Curate

Curate: (v) to take charge, organize or select content for presentation or publication

You don’t have to wait for spring cleaning.

Any good sunny afternoon will do.

Drive down a residential street and you will find things that people have pushed, shoved and even carried from their houses, sitting next to the road—as trash, ready to be toted away.

Some of it has earned its relegation to the Kingdom of Trash. But other items are just portions of the household that aren’t used anymore—discarded as junk.

You can pick up some treasures. I have found myself doing that.

I curate.

It doesn’t make me a curator, but in this throw-away generation, I find myself cruising the neighborhoods of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and the like, finding huge piles of values and ideas that used to be regarded as beautiful, or at least workable, sitting in the Out Box, declared spam.

Civility used to be applauded. But now it seems anemic in the presence of the onslaught of aggressive accusation.

You can go anywhere on Facebook and find a trashed version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—and find that it still polishes up quite nicely.

One by one, we have taken institutions and ideas that have lasted for millennia and made sure they were gone from memory—by next Tuesday.

Things like sympathy, empathy, poetry, sentiment, reflection, journaling.

Even record albums and CDs are disappearing.

Books look like dinosaurs marching to the mark-down bins.

Part of this is being done in ignorance, but most of it is the influence of negativity, wishing to wipe out sensitivity by deeming it weak and stupid.

I suppose you can join the crowd and stack your shit for flushing.

Or you might want to take a second to wonder if simply enjoying something for its feeling–which has existed since Eden and now is considered passé on Instagram—would be worth tucking it away like an old sweater that is ready to give warmth on the next very chilly morning.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crocodile

Crocodile: (n) a reptile of the genus Crocodylus, found in sluggish waters and swamps of the tropics

They know.

We know.

Everybody knows.

I was invited to a party one night in Jacksonville, Florida.

It was a rich family that had a beautiful bungalow out next to the ocean. I don’t know how I rated this invitation.

Let’s just assume I was in my lucky mode.

When I arrived, I got out of my car and was chatting to a friend when the owner of the bungalow came out and said, “You might want to come inside.”

Being young and full of a fair mixture of piss and vinegar, I questioned, “Why is that?”

He quickly explained that there were crocodiles in the area. He didn’t even get the words out of his mouth before we looked up, and there, probably twenty yards away, was one of the six-foot monstrosities, inching along the grass toward the marsh.

Now let me tell you what I felt.

My immediate human instinct was, “We are never to meet.”

Crocodiles and human beings were never meant to cohabitate.

Suddenly, the croc turned and looked in my direction—at least it appeared he did—and I could tell that he felt exactly the same way. He looked at me, as a human, the same way I looked at him as a crocodile. “What the hell??”

So even though I stepped lively toward the bungalow to join the party, he just as quickly headed off to the marsh to link with whatever friends he might have had.

You see, nature is not screwed up.

The crocodile is certainly stronger than me, and probably, in a one-on-one fight, would win. But there is something in his evolution that tells him to get the hell away from me.

Crocodiles don’t like people any more than people want to be eaten by crocodiles.

It’s just like we know that it’s not right for us to pollute the skies.

The skies should have very few things in them: clouds, sun, stars, other planets… Maybe heaven.

But not black billowing smoke from tailpipes on automobiles and smokestacks on factories.

We know this.

We know that when we have trash in our car, we’re not supposed to throw it out onto the grass. It would be wonderful if the grass could speak and say, ‘What in the hell are you doing?”

But all the grass can do is be embarrassed that we’ve cluttered up its space.

We know stuff. We do.

Just as the crocodile has an instinct to stay away from human beings, there is an instinct in us—to treat nature properly, with great respect.

I’m not going to go out and kill crocodiles because I’m afraid they’re going to eat me. Basically, when a crocodile sees me, he thinks to himself, “What the shit? When did THEY move into the neighborhood?”

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Brawl

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brawl: (n) a rough or noisy fight or quarrel.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this story–maybe because it drains a quart or two from my virility if I relate it in truthful detail.Dictionary B

But many, many years ago, I was walking the streets of the inner portions of a large city. I was with two friends, and we were “feeling our oats,” as they say–studly and strong.

In the process of our little jaunt, we were confronted by three other dudes, apparently residents of the neighborhood, who found our presence distasteful.

We probably should have cooled our heads, relaxed and been respectful of this trio of locals, but we just kept boppin’ along, trying to ignore them.

They didn’t want to be ignored.

So a series of insults were flung back and forth–some questioning our relationship with our mothers, others suggesting that these adversaries perhaps wore pink tennis shoes.

Long story short, it was squaring off to a fight.

We were about to have a brawl with people we did not know simply because nobody was willing to back down.

That’s what a brawl is–an unplanned fight that occurs because conversation is implausible–and violence suddenly and unexplainably seems logical.

Right before we were ready to mix it up (and by the way, I do not know what that would entail, since none of us had ever been in a fight before) I suddenly got cold feet, tingly balls, scared bowels and a chill going down my spine.

I didn’t want to scuffle.

I didn’t want to be a coward.

So I raised my hand and said, “Stop. I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I have a heart condition.”

I do not know why I did this or why I chose to claim a debilitating disorder. But for some reason it diffused the situation, and the three guys looked at me like they were eyeballing their grandpa.

They gave me permission to walk away.

And shortly after I eased by them and tiptoed down the street, the remaining five decided they had lost interest in the fight, exchanged one last round of macho bullcrap, and the two groups went their separate ways.

My friends thanked me for being so inventive in avoiding the skirmish.

I learned that night that brawls are to be avoided at all costs, even if you temporarily have to feign geriatric.

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Bar mitzvah

Bar mitzvah: (n) the religious initiation ceremony of a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13Dictionary B

I’m not Jewish. Matter of fact, I’ve never played Jewish on television.

Years ago I surgically removed “Judeo” from my Christianity. It’s not because I have any resentments against the Jewish race–it’s just that I like my Jesus ala carte.

But I have to admit, I find the Jewish tradition of the bar mitzvah very enlightening because it brings to the forefront a valuable question: when does a boy become a man?

The Jewish people had it figured this way: the dude has a penis, he’s grown some hair, it’s ready to do business, so we better make him a man.

Therefore there was a lot of responsibility on Jewish moms and dads to mature their children to mental, spiritual and emotional adulthood before unleashing them into a possibility of procreation.

I assume they took this seriously.

We in the Western world have decided to forego this mission and instead, put off calling someone a man until he is emotionally, financially and mentally solvent.

  • At one time we considered this to be 16 years of age.
  • We then had to revise to 18.
  • 21 seemed popular for a while.
  • And now we’re not so sure anyone actually matures until age 30.

So according to our culture, probably more than one-third of your life is gone before you are prepared to have a family, house, and affect change in your neighborhood.

It gives you pause for thought.

That comes to 17 years of having a full-fledged sexual member which is on the hunt for satisfaction … ruled by a brain that is still focusing on video games.

 

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Amiable

dictionary with letter A

Amiable: (adj) having or displaying a friendly and pleasant manner

My traveling partner and I discuss this all the time.

We’re constantly meeting new people, interacting with service organizations and the general public, creating a face-to-face opportunity and challenge daily.

There is one thing for certain: waiting to decide how you’re going to treat other human beings based upon either your fatigue level or your mood is not only foolish, but dangerous.

I will honestly impart to you that having a profile which you pursue faithfully and remaining “married” to it, as it were, through the good times and bad, and in sickness and health, is not only admirable, but also the only way you can survive the constant flux of society shifting its thinking based on whether we’re going to destroy one another or just manipulate one another.

OUR IDEA

We have come up with a very simple proposal or formula, if you will:

1. Always know what you want. Perhaps the most annoying thing to other human beings is asking them to guess your needs. There is a danger they will misunderstand your goals.

2. Decide what you can live with. We don’t often get exactly what we want. Even though some people think it’s a sin of conscience to have a fall-back position, I contend that when you deal with other humans, to be absent a “Plan B” is to welcome disappointment and strife.

3. Choose a face. You’re not allowed to have two. In our case, it’s a combination of warmth and professionalism. In other words, “I am so glad to meet you, but I’m fully aware of why I’m here and what my job is.”

4. And finally, don’t try to save the world. I have heard that we already have a Savior, and dying on the cross is no longer an expression of love, just over-zealous stupidity.

After all, if Nature, God, parents, employers, employees and the IRS have not changed the person standing in front of you, your best shot will probably fall short also.

Once people let you know that they are not going to be pliable, stop twisting them.

There you go.

Those four things allow Janet and myself to be amiable.

I refuse to do this journey any other way. I just pass it along to you because the advice you will get from others will be some sort of mish-mash of kick-ass or kiss-ass.

Obviously, they both put you in the wrong neighborhood.

 

 

 

Alleviate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alleviate: (v) to make suffering, deficiency or a problem less severe: e.g. he took measures to alleviate unemployment

You usually can tap a tear or draw a cheer by speaking against the evils of pain, poverty and suffering. And certainly, these nasty villains have crushing results on the weakest members of our society.

But I think you are often trying to treat the rash on your skin caused by the tumor in your heart. What we need to alleviate in order to improve the status and quality of life are:

  • Piety
  • Politics
  • Prejudice

They are the spawners of all pond scum, and therefore should be attacked for their vicious planning of the destruction of mankind.

In one stroke, piety makes us feel better than others and worse than God. It leaves us uncertain of our value, falling into a pit of pomposity to try to prove our worthiness for salvation.

Politics is the band-aid for the gaping wound which pretends to repair the breach, only to welcome deeper and deeper levels of infection.

And of course, prejudice targets an enemy who has done nothing to us other than being different, so that we might promote our own singularity as superior. It is the nastiest form of insecurity available in the arsenal of human weaponry.

Would we have war without politics, religion and prejudice?

Would there be hungry people if politicians, religionists and bigots weren’t restricting the flow of charity?

Would there be suffering if politicians were actually addressing the needs of society, churches were spreading the blanket of Jesus’ love to “the least of these,” and prejudice was dissolved and a liquidity of acceptance was poured forth?

Alleviate. Yes, I believe my job as a human being in the twenty-first century is to lessen the effect of piety, politics and prejudice, on the mind and heart of the common man.

In so doing, I will find that less pain, poverty and suffering will afflict the strangers–now acquaintances–around me.