Cruise

Cruise: (v) to sail about on a pleasure trip.

I stumbled upon a little piece of personal revelation, which after much thought, might just end up being worthy of universal application.

(Not everything I think falls into this category. Many things that I pursue pertain mostly to me, and would not be helpful or even interesting, to an outsider.)

For instance, my daily regimen in approaching healthy eating would certainly bore the most prideful listener.

But what I’ve discovered is that nothing in life has immediate appeal—nor is it dead-on-arrival.

Each one of us ends up talking ourselves into everything.

So it only stands to reason that we talk ourselves out of other things.

For me, one of those things is a cruise on a ship.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with such an adventure. There have even been television shows produced extolling the pleasures of food, fun and romance—even promising that the boat itself might just be “love.”

But somehow or another I have talked myself out of this.

I talked myself into being a musician. Honestly, there’s little that’s more tedious.

I convinced myself of the glories of fatherhood. Yet this did not happen until children were afoot.

But I’ve also talked myself out of… Let me see:

How about a daily run? I think a daily run would be possible for me if there were someone trailing me slowly in a jeep, firing a machine gun at my heels. Yes, I would need adequate motivation.

So as I think about a cruise, the following four things immediately annoy me:

  1. Walking up the plank to get on.

I don’t know why. It just seems like I’m lining up in a prison yard for daily gruel.

  1. Cramped quarters.

To make money, a cruise ship must have little cabins, and of course, the smaller they make them the more people they can put onto the ship, and therefore, the more profit.

I am a big man, constantly perturbed by living in a medium world.

  1. A constant barrage of food.

Perhaps I’m odd, but after I eat, the last thing I want to do is go dancing in the Mambo Room.

Doesn’t that sound horrible? Where is the time for digestion?

  1. And finally, the pool.

If the boat is for love, then people are peering extra carefully at one another for the potential of unexplainable romantic entanglements.

When I go swimming, I’m thinking more about cannonballs and floating. Probably not the mindset of Carnivale.

So you see, I have not given a cruise a chance—because I have convinced myself that it is not worthy of my consideration.

I probably should have done that with bologna and sausage years ago.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Crescendo

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crescendo: (n) a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.

I do realize there’s a danger in over-analyzing things. It can become tedious, if not obnoxious. Yet I will tell you—life becomes much simpler when you first realize it’s supposed to be simple, and then you start looking for the parallels that dwell behind every experience and lurk beneath each rock.

Over the years I have played my share of music.

Some people have even accused me of being a musician.

I’ve written songs and I’ve composed about eight symphonies (though Mozart and Beethoven shouldn’t be worried about their day jobs.)

Music has taught me a lot.

That’s not a very profound statement, but once again—simple.

Music knows what the key is meant to be in every situation.

It finds a melody, so some sensibility can be mustered for the hearer.

It certainly acknowledges the need for harmony.

And it has a great desire to strike a chord of commonality among us.

But never does music teach us anything more than it does with the crescendo.

Some people live their lives full out, loud, always punctuating their crescendo to the maximum. Then when they need to say something essential or shout out a truth, no one listens because they are always blaring and trumpeting their feelings.

The wisdom of music is to start your piece quietly and build.

Let’s be honest—if the audience doesn’t want to hear the song or doesn’t prefer the tunefulness of it, playing it more loudly does not achieve much of anything. But if you can acquaint all those around you with a theme they really embrace, by the time you get to the finale, you can generate a crescendo that triumphs the message and the music to the climax.

I used to be of a mindset that the louder I said something, the more emphatic and powerful it became. But I just ended up in a room with a bunch of fellow bellowers, shouting over the top of one another.

I shall never forget the night I was playing a concert, and the band that was on right before our troupe closed out with a screaming anthem, leaving the audience leaping to its feet, applauding wildly.

I realized there was no way to top that, so I looked for a bottom. I took the stage with just my guitarist and sang our sweetest, most childlike ballad. By the time I finished, the attention was mine. If I had desired, I could have manufactured my own crescendo. There was no hurry. It wasn’t a competition.

Turn down the noise.

First in your own mind—your own twitter—and then patiently let it all tone down around you.

Take a deep breath, pick your moment, make sure it’s timely…

CRESCENDO.

 


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Contract

Contract: (n) an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.

Two hours after I wrote my very first song, I was already thinking I needed a contract.

I had visions of Grammy Awards, fame and thousands of record sales to reinforce my sheer joy of being a musician and simply composing songs.

Nothing happened after my first song, but along about my fifth or sixth tune, opportunities did float my way.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

What I learned very quickly, in my Midwest innocence, was that life and death lie in the wording of a contract. Someone saying they want to “sign your song” or “promote your music” does not mean your song is actually signed or that your music will be promoted. Sometimes it’s just means they’re securing that song, in case they want to use it, making sure nobody else can get it.

On occasion, it’s a deal where they plan to use the song but want to give you the lowest possible percentage of remuneration.

But one word always came to the forefront: exclusive.

What that meant was they wanted me to sign a contract saying I would not work with anybody else, while they determined how much they really wanted to work with me.

I grew up quickly.

Even today, when I hear someone utter the phrase, “Well, we need to draft a contract,” I immediately know there’s something they don’t want to say to me—that they want to hide in a contract, in a very small point size and a near-unreadable font.depressed, angry adolescents.


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Comport

Comport: (v) to conduct oneself; behave.

In an attempt to avoid being considered assholes, we have gradually deteriorated the quality of character in almost every profession in our country.

By no means do I want to come across as a prig, and certainly not self-righteous, but it does occur to me that without some guidelines on howfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C we should comport ourselves–conduct our affairs–in the everyday world, we will start settling for less…until we have none.

For instance:

If you’re going to be a teacher, you should comport yourself by being willing to listen to things that sometimes may seem ridiculous.

If you’re a father, you should choose strength by respecting the equality you have with the women around you.

If you’re a preacher, you should comport yourself by being a student of humility.

If you’re a banker, you should reluctantly refuse loans and joyfully and gratefully accept deposits.

If you’re a politician, you should comport yourself by rejecting the erroneous concept that dishonesty is necessary to propel good ideas.

If you’re a writer, you should be an encourager.

If you’re a musician, you should uplift.

If you’re a laborer, you should believe that your work will endure.

If you are a believer in God, you should make God believable through the life you live.

If you’re an atheist, make sure you bring something to the table of caring humanism.

It is not necessary for us to judge one another.

But it is certainly required that we set standards on how we comport ourselves when we’re given the humbling opportunity of serving others.

 

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Bunch

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Bunch: (n) a number of things, typically of the same kind, growing or fastened together.

There is a three-step process, and you will be happier if you understand that only two of them usually work.

We frustrate ourselves by thinking that gaining approval has much of a chance of coming our way. Here is life in a nutshell (though I don’t know why you’d want to place it in there):

  1. “I like it.”
  2. “I enjoy it.”
  3. “It is accepted.”

Too often we make our decisions based on whether something will be accepted. For instance:

If you’re a writer, you may try to pen the perfect American novel, suited to the present taste of the populace.

If you’re a musician, you may choose to chase down the current beat and sounds that are rattling the charts.

And if you’re just an average person who has something you like to do, you may find yourself tempering it to gain favor with the general population.

Since acceptance comes from humans and they are totally fickle, trying to gear your life to gain their “happy face” is frustrating, if not hopeless.

So why not go for the first two? Do I like it and do I enjoy it?

If you’re waiting for a bunch of people to come along and confirm your sanity, your value, your talent, your good looks or even your race, you will probably spend a lot of time at the bus stop, reading novels. 

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Bum

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Bum: (n) a vagrant.

Yesterday, I once again heard the word.

It sent a chill down my spine.

I was situated next to a lady on the curb, and a gentleman walked by who obviously was not on his best streak of luck. As he disappeared in the distance, she turned to me and said, in her meanest, most nefarious tone, “Bum.”

I paused.

Actually, I found myself in the middle of a flash-back–because in the early years of my life, when I aspired to be a writer, musician, singer, or something of that sort, I ferociously ran away from the workaday world, having a great fear in my soul that once I got my first paycheck, I would never be able to wiggle myself out of the commitment.

In the process of trying to be something that nobody else thought I had the right to be, I got called “bum” a lot–even by family members. It never ceased to sting.

I pretended it didn’t bother me–but there was something really coarse and evil about having other human beings judge me solely on whether I was solvent by their standards.

So even though I should have responded more quickly to the lady, at length I said, “You never know. Maybe someday that young man you just called a bum will write fourteen books, have three daily blogs, thirteen screenplays and travel all across the United States, trying to bring common sense and love to the world.”

She stared at me with a quizzical look and then replied, “Ain’t no way.”

I just smiled.

Way.

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Average

Average: (adj) mean or median norm, meaning something that represents a middle point.

It caused me to become a better man, dad, writer, musician, driver, shopper, handler of money and general human being.dictionary with letter A

The day I realized that everything in life eventually averages out and lands in the realm of modicum was the time that I finally knew how to set my goals.

Let me give you an example:

When I looked over at the batch of children hatched from my lust and whim, I thought to myself, what do I want these little dudes to be in 25 years?

At first, my list of requests and preferences was too long. And then I came up with three words:

  • Solvent
  • Loving
  • Creative

With that in mind, I developed my parenting approach.

To make sure they were solvent, I never gave them money without giving them work. Why? Because the only ways to get money other than working for it is winning the lottery and stealing. You can see why I chose what I did. They did not always like the work, and their work was usually pretty mediocre. But even an average work ethic pushed them to the front of the class.

To make them loving, I forced them to go see people who were not very lovely–hurting, frustrated, addicted and poverty-stricken. They were somewhat repulsed, but still ended up much more empathetic than some of their friends.

And finally, creative. Every time they wanted me to buy them something, do something for them or get them off the hook for using their talents, I refused and made them produce something with their own hearts and hands, even though I must tell you, the result was often so ugly that I needed to quickly bury it in the back yard.

Still, they knew they were responsible to come to Earth and provide resources instead of just consume them.

Since human beings will generally end up average, it’s a good idea to have a standard. That’s why we keep Santa Claus around–he reminds us of the importance of giving.

And we maintain a belief in God, although we’re not sure…because He encourages us to find our better humanity. 

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