Crib Notes

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crib note: (n) a translation, list of correct answers, or other illicit aid used by students while reciting, taking exams, or the like

Perhaps two of the more frightening words in the English language are “spontaneous” and “improvisation.”

Working in the theatrical community over the years, I have discovered that certain actors, directors and even writers extol the value of being spontaneous or applaud the introduction of improvisation into the set. Let me explain that the only people who think that spontaneous thought or improvisational input is clever are those who are doing it.

Most of us realize that if we’re listening to someone and we know they are going “off the cuff” or using crib notes they’ve written on their shirt sleeve, or they’re referring to an index card palmed in their hand, it’s just goddam nerve-wracking.

You have to start rooting for them, hoping they don’t implode into meaningless babbling or nonsense.

The truth is, if you have something that you want to come off with a flair of impromptu, you should memorize it.


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Aplomb

dictionary with letter A

Aplomb (n.) calm self-confidence.

When I was growing up there was a game called “Pick-Up Sticks,” where everything was thrown down in a pile, and I had the job of picking up the sticks from the pile without disturbing the other sticks around it.

It was nerve-wracking–very similar, matter of fact, to the game Operation, in which you had a pair of tweezers to remove a plastic body part without getting buzzed by touching the sides.

That’s why I find it difficult to justify the word “calm” and the idea of “self-confidence” being linked together.

Because I will tell you, self-confidence is a house of cards.

Those who truly believe they are full of it … well, are usually full of it. They are trapped in a misconception that what they bring to the table is sufficient without any addition and certainly without correction. It is a dangerous profile which robs you of your calm because humanity is very willing to remind you of your lack and remove all praise in the process.

Actually, I think the best way to become jaded is to insist on a profile of self-confidence. You will quickly find that a situation comes up beyond your scope and requires some adjustment–and if you don’t, you end up looking foolish, or worse, rationalizing your lame efforts.

If I were defining the word “aplomb,” I would say it’s a “calm use of true humility.”

Humility is much better than self-confidence simply because humility demands that you show up with some stats and facts, otherwise you’re not being humble–just unrealistic. And also, humility opens the door to the realization that since you had to learn what you’ve done so far, the possibility for additional learning is likely.

I meet many people who would insist that they’re self-confident. Matter of fact, they wear it as a badge of honor, unaware that it is actually a cloak of deception, leaving all parties who don the masquerade eventually looking over-dressed.

The reason I am calm is not because i believe I am sufficient. I find peace in my soul because I realize that the same humility which allowed me to do some great things will prepare me to gain the wisdom to do more.

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Aerialist

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Aerialist: (n) a person who performs acrobatics high above the ground on a tightrope or trapeze.

We will trust in something.

  • Those who do not put their faith in God find great solace in education, knowledge or science.
  • Folks who are not physically inclined are comforted by reading, writing or thinking.

It always astounds me when I watch folks working a trapeze–how they overcome their fear of heights–until I realize that it has little to do with that. I suppose it would even be possible to have such an apprehension, and as long as you placed your faith in the skill of maintaining your craft, you would be fine.

After all, an aerialist does not trust the wire he or she is walking across. The wire is the obstacle. Certainly, they are careful to maintain the integrity of the line, but they place their faith in the jungle control and well-trained connection they have with their muscles and bones.

Walking across a high wire is not about trusting the surface nor even your balance. It is having the physical tone to know that when you place your foot down anywhere, the tendons and ligaments that control that appendage are strong, firm and sure.

It’s true of anything in life.

As I write this article today, there are millions of people who would insist they are incapable of such a task. They would find it nerve-wracking, if not foreboding, to put together sentences or ideas that possess interest.

But I trust the muscle. As I think, I say.

It’s a confidence that has grown in me as I have arrived at the moment of composition, without any idea ahead of time about what I’m going to share. I dig deep into my soul and find not only a topic, but a personal insight.

An aerialist is not a person who places his faith in chance, but rather, someone who knows that his body will respond the same, whether walking in the air, or on terra firma. An aerialist is a human testimony of working what we do well until we can have total enjoyment in the experience because we have logged the hours of practice.

It’s true for all of us–or else the lack of the truth leaves us feeling inadequate or meaningless.

I cannot walk on a high wire, but I do understand what gives them the impetus and confidence to do so: it is the same muscle and moxie that grants me the window to open every day … to let the fresh air of ideas sweep through me and from me.