Cruel

Cruel: (adj) willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.

You do know that your clock doesn’t say, right?

I’m talking about when we casually cite, “The clock says…” and we note the time.

Since clocks can’t speak, they can’t say.

Some folks would say that’s being picky. (Actually, it’s a little trick you learn in writing to make sure you don’t have grumblers and complainers instantly mocking you because you claim to have a talking clock.)

But two nights ago, I caught my clock reading, “2:53 A.M.”

Suddenly I was wide awake.

It’s amazing that during some of these midnight stirrings, it feels like you could get up and build a bridge. And then, five hours later when you’re supposed to get up and bridge something, you can barely move.

We are strangely constructed, curiously functioning and unfathomable in our conclusion.

But since the clock read “2:53,” I decided to ask what the plot was. Yes—my brain always has some sort of idea it’s brewing, contrary to what I might think about during the day, and also frequently critical of my self-assured attitude.

The question on this particular awakening was, “How have I been cruel?”

When I’m better prepared—after the selection of my favorite shirt and a good breakfast—I would probably insist that I’m not cruel. But my brain was reading something else at 2:54 in the morning. So I stayed quiet and listened.

This is the lecture I received:

You are cruel when you withhold appreciation simply because you believe you’ve already expressed your favor.

You are cruel when you know someone requires a hug and you supply a handshake instead.

You are cruel when your friend has contacted you by text or email, and you arbitrarily decide to return it—the next day.

You are cruel when you hear an ignorant statement made in your presence and you let it go without comment, thinking it’s none of your damn business.

You are cruel when you turn into cement over an issue of spirituality, politics or morality because you think it makes you appear more righteous.

You are cruel when you comply to the mediocrity of a situation or the indifference of a room because there’s no need to be a boat-rocker.

You are cruel when you no longer believe you’re capable of being cruel.

I don’t like it when my clock reads.

I guess I’m just like everyone else:

I would be completely satisfied with an ignorant time piece.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Contortion

Contortion: (n) something twisted

“That should be okay.”

It’s probably one of the more common phrases used in everyday life. After we’ve put effort into a project, we reach a point when it seems that nothing is improving—it isn’t getting better. Yet we have achieved a certain status that can be passed off as normal.

It is what we might refer to as a compromise, but often becomes a contortion.

After awhile, we don’t know what the original concept was because we have settled in to what has been determined to be an adequate variance.

There is certainly a difference between true morality and what is easier to achieve.

We all would agree, there is a uniqueness to truth which cannot be acquired by producing a “spin.”

Once we convince ourselves that something is not humanly possible, we can then take any contortion that’s handy and rename it “average.”

If we object to this process or stomp our feet and hold our breath and demand some form of excellence, we risk being ostracized, or worse, considered intolerant.

Yet there is a standard. It has been established through time, error and correction.

If you develop your own contortion to the standard, you attempt what your predecessors gambled, doing the same thing, suffering. 


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Constitution

Constitution: (n) a body of fundamental principles or established precedents

Shall we call it the quest?

It is the odyssey that science, spirituality, government, entertainment, business, morality and ethics should be on in the pursuit of finding out what is best for the human race.

Many years ago, our forefathers decided to establish a document which would explain their hopes and dreams for a new country. It was a step. It was the beginning of this quest–a constitution which constitutes that we intend to get along together, and will find a way to do it while granting each other the pursuit of happiness.

Tricky business.

After all, your happiness may be my definition of immorality–and my morality may seem to be an unlawful imprisonment to your desires.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So the constitution is not a collection of thoughts, phrases and paragraphs, but rather, an attempt to understand that there will be some evolution, discovery and realizations that come along the way which will cause us to reflect on what we have already written–and add to it with an eye toward the common good.

Matter of fact, there may be some things we need to subtract because they limited a particular group of people at the time the document was written.

The beauty of a constitution is that it is a great starting place to commence something truly significant.

But the quest must go on.

And those who try to freeze time, limit possibilities or preclude others are not following the constitution, but rather, using it as a means of inhibiting the free expression of all citizens.

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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Commemorate

Commemorate: (v) to recall and show respect for someone or something

Mediocre is always so busy dragging down excellence that it doesn’t have the time to lift up inferior.

Because of this, mediocre keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the sag of inferiority, desperately trying to change the rules of operation and the requirements for the rewards provided.

We have a system of entertainment and information that streams in our country, which feels the need to commemorate events by finding the heroes, the standouts and those who fared well, interview them, extol them and then, within short weeks, dig up dirt on them to prove there was really nothing exceptional about them in the first place.

Why? Because without this kind of reporting, Ma and Pa Kettle, sitting at home, start getting depressed–thinking less of themselves because they don’t measure up.

After all, the problem of going to a nude beach is that you’re fully aware that everyone is stuck with an eyeful of you.

How do we commemorate the attributes, the virtues, the kindness and the intelligence that sets the human race on fire with an explosion of knowledge and unveiling of great cures and advances?

Well, we certainly can’t do it if we spend all of our time mocking initiative and making it seem that those who portray a classy morality are really just stuck in the past.

These are the three great things we should commemorate if we expect to shine:

  1. Empathy

Any time someone feels for someone else, it is miraculous.

  1. Research

Stop settling for the status quo, and find a better way to accomplish things.

  1. Humility

The only way to achieve the first two is to be humble enough to know when you’ve made a mistake so you can change it quickly and improve your cause.

May we step out of our doldrums of self-satisfaction and begin to commemorate–and therefore imitate–those who are actually doing matters better than us?

 

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Color

Color: (n) pigmentation of the skin, especially as an indication of someone’s race.

To find a real black person you have to go deep into Africa.

The only white people are albinos.

To get yellow skin usually requires liver disease.

And red skin is any one of a number of young girls in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.

Yet for some reason we decide to take these colors and differentiate not only race–not only customs–but certainly intelligence, morality, violence and quality.

What actually is the difference in color between an American Negro and an American Hispanic, or an American housewife of Beverly Hills after leaving the tanning booth?

It can’t be about color. There just isn’t that much variation.

And of course, once you get right below the epidermis, we all pink up.

So what in the hell is this all about?

At one time we were so frightened there wouldn’t be enough squirrels, rabbits and wild turkeys in the woods, so we tried to thin the herd of our human competition by making them lesser, therefore teaching them they couldn’t eat the actual meat of the buffalo, but could have all the internal organs they wanted.

Are we still stuck in that survival mode?

Are we so terrified that we’re going to be exposed as lackers or slackers that we try to characterize one group of people as already occupying that space–and then colorize them?

 

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Clout

Clout: (n) influence or power

Liars talk too much.

It’s one of the sure ways to pick ’em out. Rather than just stating the facts or presenting the situation, they feel the need to emphasize some
aspect of their story to further impress you with its validity.

That’s always been my problem with the word “clout.”

How much more reinforcement is necessary for a good idea?

How many times do we need to recite our accomplishments before we understand that nobody cares?

How often will we find ourselves stumbling over words because we are not yet convinced that the room has been swayed by our argument?

Does a nation have clout because it has a big army? (Candidly, the nations which have had big armies throughout history are no longer around.)

Do a people have credence because of their faith in God or their morality? If that were the case, the Puritans would still be very popular instead of deemed assholes for killing little girls as witches.

Does a woman gain clout by convincing everybody that she’s just as good as a man, when being a man may not be good enough?

How many characters do we need to introduce to develop the plot?

How many promises should be secured before we decide to move out and attempt a noble deed?

When I was in my thirties, a very prosperous music producer told me that I had no future because I didn’t carry enough clout. I looked him in the eyes and said, “I decided a long time ago not to carry anything I didn’t need.”

We don’t need clout. Actually, it warns of insecurity, pomposity and arrogance.

If I believe I am the best at anything, I need to leave my house more often.

If I think that God favors me because of my numerous religious inclinations, it may be necessary for me to encounter those human beings who scrape together fifty cents, knowing they need sixty cents to survive.

If you want to legitimize the word “clout,” then here is a better definition:

Clout is when I have the humility to realize I don’t really matter, so if I want to keep from being invisible, I should open up my heart and do what I can for the human race.

 

 

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Clampdown

Clampdown: (n) a severe or concerted attempt to suppress something.

I was a parent to six sons.

Three of them were my biological offspring, and for the other three, I was more or less a godfather (minus kissing the ring and slaughtering
my enemies).

Different experiences bring different quality. As a parent, you would love to pass on that sage wisdom to your children. It’s not really an issue of morality–it’s just that certain activities suck up more time, energy, heart and soul.

In other words, in the long run, they’re just not worth the payoff. For that reason, they’re rather obvious–but not to a fifteen year old kid.

  • Smoking looks cool until you start coughing.
  • Drinking may seem sophisticated until you vomit on your favorite pants.
  • Multiple sex partners almost seem ordained until your crotch starts to itch and you need a shot of penicillin.

So how is it possible to pass on to the growing organisms in your household how to avoid the stupidity of certain activities which not only fail to deliver in ultimate satisfaction, but certainly can be dangerous?

After conversations, pleadings and reasoning comes the possibility of clamping down.

Since your children will not remove themselves from temptation, you make a vain effort to take temptation far away from them. Of course, historically this only increases the fervent interest of the hapless adolescent.

I never drank, I never smoked, I never looked at a snapshot of porn–but all of my children, to some degree, have investigated these vices as if communing with a vicar.

I wish I could tell you that clamping down is an effective means of eliminating foolishness. But since being a fool is in the storehouse of every human being, whether we like it or not, he or she will probably pull it out at one time or another–and give it a spin.

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