Crew Cut

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crew cut: (n) a haircut in which the hair is very closely cropped.

It was a simple time.

People were determined to keep it that way, even though freedom, complexity and disruption were on the horizon, threatening to alter the beige tint of society with a flash of paisley.

In that brief moment, I lived and breathed and had my childhood.

One of the common things that was completely understood in my small town was the issue of men’s hair.

There were only three choices.

Some very bold youngsters started growing their hair to where it flirted with touching the top of the earlobe. They were subject to ridicule and made a grower of such a frock worthy of mock. They were deemed “hippies” and were considered part of the counterculture threatening to make America diverse.

The second type of hairdo was referred to as “the regular.”

This was where the young man was to get his hair cut as far away from his ears and collar as possible, leaving atop a tiny patch resembling crab grass. Even though it was not hippie, those who sported the regular haircut were suspicious. They were possibly Democrats or homos, which in our village, were both abominable.

Although it was never stated out loud, the only truly acceptable haircut for anyone under the age of eighteen was the crew cut. Matter of fact, if you peruse old rock and roll albums, many of the singers still sported it. It was the same kind of head shaving you would get if you went into the military. It was uniform, with a tiny berm of hair in the front, greased down so as not to become flyaway.

You knew this—whenever you encountered a person with a crew cut, you were staring into the face of a true American who loved God, hated sin and was determined to keep America whatever America was at that particular moment.

At one time I considered getting a crew cut.

However, my face was so chubby I was afraid my cheeks would puff out and I would be caught up in a wind gust and carried away. So I maintained my regular haircut until my senior year in high school, when I began to grow hair on the sides of my head that was long enough to be combed down to cover the tips of my ears when I was away from adults, and combed back to barely pass muster in grown-up world.

It was a foolish time in this country.

A dangerous assertion persisted–that human beings could be stopped and immobilized, avoiding a hairy situation.

 


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Chow

Chow: (n) food.

There aren’t many things about which I am a purist.

I greatly believe that human beings have the right to phrase, think, pursue and even live out their hearts’ desire.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t ideas and phrases I find annoying–and one of those peccadilloes is when people decide to get cute about
describing eating.

I personally like the word “eat.”

I see no reason to make it more clever. So when people refer to food as “chow,” and slap me on the back, asking me if I’m ready to “chow down,” I suddenly turn into a German Shepherd and want to bite them.

After all, German Shepherds do chow down. They put their faces in bowls and stuff the food into their mouths until it falls out the sides, returning to the bowl to continue their slurping and crunching.

I am not a German Shepherd.

I don’t eat chow, and therefore, I don’t “chow down.”

I also don’t like to pull myself up to the old feed trough. (There seems to be an animal theme going on here…)

I don’t like to shovel food.

I don’t particularly care to inhale my food.

I really do just like to eat.

And I don’t want to be prissy about it, but when I hear the word “chow” I think of someone who wants to convey he or she has been in the military, or a 13-year-old girl who thinks she’s cool because she knows the Italian word for “good-bye.”

 

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Chaplain

Chaplain: (n) a member of the clergy attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, branch of the armed forces, etc.

One of the major dangers in life is to be overwrought, which means that for some unknown reason we place greater intensity, importance
and value on some matters than others.

We certainly do this with people’s occupations.

If someone says they work at a grocery store, we probably will not launch into a statement of gratitude for providing food for the masses.

But if someone says they’re a chaplain in a prison or the military, we raise our eyebrows, impressed, thinking we’re dealing with a sacrificial individual who is doing really, really valuable work.

The distinctions we make in life cause our prejudice–because there is such a thing as a good chaplain and also a bad chaplain, just like there’s a good grocer and a bad grocer. There are people who do their job well and people who do their job poorly.

So to judge a person who is a doctor as noble and kind is absolutely foolish. Many Dr. Jekylls are actually Mr. Hyde.

I think it would be very difficult to be a chaplain in the military, for the Gospel he or she would preach would not necessarily be in line with either the stars and stripes or the red, white and blue. Jesus had his differences with capitalism, and certainly was not a great advocate of violence.

Yet I respect the chaplain who brings the hope of the Gospel to people who find themselves in the position of making decisions that have far-reaching effects.

So if we can stop our silly bigotry about occupations and start asking ourselves what makes a good person in any situation, then we will be on our way to truly grasping equality and the wisdom of understanding.

 

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Cadge

Cadge: (v) to ask for or obtain something to which one is not strictly entitled.

I did not know this word.

Sometimes when I run across a word I don’t know, I pursue it no further, figuring that if I’ve survived to this point, I will probably be safe to
ignore it for my lifespan.

But for some reason, “cadge” piqued my curiosity. I’m glad I looked it up. I probably will never use it–because people will look at me with that wrinkly face which communicates, “You’re just showing off.”

But to cadge–or cadging–is an infection in our society.

It is a mental illness, leading us to believe that we are to get something before we give something.

All of nature contradicts this assertion:

  • Seed comes before harvest.
  • Consideration breeds love.
  • And we must do unto others if we expect them to do back to us.

But somewhere along the line, we’ve begun to honor the social interaction of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

We wait to see what is available, what people are willing to give, and then we decide how open and kind we will be to them.

Case in point: People who live in the inner city, who often have darker skin, are not able to make large contributions to their congressman. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will get the potholes fixed on their streets. For after all, the politician is cadging to acquire money to re-elect him or her, and since nickels and dimes rarely add up to dollars, the poor will have to wait until someone who is not elected, elects to help them.

We tout ourselves a Christian nation while promoting a social “take and give” which is Jewish or Muslim. It is a philosophy of retaliation–an attempt to get something before we give something, so we can decide how little we have to give for what we got.

It is nasty business.

And it is doomed to failure because there are certainly people who are better at the game of “cadge” than we are.

 

 

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Cadet

Cadet: (n) a young trainee in the armed services.

When I was a teenager, we hated soldiers–mainly because we hated the war. (Well actually, the real reason was that we were all afraid we were going to be drafted into that war to be soldiers.)

Nowadays, we revere the armed services.

We not only “support the troops,” but we’re “grateful for their service” and laud their efforts.

Risking being controversial, may I say that somewhere between deeming the military despicable and granting them sainthood lies the truth.

All of us should be a little embarrassed that it’s necessary for us to have an army. We should pray for a world where such regulation and violent alternatives either decrease or cease to be.

Since that is not our present situation, we should teach our cadets to be war-ready but peace-loving.

In so doing, we will have our first line of defense prepared but not eager.

Well-gunned but not trigger happy.

And provided for without being over-stated.

I salute those who are willing to take up arms to defend the defenseless.

But I warn my country that every time we put a young man or woman in uniform, placing them in harm’s way, we risk losing the abundance of energy and power they could give us by living for their country rather than dying for it.

 

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Brigadier

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Brigadier: (n) a rank of officer in the army, above colonel and below major general.

Sometimes foolishness gets a pass, but it has to be legitimate foolishness. Dictionary BI’m talking about that fresh kind that just slipped out of your stupid brain because of your ignorance. If you’ve done foolishness before, you can’t claim that it’s “innocent foolishness.”

I did a foolish thing.

I was so young, self-inspired and full of false confidence that life decided not to punish me for my presumption.

My younger brother decided to join the army. Considering he had never even played with army men and walked with the sensitivity of a marshmallow, the idea was ludicrous. But it was in full swing before any of us realized that he had sauntered off to be a soldier.

The first we knew of it was upon receiving a call from basic training, where he pleaded for us to “get him out of there”–or he was going to commit suicide.

Now, I can discuss with you the unfairness of him placing me in that situation, but instead, I will tell you that in an attempt to be a good big brother, I called the army base where he was doing his imitation of G.I. Joe, and talked to a Brigadier General. Now, I don’t know exactly what a Brigadier General is, but it sounds a whole lot more important than me.

For some reason, he took my call. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just a nice guy. Maybe he couldn’t believe that someone was asking for his younger brother to be released from basic training.

His first inclination was to laugh at me. After all, you can’t maintain a volunteer army while promising a money-back guarantee. If everyone who was displeased with the accommodations at “Fort Kick Your Ass” was released immediately, we wouldn’t have enough soldiers to march in a small-town parade.

So on the first call he chuckled.

On my second call, he took the fatherly approach, explaining how the military works.

On the third call he appealed to my patriotism.

On call 54, he asked me if I knew how powerful he was.

But somewhere along the line, on the 93rd call, he paused. This is what the Brigadier asked me:

“You’re going to keep calling me until we release him, aren’t you?”

I replied, “You can just stop taking my calls.”

“Then I would have a suicidal assistant to deal with,” he presented.

I really don’t know what happened.

I don’t know if what I said made any difference at all.

But this fine Brigadier General realized that I was sincere and that my brother was not even suited to the rigors of being a back-up in the chorus line.

They released him.

It was a miracle.

But actually, it was an expansive piece of grace … granted by a man who was trained to be ruthless.

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Beatnik

Beatnik: (n) a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation.Dictionary B

Trends and fads have one thing in common: they have a commencement with no graduation, also having a beginning minus destination. For that reason, it’s difficult to assess their genesis, or comprehend their exodus.

But if you take a moment and think about it, every movement goes through three stages:

  1. Purity
  2. Parity
  3. Paltry

Our new ideas often begin with purity.

Like beatniks.

I believe the purpose of such a social awakening was to become more introspective and discover our inner selves and how we relate to the world around us.

Quite noble.

But for an idea to become popular, you have to be able to market it without promoting its more cerebral aspects. So eventually the beatnik generation sought parity by wearing black berets and turtlenecks. It was an easy way to identify a fellow beatnik.

Yes, often our greatest movements are shrunken to a simple fashion statement.

Then, once they became tired of wearing their costumes, they decided to just maintain the angst. Thus, the 1960s and 1970s.

We ended up with a paltry representation of self-realization–actually merely an adolescent temper tantrum to anything our parents did.

After all, there would have been no objection to the war in Vietnam if there weren’t a draft blowing young men into military service.

So how is it possible to keep the purity without insisting on parity and ending up with paltry?

I don’t know.

But I think it is the job of writers, who detour their material through the brain, to insist on considering such idealism.

 

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