College

College: (n) an educational institution or establishment

 

I never went to college.

I have used numerous excuses and lies to disguise this fact:

  1. “Well, the experience I’ve had is very similar to going to college.”
  2. “I took a few courses but never enough for graduation. Maybe I should check into that.”

Or the outright lie:

  1. “I am a graduate of Xavier University.”

(My thought? Most people would not know how to spell Xavier and would not pursue further.)

All through my twenties I felt like a dog without a collar. You know–a mutt rolling around the town, and everybody knows he doesn’t have a purpose or an owner
because he has no tags.

Yes, without college I felt a sense of self-discrimination. I was so convinced that people were looking down on me that I looked down on myself.

Then one day I simply asked my inner soul, do you wish you had gone to college?

I immediately realized that everything I had experienced would be gone in deference to the collegiate adventure.

That would include a wife, two kids, a music group, albums and writing a book. The case could be made that I would have eventually done these anyway–just with more book learning.

But one day–I guess I was about thirty-three years old–someone asked the question about college and I responded, “I never went.”

I really felt that the Earth moved beneath my feet–that the sky was falling in to trap me. But nothing actually happened. The person who inquired was a little surprised, since she felt I was very adept at what I was doing. But we were quickly on to talking about whether potato salad was better with mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.

You see, you don’t have to go to college for those kinds of discussions. Just have a heart, an idea you believe in and a willingness to be wrong.

I have found this to be the definition of higher education.

 

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Chicanery

Chicanery: (n) the use of trickery

I keep finding closets.

Little tiny storage places inside my soul where I’ve tucked away mistakes, vices and little lies–so therefore I don’t feel the need to confess
them.

I was struck recently by the fact that a lie is the absence of the truth, or an evasion. That’s tricky business.

As I’ve traveled across the country putting together press releases, I have adopted some “promo talk.”

What is promo talk?

It is the truth being adorned by a very attractive, but sometimes flamboyant hat.

It is a face which is beginning to wrinkle, disguised by heavy makeup.

It is that little piece of elaboration that makes a story seem more powerful, but may not exactly be the completely factual.

Even though this kind of promo talk is considered normal human banter, it has begun to bother me.

Because once you join into the practice of chicanery–the pursuit of deception–it is very difficult to insist that your chicanery is better than other chicanery.

It’s not so much that the truth is hard to tell; it’s just that the truth just never makes us look as good as we want to look.

If we will cure ourselves of the ridiculous notion that status can be acquired through lies, and we cease to be ashamed of our own journey, we can become liberated from the need to expand our story, in order to impress.

 

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Buffet

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Buffet: (n) a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves.

When you take the time to sort out all the lies, half-truths, misinformation and even fake news, what remainsDictionary B is the truth. It’s a little dusty from being ignored, and even a bit stained from some stinky neighbors, but it’s still the truth.

Here’s one of them: fat people should not frequent “all you can eat” buffets.

Even though a majority of the population of China is slender, if you find yourself at a Chinese buffet, you will not see anyone who is not fat. You may say to yourself, “That’s an exaggeration.”

But just go–look around. And make sure there’s a mirror nearby.

Once Chinese food has been Americanized with sodium, sugar, flour and frying, it loses all its capability to make you a skinny-ass Chinaman.

You see what I mean?

Certainly there are individual dishes at Chinese buffets which are lower in calories than others, but usually they’re ignored, like your younger sister who has a little bit of a mustache.

From time to time, I go on stints of fevered and passionate weight loss. Certain foods need to be memories–hopefully not too fond, or I may return for a reunion.

But one place I definitely cannot frequent is a Chinese buffet, where I pretend to count calories in food that contains many secrets…hidden behind the Great Wall of recipes.

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BS

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BS: (n) Bull shit

I think it’s wrong to blame bulls.

They eat and they secrete.

For us to tie all of our human foibles, inconsistencies and hypocrisies to their dung is flat-out insulting.Dictionary B

I’m not a lawyer and do not represent any bulls in particular, but I will tell you–the atrocities, stupidities and half-truths produced in our society are human shit.

It’s not like bull shit. It doesn’t come out in perfectly formed turds.

It’s dumped in varieties of personalized, steamy piles, often expressed with diarrhea of the mouth.

It is unique to our species because it is individualized by our diet of morality, spirituality and compassion.

Bulls have never done anything to us.

What I experience every day is human shit: the thought people have that they might be able to get by with what they say and do because everyone around them … is stupider than they are.

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Botch

Botch (v) to carry out a task badly or carelessly.

Politicians could certainly learn a lot by reading the first six chapters of the Book of Genesis.Dictionary B

Because even though the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth certainly had enough status and power to insist that He was error free, within those six chapters, Almighty God admits He botched three things.

First of all, He created the Heavens and the Earth, but upon a closer look, realized that the planet was a real mess–misshapen and incapable of sustaining life. If His goal was to make creeping things, then the situation was already botched.

And later on, when He discovered how disgusting human beings could be, He regretted that He ever made them, and concluded He had botched the whole experiment by including Homo Sapiens.

Shortly after that, the God of the Universe has to repent because He killed all the people off in a fit of anger and realized the decision was overwrought.

So …

If God–who got the title because He was supposed to be mistake free–botches things, then who are we to think we can solve all of our problems with lies and duck tape?

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Banal

Banal: (adj) so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.Dictionary B

It’s one of those words.

If you actually find yourself using it, you seem to be an individual with a stick up your backside (and I don’t mean a scarecrow).

And also, it’s very difficult to speak against popular trends, even if you feel like you’re doing it out of a sense of preserving the integrity of the human race.

But there certainly are things going on in our society that are banal.

And it is equally as certain that to fold your arms, climb up on your soapbox and preach against them makes you age right in front of the eyes of your audience–until you appear to be Grandpa Grump.

So what can we do with banality?

Is it really dangerous or just a passing fancy which causes people to run hither, thither and yon in the quest for acceptability?

I do have a rather “live and let live” philosophy–except when it comes to one category: lying.

Lying is not negotiable.

Since we live in a free country, if someone wants to construct a statue of Satan and put it next to the Washington Monument, I could not care less. Why? Because in less than 20 years other people will tear it down because it’s stupid.

But on the other hand, if we want to begin to believe that lying is a part of the human psyche, beyond our control, and give ourselves a free pass to propagate deceit, then we are dealing with a dangerous bomb which can destroy the relationships of people and the essence of our Republic.

Why is lying so bad? Because we cease to believe in the truth.

And since the truth is what makes us free … our lies will end up being the chains that bind us.

 

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Adage

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adage: (n) a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth: e.g. the old adage is “out of sight, out of mind.

Perhaps a better adage would be, “If you’re out of your mind, we’d like you to be out of sight.

Of course, that’s not really an adage, is it? Just a piece of wisdom.

When I think of adage, I always think of “the boy who cried wolf.”

I remember hearing the story as a young fellow and it put a chill down my spine. I’m not sure why–maybe because it combined a boy, a wolf, and due to the boy’s lies and deceit, he ends up being chomped by the creature.

But today I am wondering if the adage ever prevented me from deceiving. It certainly didn’t stop me from embellishing. And God knows, it did nothing to inhibit my spoofing.

I guess I just think that if an adage doesn’t scare some sense into you, it’s just a story that no one would make into a movie because … you couldn’t get the funding.

Don’t get me wrong–I like adages. I wish that parables and cautionary tales still had the impact they once did. Or maybe they never did, but we all needed some tiny piece of ourselves to pass along, so we told these little fables to create connection. I’m not sure.

But the essence of “the boy who cried wolf” was that if you continue to try to get attention by lying to people about the seriousness of your condition, when your peril does arrive, people will be less likely to believe you and come to your aid.

Obviously, this particular adage has not yet landed in the spectrum of the thinking of the average politician. Newscasters would never be able to put together thirty minutes of copy if they weren’t trying to alarm us into believing that the wolf is at the door.

And what preacher would be able to hold the attention of a congregation without the flames of some hellfire and the sniff of some brimstone?

But human beings are a pretty intelligent lot. We are more intrigued with taking things to the limit than we are with limiting how we take things. So I think we can continue to tell “adages,” but whether they will be applied into everyday life is rather doubtful.

It’s not that we insist on suffering the slings and arrows of our own stupidity, it’s just that often stupidity seems very intelligent to us, and we fail to notice that the slings and arrows … are already shot in our direction.