Crossly

Crossly: (adj) in a cross or angry manner

In a normal school day of, let’s say, seven hours, may we conjecture that fifteen percent of the time is spent shifting from one class to another, ten percent having lunch, another fifteen percent on history or social studies, fifteen more percent on English and grammar, and then another fifteen on the sciences, while a whopping thirty percent is invested in mathematics.

I am not trying to editorialize on school subject matter—measuring its height, weight and depth in value.

But I will tell you:

Most of adult life is spent trying to learn to communicate.

You will notice that on the average school day, communication is not a primal concern. It is expected that the students will figure it out for themselves and give reasonable honor to the teaching staff.

But without learning communication, we are unfortunately destined to continually say things that are offensive and find ourselves called on the carpet for it, apologizing in such a manner that nobody in the room—including ourselves—believes it to be sincere.

When too much knowledge mingles with too much ego and is accompanied by too much stress, it makes us begin to speak crossly.

We may not even be aware that our tone of voice has changed from relaxed to strained. But everyone who hears us immediately pulses the fury, sarcasm and despair that lurks behind each syllable.

You would think, since most of our lives is spent communicating, that some training might be in order.

But even in our homes, once a reasonable peace and quiet has been achieved, we don’t necessarily care how it was acquired.

Until we grasp that human beings don’t hear words, but rather, absorb the vibrations of emotions, we will insist that everyone is too touchy because “we never meant anything” by what we said.

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Craft

Craft: (n) an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill

It is a chilling sensation of frightening proportions that sometimes the word “craft” appears by itself.

Normally it travels with its friend, “art.”

“Art and craft” are much easier to comprehend—at least for me. Art is something I understand. It stirs in my soul. Thank you, God, or whoever is in charge today.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But every once in a while, someone will suggest that we all “do crafts.” I break out in a cold sweat.

Because as much as I enjoy the “art” part of arts and crafts—in other words, coming up with new ideas, angles and possibilities, when it comes to taking something in my hands, and well—let us say, crafting it—I become a fumbling elephant with four feet and a cumbersome trunk.

I don’t know what it is.

When I was in kindergarten, paste, crayons, construction paper and staples made me develop hives. Mainly it was because some of the kids in my class were so good at it. They made birthday cards for their parents that actually looked like Hallmark might approve it. Mine, on the other hand, greatly resembled a Hallmark card that had already spent time on the floor, been crunched in the corner and stepped on by thirty people.

So I tried to offer ideas and pay off my classmates to do the work for me by giving them my bag of Doritos at lunch. I got caught by the teacher in the midst of one of my transactions, and she tender-heartedly (but obnoxiously) said, “Come on, Johnny, you can do it. And whatever you come up with will be just fine.”

I took her at her word. I dipped into the paste, scribbled with the crayons and stapled everything in sight. Even though my teacher was an extraordinarily generous and kind person, when I presented my craft, I am pretty sure she had to swallow a gag reflex.

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Cobbler

Cobbler: (n) a person who mends shoes as a job

Some jobs by their nature are just flat-out annoying.

Honestly, I’d rather be a garbage collector than a politician. A politician has to interrupt the lives of people to get a vote–never thoroughly making them glad for the intrusion.

On the other hand, a garbage man arrives at your house and hauls away your stinky-poo without irritating the hell out of you.

That’s why I would like to be a cobbler. (I’m not actually thinking of changing employment–just aware that the occupation would certainly offer skill to produce blessing.)

I don’t think I would like to be a haberdasher–because even though you may make a beautiful hat for someone, once they put it on their head, unless they pass by a mirror, they soon forget the nobility of your efforts.

But a cobbler takes a pair of shoes that you really like–so much that you want to get them fixed instead of giving them away to Goodwill–and then restores them to a state of newness. You put them on your feet and they feel so good. You look down and you admire them, and you’re so proud of your choice to repair instead of repel.

So every time you see your cobbler, you say, “Thank you so much, and my toes add a double-amen.”

You may not even recognize your haberdasher–the cat who made the hat.

Your sight of your politician may generate a scowl on your face, which you are unable to remove until the next time you view ice cream.

But your garbage man…

Well, you would invite him over for lunch, to meet your cobbler.

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Choir

Choir: (n) an organized group of singers

I found that being in a choir squashed my desire to be heard. Yes, you have to be willing to blend.

Matter of fact, they talk about “the blend”–that particular sound that a group of singers makes which is supposedly unique unto them.

It is fairly restrictive. Even the names are:

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: “To sing, I have to be Mormon, get directions to the tabernacle, and then hide my voice among other song birds. I am en-caged.”

I felt this in high school.

When I quit the football team because I discovered they made fat boys run, I realized that my second-greatest interest other than tackling running backs was singing. It seemed logical to join the choir, since that was the avenue afforded to me on the thoroughfare of musical expression.

I hated choir. Nobody could hear me sing. They commented on “the blend,” or applauded the musical director, or noted how the robes looked so good.

It drove me nuts.

So in rehearsal one day, in a fit of rebellion and pending insanity, I just started singing another song from my standing position in the choir, while the rest of the parakeets tweeted out the prepared number.

My voice was strong, but certainly not powerful enough to overcome the mass musical. But it was annoying enough that the director kept tilting her head, leaning in with squinting eyes, trying to determine what was disrupting her “blend.” I just kept singing a different song–a little quieter, but with enough volume to create frustration on the face of the conductor.

After a few moments, she took her baton and tapped it violently against the music stand, stopping the proceedings.

“Is everybody singing the same song?” she bellowed to the gathered.

Those standing closest to me, who heard my little interpretation, turned in unison and gazed in my direction.

I was caught. The director peered at me intensely and said, “Were you singing a different song?”

I paused–not so much to make it seem like I was making up a story, but just to express my alarm. Then I replied, “I thought we were doing Number Eight in the program.”

I don’t think she believed me, but she played along.

“No,” she said. “It’s Number Seven. I’m sorry if I did not make that clear.”

“You’re forgiven,” I replied in my snootiest voice.

She nearly lost all sensibility. Glaring at me, she said tersely, “Thank you.”

We resumed singing, and I couldn’t help myself. Once we had gotten a chorus of the song in, I reverted back to my former tune, which was completely alternative to “the blend.”

This time she stopped and used her baton to point toward the door as she screamed, “Get outta here!”

There were giggles and whispers as I made my way out, escaping the class. Fortunately for me, she was not specific about where I should get–so since I was told to be punished, I just went early to have a leisurely lunch.

 

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Brunch

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Brunch: (n) a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch.

I hate brunch.

I always have.

There are foods I enjoy at breakfast, and certainly foods I prefer for lunch–and I never really wanted them to meet each other.Dictionary B

“Soup and sandwich” just doesn’t seem to be compatible with scrambled eggs and bacon.

They were brought together by lazy people who didn’t want to get up for breakfast but felt stupid for eating lunch at three o’clock in the afternoon.

So they made up a meal where they could gorge themselves in one sitting, with foods that were never meant to co-habitate, and therefore justify snoozing.

It also ended up being something that many younger folks did on Sunday instead of going to church, the park or flying a kite with the kids. Add a little champagne, fresh produce and you have a fantasy date for anyone under the age of thirty-five.

I know I sound grumpy.

I’ve always been a little bit dour when confronted with people who insist that they are “not morning folk”–when every job in America begins before nine o’clock.

So, dammit–get used to it.

I will even tolerate folks who say they need coffee before work or insist they’re not quite alive until 10:17 A.M.

But somewhere along the line, we have to stop adjusting all of life to our predilection for sleepiness.

Otherwise, there is a frightening possibility that omelettes will fellowship with chicken salad.

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