Crackers

Crackers: (n) thin, crisp biscuits

 I think I was forty years old before I discovered crackers.

I was well aware they existed—as a boy we would buy a box, and I’d see my parents nibbling on the little pieces of crunch-crunch. I remember trying one and nearly spitting it out because of its lack of…Well, its lack of everything—flavor, texture, color, will…

The only time I ever ate crackers before the age of forty was when I had an upset stomach and people said to me, “You should try eating some soda crackers. They’ll settle your stomach.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So I did exactly that. I tried eating soda crackers.

The queasy stomach passed before I was able to eat more than two. Crackers have a great similarity to carbon dioxide—they are colorless, odorless and tasteless. Matter of fact, we once kept a box in our cupboard for so long without eating them that they turned green with mold—which is difficult to achieve since they have no yeast to promote such a misadventure.

Then one day, shortly after my fortieth birthday, someone brought over a delicious dip. It was in that era when everyone was trying to outdo each other with the number of layers in their concoction. They started out with five, and then there were nine. On this particular night, I think it was an eleven-layer dip.

There were no potato chips available and the bringer of the multi-layer phenomenon had only provided crackers. I thought I might be considered a little bit gauche if I sunk only my fingers in the dip to gain the flavor.

So I tried the crackers.

It was astounding how well they worked and how good they tasted under the circumstances of being completely mounted and controlled by the dip.

I learned a lot that night.

I guess I could sum it up best by saying that even “crackers” seem to have value when you have enough “dips” hanging around them.


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Compare

Compare: (v) to estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

During a very brief stint of working in the motelier industry, I ran across a gentleman who owned an establishment, and took me on a journey of his array of available rooms.

Every time he entered one of the bathrooms, he took a deep, long, sniffing breath. I decided to ask him what he was trying to smell.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He turned to me sternly, peering into my eyes, and said, “The beginnings of mold.”

Yes, this fellow was completely convinced that long before the mold showed up in the bathroom tile, it could be sniffed out, tracked down and destroyed.

I had no reason to argue with the man–even if he was wrong, a good dousing of the tiles in bleach every once in a while is a capital idea.

But I must be honest with you–even though I can’t tell mold from gold, I do have a nose for the beginnings of bigotry.

And long before it becomes prejudice which has lost control, it pops its little head up with the word “compare.”

As human beings, once we allow ourselves to compare what we do to what other people do, it is safe to say that we will rarely consider their approach to be better than ours.

So in attempting to establish our refinement–or should the word be “superiority?”–we somehow or another have to sully or taint other renditions.

As people sit on panels and compare one race to another, one country to another, one gender to another or one religion to another, they feel so goddamn intelligent–never realizing they often have the sniff of social mold.

 

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