Cuyahoga Falls

Cuyahoga Falls: (n) a city in Northeast Ohio, near Akron

 The reason essays are often long is because the author feels compelled to place the reader in the exact moment and space of a given time.

Suffice it to say, today I am talking about a season in our history when boys were dying in Vietnam, hippies were walking the streets and young lads and lasses from the Midwest were desperately trying to be neither.

I grew up in Ohio.

Ohio insists it’s a single state, but anyone who lives there knows differently.

If you lived in Columbus, you might as well be from Iowa, or any other Midwest hold-out to social progress.

If you lived in Cincinnati, you were more like Dixie, with grits in your teeth.

And to the far north was Cleveland, which desperately tried to imitate New York City, complete with crime and a filthy Lake Erie to mirror the polluted Hudson.

I lived right in the center.

No, it’s true. My hometown was exactly ten miles from the geographical center of Ohio. That in itself should have afforded me great honor, but I was stuck, like everyone else, trying to prove myself and do the best with the talent shoveled in my direction.

Mine was music.

But my music was not quite suited to the genre that was rattling and reeling in the time capsule of hippies and soldiers.

So one day, I wiggled my way into scheduling a coffee house in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio—very near Akron. I didn’t know much about the place and they didn’t know much about me.

So my little band, excited about actually going somewhere to play a road gig, dressed up.

For the guys, that was pants and a long-sleeved shirt with a tie.

And for the ladies—well, they basically wore their prom dresses.

We arrived at the coffee house, which was called Avalon, and everybody there was in bell-bottom blue jeans, t-shirts, with long hair and sneers.

It was a long night.

Every song we tried was met with chuckles and everything we said was ignored, as they turned to one another and carried on conversations.

I became angry, mainly because I was young, foolish and felt it was my right to be offended.

I told them they were a bunch of snobs. I also told them they didn’t have the wardrobe for it.

This was my first and only laugh of the night.

The proprietor of the coffeehouse stood to his feet and said, “Be cool, fool. You just don’t fit in here.”

He was right—while simultaneously being wrong.

Because if we’re waiting for everyone to mature or expand to be welcomed into our little utopia, we’ve missed the whole point of having one.

A utopia is meant to be a place where anyone is welcome without fear.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Commute

Commute: (v) to travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.

Sitting around the room at a party last night with a bunch of friends and family, a young man piped up and said, “I evaluate people on whether they voted for this President. If they did I know they’re stupid.”

Well, truthfully, this article could be read forty years from now and it would still apply to someone who felt that way because “their” person did not make the White House.

I did not condemn the young man for his judgmental attitude. I didn’t try to convince him that he was wrong.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I did explain to him that he didn’t understand the mindset, simplicity and utter joy of small-town people all over America–who don’t have to commute an hour-and-a-half to go to work.

If they want a loaf of bread, they climb into their truck, drive down to the local market, where they spend much more time jabbering with their neighbors than getting their purchase. The trip back home takes no more than two minutes. There are no frayed nerves from traffic jams. There are no attitudes that the human race is full of assholes because they got cut off at the one stoplight in town.

It is much easier for them to be genteel.

But it’s also easier for them to be suspicious of the “big city ideas” trying to come in and take over.

When you live in a city where there’s a commute, you, yourself, develop a different pathway to sanity.

You may be more defensive.

You may be more interested in the government taking over matters of social order, since you don’t grow your own corn and soybeans.

You are not worse than the man or woman who lives in Iowa and only needs five minutes to get to their job or their barn.

You’re just different. Your perspective varies from theirs.

Wise is the soul who understands the simplicity of the village folk, and the struggle of those who commute.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Background

Background (n) the circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event.

“What’s your background?”Dictionary B

A very popular question.

I learned many years ago to dodge all inquiries which attempt to squeeze me into a favorable box.

Once people discover the roots of my nationality, the place of my birth, my chosen occupation and even my favorite color, for some reason, these nosy neighbors determine that they know enough about me to converse with me–or even market a product–in my direction.

I believe this is why we’re so juiced up on the idea of cultures and customs. Because once we determine that somebody is from Jamaica, then we are most assuredly confident that they must love reggae music.

So how difficult is it to be a rock and roll advocate and live in Jamaica?

How absolutely frustrating must it be to live in Wisconsin and have never eaten cheese?

Can you actually dwell in Iowa or Nebraska without having a running dialogue on raising corn?

The thing that makes us most uninteresting is the thing that we seem to pursue with great fervor.

“Let me shrink who you are so that who you are will fit into what I need you to be.”

So even as I watch the phenomenon of the gay community gaining credence in our society, television insists that all gay people speak with a lisp, love theater, cry at the drop of a hat and are basically snarky.

So what are we really achieving when we claim to be accepting of people–but we’re really only accepting of people when they arrive in large, definable clumps?

I will not tell you my background.

What I will share is my present footing and what I dream to be my foreground.

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

*******************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

Buy Now Button