Coffin

Coffin: (n) a long, narrow box in which a corpse is buried or cremated.

Staring down into the face of my older brother, who was quite dead, lying in a coffin, motionless, with eyes closed.

It freaked me out–mainly because I was staring at the bier. That’s another word for coffin. Now I’m just trying to show off. I tend to do so when I’m nervous. And looking at a coffin made me nervous.

Until that moment, I did not realize that I suffer from claustrophobia. Even though I was supposed to be the strong brother to support my nephew, sister-in-law and all the other relatives, I temporarily had to excuse myself and walk away to try to regain my state of mind.

All I could think about was lying in that coffin, scrunched, and having the lid shut down on my face. Every time that vision came to my brain, my heart started to pound and I found it difficult to breathe.

I was embarrassed.

I wanted to make sure no one observed my panic attack, so I found a private room and stepped inside. Unable to locate a light switch, I stood in the dark, finding no comfort whatsoever from my vision of horror.

Even though I am certain there was nobody in the room with me, I sensed a thought floating across the blackened space, landing in my consciousness. It wasn’t exactly verbalized, but it was very comforting.

The notion translated to my irrational thinking was, “Keep in mind, when you go in the coffin, you don’t have to breathe anymore.”

I laughed. It was so true. By the time I was fitted–or unfitted–for this box, I would be without the need for much of anything.

And of course, if it still freaked me out, they could always burn me up.

 

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Cadaver

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Cadaver: (n) a corpse.

I found myself at the bedside of a dying friend, as her family came in to offer their farewells.

Even though I knew the woman quite well, her kin were a little bit of a mystery to me. But each one came to her side, said a word or two, and she shared a
sentiment. Tears sprouted, they gave her a kiss and scooted aside.

There was a girl about twelve years of age who came up, said her speech, did not receive any encouraging words, but went ahead and kissed my friend anyway. As she pulled away the nurse stepped in, took a pulse, realizing that the lady had passed away.

The young girl lurched back in horror, and before she considered what she was saying, proffered, “Yuck! I kissed a dead person!”

It made me think.

Moments before, this was her great-aunt but because breath had left the body, she had instantly become a frightening cadaver.

It’s why we all work so hard to stay alive. The breath that the Creator breathed into us is what really makes us valuable.

Once it’s gone, we just become kind of yucky.

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Bracelet

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bracelet: (n) an ornamental band or chain worn on the wrist or arm

I have never been satisfied with my appearance, yet oddly, I have never been dissatisfied.

I have always landed in the “midlands” of being curious about improving my package.Dictionary B

This has caused me to do many interesting things.

When I was much younger I grew my hair out very long. I did it because I thought it made me look cool–and I could. Another wonderful byproduct of having flowing locks was that it seemed to make older folks really pissy.

For awhile I wore jewelry around my neck. I liked the way it flew around when I was walking fast, and it popped and bounced against my pecs, making me feel macho (since I left two buttons unfastened at the top of my shirt).

But most of all, I made a decision to wear an ID bracelet. I forget who purchased it–obviously someone who could afford the adornment, promising that it was gold plated. It is possible that it was, but whatever gold was on my ID bracelet quickly headed for “them thar hills.”

I was left with a two-tone piece of metal dangling from my arm, causing my skin to turn green.

I didn’t care. I continued to wear it because I believed it made me look more attractive.

Then one day I was sitting on a bench and a young lady moved to sit down next to me, and pulled back in horror, exclaiming, “Ooh! Your arm is green!”

She decided to seek a perch elsewhere.

So I scrubbed my arm and returned it to its former beige condition, and stopped wearing my bracelet–reluctantly. I did not feel nearly as appealing.

I realized that I was trusting my two-tone, green-spreading-on-your-skin piece of jewelry to be the spokesman …  for my true beauty.

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Bomb

Bomb: (n) a container designed to explode on impact

A red woodpecker.Dictionary B

I can close my eyes and envision such a creature. Maybe it’s because as a kid I watched “Woody the Woodpecker.”

A sirloin steak covered with mushroom gravy with a side order of garlic shrimp.

That’s easy for me to imagine. I have experience. I have eaten all of these foods.

A moist kiss on the lips with a mixture of musky breath and a hint of mint.

Once again, all in the annals of my personal history and awareness.

A bomb.

I have no experience.

I have seen more bombings on television than I have red woodpeckers, but because I have no real sense of the horror, the heat, the explosive range and the demolition, I am dealing with an idea rather than a reality.

It is why, when considering our enemies, I choose not to scream with the careless crowd, “Bomb the shit out of them.”

 

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Bawdy

Bawdy: (adj) dealing with sexual matters in a comical way; humorously indecent.Dictionary B

Somewhere between porn and Puritan lies perfectly hilarious.

I have never been interested in pornography, and honestly, even less drawn to the life of the pilgrim.

Human sexuality is comical. Actually, it’s downright silly.

Even though some people videotape themselves having sexual intercourse, most of us would run away from such a viewing in a combination of embarrassment and horror.

Why? Because for those brief moments when we’re seeking pleasure, we also tend to reject all forms of pride and civilization.

Who cares?

All I know is that when we trivialize sexuality and make it merely a physical act, it normally develops tinges of violence.

When we say it is sacred and must be blessed by God’s presence, we repress our sexual instincts and invite perversion to create a playground in our being.

I am often bawdy.

Raising a bunch of sons, I joked with them and made it clear that sex was not a taboo subject, nor was it hatched in the heavens, surrounded by prayers.

It is one of the most important balances we can achieve: to land our understanding of human sexuality somewhere between monkey and angel.

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Aquamarine

dictionary with letter A

Aquamarine (n): a light bluish-green color.

This may sound very selfish, but one of the fringe benefits of the recent civil rights afforded to the gay community (aside from the fact that we live in a free country and it was basically inevitable once the belly-aching ceased) is that we no longer have to be threatened by other men saying “that’s gay.”

It has become a taboo.

It used to be a perpetual, common horror.

I remember many years ago when leisure suits were both leisurely and in fashion, I found one at a discount store, marked down, which happened to be my size. It was aquamarine.

You see, the problem was that even though it was a much more colorful era, certain hues were still looked upon as being suspect of your sexual orientation. Add to the fact that I was a piano player, and you had the makings of a San Francisco gay parade.

Not only did I get an occasional sneer and sidewise comment, like, “Nice color, big boy,” but I also began to envision that I was being stared at by the entire world, viewed as a “man lover.”

So paranoid was I that I started prancing around like John Wayne and using the deepest timbre my voice could muster. When wearing the aquamarine garment, I was always quick to point out that I was married and had fathered children from my own manly source.

It was crazy.

Finally, even though I loved the outfit, I purposefully “accidentally” forgot it at a motel. (What I mean is, I actually did forget it, but remembered it by the time I got to the elevator and decided not to go back for it.)

So somewhere in Yuma, Arizona, there is a big fat man wearing an aquamarine leisure suit … who obviously has much more confidence than I do.

 

 

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Apprehension

dictionary with letter A

Ap·pre·hen·sion (n): 1. anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

A pall in the room.

This is what I created the other night when I casually mentioned that I was diabetic.

Some faces reflected horror; others, pity. But the general disposition of those gathered was that they would have to sit back and listen to a litany of my sad tale or a description of my medications and treatment.

I surprised them because I just don’t do that.

But rather than appreciating the fact that I did not bore them with the elements of my constitution, they looked on me with a bit of dismay. I think they found be blithe.

Yes, if any word has been thrown my way as an insult, it would be blithe and all of its friendly synonyms.

  • “Silly.”
  • “Not careful enough.”
  • “Short-sighted.”
  • “Immature.”
  • “Naive.”
  • “Overly optimistic.”
  • Or even occasionally, “Ignorant.”

But I do not find blithe to be the absence of awareness, but rather, the negating of apprehension.

Case in point: when my doctor told me I had diabetes, I deadpanned in his direction: “Well, now I know what’s gonna kill me.”

He paused, looking into my eyes to see if I was serious, and when I twinkled his way, he laughed. He also spent the next two hours explaining the rigors of my situation and the care I needed to give myself.

I don’t mind giving myself attention–as long as it’s half of what I give to others.

Apprehension has never made my journey sweeter or improved my situation. Matter of fact, it tends to do the opposite.

So if I were to be accused of anything, and I certainly will be, “blithe” would be my preference.

Because the power of living a life which “takes no thought” for certain matters is the realization that my thinking does not always produce positive energy and often fails to even release the serotonin that could make my thinking better.

Do I have apprehensions? Yes.

But I would consider them to be pesky mice in my house … instead of pet hamsters in cages.

 

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