Clinic

Clinic: (n) a hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment

Old Marion Webster always tends to leave out a detail or two in presenting definitions.

Clinics are not only places where people go to get medical assistance, but often find themselves frequenting due to poverty.

I’ve been to a clinic. It wasn’t because I doing research for one of my essays. No–I was busted.

Broke. Without bucks. Dollarless.

I found the experience to be humiliating–not because I thought I was better than all the other clientele. It was humiliating by design.

All the furniture was old, scarred, some pieces broken. The magazines were dated at least four years earlier, and had articles which had already proven to be incorrect. The candy machine was empty except for peanuts and Cheese-it crackers. The Coke machine was out of order and the coffee maker had a crack in it, so they could only make one cup at a time.

The nurses were volunteers who attempted to be cheery, but still conveyed a sense of yearning to get over their stint quickly and return to their normal lives.

The people around me were sick–some very sick. It made them look and act dreary.

I sat there and thought to myself, how easy it would be for people of substance and finance to just donate new magazines.

How about that church down the road which recently bought new furniture for their parlor–giving that old plush couch and chairs to this clinic so people would feel just a bit more comfortable as they sat for hours, waiting for a three-minute visit?

Would it kill the vendors to make sure that the candy machine was adequately stocked, and price it just a bit more reasonably for those who have to search longer for quarters?

How about giving them a new coffee pot, or taking up a donation to make the Cokes reappear?

I wasn’t angry over the indifference–just perplexed by the ignorance.

Now that prosperity has crept my way, I have a little extra money every once in a while that might seem like a gold mine for a clinic.

Maybe just buying flowers for the attendants to wear every day. Or if you worry that the patients might be allergic, purchase more colorful scrubs.

For some reason or another, rich people do not feel it’s enough to insult the less fortunate with mere poverty. They want to make sure the experience leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

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Clay

Clay: (n) a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth that can be molded

We don’t know anything.

Our science books, a hundred years from now, will be comedy club routines.

Our religions will cause people in the next generation to blush in embarrassment. We are perniciously ignorant because we insist that our
discoveries are so significant that it will be difficult to surpass them.

Yet we are plagued by hypocrisy because simultaneously I-phone 8 immediately needs I-phone 9.

So when you read the ancient text that “God formed man from the dust of the ground,” the poetic nature of the sentiment–and also the significance of understanding how limited our time on “Maple Street” will end up being–leaves out the fact that dust does not cling.

It does not form.

It blows, scatters and crumbles.

So although we may end up being dust somewhere along the line, the story should have informed us that the Creator obviously added his spit.

It was “Daddy spit.” (I know it’s not as famous as Mommy spit.) But it changed dust to clay, which could cling together and form flesh, blood and persons.

So even though I am made of the dust of the Earth, I am emotionally and spiritually held in place by the Saliva of the Most High God.

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Clarify

Clarify: (v) to make things less confused

In our attempts to discover right and wrong, good timing and bad timing, and safe or unsound, we have become excellent liars.

Not willing to take a chance on sharing what we feel–out of a deep fear that we might be incorrect–we have developed a series of “wedge
statements” which seem to fit into any given clumsy moment, offering absolutely no insight or means of clarifying.

Things like:

“We have that under advisement”

“That’s something we were just talking about the other day”

“We have a committee checking into that”

“We are collecting data”

“Of course we want to do what’s right for the American people”

“This is no time to make rash decisions”

All of these squeaky-clean, insipid excuses may avoid committment, but have more and more of our citizens ending up committed (mainly to mental hospitals).

Somewhere along the line, you have to clarify your position, even if you happen to be completely out-of-whack.

After all, holding a cough in does not get rid of the foul mucus. Likewise, holding in an opinion does not dispel ignorance. It just allows it to grow like mushrooms in a dark cave.

“Let me clarify my position” is not an attempt to prove your point. It lets those around you have an awareness and sensitivity of the emotional air you are presently breathing–so they will know how to offer you oxygen.

 

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Citrus

Citrus: (n) a fruit from a citrus tree

Ignorance is the life of the party, bringing a full keg of beer, until knowledge shows up with pizza.

Most of us are completely satisfied to sip on the beer of ignorance. Why? Because the initial explanation is very satisfying to us.

To push beyond that would mean we might discover something that is less fulfilling–which we have to consider because it’s right.

Some years back I got a cold. I was doing a concert in 72 hours, so I needed a quick remedy to get rid of my common malady. This was during the phase in our society when we believed that Vitamin C was the secret to overcoming the “snoots.”

I decided I was going to be very aggressive in my treatment. I went out and bought nearly a bushel of citrus: oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, tangeloes–everything that had an orange or yellow peel on it. I ate one of these things after another, insisting to myself that I was treating my condition and improving my situation.

After several hours of consuming citrus, I started feeling more sick and logy. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I thought perhaps I wasn’t eating enough citrus, so I chomped more.

My limited understanding of Vitamin C prompted me to eat so much citrus that I just didn’t want to get out of bed.

Now, years later, I understand that all the sweet from the citrus raised my blood sugar, and in the process actually made me feel more ill. (You see, cold germs like sweet things, too.)

It actually took me longer to get over that cold because I aggravated it with a sugar rush. A little knowledge arriving at the right time might have convinced me to change my diet, limit my sugar intake and thereby increase my possibility of recuperating.

But honest to God, if the truth had walked in the door wearing a crown of righteousness, I just might have chased it away.

 

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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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Chastise

Chastise: (v) to rebuke or reprimand severely.

I was thoroughly convinced that my kids were going to remember their childhood by benchmarking the exciting trips, opportunities or gifts I gave them.

But as I sit around with them now, at holidays, and they feel free to open up about their journeys of being my offspring, rarely do they refer
to a camping trip or a special dinner at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

All of them recount the moments when their errors were brought to the forefront, and it was commanded of me, as their parent, to chastise. Sometimes they do object to the severity of my application, but mostly they are extraordinarily grateful that I was able to muster the backbone to stand up against trends of the time and try to tell them the truth to the best of my ability.

It’s actually a very moving experience, when I realize they understand that it is required to chastise those you love.

So even though I have no squabble with the common thought that love, exhortation, hugs, kisses and praise are very important parts of a child’s security, I also know that there comes a moment when time stands still–and it is the mission of the parent to stop the progression of ignorance, and encourage a better solution.

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Chartreuse

Chartreuse: (n) a color between yellow and green

Tolerance is a good thing.

Acceptance–admirable.

Inclusion, divine.

There’s no doubt about it.

But by the same token, if you happen to be heterosexual, you don’t want to be gay. And I would assume those who are gay might be slightly offended at the notion
of being heterosexual.

Maybe it’s the remnants of prejudice–the ignorance of the masses being played out–but certain actions, choices, mannerisms and even speech patterns hint toward effeminacy.

We are still sensitive. Oh, we may march in the Gay Pride Parade, openly spouting that we don’t care if anyone thinks we’re part of the gang. But then–if someone actually does assume that we are of that persuasion, we are quick to whisper, “I’m just here to be supportive.”

With that in mind, I have been tempted from time to time to refer to something as “chartreuse.” The word nearly fell from my lips in a room filled with blue jeans, t-shirts and five o’clock shadows. Just in the nick of time, I pulled back and said, in my deepest basal tone, “You know. Kind of between yellow and green.”

In doing so, I removed any suspicion from the testosterone-driven gathering that I might be … well, gay.

You see, I don’t want to be gay. Honestly, I don’t like to think about being gay. I think it is possible to be tolerant without possessing total understanding of a situation.

So even though it may not be politically correct, I will tell you that I occasionally catch my hands on my hips and quickly remove them, am very careful at how I glance down at my fingernails, and certainly would not call a football jersey “chartreuse.”

 

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