Crab

Crab: (n) a crustacean

I believed myself to be successful long before there was any evidence. I saw inklings of possibilities, and I occasionally rewarded myself with the accoutrements of someone who had achieved his goals. But most of the time, a look from the outside might have produced giggles about my inside.

For a brief season I owned a Fiesta Ghia. It was made by Ford. What is significant about this car is how small it is. What is further interesting is how large I am. There were times that I felt I was gathering a small crowd just to watch me get into it. (I am sure I was paranoid.)

But I was thrilled. It was bright red and it was mine—as long as I made the payments.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I decided to take it on a trip to play music in some nearby states, treating it as my personal limousine. Originally the excursion was planned for myself and one other guy, but soon three other fellows whined, cajoled and pleaded their way into becoming part of the entourage. So five of us—count them—five of us got into my Fiesta Ghia, with the backend hatch packed with luggage, and we took off.

We were somewhere on the back roads of Arkansas when the Fiesta Ghia developed some transmission problems. (Hard to believe, isn’t it, considering the amount of weight we were carrying).

We were able to cripple our vehicle into a very small community, and found a mechanic, who told us he could fix it and have it ready by noon the next day.

We found a cheap motel (which I’m sure was the embarrassment of the whole town) and settled into our room to await our repaired chariot. About thirty minutes after we arrived, one of our touring group came running into the motel room, breathless. He explained that there was a restaurant right next to this motel, which had a banner advertising “All the Crab Legs You Can Eat for $8.99.”

A hush fell over the room, followed by a quiver, and then a mutual scream from all the inhabitants. We were gonna go have crab.

$8.99, even at that time, was very reasonable, so even though we possessed limited funds, we believed it to be God’s will for us to use them to stuff ourselves with crab and celebrate the repair of our Ghia and the bonding we were having together as men.

We arrived at the restaurant at 7:15 P. M. and did not leave until 10:00 P. M.

Five grown, hungry crab-eating fools.

When we first entered the establishment, they were grateful to see us. When we left, there was no person in the joint who would speak to us. We had cleaned them out of their crab—not just for the night, but all they had bought for the entire weekend. (Keep in mind, it’s a little difficult to get crab on the back roads of Arkansas, since “the docks” are a thousand miles away.)

I suppose we should have felt guilty about eating too much. If we had been more temperate, we would have slowed down after the twelfth helping. But we were young, brash, self-involved, slightly traumatized by our car ordeal, a little scared of the motel we were staying in, and ferociously fond of crab.


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Covered-Dish Supper

Covered-dish supper: (n) meal to which guests contribute food, as casseroles.

 When I was nineteen years old I had no job, but I had a music group.

It was constantly brought to my attention that I could have a job and still sing and play with my combo on weekends.

I did not favor that idea.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I thought the only way to be a professional musician was to insist it was your profession, long before your bank account confirmed it. Money was infrequent and when it arrived, we were so hungry for it that often we blew it on a desire rather than what the bills might require.

Because music groups were plentiful in that time, no one wanted to offer hard, cold cash for playing songs—even if it stimulated great enthusiasm, joy and clapping. What was offered—and may I say, even touted by a sponsor desiring to schedule our musical abilities—was a covered-dish supper.

In other words, after we got done singing, we would go down into the basement of the church and eat the food that had been brought by the concert attendees for just such an occasion.

Certain dishes were pretty well guaranteed:

There was always fried chicken (even if you were sure it came out of a bucket instead of a frying pan.)

Macaroni and potato salads were plentiful.

Someone always experimented with a rice dish, putting in some teriyaki sauce to give it “flare.”

Brownies, cakes of all sorts, pies, garlic bread, four or five concoctions with spaghetti, and once in a while some grilled hot dogs or hamburgers would appear.

By the time we got done singing, we were hungry. Also, we were starved because during the week we had not necessarily been able to procure grocery money to satisfy our growling innards.

So we learned two very important procedures:

First of all, you get more food when you compliment the food. If we found out who cooked what, we could center our appreciation in on that person and pretty soon they would bring their pot over and dump the contents onto our plates to “make sure we got our share.”

The second thing we put into practice, which took some trial and error, was to ask the smallest (and usually feminine) member of our band to walk over and chat with the ladies, asking for recipes. Well, these fine women looked at the dainty, somewhat underfed waif of a girl and loaded her down—not only with index cards containing the ingredients for their delicacies, but also boxes of leftover everything.

So even though nobody ever gave us money, we walked out of covered dish suppers with full bellies and enough food to last for two or three days thereafter.

Now, some people might think this is a terrible way to live, and I certainly can appreciate their point of view.

But I, for one, think it is quite charming to have a remembrance in my life when I literally did live hand to mouth.

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Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan: (adj) free from provincial ideas or attachments; at home all over the world

As he sat down, he stared at me.

It was a very small waiting room in a dentist’s office, so what I was doing was noticeable. It was also quite obvious that he found my activityfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
humorous.

I was reading Cosmopolitan Magazine.

There were three choices: Popular Mechanics, Highlights for Kids, and Cosmopolitan.

I suppose if I were trying to confirm my masculinity, I should have thumbed through Popular Mechanics, though mechanical things have never been particularly popular with me.

I decided to comment since he continued to stare at my magazine. “I’m reading Cosmopolitan because it was here—and I was curious.”

He nodded his head in disdain.

I ventured one more sentence of explanation. “Don’t you ever wonder what women are thinking about us?”

He didn’t even look up for this question—just shook his head.

While I was waiting my turn to be drilled, I learned three things about women of this day and age, from perusing Cosmopolitan.

  1. Women are much more concerned about what men think and feel than men seem to be about women.
  2. For some reason, a woman thinks it is her fault in some way when she ends up with a man who is unable to communicate or seems to have “lost interest.”
  3. Women feel they can pursue a five-point plan to transform their hopeless situations to better, more romantic results.

I simultaneously was filled with admiration and sadness.

I found the pursuit placed in this magazine to be far from cosmopolitan, since “cosmopolitan” is the ability to function and be successful in any culture or environment at any time.

This magazine more or less was a handbook to explain to women why they are not crazy, insecure or extreme in their misgivings.

What the magazine was trying to impress upon its readership—mainly female—is that men are waiting for the right signals to become objective, interesting and involved.

When it came my time to head for the dentist’s chair, I closed the magazine and thought, I could probably make a million dollars by printing a magazine that encouraged women to be themselves and realize that men will eventually come in their direction since the alternatives are limited…and they do get horny and hungry.


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Correlate

Correlate: (v) to bring into mutual or reciprocal relation

My eyes popped open as I awoke this morning.

So did my black brother’s in Harlem.

I wanted to roll over and sleep more, even though I had a full eight hours.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

My sister in China agreed nodded her head in union.

I convinced myself I felt better once I got up and around.

The young man living on the Indian reservation concluded the same.

I was hungry—but picky—and only wanted a certain something or another for breakfast.

A young boy in Mexico told his mother exactly the same thing.

I started my day wanting to be grumpy but realized I wouldn’t be able to get by with it.

My black sister in Chicago, who holds down three part-time jobs, prayed to reach the same position.

My mind was reluctant to do much of anything.

Somewhere in Japan, a young girl said amen.

But once I got going, moving around, my spirit became sweeter.

That’s what the Irish gentleman driving his taxi in New York also decided.

By the end of the day, I had accumulated enough good experiences that I was able to banish the bad experiences from my mind and be grateful that breath was still in my lungs.

On this one, the Eskimo, the Aborigine, the Aussie and the Queen of England concur.

You see?

We correlate.


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Alleviate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alleviate: (v) to make suffering, deficiency or a problem less severe: e.g. he took measures to alleviate unemployment

You usually can tap a tear or draw a cheer by speaking against the evils of pain, poverty and suffering. And certainly, these nasty villains have crushing results on the weakest members of our society.

But I think you are often trying to treat the rash on your skin caused by the tumor in your heart. What we need to alleviate in order to improve the status and quality of life are:

  • Piety
  • Politics
  • Prejudice

They are the spawners of all pond scum, and therefore should be attacked for their vicious planning of the destruction of mankind.

In one stroke, piety makes us feel better than others and worse than God. It leaves us uncertain of our value, falling into a pit of pomposity to try to prove our worthiness for salvation.

Politics is the band-aid for the gaping wound which pretends to repair the breach, only to welcome deeper and deeper levels of infection.

And of course, prejudice targets an enemy who has done nothing to us other than being different, so that we might promote our own singularity as superior. It is the nastiest form of insecurity available in the arsenal of human weaponry.

Would we have war without politics, religion and prejudice?

Would there be hungry people if politicians, religionists and bigots weren’t restricting the flow of charity?

Would there be suffering if politicians were actually addressing the needs of society, churches were spreading the blanket of Jesus’ love to “the least of these,” and prejudice was dissolved and a liquidity of acceptance was poured forth?

Alleviate. Yes, I believe my job as a human being in the twenty-first century is to lessen the effect of piety, politics and prejudice, on the mind and heart of the common man.

In so doing, I will find that less pain, poverty and suffering will afflict the strangers–now acquaintances–around me.

 

Alive

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Alive: (adj.) living; not dead.

One of my favorite stories from the Good Book is the discourse between the angel sitting on the stone that had been rolled away from the tomb of Jesus with the women who had come to make him smell sweeter for burial.

The reason I like it so much is that it’s filled with attitude.The angel pipes off with a bit of verve, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

It’s really kind of bratty–especially since these ladies had just seen Jesus die, and were trying to be nice … with spice.

But the angel had insider information. Jesus was alive.

It’s powerful.

It’s so powerful that I am determined to only pursue situations in my time on earth that welcome being alive. How do we know when something is alive?

It’s hungry.

Yes, there is an appetite. A true sign of sickness is that the sight of food makes us throw up. And the evidence of indifference is when we no longer want to eat information to make us stronger.

Things that are alive are thirsty.

They need to replenish fluids because they’re constantly losing them. If they don’t, they dry up and blow away.

I believe being alive involves some manifestation of laughing.

Maybe it’s not always an outward giggle, but it is a sense of good cheer–that nothing is over until it’s over, so why discuss the premature death of anything?

But in like manner, to be alive requires crying.

If we don’t lament loss and acknowledge the absence, we will not have the sensibility to fill the vacuum.

You can tell something is still alive because it’s trying.

I once saw a bird fall from the sky, injured. But even though it was wounded, it continued to move, attempting to gain flight. It lifted from the ground with its one remaining wing, for a few feet successful, and then fell again. But eventually the bird made its way to a place of safety. It kept trying.

I meet individuals who consider themselves intellectual superiors because they have given up on the idea of human beings. I don’t argue with them. It’s ridiculous to debate with the deceased.

And finally, if something is alive, it’s growing.

I’ve been dealing with this in the past month. Just because I’m aging does not mean I can’t keep my muscles toned, my diet correct and my aspirations courageous. When we stop growing, we are bedding down for our death.

Look for things that are alive.

And stop seeking the living among the dead.

 

Abstemious

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abstemious: (adj.) not self-indulgent, especially when eating or drinking. “We only had one bottle.” “Very abstemious of you.”

It’s not fair.

Well, of course, it IS fair. It’s just more powerful to begin an essay like this with an obtuse proclamation of disparity.

I can go into a restaurant and watch somebody eat a total of three thousand calories at one sitting (being a fatty, I have total awareness of the calorie count of every known food) and watch as that individual, who has consumed this humongous amount of food, stands up and leaves, appearing to be as thin as a razor.

I, on the other hand, can meticulously consume twelve hundred calories in an entire day, and not shed one single ounce in the process.

I do not know if it’s some great cosmic joke. I am not sure if it’s some sort of genetic foible. It could be that there is a missing link in my own thinking that needs to be inserted, or a demon which needs to be driven from my deep, dark, fatty soul, to allow me to walk in the “thinness of life.”

But last night I ran headlong into the situation. Finishing up my evening, having not yet consumed my dinner, I was hungry. Now, understand–as a fat person, I don’t need to be hungry to eat. Matter of fact, there are nights when I’m watching television when I am quite full, but still am taking a mental inventory of the contents of the nearby refrigerator.

But last night I had actually expended energy and was famished. Yet I wanted to remain faithful to some unseen code of behavior, which would allow me to be considered a “fatty-in-retreat” instead of a plumper, charging ahead for more gain. So I ordered myself a twelve-inch veggie sandwich from Subway, brought it home, purchased a small bag of chips and ate it. Although quite delicious, when I finished it, I began to look around the room to find out where my dinner had gone.

They tell you if you wait twenty minutes after eating, you will feel full. I’m sure this is true, but twenty minutes might as well be three days unless you put me into a coma. I am going to start looking for alternatives. What can I further consume which will make me look righteous in my pursuit of weight loss, but still satisfy the little fat boy who live in the basement of my house?

I’m sure I did poorly.

Can I tell you?–I’m tired of doing poorly. It’s not that I am tired of pursuing upright eating. No, it’s just that sometimes I feel like I’m going against the natural order of my existence in an attempt to look better or buy more time in the calendar of my years.

Don’t get me wrong. I will still be here today–parsing my calories and analyzing my food.

Abstemious–choosing to avoid certain things.

Because it’s my lot. Some people can’t do what I do, and I can’t eat three thousand calories at McDonald’s without having someone roll me out the door in a wheelbarrow, doing chest compressions.