Dazed

Dazed: (adj) to be stunned or stupefied

Perhaps the worst piece of advice I’ve ever received is, “Keep your cool.”

The words would be unnecessary to share if I weren’t in an environment where I had been dazed by a predicament or circumstance that left me reeling.

We Americans are very big on “cool.”

Often we even avoid apologizing because it doesn’t seem cool.

We certainly shirk our duties because we’re afraid it will be made obvious that we aren’t cool.

But as human beings, the chances of us being cool—especially when we want to be—are slim.

We’re just not cool.

Some people would take offense over this. I understand that.

It might even seem uncool to admit that you’re not cool.

But there is so much going on in the world today—twists, turns, tragedies, disasters and sometimes just a spirit of meanness—that if you have an ounce of sensitivity, it will pound on you.

You will feel dazed.

Often the word “confused” follows.

There is the unnecessary step.

I don’t know if I can pull off “dazed and cool,” but I certainly don’t need to be “dazed and confused.”

There is no plot against me.

There are no hellish demons chasing me, trying to destroy my life.

But there is a very specific natural order—and a scientific kingdom that needs to be honored to survive the pathway of Earth journey.

Mingled into all of it is a little word called “chaos.”

And even though chaos makes everything balanced (because it truly does rain on the just and the unjust) it can unfortunately leave us so dazed that we’re confused.

There is a maneuver I’ve learned.

When I’m going along with my plan and it begins to fall apart, I sit down.

If there’s a chair nearby, that’s fine.

If not, any piece of ground will do.

Because the worst thing to do when you’re dazed is to pretend like everything’s fine. That’s not cool—it’s dangerous.

And when you’re sitting, you’re much less likely to have your head whirl in confusion.

I may never be cool, but I don’t have to be confused.

When I become dazed, I’ll just find a place and sit for a spell—until the brain clears and sense returns.

Davie

Davie: (n) a town in SE Florida.

I have a unique perspective on Davie, Florida.

After years of traveling on the road and performing, I decided to settle there because it was near where my son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters lived.

They had just begun a church and I thought it would be so terrific if I could join them and help out in any way my box of experience might afford.

You see:

The key to that phrase is “I thought.”

You would assume that after many years of living, I would realize the weakness—and sometimes even complete calamity—of the words “I thought.”

I never asked my son and his family what they felt about me moving down there.

I didn’t seek permission.

I envisioned something in my own mind—how things might pan out without ever realizing that those around me might not consider my gift of time with them to be of as much interest as I had supposed.

It went poorly.

When I tried to be involved, I seemed nosy.

When I backed off, I appeared offended (though I wasn’t).

When I waited for them to contact me, I was pissed at the infrequency.

And when I tried to start other things on my own, they were somewhat threatened by my intentions.

Along with this colossal misunderstanding, I ended up living in a very small home—well beneath my needs, not to mention my standards.

Although I can recite many miraculous things that occurred during my stay in Davie, Florida, whenever I hear the word “Davie,” what comes to my mind is:

“It’s better to move when you feel a tug…”

“…than trying to shove your way in.”

 

Crusade

Crusade: (n) any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea or cause

During one December vacation from traveling on the road, I focused in on a seven-word slogan which I planned to use for the following year’s touring.

“No one is better than anyone else.”

I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

I couldn’t think of a better crusade to embark upon, to bring people together, point out our similarities and to hearken one and all to the commonality of humankind.

When it came time to go and do the production, to emphasize this beautiful seven-word crusade for human peace, I met resistance.

People didn’t like it as much as I thought they would.

To some, it seemed to be definitive and absent the possibility for discussion. (Yes—it is absolutely true. There are people on this Earth who feel the concept of love requires a debate.)

I was offended. I was defensive.

I found myself hoping that someone would question the beauty and integrity of “no one is better than anyone else,” so that I could argue with them—knowing, of course, that my stance was pure and holy and theirs most certainly had to be riddled with prejudice.

So rather than becoming a “repairer of the breach,” I succeeded in just making a more intelligent and merciful breach.

It upset people—to be common with others.

I was ready to do battle, like the knights of old—to climb onto my stallion and go into the Holy of Holies and establish the dominance of my particular edict.

Finally, one night I just sat down and came to two conclusions:

If you find yourself fighting, you’re not loving.

And whatever is written will eventually have to be rewritten.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Crass

Crass: (adj) without refinement, delicacy, or sensitivity; gross; obtuse; stupid

How does one write in such a way as to communicate that the thoughts being shared are in a whisper?

Great question, huh?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Well, if you would imagine that I am whispering, I will tell you to calm your spirit and listen carefully.

There is one secret to life and one alone. It is the thing that prevents us from being crass.

After all, crass is when things go along real well until someone threatens our sacred cow, never actually having any intention of killing it.

And at this point, people argue. They challenge. They bicker. And more often than not, it ends in some uncomfortable stand-off, where the footing is slippery, and the grudges begin to ice up.

We are all crass until we learn one valuable idea:

Don’t be defensive.

If someone makes a statement in your direction that offends you, don’t immediately leap to share explanations of your motivations or calibrate the correct insult to fire back.

It is really what is meant by “turning the other cheek.” It is not allowing somebody to punch you and then giving them permission to beat the hell out of you. No, it is refusing to become defensive, and instead, measuring the moment to see if you want to put yourself in the middle of a lengthy discussion, or would rather just go home.

Candidly, wasting time is more aggravating than being insulted. Consider the source, consider your heart and soul, consider your time.

We become crass when we feel it is necessary to defend ourselves whenever anyone darkens our countenance with their disapproval.

But crass by its very nature always leads to an overblown objection that makes the other person defensive, and then two defensive people defend themselves until everybody’s offended.

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Crap

Crap: (n) excrement, or used to reference refuse, rubbish, or junk

 I already spent the money.

I know that’s not smart.

But when you’re poor, you have to make arrangements—then hope those plans don’t fall apart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I had a gig. It was a big gig. At least for me. There was going to be some decent money involved.

I will tell you of a certainty, the only way to ever become an artist is to insist on using your art until it pays for you.

In the meantime, your creditors, your landlord and anyone you find yourself indebted to may question the intelligence of your persistence, and sometimes even dishonor the quality of your talent.

But I felt confident—confident enough to pay my bills before I got the check.

It was a two-day gig, and a conference, where I might be able to make further contacts for other engagements in the future.

On the first night, everything went along just swimmingly. The audience was laughing, clapping, appreciating both song and speech. I was feeling so good that I made a joke. I can’t remember all the details of the setup, but the punchline was, “Get this crap outta here!”

Everyone laughed. I thought I was on safe turf.

But later that night I received a call at my motel, telling me I was being canceled because the audience had children in it, and I had offended everyone by saying “crap.” I was contrite—I disavowed the deeds of my tongue—but it didn’t make any difference.

Move ahead in time.

I don’t know exactly when things changed. I suppose there are some people who still find the word “crap” inappropriate, but it would not be unusual to hear it spoken in the church foyer, and even possibly the pulpit.

Now we are fussing about the word “shit.”

It’s amazing how we can come to agreement on what crap and shit are, while being totally self-righteous on declaring it crap or shit.

I have a meter I run in my mind. It’s very simple.

For instance:

If the Ten Commandments are how God will judge me…

Or:

If you have to be skinny and a perfect weight…

One of the possibilities I consider is:

If you’re not supposed to use any colloquial or profane language…

Crap.

I’m in a shitload of trouble.

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Coprecipitate

Coprecipitate: (v) to cause to precipitate together.

I am going to the store. I will invite a good mood.

I am on my way to work. Play my favorite rock song.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night. Plan and look forward to my nap.

Family is crashing in for a visit. Organize with activities outside the house, which don’t require tense conversation.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I am going to vote. Try to pick the best candidate.

I’m going to take a shower. Spend thirty-five seconds letting the hot water run on the back of my neck.

My wife is grouchy. A good occasion to spend some quiet time together.

I am going to church. Make a decision to be nice to someone on the way.

I am going to be lecturing. Mingle it with learning.

I’m going to a very serious event. Never underestimate the power of unexpected laughter.

I just got really offended. Don’t post anything on social media.

I put on some weight. Pick one food and don’t eat it for a week (broccoli doesn’t count).

I am a person of faith. Back it up with some works.

Actions do coprecipitate each other—simply because they don’t exist without including that close friend.


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Cooperate

Cooperate: (v) to work or act together or jointly for a common purpose or benefit.

Life sent me a text.

It asked me if I had a few minutes to sit down and discuss some things. Normally I would have been responsive, but it was a busy day.

Sometimes I intend to return messages to people but then I get absorbed in happenings and my very, very good intentions are set to the side. These people are often offended. They don’t understand how much I really wanted to get back to them.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So Life texted me again. This time the request came with four exclamation points. I hate it when people overuse punctuation on the Internet, don’t you? It’s so ignorant. Do they really think that’s going to get my attention?

So this time, I refused to respond on principle—surely it must be some sort of scam.

The following week Life texted me again, and insisted that something needed to be done very soon, or else.

I despise it when people threaten me. Don’t you? Because if you follow up, trying to find out what it’s about, you discover they just played you to get your attention.

Honest to God, if I chased every person warning me about something, or informing me about another thing, I wouldn’t get anything else done.

So I came up with an emoji which I sent back to life. A cute one. I think it was a creature sticking out its tongue.

That kind of summed up my feelings about Life’s interference in my daily activity—especially the pushiness I was feeling from the unwanted messages.

Then all of a sudden, I died.

I arrived at some sort of place that seemed to have an atmosphere, but was completely suspended in time. Standing there waiting for me was Life.

Not seeing anybody else to talk to, I stepped up to Life and said, “What happened? I was too young for this.”

Life looked at me smugly and said, “Did you get my texts?”

“Yes,” I replied, wondering what in the heck that had to do with anything under the sun.

Life took a deep breath. “I texted you because I wanted to let you know that several alarms had gone off in your body which you were ignoring, and you needed to go get yourself checked out.”

I frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me it was important?”

Life groaned, then spoke slowly. “You see, that’s the problem with human beings. You think anything that you don’t know about is an interference, never realizing that most problems can be avoided if you will just stop, listen, receive the message, and cooperate.”


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Contrite

Contrite: (adj) filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent

The times in my life when I was truly sorry, I’ve been so contrite that I could barely speak.

I was afraid to utter a word. It might fail to communicate the depth of my anguish.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I simply sat, looking at the offended person and attempted to use my eyes to communicate the pain I felt inside. I had no desire to be glib and did not want to explain my position, and I certainly didn’t want to post it as a public statement on the Internet.

So great was my sadness over my actions that my contrite heart choked my words, leaving me with nothing more than gestures and tears.

Contrition is a magnificent experience in our journey. It is where we confirm that we’ve actually succeeded in graduating from being a baby, survived adolescence—becoming a full-fledged human being.

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Comma

Comma: (n) a punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of a sentence

Belligerent.

Yes, downright sour-tongued and steamed.

That is how I would characterize one of the publishers I forwarded my material to when I was a very young man, believing that merely jotting
something down on a pad of paper and sending it off was the doorway to the bestsellers list.

Within a few weeks, I received a letter from a copywriter, who was evidently greatly offended. She had deemed me to be ignorant, backwoods and perhaps even insolent because of my overuse of commas.

I was young.

I liked a good comma.

Maybe I overdid my commas and had to sleep them off the next morning–but that’s the way we are during our growing up years. Because the commas are so available, and no one puts restrictions on them, and the rules for using them are ambiguous, if not incoherent, I stuck in a comma every few words, just to ensure that I knew they existed.

There was some awareness on my part of where a comma might need to go.

But it took me a long time to realize that periods are stop signs and commas are speed bumps. And unless you want your reader to purposely drive fifteen miles per hour, bouncing up and down every 150 feet, you should use the comma sparingly.

Because after I was thoroughly rebuked by this dear woman, I realized that sometimes small-minded, officious, self-righteous paragraph-pushers can still make a good point.

So, as you can see, I am nearly, completely, totally, and thoroughly, cured.

 

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Clear

Clear: (adj) transparent.

I will never be transparent.

There’s no need for me to mislead you with a promise by offering my definition on the subject.

I don’t want you to see through me. Honestly, I don’t think it’s any of your damn business. I don’t trust you enough.

I like you real well–you seem fun. But you’re not worthy of me sharing my feelings and then leaving them to your interpretation.

If you would accept it on face value, it would be fine.

But you won’t.

You’re like everybody else. You’re an amateur psychologist, counselor and theologian. You aren’t even aware that you’re still in the amateur category. It’s not your fault.

I’m the same way, too. I should caution people not to be too transparent around me.

So I believe there’s a definition for “clear” other than transparent: able to be understood.

You don’t need to comprehend why I’m occasionally fussy and touchy if I am willing to let you know that I sometimes suffer from delusions. I can make that clear.

If you love me, you can adapt and forgive me for such indiscretions without trying to know all the details or solve all my problems.

For instance, I don’t need politicians to be transparent. I just cannot tolerate it when they’re opaque, refusing to allow me a clear look at their motivations.

“Let me make something clear” is a great statement if it’s followed by a candid admission of strengths and weaknesses.

Please do not be offended.

I’m not always transparent with God.

Silly, don’t you think? Since, if there actually is a Divine Creator, He is omniscient, all-knowing.

I don’t care.

He’s just not gonna get the whole story from me.

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