Crumple

Crumple: (v) to give way suddenly; collapse

I love living.

I am downright silly about my enjoyment of breathing.

I am not looking forward to dying.

I am not one of those noble souls who believes I am going to a better place, but instead, have cast my lot in constructing my own “better place” here.

Along with this devotion to inhaling and exhaling comes a certain amount of hypochondria.

It’s true.

I’m not crazy. Nor do I become a nervous wreck about every sneeze or discoloration of a wart.

But I have been known, as a young father, to scream at my children because they caught colds or the stomach flu and were dangerously threatening me with them. On occasion, this reaction has flirted with irrational.

Of late, I have had some good, long talks with myself about refusing to crumple over every little symptom that might temporarily invade my body space.

I am perfectly aware that not every headache is a brain tumor.

Indigestion crops up without foretelling of a heart attack.

And having an occasional bout with bleary eyes due to fatigue does not forewarn of blindness.

You see, I know all these things.

But trying to get my “knower” to make the short journey to my “feeler” is often implausible.

So I am aware that I’m healthy, but I still often try to mimic sick.

On these occasions, I crumple—getting a few tears in my eyes while considering my demise and how sad it will be to those I love, and even mankind as a whole.

It is foolish.

It is childish.

But when I get into one of these crumple fests, it doesn’t help me to know that I’m foolish and childish.

I just need to roll over in the morning, take a deep breath, realize that my lungs are clear, my heart is beating, and God bless America:

“I gots me another day.”

 

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Crop

Crop: (n) the produce from the ground.

As the piercing tones of the political pundits wrangle with one another over decibel level, it never occurs to anyone that the United States of America cannot be compared to any other place, because unlike these other locations, this nation has a heart, a soul, a mind and a body.

Without understanding this, you begin to believe that you can nurture the mind of America while ignoring the heart, soul and body—or foolishly believe that you can honor the soul and ignore the other parts of innovation.

During my nearly thirty-five years of travel across the country, stopping off in villages, towns or bustling cities, I immediately understood the crop that comes from the soil of this great nation.

America has heart.

It has emotion. If you live on the coasts, you may think that the middle states are agrarian and backward. Matter of fact, there are people who would not even know what the word agrarian means because they consider it backward.

On the other hand, if you land somewhere deep in Nebraska, the antics of the West Coast may be discussed over the dinner table with a sneer and a frown, as those huddled around faithfully consume their biscuits and butter.

You cannot love this country, its people, its purpose, nor envision its destination without traveling to its heart, musing over its soul, mulling its mind and allowing the body to bring strength to the economics and the gross national product.

What is the crop of America?

  • Iowa believes it’s corn.
  • Silicon Valley in California would insist it’s technology.
  • The Ivy League schools on the East Coast would certainly extol the importance of higher education.
  • And those who dwell in the South will spend hours testifying of the importance of family, devotion and hospitality.

It is difficult for us to be at war with each other.

We need one another so intensely that we end up really fighting ourselves.

So when I drove my van into beautiful downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with corn fields and soybeans surrounding my journey, I knew I was in for an evening of warmth, reflection and conservative reaction to new ideas. They were never averse to progress—just wanted to make sure that no sacred lanes were destroyed to make super-highways.

When I went down to Lebanon, Tennessee, I was fully aware I was in for an evening of a probable potluck dinner, some hand clapping and folks who were frightened that they might lose the spirit of their faith by accepting too much of what, for them, seemed abnormal.

In a journey out to Palo Alto, California, surrounded by the students and faculty of Stanford University, my heart was engorged with the explosive energy of learning, experimenting and researching to find answers to problems that plague the populace.

And then, finding myself weeks later in New York City, I watched the ships come and go, feeding an economy which generates the crop of prosperity, making the whole landscape well-funded.

What is the crop of America?

It is the freedom to have a heart, a soul, a mind and a body—and to treasure each and every part.

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Covenant

Covenant: (n) an agreement between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.

 I have neither the time nor the patience to seek out another person to agree with me to seal the deal. So I guess I cannot officially call my rant a covenant.

But I will anyway—because no one is here to stop me.

I do have a covenant with myself. Bluntly:

I’m sick of the shit.

I’m sick of people making a livelihood off stirring up trouble.

I’m sick of politics being given a free pass to be disingenuous and evil.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I’m sick of the shit put out by a religious system that hides behind two or three verses of scripture, to attack and destroy two or three billion people.

I’m sick of the shit inside me—which causes me to want to hold back the true essence of my soul for fear that I’ll be found unworthy. Hell—I am unworthy, and so far, still alive.

I’m sick of the shit that makes us believe we can be prejudiced against half of the population simply because they nurture a vagina. Many times we’re grateful for that vagina, so for us to declare it insipid, weak and lesser might be considered hypocritical.

I’m sick of the shit that I was taught as a boy which kept me away from the simplicity of loving my neighbor as myself, but instead, checking skin tone first.

I’m sick of this shit.

And I don’t think I’m alone.

The only problem is, the people who might have enough heart and spirit to be sick of the shit won’t use the word shit. And the folks who are reveling in the shit don’t really think it’s stinky, just historical. (Sometimes historical is hysterical…)

So I may be more alone than I think. But if you’re sick of the shit, just like me, do me a favor and join me in this covenant.

According to the definition, I only need to win over one of you.   Donate Button


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Could and Couldn’t

Could: (v) expression of possibility

Couldn’t: (v) unable

I don’t think anybody wants to be negative.

Some folks have just found it a safer position because they have surmised that most things fail. I’m also sure there are individuals who are negative because funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
they want to appear mature and cautious.

But the trouble with the two words, could and couldn’t, is that neither one allows for the possibility that something has a great chance.

Even when we venture out and say, “I could win,” we’re allowing ourselves an awful lot of room for explanation if things fall apart.

And if we go ahead and say, “I couldn’t,” we close the door on the adventure completely.

I think could and couldn’t sum up the human race.

We are never so positive that we move with great confidence, ease and style into resolution, and we certainly seem better suited for retreating or rejecting.

Is there another word?

“Might” doesn’t work. That’s really uncertain.

“Should” seems judgmental.

“Would” sounds like it’s ready to make an immediate excuse upon any drawback.

And there’s just something downright arrogant about saying “I will.” There are too many variables in life that we do not control for us to guarantee the result.

So what is the best situation?

I am certainly tired of living in a world of “could” and “couldn’t.” I don’t want to embrace the negativity that goes into being cautious with “could” and dark with “couldn’t.”

Language trips us up because it describes the actual condition of our internal emotions. Eventually, our tongues will confess what is deeply brewing in our hearts.


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Cotillion

Cotillion: (n) a formal ball given especially for debutantes.

A cotillion used to be subtitled “a coming out ball.”

Now that phrase would evoke great laughter—because “coming out” means something completely different from it did when we were funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
referring to the first time a sixteen-year-old girl was dressing up like a woman and spraying perfume in her hair.

Somewhere lodged between the fallacy that “everything in the past was better” and the hard sell of “everything now is superior” lies some sort of compromise.

Maybe if we approached the passage of time similarly to the way we eat food at a smorgasbord, we might just arrive at a blending of practices which would be satisfying and beneficial to our well-being. For after all, at a buffet you grab a plate and walk the line, take a little bit of half-a-dozen or more items, go sit down and discover what is pleasing to the palate.

This is exactly what I try to do with my human life.

I have no desire to live in the past, filled with disease, pestilence and prejudice. Yet I’m not particularly satisfied with being overwhelmed in the present, with forms of idiocy which have merely donned contemporary costumes.

I do like a little bit of the cotillion to go along with my Facebook and Instagram.

I like the idea of the transitions in life being honored with celebration and a touch of reverence instead of the crude way of thinking that a young girl becomes a woman by losing her virginity.

How can we balance the human heart, spirit and brain? The heart wants to be moved, the spirit wants to be inspired and the brain desires learning.

So I guess my goal is to feel my way along, looking for those things that inspire me, and then try to make them my own.


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Contaminate

Contaminate: (v) to make something impure

The first time I said a prayer my soul merged with God.

Then I went to prayer meetings. Now a sense of loss floods my heart every time I listen to over-exsggerated supplications.

The first time a woman kissed my lips and touched my face I thought I was going to melt like butter on a hot waffle.

Then came television, movies, and all sorts of insidious representations of romance, which make me sometimes wonder why in the hell we’re attracted to each funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cother.

The first time I voted I believed I was accompanied to the polls by George Washington himself.

Now, through the disappointment of the Electoral College and the tainting of civil discourse, I would rather have a 24-hour stomach virus. (Well, maybe not.)

The first time I stood onstage and sang a song for an audience, and had chills go up and down my spine as I harmonized with my friends, I thought I had pierced the heavenly gates and joined the supernal chorus.

Now I feel perplexed at a musical cacophony that shouts, screams and contorts without ever touching the human heart.

I remember the first time for many beautiful things.

And then humanity tried to contaminate the simplicity, insisting that the complexity brought deeper meaning.

It didn’t.

I have taken a brief season of my life to debug myself from the infection of religious fanaticism, entertainment porn, political grappling and music composed with a tin ear.

I feel good.

I feel simple.

I no longer feel contaminated.

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Condescending

Condescending: (adj) having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority

We spend our entire lives confirming what we should have known on the day of our birth.

Plucked from bloody wombs, our cord to former protection is cut. We are forced to breathe, reaching into the darkness with our blinded eyes, only to end up stacked in a nursery somewhere, with dozens of other non-functioning units, to cleave to our mothers’ breast as if it was our funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
only source of nourishment–because it is.

We grow up–and then, for some reason or another, decide we are superior to other people–a condescending conclusion.

Considering we all come in the same way and all go out breathless, it might be nice to realize the great wealth of similarities among us, instead of trying to intimidate in a world of domination.

There are two things I remind myself of every day:

  1. My life is maintained by a single muscle in the middle of my chest which has already experienced a lot of wear and tear.
  2. No one is better than anyone else–and that includes me.

 

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

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