Dealt

Dealt: (v) the result of an action of what was distributed or apportioned

Prostrate on the floor, short moments after tipping on my walker and falling, I was suddenly accosted with the reality of trying to get up.

I thought about all the times that people had joked, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…”

Every time I saw one of those commercials, I was cynical, not believing there could be a situation where a human would be unable to, as they say, rise to the occasion.

I was not injured.

I was just in a predicament where the assets available to me—the lack of strength in my upper body and the faltering of my legs, were threatening to hold me in my original splat.

I was not angry. I was not upset.

Dripping with sweat, I continued to try to disprove what my brain had already explained to me as my reality.

“You will need help.”

For today, this was what I was dealt.

I was moving along with my walker, on my way to my music room to write to you and to compose my thoughts for the day.

Then I wasn’t.

Normalcy was gone. For the first time in a long time, the weaker portions of my human existence had taken over, demanding attention and insisting on leaving me vulnerable.

I tried for half an hour.

Candidly, the attempts to lift myself and eliminate the problem were much more painful than the fall.

Those beautiful souls who are my family stood by, not knowing what to do, perhaps full of ideas, but intelligent enough not to turn the project into a committee effort.

This is my status:

  • Life gave me a brain—I developed the ability to write.
  • I persisted in singing until it was stageable.
  • I played piano.
  • I wrote symphonies.
  • I penned thirteen independent movies.

I can’t get up off the floor.

Today, this was included.

Not despaired nor frustrated–more curious how this tale would unfold, and where there would be a happy end.

After tossing it around in my mind from one brain cell to another, I finally surrendered to the need for outside help.

We called the fire department and in less than five minutes, four eager, young, willing, kind, docile and caring young men walked through the door.

It took about five minutes and they had me standing back on my feet and then sitting in my wheelchair.

I bypassed embarrassment and went to gratitude.

I kicked discouragement out the door and embraced humor.

There was a moment in the room when achievement was celebrated, and we all felt better for being part of a winning cause.

You can spend your life hoping for better cards.

Or you can work with what you’ve been dealt.

Crumb

Crumb: (n) a small particle of bread, cake, etc., that has broken off.

Mrs. Venetti was old.

This is the nicest thing I can say about her.

She was sure of herself.

Having become so assured of her own perfection, she launched out, attempting to perfect the world around her.

I knew her because, for some reason or another, my parents insisted I call her “Aunt,” even though we were not related. (I later discovered that she had money and my parents were intrigued by it.)

So this woman, who had the answer for every problem and an extra problem or two available if you were lacking, quickly made the decision that she did not like me.

She had an organ in her home that I enjoyed playing–until she heard my rocking and rolling. She explained that the German technician who maintained it told her that my fingers were too fat and heavy and might damage it.

Organ-less.

Her house was perfect.

(What other kind of house would a perfect woman have?)

Only one time when I visited her (at the behest of my parents) did she offer me something to eat. It was a single cheese slice, wrapped in cellophane. Unfortunately, I peered at it too long before dismantling and eating it and she accused me of being ungrateful.

Cheese-less.

But she had a favorite word for me.

She loved to call me “crumb.”

She even had derivations.

Sometimes it was crumb.

Other times crummy.

When she was particularly perturbed, I was referred to as crumbum.

Along with the insult came a snarling at the lips, a look of superiority mingled with loveless pity. She always asked me to walk slowly through her house so as not to knock over knick-knacks with my heavy steps.

She was an unpleasant woman who had to be viewed as tolerable because she had money.

Although it’s been proclaimed that money can’t buy everything, the few things it doesn’t purchase don’t appear to be very popular.

She never liked me—and when I was young, it ate at the left corner of my soul, threatening to create a hole from which all my hope was prepared to drain.

Then one day, God—in his infinite wisdom and grace—gave this fat boy with chubby fingers and heavy feet a gift. Sitting in her living room, entertaining some friends, barely tolerating my presence, Mrs. Venetti suddenly farted.

And not only farted—she pooped her pants.

Everybody quickly rose to assist her, which increased her embarrassment, causing her to become livid, threatening everyone in sight.

I sat very still.

I knew I was going to need to laugh about this—but now was not the time. Yet I did not want to lose the reservoir of humor building up inside me.

So I remained motionless.

After everyone carefully lifted “Auntie” from her chair, which she had sullied, and taken her into the bathroom, I ran out the front door, down the street, around the corner…and laughed.

I did not do it very long because after a few moments, it seemed cruel.

But the first fifteen or sixteen cackles healed that left corner of my soul.

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Coup

Coup: (n) a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment.

Pleasant.

Pleasant is a very pleasant word.

Pleasant is what happens when our minds are set on the possibility that our efforts, when placed in the right moment and position, can effect a positive change.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Pleasant becomes unpleasant when those who are able to arrive with the relief of wisdom, common sense, humor and gentleness have given up or just slept in.

So because pleasant does not get its day, we begin to believe that life has a sallow sameness which makes our faces pucker in anticipation of bleakness.

The idea of a coup rarely occurs to the mind of the defeated.

I, as a human being, have two functions:

  1. Find abundant life.
  2. As I enjoy it, break off a piece, crumble it in my hands and sprinkle it on the folks I meet.

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Contemporary

Contemporary: (adj) living or occurring at the same time.

“What is the opposite of contemporary?”

This question was posed to me once in an interview. I think the person conducting the inquiry was a bit upset because during the conversation I referred to “contemporary matters” as often being insufficient to human need.

I turned it around on my questioner. “What do YOU think the opposite is of contemporary?”

He didn’t miss a beat. “Old-fashioned.”

There is an instinct in this nation of the free and the home of the brave to try to turn every subject into a conflict in order to fill the space on a talk show which funny wisdom on words that begin with a Calready has too much chatter.

Old-fashioned is not the opposite of contemporary. There are many emotions and actions which might be considered old-fashioned, which if faithfully applied, would come across as very contemporary in our modern-day stand-offs.

  • Kindness
  • Consideration
  • Humor
  • Wit
  • Cleverness
  • Poetry
  • Satire

All of these are relics of the past which survive quite well when they’re given a new suit of clothes and paraded on the catwalk.

The opposite of contemporary is actually “untried”—ideas that have sprouted from nowhere, short-sighted and including only a part of humanity while promoting the preferences of a chosen few.

It will never be old-fashioned to be inclusive. It is a contemporary position.

It will never be old-fashioned to be considerate. It is a contemporary profile.

And it will never be old-fashioned to question power—especially when it seems the domination is being used to hurt other human beings.

That is merely contemporary action.

 

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Congratulations

Congratulations: (n) words expressing praise for an achievement or good wishes on a special occasion

Congratulations are in order:

To anyone who is not pissing on others because he or she is pissed off

To people of either gender who realize equality is never achieved through separation, but rather, mingling similaritiesfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C

To the pilgrims who understand that culture has become the new Jim Crow, to separate us without making it look painful

Congratulations are also in order to those who believe in America to such a degree that they are prepared to question a voting system and electoral college which is not only antiquated, but preventing us from electing excellent leadership.

Congratulations to the people who are not afraid to speak their minds without apology.

Congratulations are in order to the human beings who understand we are not really spiritual, but are able to learn how to have enough spirit to keep from hating and destroying one another.

Congratulations are in order to the businesses which realize it is a damnable offense to make huge profits off the sickness of other travelers.

Congratulations are in order to anyone, anywhere, at any time, who can maintain a civil tongue, and salt their conversation with some humor.

Congratulations are in order to a faith that demands works–otherwise appearing dead.

Congratulations are in order to those who appreciate and utilize science without worshipping it, but instead, challenge the educational system to continue its evolution.

Congratulations are in order to you, if you resist accepting the meager offerings presented to you, but instead believe that somewhere in the pasture is a four-leaf clover, and in the clouds, a silver lining.

 

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Confound

Confound: (v) to cause surprise or confusion

Sometimes people wonder why I have chosen to be a person of faith.

It isn’t because I enjoy church music. I can snooze through an excellent Bach Prelude just like the next person.

It isn’t because I like praise and worship services. Looking at young people playing instruments, staring up at the sky with ecstatic gleams on their faces invitesfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
cynicism into my tender heart.

I don’t favor prayer, Bible study or even consider a communion service to be particularly moving.

I’ve always been a great admirer of common sense, delivered with great humor and a background of intelligent reasoning.

Jesus, in describing his message, said it was a discourse which could be appreciated by those with a childlike perception, and therefore ends up confounding the wise.

Smart people think things need to be complicated. Education leads them to believe the more verbose they are, the greater the possibility of demonstrating the depth of their intellect.

When a reasonable simplicity is presented, which has great a great understanding of human nature and the functions of Planet Earth, it does confound the wise.

And honest to God–or Jesus–that always tickles my spirit.

 

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Conduit

Conduit: (n) a channel for conveying

Some of the things I most desire in life do not appear unless there’s a conduit.

How about love? Love needs the conduit of listening.

Let’s take peace. Conduit? Tolerance.

Strength. Joy.

Talent. This one might surprise you–patience.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Romance. Conduit–humor.

Salvation–humility.

Success. A courtesy conduit–appreciation.

Power. This one will really shock you. Conduit–service.

Longevity. This one’s easy. Moderation.

Respect–thankfulness.

As you can see, there are the things we desire and the things that desire us. When we’re sensitive to what Father God and Mother Nature require of the human race, we suddenly find that all things are added to our storehouse.

 

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Comely

Comely: (adj) typically of a woman) pleasant to look at; attractive.

If you just sit down (or stand, if you like) and think about it, the human race is pretty damn shallow. That’s why you have to be careful, if you’re studying, not to dive in. It’s just not deep enough and you’ll probably end up breaking your neck.

There are basically three things overall that make a woman comely: face, breasts and smell.

Also there are three things that allegedly make a man equally as comely: hair, muscles and confidence.

Now, you can see immediately that after the initial admiration, appreciation and enjoyment of a pretty face, a nice rack of boobs and an adequate sniff, it still comes down to dinner and conversation.

If that is awkward, “comely” quickly becomes “go-ly.”

And if the woman is sitting with a man who has thick hair, muscles and tons of stories to confirm why he is confident of his superiority, after indulging in the
pleasures of his particular prowess for a brief season, she basically ends up with a cab driver who can’t carry his share of dialogue.

For you see, there is what makes us come, and then there is what makes us stay.

And although I must admit, it is delightful to be comely, what you want is to develop the character, the humor and the gentleness to make someone want to remain in your presence for more than just overnight.

 

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Comedy

Comedy: (n) entertainment intended to make an audience laugh

The least humorous thing that can be done is to have a discussion about comedy.

So since I find myself writing an essay on the subject, you can count on two things: it will be brief, and as non-discussive as possible.

Comedy is what sane people do to try to change things they know will probably not transform, but still need to be addressed. In that way, it can sometimes be
heavy-handed. (How appropriate to refer to it as a Comedy Club.)

To me, comedy that benefits the human soul, like a medicine for our emotions, always has three ingredients:

  1. Self-deprecation. (You have to make fun of yourself.)
  2. Commonality. (It is all part of what the tribe does.)
  3. Some hope (leaving the hearer aware of the difficulty, but ready to approach the situation.)

When comedy provides these three angels to our journey, it may be the closest thing to defining God.

 

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Collateral

Collateral: (n) something pledged as security for repayment of a loan

No one is ever interested in hearing about my successes.

Perhaps it’s the flash of arrogance that enters the human voice whenever we talk about ourselves in a positive way.

I gain empathy, friendship and humor with my fellow-travelers by “pranking” myself in a snarky way–especially when remembering a time when it appears that I was infested with the demon of stupidity.

To protect myself I always begin these stories with: “It happened many years ago.”

That way you know that I would not pursue this particular adventure today–and if I did, since I am older, I would have more money to address it.

I wanted to borrow two hundred dollars. This was back in a time when two hundred dollars was my “guesstimation” of the value of Aladdin’s castle.

The person from the bank told me that if I had some collateral he would be “willing to consider” such a loan.

I didn’t question any further–I asked myself, What do I possess that’s worth two hundred dollars?

Ruling out my kidney, liver and lungs, I came up blank.

Yet all at once, I remembered that in the basement of my parents’ loan company, there were some huge slabs of marble left over from when they had decorated the office. It seemed to me–since they were marble–that they were certainly expensive.

I wasn’t a rube, so I called a local lumberyard person and asked him what he thought such a slab would be worth.

After he understood the dimensions, he said that if I bought them at the store each one would cost me a hundred dollars.

I was thrilled.

All I had to do was carry three (playing it safe) marble slabs up a flight of stairs, around a corner and out the door, and I would have my collateral.

The problem was, the only person available to help me was my wife. Though sturdy, she was not at a strength level to lift her share of what probably was two hundred pounds each. This did not deter me. I decided the best thing was to put her at the bottom and me at the top.

It took two days. (Not full days. Twenty-minutes-at-a-time days.)

We took a lot of breaks.

Finally we actually unearthed from the basement tomb three two-hundred-pound slabs of marble, got them into the back of our van and drove them to the bank.

I was so damn proud.

I coaxed the banker to come out and see what I had to offer for collateral. Opening the back door of the van, he stared at the dusty pile of stone.

He laughed.

And not just a little. It may be the first time in my life that I was laughed to scorn.

He patted me on the shoulder, shook his head and said, “That’s a good one, man. I can’t wait to tell everybody about this one.”

I assumed the loan was a no-go.

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