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

 


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

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.


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

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.

Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

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.


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

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.

Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Cosigner

Cosigner: (n) a joint signer of a promissory note.

The definition of greatness, and perhaps even the best description of faith, is possessing a vision greater than your substance.

Very few of us arrive on Earth with enough substance to match our vision.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I found this to be true in my early years of adulthood. I knew what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure how to do it, so I was very susceptible to the lame-brain plans of others—or even of my own making—which might be shortcuts for achieving my goals.

All of these ideas that were hatched in front of me and inside me always entailed the need for money. It was the idea that money needed to come before I could do the work.

Whenever someone suggested that I could do the work without needing money, I rejected it because it extended my waiting period and therefore discouraged my faithfulness.

I cannot tell you how many times I went to family, friends or even strangers, asking them to cosign on a loan, a car, a motor home, or even sound equipment, because I was convinced that my need for the substance was inhibiting my faith.

Most of the time, very wise people said, “Absolutely not.”

I did not like them. I thought they were selfish, unfeeling, perhaps anti-Christ.

On three occasions, when people gave into my “pitch” and signed on a piece of paper for money or goods on my behalf, they were left holding the bag—which I believe contained turds.

Later on in my life, when I got substance, I came back and reimbursed these people. But at the time, I am sure they felt very used—and their faith was damaged because I stole their substance.

Family and friends come to me sometimes, asking me to cosign a loan or a contract. I just pull out my wallet, peer into it, and figure out which President, with his face on the paper money, I can impeach from my ownership and give to them. If I can’t afford to give it, I don’t offer it.

Cosigning always seems like a great idea—sometimes even to two people. But if you really believe that substance is needed more than faith, your lack of faith will make it impossible to please either God or Earth.


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News