Curmudgeon

Cumudgeon: (n) a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

 

Throwing water on the fire of someone’s excitement.

Refusing to discuss an important issue because you find it inappropriate to the surroundings.

Asking people to take off their hat when they visit your church.

Frowning at a young mother in a store because her children are misbehaving.

Failing to respond to “have a nice day.”

Criticizing young people because you do not understand their culture.

Making fun of technology because, somehow or another, you think you were smarter with pencils, paper clips and glue.

Talking about your generation as being superior to another generation.

Refusing to let someone who has two items go ahead of you in the grocery checkout, when you have one thousand.

Acting confused about why young people are “so goddamn horny.”

Telling your mechanic that forty years ago, you got a fuel pump put in your car for eighteen dollars.

Asking the pastor of your church to turn down the PA system and not have guitars during the worship service.

Voting for a candidate you know will keep everything the same because change angers you.

Choosing to go down a different aisle at the department store because people of color are there, and you don’t know how to talk to them.

Yelling at kids because they don’t pick up their toys.

Yelling at the toys that you step on, wishing you could hit the kids.

Claiming that special occasions are not necessary for you because you don’t like all the fuss.

Watching a movie and insisting on talking about another one which you saw thirty years ago.

Sticking your nose up at a new food choice because you think it looks funny or the name sounds foreign.

Seeing old people and assuming they are mean.

There are many ways to be a curmudgeon.

Unfortunately, the list is growing.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crouching

Crouching: (v) stooping or bending low.

After all my years of human travel, experiences, lifestyle changes, enlightenments and detriments, I still can find reasons—new ones every day—to hate baseball.

You would think I would run out of possibilities and begin to repeat myself, but even now, as I looked at the word, “crouching,” a new manifestation of my disdain for “America’s pastime” has surfaced.

I must be candid with you.

The reason I hate baseball is because I never took the time to learn to like it. When I was young, kids divided into categories:

Kids who like to fish and kids who hated the smell of fish

There were kids who liked girls and kids who held tightly to the conspiracy theory about the “cootie” thing.

There were kids who liked baseball and kids who liked football. I was part of the latter group.

But every once in a while, I would find myself caught on a hot summer afternoon, when everyone thought it was stupid to play football, squeezed into a corner with a bat and glove, to play with my fellow-warriors.

Matter of fact, I even tried out for Little League because my friends thought I would be great, I was kind of funny and would be a thousand laughs in the dugout.

So when I arrived at the ball diamond and the coach met me, I didn’t even get a word out of my mouth before he ran over, patted me on the shoulders, looked into my face and said:

“You’re chubby. You’ll make a great catcher.”

I didn’t like being called chubby. Chubby was not a manly term. And God and John Wayne both knew—I was manly.

But I was willing to listen.

He presented me with some sort of padded vest which didn’t fit—well, because I was chubby. So he taped it onto me, gave me the catcher’s mask, the big catcher’s mitt, and led me behind home plate. I stood there as he waited for me to assume the correct position.

At length he said, “No, no. You’ve got to crouch.”

Did I mention earlier that I was chubby? When you have a few extra pounds, crouching is not a given.

But again, I was willing to try.

What I didn’t realize was that this crouching thing was not a one-time event. As a catcher, you not only need to crouch, but you need to stay that way through the entire half-inning and be able to get up on your feet quickly from that descended position so you can make plays.

Without going into a lot of painful detail, I didn’t have any of the aforementioned qualifications.

My knees kept hurting.

I got a cramp in my thigh.

I was always falling over onto my side.

And every time I tried to stand up from the crouch, I felt like Atlas with the world on his shoulders.

I lasted through two innings before the coach took me into the outfield, handed me a glove, said, “It’s quieter back here”—and relieved me of my misery.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Conversation

Conversation: (n) informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons

I guess I’m trying to understand Mr. Webster’s inclusion of the word “informal” in relationship to “conversation.”

I surmise that he might be thinking that a conversation is different from a discussion, because the minute it becomes a discussion it has an funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cagenda, or at least a main subject. And a discussion transforms into a debate if the two people talking are in disagreement, becoming an argument when each person is determined to stick to his or her guns, trying to convert the other person.

My problem with a conversation is that it often becomes two human beings reciting their resumes to one another, allowing time for the other one to counter with similar information. In other words, “How are your kids doing?” Space of time, space of time, space of time…

Now it’s my turn. “This is how my kids are doing.” Space of time, space of time, space of time…

Because of the social media craze in our world, even the discourses we have with each other live and in person have begun to resemble Facebook with verbal posts.

To me, that’s not a conversation. A conversation is best defined, I believe, by the idea that two people get together yearning for fellowship and hungry for fresh insight.

It’s not a series of soliloquies in which we hope the other person is listening, but rather, dialogue peppered with questions, some indecision, observations and enough incompleteness that the other party feels comfortable contributing.

Conversation is the absence of the deadly five questions:

  1. How are you?
  2. What have you been doing lately?
  3. How are the kids?
  4. Health been excellent?
  5. What’s going on with the job?

If you can avoid these five questions religiously, you can sit down and have an actual conversation, which can turn out to be truly spiritual.

 

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Club

Club: (n) an organization dedicated to a particular interest or activity.

It reminds me of Dickie. He was a friend of mine.

Dickie had one thing he was very proud of–he loved to dupe adults. He explained this to me one day. He said the key to tricking grown-ups
was finding out what they wanted, and then discovering a way to do it which was more fun.

For instance, Dickie had a lot of dirt clods in his back yard. We used them to throw at each other, playing war and anticipating what it might be like to be hit with a hand grenade.

Dickie’s mother came out in horror and told us to stop throwing them, saying that we would certainly destroy an eye–or at least sully our pretty shirts.

Dickie waited about thirty minutes, then went in and said to his mother, “Mom, maybe it would be a good idea if we got rid of all that dirt and those dirt clods, and dumped them in the nearby woods.”

She thought it was a grand idea, and even offered some bushel baskets that had recently held apples. So Dickie and I went out, collected dirt clods in the bushel baskets, escaped into the trees–and continued our game.

God, we felt smart.

We had our own little club which we had formed, and was built around the notion that since we were the honorary members, it confirmed that we were more intelligent than others.

From that point on, I have wondered if it is possible to separate oneself off from the mass of humanity into smaller and smaller units and clubs without promoting a sense of superiority and propagating a cloud of bigotry.

Does the Methodist feel superior to the Baptist as he drives by on the way to his church?

Does the white man feel empowered when he passes through the black neighborhood and sticks his nose up at the urban blight, touting that he’s part of the Caucasian Club?

Here’s a frightening and perhaps intimidating thought–we’re all part of one club, and that’s human beings.

Breaking us down any further and insisting that the differences are imperative and unique makes us just about as dumb as a bushel basket of dirt clods.

 

 

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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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Breadwinner

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Breadwinner: (n) a person who earns money to support a family.

After much deliberation, I will tell you that the world and its systems boil down to money and people.Dictionary B

It may sound a bit over-simplistic, but when you consider all the various aspects of struggle and conflict, people are often set aside in favor of money–or money has to be put in a second position to give honor to people.

Blessed is the man or woman who can find a way to have money and still love Homo sapiens.

Since rumor has it that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” we might want to agree that this iniquity is perpetuated by shafting people.

So even in a household where a man is working a job and a woman is taking care of the kids, nothing good is ever achieved by the male being the breadwinner if the female feels oppressed, negated and disrespected.

However, we would point to this situation as a traditional marriage or an ideal setup.

Simultaneously, we still look on a scenario where the woman is the breadwinner and the man is the “house-husband” as being improper.

We try to act as if it is a normal situation, but deep in our hearts, we either want a man breadwinner or two breadwinners.

This falls under the realm of whether we think money and its manipulation is primal, or if we seriously consider giving people the right to be human beings, granted grace under a loving God as the directive.

Honestly, I’ve never been that concerned about the breadwinner.

I’m more interested in how the baloney is handled. 

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Bottle

Bottle: (n) a container with a narrow neck, used for storing drinks or other liquids.

Kids like money.Dictionary B

I suppose you can try to change that.  Good luck.

Actually, the best you can do–so as not to become a personal ATM for your offspring–is to instruct them on various methods they can use to earn small sums of cash.

When my seven-year-old son came to me complaining that he didn’t have funds to buy a toy, I suggested that he go out and collect bottles. This was a time when such an adventure was plausible, and paid off with two cents per container.

He became extraordinarily industrious. In no time at all, he had collected 268 bottles. He was so proud.

So I drove him down to the local grocery store, which had promised to pay the deposit, and let him go in with a  cart, completely packed to the brim.

He was gone a long time. I almost decided to go in and check up on him, but felt he might consider that interfering.

He finally returned to the car with a little money in his hand and tears in his eyes. He didn’t say a word. So I finally asked him why he was so upset.

He shared that the store manager told him that today they would only give one penny for each bottle. He didn’t want to argue with a grown-up, so he accepted his half payment.

We just sat there for a moment in silence. Finally I asked him, “So what do you feel about that?”

The tears avalanched down his cheeks.

“I think it stinks,” he said.

I explained to him that since he felt that way, he should probably go in and make a stand. He nervously agreed.

Being a proud father, I couldn’t miss this. I made sure he didn’t see me sneak in behind him, but I was bound and determined to catch the discussion.

My little fellow was very respectful, but he challenged the manager and said that he had worked very hard to collect the bottles because he had been promised two cents.

Amazingly, the manager decided to stonewall. But as my boy made his case, a few customers came around, listening in on the exchange. One of them took my son’s side, and before you knew it, there were four or five people frowning at the store manager.

He realized he was going to lose more business than the $2.68 he was withholding. So he reached into the drawer, handed the money to my son and told him to be about his business.

I quickly scurried to the car to be there before he arrived. When he opened the door, he had a big, beaming smile.

He learned to stand up for himself–even though there was the risk that nothing would change. The truth of the matter is, if you’re being cheated by a penny on your bottles, you’d better pipe up.

Because bottling up your feelings can leave some nasty deposits.

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