Crossly

Crossly: (adj) in a cross or angry manner

In a normal school day of, let’s say, seven hours, may we conjecture that fifteen percent of the time is spent shifting from one class to another, ten percent having lunch, another fifteen percent on history or social studies, fifteen more percent on English and grammar, and then another fifteen on the sciences, while a whopping thirty percent is invested in mathematics.

I am not trying to editorialize on school subject matter—measuring its height, weight and depth in value.

But I will tell you:

Most of adult life is spent trying to learn to communicate.

You will notice that on the average school day, communication is not a primal concern. It is expected that the students will figure it out for themselves and give reasonable honor to the teaching staff.

But without learning communication, we are unfortunately destined to continually say things that are offensive and find ourselves called on the carpet for it, apologizing in such a manner that nobody in the room—including ourselves—believes it to be sincere.

When too much knowledge mingles with too much ego and is accompanied by too much stress, it makes us begin to speak crossly.

We may not even be aware that our tone of voice has changed from relaxed to strained. But everyone who hears us immediately pulses the fury, sarcasm and despair that lurks behind each syllable.

You would think, since most of our lives is spent communicating, that some training might be in order.

But even in our homes, once a reasonable peace and quiet has been achieved, we don’t necessarily care how it was acquired.

Until we grasp that human beings don’t hear words, but rather, absorb the vibrations of emotions, we will insist that everyone is too touchy because “we never meant anything” by what we said.

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Cross My Heart and Hope to Die

Cross my heart and hope to die: (v) to attest to the truth of something

The human race is known for two things: first, being created in the image of God; and second, being a bunch of goddamn liars.

Within the elevation of these two bracing points, we are suspended between heaven and Earth.

Because of this, when we need to express our deepest sincerity to others, we don’t seem capable of just saying, “Yes, this is true,” or “No, it is not.”

We fear that our human audience, being fully aware of the vicious nature of deceit which inhabits us all, will just naturally assume that we are one of the “Fibber McGees.”

So we have introduced words, like “sincerely, honestly” and “trust me” into our language, hoping that in doing so, the true depth of our veracity will shine through.

It doesn’t.

So over our history, we’ve initiated other thoughts to try to prove that we are on the level. Basically, we’ve started swearing. Not profanity. No—deep-rooted promises to back up our premises.

  • “I swear by my mother’s grave.”
  • “I’ll swear on a stack of Bibles.”
  • “I swear by my pinky finger.”

Or, “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

I guess this last one sounded effective to someone, thinking that threatening to remove one’s life from Earth might keep us from lying and cheating.

Of course, in reality, nothing prevents us from stretching the truth until it breaks and falls at our feet like useless trash.

So I think the suggestion that came along—to swear, make huge statements and crossing our heart and hoping to die—should probably just be replaced by a more old-fashioned dodge:

“Now what was the question?”

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Crier and Cried

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crier or cried: (v) one who cries or past tense of cry

It is at the core of the gender wars.

Historically, if not mythically, the contention is that women cry and men endure.

This crying is interpreted as weakness.

So a man may be willing to admit that he has cried—but would resent the hell out of being identified as a crier. On the other hand, females make no bones about the fact that they cried and are not nearly as put out with being referred to as a crier.

It creates the unrighteous and inequitable standard that those who shed tears may be sensitive, but that carrying such a profile is dangerous in a world where toughness is extoled as power. However, here is a fact that’s important to know:

Great men throughout history not only cried but were known to be criers.

From Jesus Christ to Abraham Lincoln you have examples of human males who were susceptible to tears because their hearts could be broken at the sight of pain, and the anger that might flush their feelings and cause mourning.

Let us not forget, at the end of every football game, one team departs cheering, and the other cries—or certainly has members who are criers.

I have cried.

I am willing to admit that I’m a crier.

I am a voice crying in the present wilderness.

My proclamations, though often filled with humor and wit, are saturated with tears of misgiving and sadness.

If you haven’t cried, you haven’t felt.

And if you aren’t a crier, you rob yourself of being known as a person with a depth of feeling.


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Coronado, Francisco

Coronado, Francisco: A Spanish explorer of the sixteenth century who traveled through the southwestern United States searching for the legendary “seven gold cities of Cibola.”

I don’t know whether people avoid studying history because they think it’s boring, or if deep in their hearts, they fear that if they have the funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
information of the mistakes done by others who lived before them, they become responsible for the knowledge.

History has always been one of my favorite subjects—mainly because, in the scope of a few paragraphs you can discover what one human being wanted to do, what they attempted and what happened.

Pretty impressive.

Otherwise you’d have to wait years to study the conclusions—but the history books honestly summarize human pursuit.

And universally, those who set out to find wealth and fame usually ended up in poverty, dying at the hands of those who were disappointed in following them.

But Coronado is particularly interesting. He heard the rumors from Indian tribes, telling him there were “seven lost cities” filled with gold and treasure, somewhere out there in the wilderness of what we now refer to as the Southwest United States.

You can imagine how doubtful his men would have been when they got to New Mexico and Arizona and saw nothing but desert and cacti.

What Coronado set out to do he never accomplished:

  • He never found gold in cities.
  • He never discovered wealth.
  • And his life seemed to be a great disappointment.

The only reason he is even mentioned in today’s history books—and also in this dictionary—is that while he was seeking that which could not be found, he stumbled upon something very significant which he was not seeking.

One day he and his men happened upon the Grand Canyon.

It certainly wasn’t golden and didn’t possess a treasure which could be carted off and turned into lasting wealth.

But it was certainly beautiful.

It was a carving which Nature had performed through millions of years, to give God a present for the raw material provided.

And it is a gift God gives to us—to remind us that treasure does not always glitter. Sometimes it just exists in natural beauty … to take our breath away.


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Cornwallis

Cornwallis: Charles, 1st Marquis, 1738–1805, British general and statesman: surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, October 19, 1781.

From time to time I think about Lord Cornwallis.

Fortunately for me, history provides a bird’s eye view of the end result of almost any type of behavior.

If I’m willing to learn what happens in pursuing certain styles and mindsets, I can certainly avoid much stupidity and injustice.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Of course, so can you.

When I mention that I study a British general who’s been dead for well over two hundred and fifty years, you might have chuckled and thought, “What value could that have to my busy scanning of Internet life?”

The value is that Cornwallis had a perfect setup, with perfect conditions, and still managed to bungle it, arriving at an imperfect conclusion. At his disposal was the world’s most powerful and well-trained army—the British Regulars. They carried the best muskets, they manufactured the finest cannon and they certainly had the prettiest uniforms.

Their enemy was ill-prepared, ill-fitted and ill-equipped, and grew up believing that the British could not be defeated.

So at first, Cornwallis just rolled over these local yokels, making them appear to be fools. So sure were the British that they could defeat the American colonists that a decision was made to sub-contract the job out to German mercenary soldiers, called Hessians. “Cocky” would not even begin to describe the thinking of Lord Cornwallis.

But in case you don’t know the story, he lost. Finding out why he lost is what we call “the lesson of history.” It comes in two parts:

  1. Never underestimate an enemy who has more to gain than you do.
  2. Always remember that a battle is a fight, not a conversation over who has supremacy.

The Americans had their freedom to gain, so they had more fight. Cornwallis showed up with an army that had little to prove, and therefore had little fight.

I could learn from that. Matter of fact, I think I will.


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Convey

Convey: (v) to communicate; impart; make known

I believe in God but sometimes I wish I didn’t.

God has some of the shittiest front people you’ll ever meet. They are unkind, self-involved, pious, ignorant of history and single-minded in a way that makes them appear to be brainless.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

The truth of the matter is, if you lock a child up in the basement, he or she will begin to believe the whole world is a basement.

There will be no attempt on the child’s part to expand his or her vision to conjure a world of pleasantries and peace. The church has imprisoned its members in the catacombs of ignorance. So…

How can I convey the love of God without being associated with the hatefulness of God?

How can I convey the mercy of God without coming across as an airhead who doesn’t really care that there are standards in life?

How can I convey that Jesus has been abducted by religion and is being held hostage for your tithe?

Sometimes I want to throw my hands up in the air—and not as symbol of praise, but rather, desperation.


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Conjecture

Conjecture: (n) an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information

The young man disagreed with me.

I gave a college concert years ago, opening it up to a Q & A with the audience afterwards. One of the male students asked me, “Since you’re afunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Christian, when did ‘turn the other cheek’ actually ever work?”

I think he expected some sort of conjecture on my part–about the value of pursuing lost causes, even though it might not seem that they possessed immediate merit.

Maybe he just wanted to justify his passion for revenge–or his girlfriend, sitting next to him, might be greatly impressed by him challenging the guest artist.

Wanting to make sure the audience understood his question, I asked him to repeat it. He rolled his eyes to communicate that I was apparently old and deaf, and posed the question again.

“What I asked you,” he said, “was, when did ‘turn the other cheek’ ever work in history?”

“I see,” I responded. “So let me ask you a question. When did gouging out eyes, pulling teeth and counterpunching ever exactly work in history?”

He stood tall and patriotic and replied, “Well, at least we went to war and beat the shit out of them.”

A small piddling of applause.

“Well,” I objected, “apparently we left some shit in them–because they’re back again. You see, my friend, turning the other cheek is not an attempt to bring flowers to a gun fight, but rather, to buy some time to see what can be done to change the fight from guns to conversation. And that, historically, has proven, over and over again, to be effective.”

Feeling the need to be justified, he spat, “Well, that’s just your opinion.”

“That it is,” I replied. “Actually, it’s my conjecture–a conviction I hold because pursuing anything else leaves blood all over my hands.”


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

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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