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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Convulsion

Convulsion: (n) contortion of the body caused by violent, involuntary muscular contractions

“When you are weak, you are strong.”

This concept is roundly rejected in everyday humanity, because it sounds ridiculous. So we give it the greatest insult of all—we ignore it.

When one of my sons was hit and run by a car, the brain damage that occurred through the accident left him with occasional seizures. I will never forget the first time I saw my child, who was impaired and unable to communicate, lying on the bed in the grip of a convulsion.

Helpless is where I began. It quickly moved to frantic, and then took on a bit of fury as I screamed for the nurses to come, and for somebody to do something.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He was so out of control. I mirrored his position.

I could not understand the worth of such ugliness and felt abandoned, desperate for some sort of purpose.

Yet I must tell you, I despised every deep thought offered to me to assuage my guilt or suggest divine guidance on the purpose of a little boy shaking and shuddering with no remedy.

I had to come to grips with me. After all, disappointment has two parts to it:

  1. Why in the hell did this happen?
  2. Why in the hell did this happen to me?

Each question has to be answered individually until some comprehension about human progress begins to settle into the fiber and DNA of our thinking.

When nothing happens, we remain the same.

When good things happen, we remain the same but arrogant.

When bad things happen, we can’t remain the same, and arrogance prohibits us from finding peace of mind.


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Contempt

Contempt: (n) the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless

I listened intently as the gentleman closed his argument by proffering, with a sneer on his lips, “Just because you’re swimming doesn’t mean you’re a fish.”

The point he was trying to make is that no white person could ever understand what it’s really like to be a black person.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There was applause in the room when he spoke the words. I, on the other hand, sat quietly, seething in my soul, feeling nothing but contempt.

I have complete contempt for racism.

My contempt is also full for culturalism—the assertion that certain groups of humans react differently from others due to their location or skin color.

I have great contempt for ancestry.com, which propagates the idea that because my family members from the past were of a certain ilk or style, that this characteristic influences my decisions.

Anything that tries to break us down into a category other than “human” shall always receive my contempt.

I do not care if I am alone in this position—it doesn’t frighten me if people find my thinking to be insensitive to what they would refer to as “the natural divisions among people.”

It is wrong.

If God did not tell us what color Adam was or what preferences Eve had in salsa, I think the message is clear: The human race is, and evermore shall be, one family that just wants to squabble about who’s superior, so that they might receive better seating in the living room.

 

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Confederacy

Confederacy: (n) the Confederate states

As I sit quietly, my mind sometimes conjures the memory of something really dumb I have done. I am most comfortable when that piece of idiocy is well in my past.

But it is important, when that nasty memory comes to the forefront, that I own it, regret it and establish how ridiculous it was and how it mustfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
never be done again.

It’s part of being human.

Rationalizing all of our activities and granting them license immediately turns us into assholes.

Assholes, in this instance, are people who think they do not have elements in their past that need to be remembered with shame.

There was a time in this great nation when we denied our creed of the equality of all mankind and decided it was all right to own people as long as their skin was black. So intensely were we deceived that we were willing to go to the battlefield, bleed and die as feuding brothers.

A Confederacy challenged our Union.

It was shameful–a frightening part of our past.Yet it is a chapter of the book we call America.

We have two responsibilities:

  1. Don’t deny it happened
  2. Offer the necessary regret and shame required to eradicate it from happening again by eliminating all the prejudice that brought about such foolishness.

 

 

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

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Competition

Competition: (n) the activity or condition of competing.

“There is no competition between us,” she said with a smile.

And then we sat around the room trying to answer Jeopardy! questions. As the moments passed, the intensity of her responses increased, with evidence of a bit of froth at her mouth.

Of course–we’re all in competition.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

If we’re not competing for money, we’re competing for parking spaces.

As children we compete for the affection of our parents.

Sometimes we even stand in line at the grocery store and check to see if our tally is more impressive than the person before us.

Life may not be a competition, but in the process of living it, we develop a strong need to compete.

Some people call it greed or avarice.

Others deem it motivation.

I think it’s just quicker to call it human.

 

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Colleague

Colleague: (n) a person with whom one works

A colleague is what we call a friend we go into business with…and it’s the first day.

Day 4 we’re calling the same person a “partner.”

Day 10, the word “adversary” slips in.

And by Day 30, “son of a bitch” seems appropriate.

Thus is the evolution of human involvement.

We always start off with our ideals and goals way too high. Putting ourselves on such a pinnacle makes the fall from such heights nearly lethal.  I, on the other
hand, like to perch my dreams on mushroom caps–awfully close to the ground, with just a little rise and a nice wide seat for my big butt.

I realize that the chance of two people remaining colleagues while still abiding on Planet Earth is similar to finding a movie you really enjoy at the Cannes Film Festival. (I mean, you think you should enjoy the flicks. It’s pointed out to you why you should appreciate them, but there still seems to be something missing.)

And what’s missing with the concept of “colleague” is that we’re very human, and tend to be human with each other at the same time. For instance, if one person was human and the other a bit divine, it would be great. The idea of both parties being divine at the same time is, of course, ludicrous.

What normally happens is that two human beings arrive at the same situation, with raw human emotion–and act like monkeys. Perhaps I insult the little apes.

We revert. We begin to feel that if we don’t have top billing, we don’t have any billing.

Finding a colleague is similar to establishing a relationship with God.

You have to understand that He (or She) has a will.

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Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee: (n) a great ape

“Keeping an open mind so I can claim to have one…”

Yes, that’s me.

I don’t think I’m alone. It seems, in our generation, that being decried for having a closed mind is the worst insult we could sling at someone.
We all pretend that we are very willing to learn new things as we strategically place ourselves smack in the middle of repetition.

Being a person of faith, I got tired of those who are not bent in that persuasion, accusing me of being ignorant because of my insistence on valuing creation instead of adhering to evolution. Actually, I agree with evolution–up to a point.

And that point is the chimpanzee.

The chimpanzee is supposed to be our closest cousin, or some sort of relative. So one day I decided to go to the zoo, observe the chimpanzee, and discover what similarities I had with this non-kissing-cousin. I stayed for a full hour–matter of fact, I stayed so long that I think the little monkey became paranoid.

The chimpanzee seemed to have a great preoccupation with its own penis. It frequently reached down to pull on it, as if releasing it from some sort of prison.

The creature also favored scratching its ass, made unintelligible sounds, and hopped around from place to place with no real destination.

It became aggravated when someone took its food or threatened to occupy its space.

It seemed to glare a lot. (It could have been gas.)

It wasn’t particularly friendly. Of course, that could have been due to the fact that it was in a zoo instead of out on the Serengeti.

It didn’t like its fellow-monkeys, and appeared to be a little chippy, looking for a reason to argue.

It was obviously selfish.

It stopped from time to time–appearing to preen. (At least that’s the way I would describe the self-stroking.)

It was very preoccupied, and most of the time, seemed bored.

I realized I was wrong.

It is very human.

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