job, Jerry. Why don’t you two boys go bury the possum while I clean up the corner?”

So we did.

We walked about a quarter of a mile down the road to the railroad tracks. Nothing was said. It was so quiet I could hear the shovel strike against the ground as we drug it along.

We dug a hole and buried the flattened creature beneath it and covered it up.

When we were done, Jerry returned to being Jerry.

That day I learned a very valuable lesson.

If you corner any of God’s creatures—and that includes the human variety—they will fuss, spit, growl and even snarl at you. At that point you have to decide whether you’re going to walk away or if you’re going to destroy them.

Let me tell you—there are a lot of “Jerrys” in the world.


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Blueprint

Blueprint: (n) a design plan or other technical drawing.

Dictionary BI don’t often take time with this particular essay to discuss current events or natural happenings. It’s really more a primer on what is primary.

But I find myself in an interesting dilemma.

I have set a blueprint for my life, my work, my mission, my writing and my sharing with humanity–to stay away from politics. To me, politics is taking what might be a good idea and hammering on it until it’s pleasing to as many people as possible.

But in this particular political season, I am stymied.

My blueprint is threatened.

For if I talk about kindness, courtesy, gentleness and tolerance, it will appear to my reader that I am preaching against Donald Trump.

On the other hand, if I write an essay on honesty, being forthcoming, freshness of ideas or even gaining the acumen of using the Internet and email–doggone it, it would appear that I’m striking out against Hillary Clinton.

So I find myself squeezed like a tube of toothpaste which should have been replaced four days ago.

When you can’t speak a virtue without attacking one or the other candidate, what you have is a commentary on the lack of virtue in our candidates.

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Arduous

dictionary with letter A

Arduous: (adj) involving or requiring strenuous effort.

Are you ready?

I’m gonna pitch you a movie idea.

Fade in:

Man wakes up in the morning, discovers he doesn’t have a razor to shave his beard. Rather than complain to his wife or go out into the world unshorn, he gingerly reaches into the shower, removing his wife’s Lady Bic, peering around the room cautiously to make sure he’s not observed.

He slathers his face with shaving cream and carefully runs the precious object across his face, freeing himself of jungle fuzz. He rinses the borrowed object with great intensity, placing it back into the shower, smiling into the mirror as he splashes his face with his favorite cologne, turning and heading out the door with a smile.

What do you think? Are you ready to invest?

Of course not.

No one would make this movie, because it is a tale of a human being finding a way to work things out without becoming exasperated, frenzied or completely debilitated by circumstance.

Somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that if our lives are not filled with arduous tasks, then we’re really not grown-up and we haven’t proven our mettle. With that desire to appear mature, we’ve taken things that should be simple and made them as painful as possible, whether politics, business, family life or religion. The more hot coals we can walk over, the more we are convinced of achievement.

If there is a line being formed by those who are looking for less arduous ways to approach life, I would like to get into it.

I’m never proud of myself when I become exasperated. I don’t feel manly swearing at traffic or frustrated because my hammer decided to hit my thumb instead of the nail. Cursing doesn’t strike me as a sign of strength, but rather, evidence of the little child that failed to die sometime after puberty.

There may be arduous tasks. Most of them are not what we perceive them to be.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself, or anyone else, is having a mechanism in your soul which sucks up problems that seem insurmountable … and spits out simplicity.

 

 

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Apparatus

dictionary with letter A

Apparatus (n.) 1. the equipment needed for a particular activity or purpose. 2. a complex structure within an organization: the apparatus of government.

Did you read the definition??

There’s that horrible word which is plaguing our society, leaving us bewildered and baffled as to what to do next.

“Complex.”

There are folks who enjoy complexity. It makes them feel they are problem-solvers and more intelligent than their competition, or worse, that they have the inside track on how something or other works.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever used the word “apparatus.” To me, it conjures a vision of going to a store and asking for a specific mechanism which is only suited for one particular compartmentalized purpose.

I am incapable of this.

If the apparatus is that special, it really requires a qualified technician.

I learned a long time ago–just because I know what’s wrong and maybe even what needs to be done, it does not authorize me to be the doer.

Just because I know how to screw up my life does not mean I don’t need help to get it screwed back down.

And when it comes to matters of fixing things, repair, or even everyday tasks, I only implement three simple tools: a hammer, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.

If for some reason, the task before me cannot be addressed with one of these tools, I need a professional to bring in an apparatus.

I’m even in a bit of terror when I use a plunger on a toilet. Why? Because after my work is complete and I’ve “plunged in,” as it were, then I have to flush it, and will find out if my labor was in vain.

Scary shit.

Literally.

So if you don’t mind, I don’t need an apparatus.

I will be willing to stand back and pay a craftsman to complete the repair … instead of having me create the need for more repair.

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