Cottage Industry

Cottage industry: (n) any small-scale, loosely organized industry.

Here’s the ideal:

Making cottage cheese in my cottage to establish a cottage industry.

I don’t know whether it would work, but it certainly has appeal. A great sales line, don’t you think?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

“Where did you make that cottage cheese?”

“Well, darn tootin’! I made it right there in my cottage.”

“Well—that gives you quite a cottage industry.”

It would be so simple. Of course, there would have to be a large market for cottage cheese, and you would have to compete with the Big Barons of Cottage Cheese—whoever that would be.

But if you were actually able to sell enough cottage cheese from your cottage to have a cottage industry, you could go back to your cottage every night and do cottage things, knowing that all the bills for your cottage were paid, and settle into your cottage for a good night of sleep, while your tummy digested your meal of cottage cheese.

It’s a perfect story.

Maybe that’s why it doesn’t work.

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Compare: (v) to estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

During a very brief stint of working in the motelier industry, I ran across a gentleman who owned an establishment, and took me on a journey of his array of available rooms.

Every time he entered one of the bathrooms, he took a deep, long, sniffing breath. I decided to ask him what he was trying to smell.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He turned to me sternly, peering into my eyes, and said, “The beginnings of mold.”

Yes, this fellow was completely convinced that long before the mold showed up in the bathroom tile, it could be sniffed out, tracked down and destroyed.

I had no reason to argue with the man–even if he was wrong, a good dousing of the tiles in bleach every once in a while is a capital idea.

But I must be honest with you–even though I can’t tell mold from gold, I do have a nose for the beginnings of bigotry.

And long before it becomes prejudice which has lost control, it pops its little head up with the word “compare.”

As human beings, once we allow ourselves to compare what we do to what other people do, it is safe to say that we will rarely consider their approach to be better than ours.

So in attempting to establish our refinement–or should the word be “superiority?”–we somehow or another have to sully or taint other renditions.

As people sit on panels and compare one race to another, one country to another, one gender to another or one religion to another, they feel so goddamn intelligent–never realizing they often have the sniff of social mold.


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