Decrease

Decrease: (v) to diminish or lessen

I was a god.

A ruler by passion, muscle and erection.

Nothing seemed to matter other than me.

I forced myself to be humble.

I pretended to have brief spurts of weakness so as not to frustrate those who were trying to keep up.

I tried to run my life by my emotional and spiritual sensibility, but my energies far surpassed my willingness to be cooperative.

I was a man, a husband, a lover—a domineering force who tenderized my efforts through a studied understanding.

People called me dad. I was their father—and able to father more.

I was the one who lifted things.

I was the one who solved problems that involved movement and pounds.

I was strong.

And then one day—and it seemed like just one day—it changed.

The young men born into my house were suddenly surging.

  • I was present but not omnipresent.
  • I was potent but not omnipotent.

I saw them growing—each finding his place.

I spied them bringing intelligent people into their lives.

I was becoming a symbol, a memory—a standard.

It was time for me to decrease in my importance and allow the world around me and those I loved to increase in their decision-making will.

At first, I resisted—and when I did, the young ones were compelled by the natural order to pull away from me, to make their mark.

But when I realized that my decreasing gave license to their increasing, it brought me joy to know that somewhere in the vast unfolding, I still offered value.

I am no longer a god.

I had sons.

They brought daughters who birthed children.

I had to decrease so they could increase.

But in doing so, I found my better place.

Counterattack

Counterattack: (n) an attack made as an offset or reply to another attack.

No one likes a brat. It must stop at ten years of age. Yes, no one who has lived over a decade is truly allowed to be a brat without being called out—or possibly executed.

Yet, in our stiff-necked, less-than-humble spirits, we try to sneak into our adult lives what we shall call bratisms. These are words, phrases, funny wisdom on words that begin with a Caccusations, intimidations and even religious doctrines which allow us to be snotty in the name of some greater good.

It’s how we have come up with the term “taking the high road” when referring to a decision not to counterattack someone who chooses to insult us.

You see, taking the high road is a bratism—because if we choose not to do so, since it was the high road in the first place, we can claim that we just didn’t bring along our hiking boots. In other words, “we did our best, but when that son-of-a-bitch called us sons-of-bitches, well, he needed to be told that he’s a double son-of-a-bitch.”

And back and forth it goes.

The Jews and Palestinians have been fighting for thousands of years. Every once in a while, they have to find a new reason—a bratism. Otherwise they might have to consider why they are fussing in the first place and ponder the possibility of reconciliation.

We must create a bratism about men and women being at odds with each other. Otherwise, we might need to strike a deal concerning our mutual overall compatibility.

We need a bratism so we can call “them folks over there” third world, despots, dictators and evil. Otherwise, we’re going to have to concede that they apparently occupy part of the Earth, and short of a plague sent from the heavens, will be around for a while.

As we enter this season of politics, we once again hear people firing warning shots of attacks to be initiated.

These are followed by volleys and threats of counterattacks—done with just enough grown-up flair to escape being cursed as bratty.


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Conspiracy

Conspiracy: (n) a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful

It’s so easy to start a conspiracy, maintain one and especially, promote it. Just talk to insecure people about what they don’t understand.

It’s very difficult, if some human being is secure, confident and humble enough to be aware of their surroundings, to lure them into a conspiracy theory. They always say annoying things like, “It’s not that bad,” or “I don’t see it,” or “why would I want to think that people are out to get me?”

But if you can get enough insecure people together in one room, they can do anything from choosing really ugly drapes to crucifying a savior.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

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

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Clientele

Clientele: (n) the customers

Long ago in a universe that was far-out, but not far away, there existed a gathering of human souls called “church.”

Like every idea which is acted out by human beings, it was flawed from inception.

But at the root was a watering hole, where people could get together, rub up against each other, feel uncomfortable and blessed at the same
time, and walk out at the end of an hour inspired and also entertained because the children’s choir broke rank and failed to deliver the perfect performance that the young director from college had envisioned.

It was elegantly imperfect–which made it adorable.

The laughing was equal to the crying.

The “amens” were matched by groans of conviction.

It might have continued in that format as a great, uplifting experience had the accountants and the fanatics stayed away.

The church treasurers became very concerned that all bills be paid and money set aside for the carpet that would need to be purchased three years from now.

And then there were the fanatics–those who discovered that if they could get people to be afraid or nervous, they could stimulate attendance and keep people “fired up.”

Somewhere along the line, this organism called “the church” welcomed in nasty clientele.

These individuals were pious, knowing more about Bible verses than life, caring more about the vestibule than the hungry and homeless in the community, and were determined to maintain purity instead of welcoming the stained.

The innocent were targeted.

Races were rejected.

Preferences were labeled “abominable.”

The church became a repellent to anyone who wanted to find a location for a soul-stirring, emotional rejuvenation–a penitentiary full of guards with nobody willing to be prisoners.

Procedure became more important than salvation.

So the more humble folk, who knew they were sinners but prayed for God’s grace, gradually slipped out the front door, to never return again, leaving behind a quorum of quasi-religious critics.

Is it possible that the clientele could be changed and we could return to an assembly that was meant for humans instead of one that tries to gear its programming only to an Almighty God?

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Chilblain

Chilblain: (n) a painful, itching swelling on the skin, typically on a hand or foot, caused by poor circulation in the skin when exposed to cold.

A series of the number 24:

I was 24 years old.

It was 24 miles.

It was 24 degrees.

And I had been up for 24 hours.

I was desperately trying to start a music group that possessed enough solvency that the aggravated adults around me would stop bitching about my lack of a job.

I was failing.

Every time I got twelve dollars at a coffeehouse gig, I had fifteen dollars of bills.

I also had begun a family–mainly because my wife and I had not yet figured out the intricacies of birth control. Delaying this education led to two very quick
pregnancies.

I had not been home for five days, and even though there was a blizzard going on, I decided to take my old beat-up 1958 Chevy, with bald tires, and drive the 24 miles from Westerville, Ohio, to Centerburg, my home.

As I drove north, the weather got worse and I couldn’t see the road, which had disappeared under a blanket of white-carpeting ice.

Suddenly I felt a pain in my chest, then in my head, an itching in my leg (could have been a chilblain, right?) and the deep abiding notion that I was in trouble. Yes, I was only 24 years old, but thought I was having a heart attack, a stroke and a physical collapse, all at the same moment.

There was no place to stop, no houses to drive up to, seeking help–just more road and more and more snow bullets bouncing off my windshield.

I was scared.

I didn’t want to die.

I felt I was conjuring many of the symptoms due to my fatigue, loneliness and apprehension. Still, that didn’t make them go away.

As if on cue, the heater in my car, which had been offering some comfort, stopped working. Now all it was doing was blowing cold air on my frigid body.

Was I going to succumb on the 3-C Highway somewhere between Westerville and Centerburg, to be discovered tomorrow by a snow plow driver?

At that point, I did something I have done thousands of time since. I talked to myself.

“Buck up. If you’re gonna die, make it overtake you. Don’t give into it. Keep your eyes on the road. Be grateful that nobody else is traveling, so you can swerve around a little bit. And get yourself home.”

When I finished my little speech–my soliloquy, if you will–I immediately felt better.

I had calmed the storm in my own soul.

I had rested my own anxieties by admitting I was scared shitless.

A half hour later I pulled up in front of our old apartment, cautiously inched my way up the stairs, took off my clothes and climbed into bed with my wife, who had not seem me for some time.

I was so grateful.

Even my chilblain was gone.

I was humbled.

I never want to forget that sensation.

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Cagey

Cagey: (adj) reluctant to give information owing to caution or suspicion.

Is it getting the “smart” out, or is it “out-smarting?”

Simply said, the goal of human beings should be to humbly impart what we experience to the tribe around us, to measure its merit and allow
for wisdom to instruct our neighbors. Yet for some reason, we feel withholding makes us more powerful than imparting.

For those who believe in a Divine Being, there seems to be greater joy in establishing doctrines which alienate outsiders instead of widening the opening to include as many visitors as possible.

We like secrets. Therefore we become secretive. Once secretive, we need to be suspicious in order to maintain our solitude. And once solitude has been established, we become convinced that a cagey approach to life is the way to establish our supremacy.

Actually, the process is simple: a) say what you think; b) tell what you know; c) learn what is available.

Without this three-step process, our thoughts seem to gain golden proportions.

There’s a reason the brain is gray–it needs the colorful opinions of others.

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Beef

Beef: (n) the flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food.Dictionary B

It’s always a battle over three distinctly different approaches:

  • What I know
  • What I think
  • What ends up being true

Actually, most of us don’t know much of anything for certain. What we claim to know is usually an advanced stage of belief. In other words, people will tell you they know there’s a heaven, but that’s because they believe it very strongly.

Knowing is tough. Yet if we act like we don’t know, people accuse us of being dumb. So often, we insist we know without really knowing.

Which brings us to think.

Think is a dangerous combination of prejudice, upbringing and bad experience which we have equated with certainty as being valid. Of course, it can be good experience which leaves us idealistic.

But here’s the kicker: most people blend what they think and what they know and call it truth.

That’s why we fight all the time. Because what you think and know is not what I think and know.

So we have to be extremely humble about what we know, and mighty careful about what we think. Otherwise we will soon miss what ends up being true.

Thus…beef.

From year to year, the opinion on beef has gone from being an excellent source of protein to a murderer of the human heart.

If you bring the subject up, some folks will tell you they’re vegetarians because they want to be healthy, and other folks will never eat a vegetable unless steak has become one.

So once again, we’re stuck on this “think” and “know”–in danger of failing to find out what is true.

Beef is actually no different from prunes. You know the old saying about prunes: Are two enough? Are six too many?

Because if you eat just the right number of prunes, you will have happy times in the bathroom. If you eat too many, you will experience frequent toilet miles.

The same is true with beef.

Eat it every once in a while, and it is an immense builder of protein and strength for your body.

Eat too much beef and it turns into all sorts of heartfelt problems.

So take the time to be careful about what you know. And always be cautious to preface what you think with those glorious words, “In my opinion…”

Because truth eventually stumbles along. And the truth of the matter is, beef is like everything else:

It’s good until it becomes bad.

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Avant-garde

Avant-garde: (n) new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts or the people introducing them.dictionary with letter A

The word is much more fun to pronounce than it is to live.

First of all, you cannot proclaim yourself avant-garde. It’s similar to tacking the qualification of “genius” onto your resume.

If you are actually avant-garde and filled with ingenious concepts which will push human life forward, the title must be bestowed upon you as you humbly bow your head and deny it.

For some reason, in our society we cannot tell the difference between innovators and well-funded assholes. It may be a little confusing.

But innovators can always be identified as those individuals who seek the common good without trying to empty the common pot. They are interested in an idea going forward instead of having themselves pushed forward because of their ideas.

Much to my amazement, many things that I believe, hold dear and wish to elevate are considered avant-garde, when in my thinking, they’re just practical.

Cases in point:

  1. I don’t think we can continue to promote a culture where men and women are at war with each other.
  2. It’s ridiculous to approach any group of people as an entity instead of allowing each individual to manifest his or her own personal entity.
  3. Killing is bad–whether brought about by war, abortion or capital punishment.
  4. Being grown-up is developing a sense of humor, not a bad attitude.
  5. Music is emotional. That’s it. You can put it into categories, but if it doesn’t touch the human heart, it’s mechanical clatter.
  6. God does not need us to believe in Him. God needs us to believe in each other and in so doing, establish our belief in something beyond ourselves.
  7. The only way to prevent the end of the world is to do something in the present world.
  8. Earth requires that we be conservative when it’s necessary to conserve, and liberal when it’s required to be generous.
  9. Judging people by color is totally against our instincts–since we begin life with a box of 64 Crayolas.
  10. I don’t know enough to be smart. I won’t be smart until I know enough. I must be satisfied with not ever being smart.

There are some of my avant-garde views. Perhaps you share in some of my convictions, and perhaps not.

But the beauty of an ongoing discussion is that while we’re still having it … life jumps in with the final word.

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Appreciate

dictionary with letter A

Appreciate (v): 1. to recognize the full worth of. 2. to understand (a situation) fully; recognize the full implications of.

I appreciate life being a blank canvas, allowing me the chance to paint.

I appreciate second chances, which are offered as long as I admit I screwed up the first one.

I appreciate friends who are well-practiced at knowing when to interfere in my life.

I appreciate grace given to me because I have shown mercy.

I appreciate a sense of humor which is able to cover a multitude of stupidities.

I appreciate that I am debtor to others so I don’t become obnoxiously self-sufficient.

I appreciate ignorance so I can value knowledge.

I appreciate the time I’ve been given, never assuming it has to be one minute more.

I appreciate that being wrong is even more powerful than being right, because it gives me the chance to be legitimately humble instead of falsely arrogant.

I appreciate that the rain falls on the earth without my consent, permission or consultation.

I appreciate that there’s something bigger than me so that I learn not to despise small beginnings.

I appreciate appreciation. Without it, I grow too quickly grumpy and old.

 

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Ambush

dictionary with letter A

Ambush: 1. (n) a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position 2. (v) to make a surprise attack on someone from a concealed position

It all depends from what perspective you view this experience.

If you are the ambusher, you find your tactics to be clever, inventive, cost-saving and ingenious.

If you are the ambushee, you will contend that the same actions are conniving, vicious, unfair and animalistic.

We think that certain behavior is acceptable as long as we come up with it and implement it to our common good. It is what makes us both human and obnoxious.

Candidly, a world without a Golden Rule, which insists that we try on an experience to see how it feels if done unto ourselves before we target it toward another person–well, a world without that kind of consideration is vile, unpredictable and destructive.

How can we ambush other people while thinking that all we’re trying to do is communicate our feelings?

1. If another human being doesn’t have the right to disagree without looking ridiculous, then we’ve robbed them of their God-given blessing of purpose and individuality.

2. If our sharing with another person is done in front of other folks for convenience or back-up, we have removed the generosity that allows our friends to repent if they’ve erred and to learn if they lack information.

3. The instinct to capture folks in their moment of weakness and attack them is never noble, even if we think it’s producing spiritual conclusions.

Here’s the truth: human beings don’t have to be right.

God, Himself, does not go around plotting trials and tribulations for those who are in rebellion to reason. That’s why the Good Book says “it rains on the just and the unjust” and “the sun shines on the good and the bad.”

So if God doesn’t ambush jerks, get your helmet off. There’s no war.

And “ambush” is a term we normally relegate to warfare–when being devious and even ruthless, unfortunately, may be necessary to win the battle and save lives.

But to introduce this concept into everyday interactions with humankind is not only cruel, but in this humble writer’s opinion … damnable.