Chewing Gum

Chewing gum: (n) flavored gum for chewing

Early on in my life, I decided there were two types of people I did not want to become: argumentative and complaining. I find that anyone who pursues these two qualities always ends up turning off anyone they know and feeling very alone.

So I am not going to be argumentative, nor do I share this story with a complaining spirit.

One night I fell asleep with a huge wad of bubble gum stuck in my mouth and woke up the next morning with it lodged in my hair. (It was
back when I had hair. Lots of it.)

The gum, for some reason or another, had managed to distribute itself all throughout my locks. When I went to a barber to ask what could be done, the suggestion was made that I shave my head and start from scratch.

I was twenty years old. This was unacceptable.

So a friend of mine decided to look up in the encyclopedia (since there was no Internet at the time) how to remove gum from hair.

There were three suggestions. Being barely out of our teens, we decided to try all of them.

The suggestions were to smear the gum with mayonnaise, peanut butter or motor oil. We divided my hair into thirds and sampled all of the solutions.

None of them worked.

Except… for some reason, the peanut butter and the mayonnaise clung to the gum, making, if possible, an even worse mess.

I did not know what to do.

Finally, another friend of mine attempted to surgically and carefully cut the gum out of my hair, leaving behind whatever part of my “do” remained.

After this process, my head looked like crab grass with dried-out places in between, apparently caused by drought.

It took six weeks–yes, six weeks–before my hair grew out and all the gum was completely dispelled from my scalp.

I still chew gum.

But never as a nocturnal practice.

 

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Chat Room

Chat room: (n) an area on the Internet where users can communicate,

“Engage.”

Yes, that was the advice given to me by one of the web wizards instructing me in how to increase my presence on social media.

I was supposed to go into chat rooms and converse with those individuals who had accumulated in various clumps based upon their interest level in a particular topic.

I saw no reason to argue with the expert advice, so I found a couple of chat rooms that pertained to my particular writing style, musical interest and overall vision of life’s mission.

I started out slow–just tossed off a couple of ideas.

Suddenly I was attacked. I apparently had said something with an incorrect inflection which came through my writing as offensive.

So I apologized.

My apology was not accepted because it read insincere. I tried to explain my level of sincerity.Then the people in the chat room thought I was being pompous and self-righteous. Pleading with them that I was not pompous or self-righteous, but to the contrary, had set my direction in life to be at odds with such ridiculous profiles, they then wanted to know what I meant by “ridiculous.”

One person mentioned that without some sort of organization, how could anything be achieved?

Whatever way I turned, I ran into somebody who was either offended or was bound and determined to try to offend me.

Attempting to be up to date with the times, I continued for a few days in various chat rooms, pursuing some means of communal relationship.

It was utterly disastrous.

So I was gradually able to back my way out of the conversation and eventually they continued railing each other, unaware that I was gone.

I guess the premise would have to be that if you have enough time on your hands to be in a chat room, you probably have too much time on your hands.

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Cabal

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Cabal: (n) a secret political clique or faction.

It was strange.

I woke up, glanced down and it appeared that my leg had a red line going from my knee to my ankle.

Although I would not call myself a hypochondriac, if needed, I can imitate one. It spooked me.

Of course, I pulled up the Internet and found that there were several dastardly explanations. No pleasant determinations for such a mark on one’s flesh. I spent about two-and-a-half hours allowing my brain to go in and out of scenarios about this unknown “line in the flesh.”

I decided to keep it a secret. I didn’t share with anyone else. After all, if my time on Earth was nearing an end, it would be best for my loved ones to be surprised instead of having any elongated sorrow.

Then for some reason, the spirit within me made an internal suggestion to my mind.

“Did you try to wash it off?”

I was offended by my spirit. Such a childish proposal. But so as not to quell the “little fella’s” desire to be heard, I grabbed a wash cloth and simply ran it across my stripe, fully prepared for nothing to happen. It suddenly began to disappear.

It then occurred to me that the previous evening I had eaten a cherry popsicle and apparently it dripped onto my leg and had simply dried.

My problem was solved. Quickly.

So when I saw the word “cabal” today, it reminded me of that incident.

We all look for complicated, fussy, secretive and even difficult answers. That’s why we get political think tanks and theological discussions, and have seminars on this and seminars on that.

But before we go off and find a mahogany table, where we all gather and talk too deeply about shallow problems, grab a damp cloth. Do the obvious. See if the damn problem will just wash away.

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Business

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Business: (n) the practice of commerce.

“Business as usual.”

Maybe if we clarified what “usual” is, we might have a better idea of the true nature of business.

If by business we mean simply finding a way to create commerce without any real concern except profit margin, then we unleash an unruly effort on the world that doesn’t seem to answer to any higher guideline.

But if we know what the “usual” is of business, and that “usual” has productive roots, then business can be a good thing–matter of fact, the heart of every endeavor.

For even the Good Book tells us not to be slothful in business. What is slothful in business?

Anyone who starts a storefront or an Internet escapade should ask two questions:

  1. Is this needed?
  2. Can I maintain quality?

Because if it’s not needed, it not only will have a short life, but it continues to increase the cynicism about true ingenuity in the marketplace.

And if the essence of quality if sacrified to manufacturing costs, then people will cynically hold a broken piece of junk in their hands that makes them further suspicious of the world as a whole.

Slothful in business is when we’re more concerned with producing than we are with being productive.

Not every corporation needs to have a noble cause–but everyone who decides to market a product needs to be able to give a quick explanation of its purpose and value, and also a guarantee that it was put together with tender, loving care.

Anyone who thinks that’s unrealistic will probably find him or herself in a slothful profile. And anyone who asks the two magic questions–is it needed and can I maintain quality?–is helping to build the trust among humans that is necessary to keep us from self-destruction.

 

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Buckskin

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Buckskin: (n) the skin of a male deer.

I saw it on TV.

I had to have it.

Being only ten years old, my negotiating skills were undeveloped. I explained to my mother and my father that the buckskin shirtDictionary B I saw the little boy wearing on the Daniel Boone television show was so cool that I must have one right now.

This was long before the Internet or when information on such garments was readily available. My mother actually had to write to the studio in Hollywood to find out where a shirt could be purchased.

I must tell you, she was in no hurry about it. Matter of fact, it took two months to get the letter written and a response back.

The studio was so kind they actually sent her a pattern for the shirt, explaining where to acquire buckskin.

Two immediate problems came to the forefront: the buckskin was very expensive, and the shirt pattern was sized for a boy who was rather small–which was not me.

So Mother found a seamstress who agreed to make the shirt for me as a Christmas present. But she explained to my parents that we would need two-and-a-half times the amount of buckskin to cover my skin.

The project was abandoned.

My parents emphatically explained that they could not use their entire paycheck for the next week to make me look like Daniel Boone’s little nephew.

I never got my buckskin shirt.

It was the first of many disappointments in my life, which fortunately did not lead me to a life of crime.

Though as you can see, I would have had a good excuse.

 

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Bozo

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Bozo: (n) a stupid, rude, or insignificant person, especially a man

I’m not certain of this little piece of information, but since it’s on the Internet, who in the hell cares?

But I do believe that the original “Bozo the Clown” was produced and filmed in Chicago, Illinois. The reason I’m not certain is because during my growing up years, we didn’t have Bozo. In Columbus, Ohio, we had a character named Flippo.

Yes. “Flippo the Clown.”

Originally, the gentleman hired to play this part was given an inexpensive black tunic with white cotton balls sewn on it, and a silly flock of hair with cheap dime store makeup. He was commissioned to be the instigator of foolishness for children as he introduced favored cartoons and giddy newsreels.Dictionary B

But our clown, Flippo, had a much broader vision for his role. Rumor had it that he favored certain beverages before filming the kiddie show, and the more he imbibed in these intoxicants, the looser he became before the cameras, often throwing in adult references which clearly surpassed the scope of the understanding of the average child, only to be appreciated by mature ears.

He was very popular. He was also highly criticized by Ohio mothers who felt that he was not always appropriate for younger ones.

Flippo didn’t care. He made a multitude of appearances in small-town venues all across the landscape, always drawing a respectable crowd of followers and even a few female fans. Some of these clown admirers found themselves invited to Flippo’s changing room, where certain scandals began to trickle out to the public.

I’m not exactly sure what finally happened to Flippo, but about the time that people in Chicago discovered that Bozo…was, the audience that was watching Flippo suddenly flipped. 

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Blueprint

Blueprint: (n) a design plan or other technical drawing.

Dictionary BI don’t often take time with this particular essay to discuss current events or natural happenings. It’s really more a primer on what is primary.

But I find myself in an interesting dilemma.

I have set a blueprint for my life, my work, my mission, my writing and my sharing with humanity–to stay away from politics. To me, politics is taking what might be a good idea and hammering on it until it’s pleasing to as many people as possible.

But in this particular political season, I am stymied.

My blueprint is threatened.

For if I talk about kindness, courtesy, gentleness and tolerance, it will appear to my reader that I am preaching against Donald Trump.

On the other hand, if I write an essay on honesty, being forthcoming, freshness of ideas or even gaining the acumen of using the Internet and email–doggone it, it would appear that I’m striking out against Hillary Clinton.

So I find myself squeezed like a tube of toothpaste which should have been replaced four days ago.

When you can’t speak a virtue without attacking one or the other candidate, what you have is a commentary on the lack of virtue in our candidates.

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