Decadence

Decadence: (n) moral degeneration or decay; turpitude.

“Congratulations. We have a new country.”

“So where should we start?”

“I guess we should get organized.”

“Now by organized, do you mean the Robert’s Rules? Or Parliamentary Procedure?”

“Somebody needs to be in charge.”

“How should we pick him?”

“Well… we could have them campaign for the job.”

“Okay. But no insults, right?”

“Maybe insults, but just not personal.”

“Well, leave them alone and let it play out.”

“Well—now what’s next?”

“We need an organized government.”

“What should the government do?”

“Govern—according to the will of the people.”

“Unless the people are wrong.”

“Then what?”

“Govern them, letting them think they’re in charge.”

“Isn’t that a lie?”

“It’s politics. There will be lies.”

“I see. I forgot.”

“Don’t let it happen again. We need to be able to lie—to get our message across.”

“But what if we get caught in a lie?”

“Deny.”

“Why would they believe us?”

“Because they don’t really care what we do—just as long as we don’t make their lives difficult.”

“You act like you think people are stupid.”

“No, just less informed.”

“Well, since they’re less informed, maybe we should take some chances.”

“Or open the door to some possibilities.”

“But isn’t that illegal?”

“You mean by the Constitution?”

“Yes—the Constitution.”

Everybody interprets that differently.”

“But it seems we’ve left our original plan—a government of the people, for the people and by the people.”

“It’s still of the people. We let them vote.”

“By the people because we are coming from the population.”

“The only question would be for the people.”

“Do they really know what they need?”

“And do they care what’s happening in other countries?”

“It’s like my Grandpappy once said. ‘It takes a lot of money to be honest.’”

“What do you think he meant by that?”

“He meant, ‘do what you do to get as much as you can so what you say makes a difference.’”

And then, all at once, we had decadence instead of a government.

 

Davis, Jefferson

Davis, Jefferson: (n) man who served as president of the Confederacy throughout its existence.

I’m not brave.

I am not a warrior for the truth.

I am not the kind to run up, state my opinion and stand my ground.

I prefer to appear from behind with a squirt gun, spray everyone and scamper away.

But there are certain things that elevate my consciousness, stimulate my “god-image” and demand that I build a fortress.

I spent most of my adult life living in the American South.

On one occasion, I overheard a gentleman talking about hosting a “minstrel show” in the community. I immediately assumed I misunderstood what he said, but when he sounded it out for me slowly, I realized that he intended on producing a program that was begun in the Confederacy after the Civil War, which allowed white people to dress up in blackface and make fun of the Negroes.

I was confused.

I thought minstrel shows had been outlawed years ago.

Now, here was the word, flying through the air as if it had wings.

For a moment I was emblazoned with a ready hostility—but still, tepidly opined, “Aren’t those illegal?”

The man became indignant and explained that minstrel shows were part of the heritage of the South and gave the people in that region a sense of pride over what had been pursued attempted by President Jefferson Davis and all the Rebels.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Freedom,” he replied.

Even if I were to buy in to the idea that Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis were just trying to “protect their way of life,” I would still be left with a stark anomaly.

If the Civil War was all about “state’s rights,” standing up to Washington, D. C., and not being pushed around anymore, why not just free the slaves and change the dynamic?

If it really wasn’t a malicious adventure to keep four million kidnapped human beings in chains and forced labor, why not just take the higher ground and convince the entire world that you were merely out to sanctify your choices instead of imprison human flesh?

Jefferson Davis was not a nice man.

I suppose if you sat down and had a drink with him and shared some boiled crawdads, you might find him amiable.

But on the inside was a greedy, corrupt man who insisted that black humans were mongrels and needed white people to help them reason.

And he did all of this standing in front of a church, holding a Bible in his hand.

Cop-out

Cop-out: (n) act or instance of copping out; reneging; evasion

I would like you to join me today in the world of make-believe. It is a place where balloons never lose their air, marshmallows always toast brown instead of black and gumdrops won’t stick together.

It shouldn’t be a realm of make-believe, but because we live in a time when political speak, campaign language and Washingtonian wording has gained predominance, the common man, woman and child have begun to believe they can talk themselves out of anything.

It is becoming more and more usual for people to offer excuses, explanations or pathos than to simply answer a question.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Our new heroes are those we say we despise—because politicians and lawyers always register near the bottom on the list of favored occupations.

Yet when confronted with the simple question, “Did you do this?” almost every American citizen, and dare I say, perhaps worldwide, begins to launch into a story, as if taken over by the spirit of Stephen King.

There was a time when we used to believe that elaborating on our failures to try to make them look better was a cop-out.

We hated cop-outs.

We despised excuses for foolish mistakes.

Now we anticipate it. When someone is asked, “Did you eat the last Oreo?” we brace ourselves to hear a three-part series, with a potential sequel to follow half-an-hour later.

It has become acceptable to offer the cop-out, even though we continue to roll our eyes and absolutely reject anyone who does it.

The answer to the question is, “Yes, I ate the last Oreo.” Or, “No, I didn’t.”

None of us need to know the story line of the Oreo, how much it means to you to eat one, or how you are innocent because you were unaware that it was the last one available.

In my opinion, coping out should be so illegal that you should be able to call a cop when you hear it.


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Collusion

Collusion: (n) secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy

It is quite astounding–the number of corporations, politicians and even religionists in this world, who look on the entire scope of humanity as their own personal lab rats. I don’t know what causes someone to become so callous to the emotions and pain of another human being, to view them purely as a means to an end.

But when it happens–when that broach is made–evil appears. I know we like to put evil in a devil’s costume and attribute it to forces beyond our control, but evil always arrives when human beings think themselves superior and collude to hurt other fellow Earthlings.

Sometimes the cause may seem noble, or at least patriotic. Usually it involves the potential of an influx of cash.

But the underlying reason for the collusion is always some sort of great desire to feel more powerful and worthy by denigrating perceived lessers.

Although collusion is very much in the news, we must not tie the word to one investigation or scandal. We must check our own hearts.

Who are we trying to cheat, lie to, leave out, cut off and reject, simply because we want to be able to go into a room with our friends and celebrate our triumph?

 

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Cigar

Cigar: (n) a cylinder of tobacco rolled in tobacco leaves for smoking.

I work very hard at being a man.

I thought having a penis and a beard would be sufficient, but turns out, both of those things are too common to set you apart from the herd.

“Manly things done by manly men in a manly way.”

What in the hell is that?

But you shouldn’t question it too much, because that brings up the possibility of you being gay, which is not a bad thing anymore, but might connote that you are “soft.”

You know what soft is, right? Neither team wants you.

Women think you’re nice for conversation and men keep wondering when you’re going to finally turn gay.

That’s the way I feel about cigars.

I get offered cigars a lot–and by a lot, I mean more than once. People who smoke cigars are historians. They not only know all the details of the little brown tube, but where it began, who smokes this particular brand, how illegal they are, and an absolute plethora of adjectives to describe the smoothness of the taste.

In my lifetime I have smoked two cigarettes and three cigars. (Yay! Cigars win!) Anyway, I can’t truthfully tell you that I adequately partook of either experience. I did not inhale. Just like President Clinton, my morality suddenly clicked in right before taking a deep breath. So the smoke remained in my mouth, barely escaping into my nose–where it stung really, really, really bad. I struggled not to choke. (God, please don’t let me choke! I’m sitting in front of someone I want to impress and I don’t want to be choking on the $54 cigar he just presented to me.)

Yet it was unpleasant.

For two days, no matter how much teeth brushing or mouth-washing I did, cigar residue clung to the inside cave of my mouth.

I have nothing against cigarettes or cigars from an ethical or moral position, but if it’s going to be a symbol of manliness, please mark me down: “N for neuter.”

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Censure

Censure: (n) the expression of formal disapproval.

Why is it not illegal to be an asshole?

I’m not speaking about capital punishment or even hard jail time. But certainly a stiff fine would be in order for being such a damn stiff.

We censure everything else. We raise our eyebrows in disapproval over a myriad of common human behaviors. Why is the asshole able to flee the jurisdiction of decency?

Wait. I see your problem. You would like me to define what an asshole is:

  1. An asshole is someone who tries to steal freedoms from other people simply because those folks don’t measure up to the favored code.
  2. An asshole is a person who hurts someone’s feelings and then pretends that it was nothing personal.
  3. An asshole is an individual who blows his or her horn in traffic instead of slowing up just a little bit, to let someone enter.
  4. An asshole is a Bible-thumper who quotes scriptures in a buffet line.
  5. An asshole is a jerk who posts articles on Facebook about other assholes

Honestly, I could go on and on, but then I would be in danger of becoming an asshole myself.

It is time to use the intimidation of censure to achieve some goodness in our society instead of thinking that goodness is achieved by censuring any fresh, new idea.

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Barber

Barber: (n) a person who cuts hairDictionary B

They called it a “regular.”

When I was eleven years old, my mother made me repeat the word “regular” back to her, so I would know what kind of haircut to ask for when I went to our barber, Mr. Smythe.

I hated to go.

Mr. Smythe was a nice man–small, soft-spoken and now, as I look back on it, probably gay. In our town, it was illegal to be gay, to think about being gay, or even to mention the word “homosexual.” So Mr. Smythe was more than likely hiding out behind his scissors and clippers.

And I now realize that he was probably just as terrified when I arrived at his barbershop as I was to climb up in his big chair and have him snip at my locks.

We struggled through fifteen minutes of conversation, which deteriorated with each of his questions, which I finalized with a “yes” or “no.”

I was always glad when we got to the end of the experience and he began to brush my hair to dispel all the dislodged members.

But then he would ask the most embarrassing question of all: “Would you like me to put some smell-good on you, for the ladies?”

I was only eleven years old, and the only ladies I knew were still forcing their way into my life to wipe my nose with Kleenex.

I don’t remember what I ever mumbled back, but sometimes he smeared me with aftershave, and on other occasions we would forego the ordeal.

I had my dollar and a quarter all ready for him, and as I left, he pretended we had made an amazing connection, and told me to “stop in any time.”

I didn’t. I only went when my mother decided I needed to display more ears.

I think about him from time to time.

  • What was his story?
  • Where did he end up?
  • Was he ever able to come out of the barber’s closet?

Perhaps he just a real sweet guy who liked women and was kind to little boys like me … who had not yet learned how to correctly answer questions.

 

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Afoot

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Afoot: (adv.) 1. in preparation or progress, happening or beginning to happen 2. on foot

  • It is illegal to sell your kidney, which is located in your own body, but it is perfectly legal to extract human tissue and throw it away through abortion.

Something’s afoot.

  • We are constantly complaining about the dullness of our youth while actively discussing the legalization of marijuana, to further dull them.

Something’s afoot.

  • We are justifiably enraged over the intransigent nature of politics in this country, as the political parties bring everything to a standstill, while simultaneously waving the flag and insisting on the power of the vote.

Something’s afoot.

  • We become teary-eyed and sentimental over our personal families, shrinking our vision of humanity, while people all over the world are being abused, murdered and stifled.

Something’s afoot.

  • We praise ourselves for progress in the realm of overcoming bigotry, while continually re-creating the sins of our fathers by generating a new prejudice against a weaker segment of our society.

Something’s afoot.

  • We self-righteously discuss the exceptional nature of the American dream and people while settling for mediocre choices, diminished leadership and a rejection of universal excellence.

Again–something’s afoot.

There are two major problems with a foot–if you’re not careful, it either ends up in your mouth or kicking your butt.