Chiller

Chiller: (n) short for spine-chiller.

My parents tried.

As I get older, I vaguely understand that my mother and father attempted to comprehend what was in the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy.

They didn’t do well–that’s why I used the word “tried.” Maybe I should have added “and failed.”

But once a month they would let me have some friends over to spend the night on Friday evening, and after my parents went to bed, we would gather in front of the only television in the house, which happened to be in the living room, and watch “Chiller Theater.”

The movies weren’t really scary–they were 1930′ or 1940’s ilk, chocked-full of silly props and plagued with over-acting.

But with seven or eight young boys in a dark house, poking each other and wrestling, the experience soon turned into a scream fest.

My father would appear from the bedroom, which was adjacent to the living room in our tiny bungalow, and mutter something to the effect of, “You boys need to keep it down.” But my recollection of how it sounded in my ears was: “Youwse keep the clown.”

So since the order was vague, we would quiet ourselves for a small period of time, and soon be right back to the decibels necessary to make us feel like we were really partying.

I think my parents hated “Chiller Theater” night. This was proven by the fact that they always insisted, when the fourth Friday came around, that I had added incorrectly, and it wouldn’t be until next week. Unfortunately for them, I carried a calendar with me and pointed out their mistake.

So when I hear the word “chiller,” I think of six or seven pubescent and pre-pubescent boys gathered in a tiny living room, wrestling, trying desperately not to knock over furniture, while screaming just enough to prove that we were the true “Monsters of Might” instead of those displayed on the screen before us.

 

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Children

Children: (n) plural form of child.

Four sons were brought into this world by my sexual cooperation. In other words, I’m their dad.

Three other young gentlemen arrived on my doorstep because they were no longer safe and sound in their home environment.

As I look back on it, I must be truthful–because I’m a writer, a vagabond, a searcher and a proclaimer, I may not have been the best choice of a man to have
children. Fortunately for me, my offspring generally disagree.

My approach with children was really simple: I have a life. It is my time to have a life. You are welcome to come along if you don’t complain too much.

They quickly became convinced that their dad was cool, because he wasn’t like other dads. Of course, when they came into their teen years, they became critical of me not being like other dads. The charm of my uniqueness had worn off.

Children exist for two reasons:

  1. To remind us how bratty human beings really are.
  2. To give us a chance through instruction, love and tenderness to make a better generation.

I cuddled with my children but I never coddled them.

I loved them but I avoided getting lovey-dovey.

I gave to them, but never gave into their demands.

I respected them as long as they respected themselves.

I laughed with them as long as they realized there was a season to weep.

And when it was time for them to move on, I granted them the autonomy to be themselves without feeling loaded down with ancient family history.

The Good Book says we are the children of God. It’s very true–because after all, we are a bratty group which needs discipline, but still possesses the potential of bringing new hope for a new generation.

 

 

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Cavalier

Cavalier: (adj) showing a lack of proper concern; offhand.

If we can laugh at it, we can mock it.

If we can mock it, we can make it seem insignificant.

If we can make it seem insignificant, we can deny its importance.

If we can deny its importance, we can stop doing it.

A nasty little process that’s being practiced every day in the entertainment industry, politics and even religion.

The cavalier approach we take to essential issues is damnable. You cannot take life-giving activities and place them on pedestals and put them in the museum of
“practices of the past” without setting up the destruction of our species.

Every morning I get up and ask myself, “What is important?”

It’s not important that my eggs are over-easy. That’s just nice.

It’s not important that my coffee was made correctly. That would be amazing.

It’s not important that my car did not start. That sets up a possibility for a lasting repair.

It is important that I have enough self-awareness to be aware of the other “selves” I will encounter.

To take the cavalier attitude that certain situations, certain occupations and certain people don’t really matter because they are either impossible to handle or not worth the time is the definition of hell on Earth.

After all, hell is the absence of God.

And God is the presence of “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

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Body Language

Body language: (n) the process of communicating nonverbally through conscious or unconscious gestures

Dictionary B

Normally, if “body” has a language, it’s fussiness.

By the time our little ticks, twits and jerks become obvious to those around us, we have festered frustration for way too long.

We are intended to be heart creatures, where emotions crop up and we share them with the anticipation of salvaging the good, and having a hearty laugh over the rest.

Yet for those who are afraid to share their feelings, there is a soul. It also gives us a doorway to communication through confession. If we haven’t taken advantage of our heart, to be clean, we can confess our faults to one another and be healed.

But there are those who do not believe in the soul, and for them, there is the brain. So these folks can use the mind to stimulate discussion with others, introducing topics they may not want to confess, but can still garner food for thought.

But when we fail to share, confess or discuss, our inner grumbling comes out through our body language–as our skin literally crawls within the view of others.

  • If you can’t share, confess.
  • If you can’t confess, discuss.

But if you fail to stimulate the discussion, be prepared for your little twitches to be analyzed by the skeptics around you.

 

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Approachable

dictionary with letter A

Approachable (adj): 1.friendly and easy to talk to 2. able to be reached from a distance.

Ten things:

1. Don’t be dark and mysterious. James Dean is dead and so is the “brooding human.”

2. Value the power of ignorance because it makes you more accessible to other people. There is no such thing as a know-it-all. Such a creature ends up knowing nobody.

3. Laugh. Preferably at yourself instead of others.

4. Don’t feel the need to be the savior of the world. Instead, start filling sandbags to hold back the flood.

5. Don’t be sure. People who are sure have to later lie about either what they believed or about how successful it was.

6. Do not be a respecter of persons. The minute you assume that someone or some group is better than another, you’ve cut yourself off from a large portion of the earth.

7. Don’t talk about God. Live God.

8. Show up in a consistent mood. It doesn’t have to be good–it just has to be predictable so people aren’t wondering whether Jekyll or Hyde will show up at the party.

9. Believe in something. It’s too easy to be cynical. It’s also very lonely.

10. Learn something every day–and be prepared to admit it.

Approachable is when we’re not afraid to be human, but instead, revel in the uncertainty of our humanity.

 

 

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Aerobics

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAerobics: (n) vigorous exercises such as swimming or walking, designed to strengthen the heart or lungs.

  • I don’t.
  • I should.
  • I would if I could.
  • I could if I would.
  • I think about it.
  • I agree.
  • I laugh.
  • I’m curious.
  • I tried it.
  • I didn’t like it.
  • I didn’t exactly try it.
  • I kinda liked it.
  • I felt better afterwards.
  • I felt worse in the morning.
  • I think it costs money.
  • I think I’m broke.
  • There’s a program for free.
  • I pretended I didn’t hear that.
  • I’ve watched it on TV.
  • I’ve even made fun of it.
  • I’m convinced I’m the exception.
  • I guess I’m exceptionally convinced.

I am, of course, talking about aerobics.

There’s a process in the human experience in which information is either acknowledged, absorbed as truth and shipped off to the brain for storage in a cabinet, or else expelled from the emotions in a fitful desire for action.

Aerobics is one of those things that I know would be good for me and would improve my chances for longevity. But longevity seems so … well …long–when in the moment, I have the possibility of watching television with a side of chips and dip.

It’s the same way I feel about eternity. It’s really hard to get worked up about everlasting life when you have a two-hour window for watching television.

If they found a way to do aerobics without me knowing it–similar to peddling a bicycle while thinking that I’m relaxing and checking out a movie–that would be terrific. Until then I have to rely on my motivation, which, as I stated earlier, is greatly unfavorable to aerobics.

There are so many things that happen with aerobic exercise that are unpleasant. First of all, getting to your feet with the idea of movement. Secondly, taking things you would normally do slowly, but doing them fast, in order to sweat and raise your heart rate. (Don’t they usually give you medication when your heart races?? But now they want you to simulate one of the major symptoms of a heart attack…)

I guess it’s the mix of laziness, fear, aches, pains and feeling a bit foolish hopping about without the presence of hot coals at my feet.

By the way… did I say I admire it?

 

Addled

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Addled: (adj.) confused and unable to think clearly (often humorous).

So what is the difference between addled, comedic, pitiful and hilarious? I guess it would be whether people laugh or shake their heads in disbelief. For after all, in order for confusion to be funny, we have to believe there’s some way that clarity could have won the day.

There are actually  many addled things in our society that do NOT evoke a smile:

Listening to Republicans and Democrats debate an issue which they don’t understand but still have developed a rock-solid conviction about is not a source of gaiety. It teeters between baffled and frustrated.

Going to a religious service to hear the mispronouncing of two-thousand-year-old names and locations, as people donned in robes insist that bread and wine purchased at the local grocery store has supernaturally transformed itself into everlasting life, is not exactly what I would call the “joy of the Lord.”

Even though I appreciate that the dictionary considers “addled” to have humorous overtones, watching your grandparent misplace his or her keys for the fortieth time this week does lose some of its charm.

I think we have a responsibility, at all costs to the human tribe, to avoid appearing addled. Matter of fact, there are times I am reluctant to ask others to help me look for something or remember something, but instead choose to find a nice, comfortable, cushy chair in my soul and relax there until memory serves me.

Yes, sometimes it’s better to shut up for fear that your brain has already been closed for repair.

Addled is not cute–and if you’re over the age of thirty-five, if you accidentally become disoriented in front of anyone younger than yourself, they will attach Alzheimer’s to you.

Politics and religion are argued because no one knows one way or the other, but everyone insists they have the answer.

So that’s addled–when you run across a mystery and you’re positive that Mr. Plum did it with a candlestick … in the conservatory.