Crooked

Crooked: (adj) dishonest, not straightforward

 

There are certain things you remember:

The first time you rode a rollercoaster.

Your initial encounter with peanut butter.

How about the premiere kiss?

An award given in front of an applauding audience.

An orgasm.

An amount of money that crosses your hands that’s more than y you can imagine.

But I also clearly remember the first time somebody called me “crooked.”

I was so pissed. I didn’t consider myself crooked. I thought I was being thrifty. I viewed my efforts as ingenious.

For you see, I checked into a motel room with three other friends. We could only afford the single rate, so I purchased it for me alone. Then the other three arrived, scurrying around the back of the establishment to my front door, laughing that we had pulled off our little decoy.

Matter of fact, I think we were still giggling, high-fiving each other, when there was a knock at the door. I quickly silenced everyone in the room and motioned for them to go into the bathroom. I would handle whatever the intrusion happened to be.

When I opened the door, there was the front desk clerk. He demanded entrance. I acted offended. “What do you want?” I asked.

In broken English, he clearly exclaimed, “You bring more people in room! You lie! You cheat!”

Not sure what else to do, I invited him in, thinking he would walk around the beds, and see nobody else in the space—never believing he would actually open up the bathroom. So when he headed in that direction, I had to decide whether to deter him or just let it play out.

He was too fast for me. He was already opening the door. The bathroom was empty. But he was a persistent young man. He quickly pulled back the shower curtain. There were my three friends, standing in the tub, trying desperately to imitate invisibility. Finally one of my buddies burst out laughing—frightened nerves.

The young desk clerk exclaimed, “You must leave room now!”

I reached for my wallet to offer him the extra funds that would cover the four of us, but he would have none of it.

“No money,” he said, pushing my wallet away. “You lie. You cheat. You go.”

He headed toward the door, and I spoke, hoping to rationalize my actions. “Listen, man,” I said, “we were just trying to save money. We’re just kids. We’re broke. You know?”

He turned, looked me right in the eyes and said:

“You not kids. You not broke. You crooked.”

He immediately stepped out of the room and disappeared, coming back five minutes later to stand next to our van, to make sure we loaded up and left.

As is often the case with a quartet of individuals, there were four different takes on the event: one scared, one acting like he wasn’t part of it from the start, one indignant—wanting to go buy a dozen eggs and pelt the place.

And then there was me.

I was quiet, chilled to my soul.

I was bruised by being called “crooked.”

I didn’t view myself as deceitful, just clever.

But I learned that night that clever is crooked if it’s not honest.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Cosily

Cosily: (adv) in a cozy manner

It seems to me to be one of those words that if you present it positively, the negative folks come along and criticize you. And if you are of a mind to be more philosophical and portray it as being unaware, the positive people object, greatly offended that you’re attacking one of their funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
pet emotions.

I guess the question is, are we supposed to live our lives cosily?

In other words, is it alright for me to go out into the woods camping, enjoying Mother Nature, without hearing a lecture on how the Earth is dying?

Or is there a certain amount of caution and doomsday necessary to assure that we are not dumbstruck by easy-going living?

Then of course, you always have that parcel of people who think you can strike a balance—where you are cosily involved in the everyday parts of your life but on guard like a Doberman Pinscher the rest of the time.

This last one I would have to disagree with.

Once you allow any sense of dread, fear or inhibition into your mind, nothing will ever again be done cosily.

And unfortunately, if you decide to live cosily, you will eventually probably be whacked in the head by some nasty event that you did not foresee with your dreamy eyes.

So it may be a case of whether you would rather be prepared but nervous, or susceptible and relaxed.

But any way you look at it—to decide which profile you prefer requires that you take some time and cosily consider.


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Barbarian

Barbarian: (adj) of or relating to ancient barbarians.Dictionary B

I wish I could report that the nervous, prejudiced and angry process of choosing up sides for basketball in gym class ceases after adolescence.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

There are too many people who should possess intelligence and courtesy who continue to follow that barbaric practice of alienating people based upon personal preference.

It causes us to make enemies instead of creating relationships.

We feel we strengthen our relationships by alienating others. Isn’t that interesting? We think by saying that we love “this group of people over here” more than “that group,” we intensify our commitment and affection.

No wonder it’s so difficult for us to believe the statement, “For God so loved the world…”

We think that makes God wishy-washy.

Doesn’t He realize that some people are barbarians?

Doesn’t He understand they are breaking His rules and therefore should be classified as damnable or at least second-class citizens? How can we feel good about ourselves if we don’t make other people feel bad?

There’s a simple statement which is slid into the Good Book which is often overlooked: “I am debtor to all.”

Honestly, folks, I can’t think of any place I’ve ever gone or any group of people I’ve ever met who did not teach me something. I may even have found them distasteful at first, but they still enlivened my palate.

  • They made me think.
  • They made me wonder.
  • Sometimes they were cautionary tales on what not to be–but I used their presence on Earth to make my world better.

There isn’t a race of people who at one time or another was not considered to be barbarians by those ruling over them.

The sooner we realize that the space we occupy is not holy, but rather, the fellowship we create with one another, the better off we will be in using this planet … to bless instead of curse. 

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Anno Domini

dictionary with letter A

Anno Domini: (adv) full form of AD. Latin, literally “in the year of Our Lord.”

I had to chuckle one day when I found my car keys after a few moments of nervous speculation on their location.

I am so damn mortal. I am peppered with inconsistencies, flaws, foibles and even little festering afflictions.

Yet sometimes I feel it is my right or even mission to shake my little fist at the heavens, complaining of some minor infraction. (Even if my objection happens to be about a major issue, my fist still doesn’t grow much in comparison to the magnitude of the Universe.)

We are told that a man was born in Bethlehem nearly 2,000 years ago. Not only did his birth aggravate local magistrates and set in motion an upheaval in the Middle East, which transported his ideas into the whole world, but we have also decided to meter time from before and after his birth.

And even though agnostics and atheists rail against the life, attitudes and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, we have no other experience or teachings that have spanned so much time and left so much influence.

  • We have Buddha and Confucius, who were predecessors, but certainly did not eclipse the influence.
  • The gods of Olympus died out pretty quickly.
  • And Mohammed was born several centuries after Jesus.

There was something proclaimed in the small 100-mile radius of Nazareth, his stomping ground, that stirred the conscience in the body human and still awakens us to the need to love one another.

Although I am not comfortable with many of the tenets of religion and theological practice, it is very difficult to doubt the impact that a carpenter-turned-preacher had on our world.

Was it his life?

Was it his death?

Or was it the fact that he simplified all the over-wrought musings of the generations of time into “loving the Lord your God and loving your neighbor as yourself?”

 

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Animal

dictionary with letter A

Animal: (n) 1. a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized organs and nervous systems 2. any such living organism other than human beings

Sometimes I feel like a cop, standing in the middle of a thoroughfare, attempting to direct traffic, with two huge trucks bearing down on me from different directions, seemingly unwilling to yield.

It’s how I feel about the overbearing nature of the secular community playing “chicken” with the zealots of the religious contingency.

One group screams that human beings are “just animals,” knowing it will aggravate their adversary, as the other gathering of souls touts the eternal nature of our being and the need for God.

I have found in my life that when you maintain a philosophy and speak it aloud more or less just to annoy others who disagree with you, you not only lack the power of your own conviction, but you are infiltrating the world around you with unnecessary conflict.

I decided a long time ago that human beings are monkey-angels. There is no denying our similarity to the family of animals but there is little doubt that we have some DNA in common with the angels of God.

I don’t know why we can’t come to this conclusion:

  • I think it would be nice to have a member of the animal kingdom who has graduated to a spiritual sensibility for respecting the planet and caring for the weaker members of the jungle.
  • Simultaneously, I think there is a certain adorable quality to us motoring a spirit but being a trifle inept in steering it.

As John Merrick, the Elephant Man put it so well, “I am not an animal.”

Perhaps better phrased, “I am not just an animal.”

There is a living, breathing soul within me that aspires to the Divine … while wallowing in the mud.

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Alzheimer’s Disease

dictionary with letter A

Alzheimer’s disease: (n) a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age due to generalized degeneration of the brain.

When you read the definition, there’s nothing funny about it.

But candidly, I think everybody feels a little nervous about taking this disease seriously.

It isn’t that we don’t have empathy for those who suffer from it. It’s just that the one-liners, comedic set-up and potential sketches available on the subject of older people becoming forgetful are so ripe with scenarios that it’s difficult to pass them up in favor of more sensitive profiles.

So when are we being callous?

I remember once in a show I joked about the fact that “considering my size, you know I’m not anorexic.” A lady walked up to me afterwards and complained about my choice of humor, saying that her daughter suffered from the condition and that it was not a jocular matter.

I apologized.

The reason I offered this remorse was that I had offended her. I didn’t do anything offensive, but because the subject matter was so personal and close to her, she was offended by my making light of the gravity of the situation.

But honestly, I do not know if we can progress the human race without learning to laugh at ourselves.

Would I think jokes about Alzheimer’s Disease were funny if I had it? Since I probably wouldn’t know–yes. (See? There are people who probably would find even that turnaround crass…)

All of us are going to get old, and that looming condition is both real and frightening at the same time. To approach it without some sort of good cheer is probably the greatest danger.

So I follow a simple philosophy: I try to find humor in everything, serious or not. It is not because I don’t care. It is because the only way to care is to relieve pain, not merely point it out.

We must be careful in a time when we are touting our personal feelings more than understanding our human need–that we don’t lose sight of the escapism of comedy.

I do not condone those who are rude and crude. I am not saying that any kind of disease is pleasant. I’m just saying that as an obese man, plagued with many of the complications associated with it, I have never gained ground by digging in my heels, weeping or looking for reasons to be offended.

The only light I’ve ever seen at the end of any of my tunnels … is humor.