December

December: (n) the twelfth month of the year, containing thirty-one days

Normally, I do not like to hear someone say, “This is my favorite…”

Mainly because if you hang around them for twenty minutes, they will stake claim on a new favorite which has jumped ahead of the old one, which has lost predominance in this brief span of time.

But I do believe December is my favorite month. (You will notice how easily I abandon my own concepts and asides.)

I say this about December because it contains both my birthday and Christmas.

This is not to say that my birthday is Christmas and therefore I am the Christ. (I did want to make that clear.)

My birthday is one week before Christmas, and I’ve always relished the beautiful time of year, and in a strange sense have felt uplifted—that the whole world decides to decorate in honor of my appearance on Earth.

But the main thing I like about December, and the reason I believe it should be the first month of the year, is that all the things that make us better people seem to stop, park and walk around for a while.

  • Commerce
  • Communication
  • Family
  • Money
  • Celebration
  • Decoration
  • Good secrets
  • Smiles
  • Excellent eating

 

And a twinge of faith growing in the worst scrounging Scrooge

It is amazing.

Is it amazing because it commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth?

Is it made special because we have decided to turn up our childlike and turn down our childish?

Is it the fact that money flows freely, budgets are met, surprises are provided and dreams are explored?

Or is it just because, in a thirty-one-day period, all these possibilities unite for a common holiday?

So whether you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” (and by the way, the word “holiday” is a hybrid for “holy day”)…

Well, whatever you say makes little difference to what you feel.

And Christmas is a time when we allow feeling to take supremacy over thinking and doing.

Most of the time, we’re frightened to permit this.

But Christmas is feeling, dressed up in emotion, saturated with faith, and glittered with invention—proclaiming peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

December is my favorite.

You can even come back tomorrow, and more than likely, it will hold the same noble position.

 

Debit Card

Debit Card: (n) a plastic card that resembles a credit card but functions like a check 

No one should have a debit card if they don’t know the value of money.

And if they use their debit card poorly, they will soon have a nasty lesson on the danger of money.

I think a debit card is an absolutely marvelous invention—as long as you have money in the bank and you’re just swiping it away.

Yes—how apropos. “Look at me! I’m swiping my own money. I am stealing from myself. Don’t tell anyone.”

Of course, someone is told.

Whoever is in charge of keeping the tally on your balance—well, that individual knows fully well how much money can still be swiped before you are not only a thief, but a criminal.

Money is serious business that should never be taken too seriously.

But when money is not taken seriously, you can get into serious trouble.

I am happiest when I am not dealing with money or debit cards or credit or paying for anything.

I’ve never gone fishing in a lake and had a crab crawl up to me and charge me for the fish I just caught. (That may be because crabs don’t live near lakes.)

But there’s something beautiful about entertaining oneself, or even feeding your face, without spending a dime. But it is not interesting enough that I will actually pursue it.

It does, however, make great verbiage for an article, where you’re trying to be just a little bit cutie—and bitchy—about debit cards.

DBA

DBA: (adj) Doing Business As

Over-prepared.

I have been guilty of this.

I have what I consider to be a healthy sense of gloom. (I’ve never bought into doom, but gloom catches my fancy.)

So if I’m going to a meeting, I always take too much information.

If I’m being interviewed, I have been known to over-answer the question.

And in the process of doing this, I cast a suspicious light on myself, because folks wonder why I’m yammering so much without being probed.

For instance, I recall the first time I went to a bank to start an account with my music group. I was unnerved. Well, maybe not unnerved, but kind of a mingling of overly careful and defiant.

I had read what the bank required in order to open an account called DBA—”Doing Business As.”

In other words, it was me doing business as the name of my music group.

It was really quite simple.

Matter of fact, we were halfway through the process of signing up with the bank officer when I started jabbering.

I offered that we were just getting started.

I detailed examples of how much money we made—or how little money we made.

The process, which was really rather uncomplicated, became bizarre because of my off-putting approach. Then the bank officer, feeling a bit uncertain due to my jittery profile—which now included some sweat at my brow—called over his superior to handle the matter.

I was screwing this thing up.

When the senior officer arrived, he sat down and realized that I had just painted myself into a corner of flummox. He turned to me and said kindly, “Calm down. People get DBA accounts all the time—and most of them aren’t criminals.”

I laughed.

It felt good to laugh.

Matter of fact, laughing may be the only remedy when we have allowed ourselves to go bonkers over nothing.

Date

Date: (n) a particular month, day, and year

I can tell a lot about myself by what pops into my mind when I hear the word.

Date.

What is the first thing that wiggles its way to the forefront of my brain when I hear this word?

Because certainly, any time before the age of twelve, the word “date” would have been serious—referring to an upcoming test, a visit with an unwanted aunt and uncle, or a journey to the dentist.

Then it changed.

The word “date” became the possibility of interaction with a woman.

Am I going on a date?

Do you want to go on a date?

Suddenly the word evolved—from a grim hassle to a joyous possibility.

Then I move to a point that the word does not stand by itself, but because I am about to be a father, it is preceded by the word “due.”

What is your wife’s due date?

When will the baby be here?

On what date will you be rushing her to the hospital?

Maybe different from you, I had a season when the word “date” meant money. Being a writer and musician, the word “date” referred to an opportunity to perform my songs, sell my products, interact with an audience and maybe make some dough.

It could leave me all tingling.

Then there was a huge space of time when the word “date” represented upcoming events which would take my children through graduation and marriage.

What is the date of that ceremony?

What date will he be starting his new job?

And now that I’m a bit older, all the retired people beckon me to join them in measuring time by having a calendar for one purpose and one purpose only.

To register the dates of doctor’s appointments.

They frown at my reluctance.

They scowl at my rebellion.

Matter of fact, the offices of these medical technicians often call me, wondering when I plan on coming in for my date.

I always set a date with them.

And then I never show up.

 

Cynosure

Cynosure: (n) something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.:

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I had a meeting with a fellow who dubbed himself “Bundy Boy.”

I don’t know why he selected this handle since it was nowhere near his name. But he was young, energetic, and full of what the old folks used to call “piss and vinegar.”

He agreed to have a meeting with me because he was thinking about promoting our little music group and taking over management of us—thereby assisting us in getting national attention, a recording contract and, well, just something far away from our poverty.

I remember it so well because he had a spiel. He called it “The Five Thingalings.”

I wanted to laugh, but after all, I was in a subordinate position, sitting in the office of a guy who might be able to throw some light in the direction of my shade.

It was the first time I ever heard this word: cynosure.

He asked me if I knew what it meant. I didn’t. So he explained, “It’s about what’s bright and shiny. Humans are human, but they’re also beings—and as beings, they’re attracted to… are you ready?” he asked me.

I was. He continued, “They’re attracted to sex, silliness, a sad story, beauty and money.”

I thought about it, had no reason to disagree, and so I nodded my head.

Confident that I was on his wavelength, he proceeded. “Cynosure is when you turn the lights up so people can see more clearly what you have to offer. That’s why you’ve got to be sexy. Everybody likes sexy. Even religious people like sexy. They don’t talk about it—but they think about it. And everybody likes to be silly. They pretend to be serious, but after a short time, they’re ready for a good giggle.”

“But,” he went on, “we do like a sad story. It cleans us out—makes us feel we’re really sensitive because we care about what happened to somebody on the rocky road of life. And that story—that story I’m telling you about—it’s much more powerful if it’s being shared from a beautiful package. Just as people like sexy, they like pretty. In their minds, sexy and pretty go together. Nobody feels sexy if they don’t feel pretty, or handsome. And of course, money. Even the Bible says that money answers everything. If you think about it, any problem that comes up in your mind—well, a nice stack of cash will go a long way to solving it.”

After Bundy Boy finished his speech, he sat and looked at me.

It was time for him to offer his evaluation of my “package.”

He was kind, merciful, but truthful.

“My friend,” he said, “you aren’t sexy. Now you might be silly, but if you’re silly and not sexy, it comes off goofy. I suppose you do have a sad story, but when you’re not sexy and not silly, and you have a sad story, people think to themselves, ‘well, of course. He’s a loser.’ And if you’re not sexy, the chance that you’re beautiful is small. And even though we pretend we like beauty on the inside, it’s only something your mother actually feels. And,” he concluded, “by looking at your clothes—especially your shoes—I can tell. You’ve got no money.”

He concluded, “So even though I like your music and I do like you, I can’t work with you. I can’t bring the magic. I can’t cynosure you.”

He stood to his feet and walked toward the door, which I assumed meant that I was also to stand and depart. He patted me on the back and offered a lame, “If there’s anything I can ever do, let me know.”

So I have gone through the majority of my life with no cynosure.

It’s been painful—but I have managed to eke out an existence.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crisscross

Crisscross: (v) to move back and forth over

If you live long enough that you can transform your stupidities into learning experiences, and then implement fresh ideas, by the end it looks like you were really ingenious and had a great plan.

That statement truly sums up my life.

Graduating from high school, I decided I wanted to be a musician, writer and artist.

No one else agreed. Especially no one who was willing to lay down the money so that I could continue my quest.

Rather than perching in my hometown, where everybody knew me and had already drawn an opinion that I needed to “get a job and be normal,” I climbed into my not-so-worthy van with two comrades, and we began to crisscross the country.

I could probably boast that I had formulated an outline in my mind.

But basically, after a few months it all boiled down to money.

As far as I know, our little group became the first people in America to be involved in crowdfunding.

At least three or four nights a week, we stood in front of neutral, if not hostile, audiences, and made our case for our music and mission.

And then we passed the plate.

If a plate was not available, we were certainly willing to use a hat.

Through this we learned three things:

  1. It doesn’t do any good to crisscross the country if you’re going into areas that are resistant
  2. You should go back to receptive areas, continuing your work, as long as they remain open.
  3. After you crisscross the country to an area that is open, when you get in front of those people, remember the two most important factors necessary for drawing others:

Be endearing and be enduring

Make it clear that you realize you’re a human being—susceptible to the same shit they are.

But also let them know that you’ve been traveling for a good while, and you have no intention of giving up on the idea that we all can do better

When an audience is convinced of these two things, they open up their wallets. It has to be real and it has to have some proof—other than just your assertion.

I have crisscrossed this country forty or fifty times over my journey.

Through that experience, I really did learn to love America—whether it’s red, blue or sometimes even when it’s colorless.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Crime Does Not Pay

funny wisdom on words that begin with a CCrime does not pay: A maxim originating as a slogan of the F.B.I. and given wide currency by the cartoon character Dick Tracy.

Have you had the conversation?

I’m speaking of the sit-down you have with yourself, where you ask the all-important question:

Do I want to chase dreams or learn how to enjoy the visions provided?

It is huge.

There are many fine fellow-travelers who lose their way because they answer this question carelessly. They are convinced that more awaits them, that they deserve a better chance, or that the portion presented is insulting to their talent. After all, no one becomes a criminal because they’re overjoyed with their life.

Crime doesn’t even come to play unless you convince yourself that it’s time to take something you haven’t earned. This could be money, position, or even romance with another who is already entwined.

Crime, like every other piece of idiocy, is a bewildering mix of initiative and greed.

Of course, a case can be made that if we continue to accept our lot, we will never be able to ascertain what we might achieve if we were more aggressive.

On the other hand, we certainly know that the root of all fallacy, sin and misconduct is aggression.

The conversation needs to occur.

We have to find peace with our surroundings as we blow bubbles of possibility, hope and curiosity into the surrounding air.


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Crap

Crap: (n) excrement, or used to reference refuse, rubbish, or junk

 I already spent the money.

I know that’s not smart.

But when you’re poor, you have to make arrangements—then hope those plans don’t fall apart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I had a gig. It was a big gig. At least for me. There was going to be some decent money involved.

I will tell you of a certainty, the only way to ever become an artist is to insist on using your art until it pays for you.

In the meantime, your creditors, your landlord and anyone you find yourself indebted to may question the intelligence of your persistence, and sometimes even dishonor the quality of your talent.

But I felt confident—confident enough to pay my bills before I got the check.

It was a two-day gig, and a conference, where I might be able to make further contacts for other engagements in the future.

On the first night, everything went along just swimmingly. The audience was laughing, clapping, appreciating both song and speech. I was feeling so good that I made a joke. I can’t remember all the details of the setup, but the punchline was, “Get this crap outta here!”

Everyone laughed. I thought I was on safe turf.

But later that night I received a call at my motel, telling me I was being canceled because the audience had children in it, and I had offended everyone by saying “crap.” I was contrite—I disavowed the deeds of my tongue—but it didn’t make any difference.

Move ahead in time.

I don’t know exactly when things changed. I suppose there are some people who still find the word “crap” inappropriate, but it would not be unusual to hear it spoken in the church foyer, and even possibly the pulpit.

Now we are fussing about the word “shit.”

It’s amazing how we can come to agreement on what crap and shit are, while being totally self-righteous on declaring it crap or shit.

I have a meter I run in my mind. It’s very simple.

For instance:

If the Ten Commandments are how God will judge me…

Or:

If you have to be skinny and a perfect weight…

One of the possibilities I consider is:

If you’re not supposed to use any colloquial or profane language…

Crap.

I’m in a shitload of trouble.

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Cozy

Cozy: (adj) snugly warm and comfortable

 Being separated from the storm by four solid walls.

Letting the snow fall as the fire grows.

Finishing paying the last bill and still having just a little bit of money left over.

A pair of socks taken from the dryer and quickly slid on your feet.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

A chilly room made better by a woolen sweater.

Realizing you made the better choice.

All the children in their beds without wondering if there is still one roaming the night streets.

Knowing you are in a room filled with those who really do seem to love you.

Coming up with the perfect way to say something off the top of your head and seeing the smiles of appreciation from those who were encouraged.

Feeling the heater in your car finally kick in so that you can remove the scarf from your face, take your gloves off and get ready to drive.

The exact right temperature of the hot chocolate, where it still warms your throat and hasn’t cooled down to the point of tasting like lukewarm chocolate milk.

Feeling discouraged and having someone come up behind you and place his or her hands on your shoulders in loving support.

Having traveled and traveled, to arrive home to put on your favorite nighttime shirt and ease your aching muscles into a bed that feels like it’s made of fluffy pillows.

Being glad you’re living instead of wondering what tomorrow will bring.

Cozy is that moment when we realize that being alive, loved and content cannot be surpassed.


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Covet

Covet: (v) to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others

I don’t think I would ever earn a dollar if I didn’t covet money.

I certainly would never go on a diet if I didn’t covet the physique of someone boldly handsome.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I would never practice my music if I didn’t covet the style, grace and ease of those who have mastered instrument and voice.

I don’t know whether I would be interested in my spiritual life if I didn’t covet something beyond the mundane drivel of thoughts my brain often considers to be adequately enlightening.

I don’t think I would mow my grass if my neighbor didn’t make me covet a manicured lawn.

I’m not so sure I would do much of anything in my life if I didn’t covet a more gleaming path.

We must remember that the removal of evil is certainly a high-minded—and high-handed—pursuit. Because if you take away the lust, the coveting, the curiosity and the yearning of the human being, you might end up with a self-righteous, religious fanatic who is completely intolerant about why anyone would covet anything, since life is so sinful and unfulfilling.

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