Code

Code: (n) a system of symbols substituted for other words for the purpose of secrecy

When we’re finally convinced that we cannot establish our superiority over other human beings by clearly stating it out loud, we develop a code.

It is a code we only teach to certain people–the ones we feel are worthy of our intelligence, depth, maturity and spirituality.

We sneer when others try to understand but fail due to either their weakness of character or lack of brain power.

This is why doctors choose to use medical terms instead of practical ones.

It’s why ministers refer to oblique verses of Holy Book, in order to communicate the idea that only they, a few others and God are privy to the translation.

It’s why politicians have a stump speech, and then have a real code of behavior which they enact with their staff and subordinates.

This is one of the reasons Samuel Morse developed a code–so ideas could be quickly passed from one party to another without having to wait for the arrival of a letter by stage coach.

There’s nothing innately wrong with a code.

It would be extraordinarily paranoid to assume that not being familiar with a code of one group or another was a purposeful snub.

But I do think it is the responsibility of kind human beings everywhere to dispel codes and find language, emotions and gestures which have a more universal appeal.

 

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Click

Click: (n) a short, sharp sound as of a switch being operated

If the entirety of the stupid things I’ve done in my life could be written down, all the books in the world would not contain it. (Well, perhaps
a bit overstated.)

But I’ve never met a stupid idea I wasn’t willing to consider if I thought it advanced my cause or gave me a shortcut.

Many years ago, when my children were younger, we traveled the country as a family band. It was like the Partridge Family without the cuteness, obvious talent and painted bus. Instead we had a car, and found an old trailer, which had sat in a farmer’s field for two years–abandoned.

Not knowing anything at all about such matters, we liked the look of the trailer on the outside, so we bought it for $350.

It probably was not worth $3.50.

Not only had it been unused for two years, but it was also twenty-five years since its manufacturing. The wood was rotten, the tires completely dry-rotted, and all the wiring shot to hell.

But we hooked it up anyway.

Amazingly, much of the time it functioned–awkwardly. It looked horrible, but it carried things and limped along behind our car.

That is, until one night, in the mountains of California, the electrical system decided to have a nervous breakdown.

We did not know what to do. It was pitch black outside, there were coyotes everywhere and I had a fourteen-year-old son with me–the only one awake–to try to crawl back in the trailer and fix the lights.

After fiddling with the wiring, we got back into the car and they worked for about twenty minutes.

Then, all at once, we heard this clicking sound. Rapid. Almost like someone was sending Morse Code. And along with the clicking, the tail lights joined in, blinking.

We kept tinkering with it, trying to make it work. There was even one interlude when it stopped clicking for about thirty minutes. We were so relieved that my son actually went to sleep. To this day, he tells the story of nightmares of being chased by a “clicking monster,” and the horror of awakening once again to the same sound.

Mile by mile we held our breath–fearful of the dreaded click.

It wasn’t until the next day, when we reached a town and pulled into a repair shop, that we discovered there was nothing wrong with the trailer or the wiring. It was the switch on our car’s headlights, which decided to take this particularly bleak evening in the California hills to become temperamental.

Every once in a while I’ll hear a sound which ever-so-slightly resembles that clicking.

Losing control, I pee my pants a little.

 

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