Dealership

Dealership: (n) a sales agency or distributor

I was a full-grown man, but when our family car blew up, I was feeling a great need to do something powerful. I needed to restore my position of respect with my children.

I had three thousand dollars. It was enough to buy another car if I had shopped well and hadn’t been in a huge hurry to convey a message to my offspring that I was in control.

I wasn’t in control.

I was still reeling a bit from my all-time favorite car giving up—and also way to eager to replace it without missing a beat.

I located the place in our town where car dealerships congregated to practice their “religion on wheels.” Driving among them, I immediately saw a Grand Marquis that was just stunning.

So I stopped in and talked to Bob. I don’t know whether his name actually was Bob, but it seemed reassuring displayed on his nametag. Bob told me the Grand Marquis was thirty-five hundred dollars.

My two oldest sons were with me on the trip.

They still thought I hung the moon after God displayed the stars.

I wanted to appear omnipotent. I needed to negotiate Bob down to the mat and pin him with a price of my choosing instead of his.

So I told Bob all I had was twenty-nine hundred dollars. He rolled his eyes. He said it was “impossible.” He even walked away to talk to a boss to see if something could be done.

In the process of all this negotiating, I actually cracked through Bob’s sales pitch to a real person. I didn’t know it. I thought I was dominating and was gradually getting what I wanted.

When he finally and reluctantly agreed to sell me the car for twenty-nine hundred flat and we were in the last stages of the paperwork, Bob looked up at me and smiled.

I don’t know why. Maybe it was seeing a father with his sons, or maybe he was tired of overstating the quality of the vehicles he sold just to make a buck.

Then he did something I believe he probably had never done before.

He tried to talk me out of it.

Not aggressively. He just said, “Now, you do know the odometer reads 162,000 miles. Right?”

I was drunk on my own cleverness. I just nodded my head.

Now, Bob wasn’t a saint. He wasn’t going to push it further. He wasn’t going to be totally forthcoming. Matter of fact, it probably gave him an aching pain in the head to offer the odometer number.

But I was determined.

My sons were smiling at me. They thought the car was cool. So I drove it off the lot, pridefully believing I had struck the best deal of my life.

We had immediate problems with it.

I called Bob back. He had forgotten how wonderful our interaction had been and was back to being “Bob the Car Dealer” at his dealership.

I took the car in to have it checked out and found out the vehicle had been in a flood, and therefore the electrical system was contorted, and the engine had water in the oil.

I drove that car for exactly three months. It was a classic case of being beautiful on the outside and ugly on the inside.

One night, coming home on the freeway, it caught fire and burned up a goodly portion of the engine.

My complete stupidity and arrogance had played out.

But I always gave Bob from the dealership, grace points because some creeping spider of conscience forced him to offer a kind, but unheeded, warning.

De Facto

De facto: (adj) actually existing, especially when without lawful authority

There aren’t enough moms and dads in the world for all the children born to this planet.

Mainly, some of these folks who could have filled the job became weary in well-doing and fainted from the responsibility.

On this Father’s Day, I was hooked up on a Zoom call with all my “children.”

I actually fathered five boys.

One of them was killed through a hit-and-run car accident, and one was lost through a miscarriage.

But along with my three “birthers,” three other young men crossed my path. They were in the clutches of a father who was ill-suited for the position, and in danger of passing the destruction in his own life into theirs.

I had a choice.

Was I going to intervene and help the mother of these children escape the bondage, and welcome them into my household?

Or was I going to keep my nose to myself and continue my journey with my own offspring?

Life is having the humility to know that you’re insufficient while living in the arrogance of “what the hell.”

Because if you’re humble all the time, you will passively talk yourself out of anything that isn’t red-letter law. And if you’re just arrogant, without humility, you become just like the father who brought these children into peril.

So today, as I talked to these now-grown men who passed through my house, who now have families of their own, I recognize that I have become “de facto Dad” to a whole horde of people over time.

Maybe in a perfect world, they should have been with their biological parents, but since perfect never shows up…

 I did my best impersonation.

Darling

Darling: (n) one dearly loved

Among the crowd who still know how to play Bingo, and sometimes even personally pursue it, there is an old saying:

“Is two enough? Is six too many?”

This question references how many prunes are beneficial to eat before you find yourself full of poop.

For those who are intimidated by constipation and blessed by regularity, this is an important inquiry.

But I also think the logic translates well over to the word “darling.”

There was an ancient song sung among “The Forty-Niners”—who were searching for gold in Sacramento. It was entitled, “Oh, My Darling Clementine.” Let me surmise the message of the tune.

One of these gold-diggers loved a woman named Clementine, who died. He missed her. So he sang about her—“My darling Clementine.”

I think in this case, using the word “darling” is acceptable, since the woman is dead and gone and some sort of mourning is in order.

But I do believe constantly calling our little children (especially females) “darling” sets these young ladies up for some of the greatest disappointments of their lives.

Here’s the issue:

Where do you go from darling?

I mean, if you’re trying to increase the level of appreciation or praise, what would be the word?

And, on the other hand, diminishing the term “darling” offers a whole series of insults that might leave our little darling devastated.

I would think it’s time for us to tell our children that they don’t need to be “darling” to be valuable.

Maybe a more specific series of words:

  • “That was a smart thing to do.”
  • “You really look good in that dress.”
  • “Oh, you combed your hair nicely.”
  • “Nice kick.”

But to sit and stare at a picture of your offspring and call her (or even him) “darling,” and expect to get Facebook likes to reinforce your opinion could be a tragic situation.

For after all, two prunes (or darlings) will keep things moving.

Six is just downright shit.

 

DACA

DACA: (n) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: a program intended to allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors to legally remain

Horror stories.

Whenever you find yourself in a conversation with other folks, and one side tries to justify their position by telling you a horror story to reinforce their point, and then the other group equally intends to rationalize their thoughts by relating a horror story from their perspective, you need to realize that both parties have not thought this situation through to a conclusion.

There are so many issues in our country that fall into this category that it would take many essays to isolate each one.

All of these groups are obsessed with extremes. It is a competition to portray that their members are more logical and super-patriotic.

Meanwhile, there are children in this country who are here because their parents brought them from other countries.

The children didn’t plan the trip.

These youngsters were not in on the deception to be illegal aliens.

No matter how hard you may try to prosecute them, they will always be innocent and unable to be proven guilty.

Yet the validity remains that they are not naturalized citizens.

If you wish to insist that they should be welcomed into our country no matter what the circumstances, then I’m sure you can present a case in which frightened young humans are being terrorized by the state with the threat of deportation—a removal, by the way, to a land they have never known.

On the flip side, if you think that it’s completely irrational to have these children receive blanket immunity when their parents were breaking the law by bringing them here, then you will certainly have a cautionary tale about how some of these unwelcome “nesters” have grown up to commit crimes or continue to flaunt their improper status right under the nose of the law.

My feelings on DACA are simple.

No one should be allowed to stay in this country simply because they look pathetic.

But also, no one should be thrown out of this country simply because they look pathetic.

Here’s an idea.

Offer a crash course—a two-month study of our nation, complete with community service to the neighborhood, a test to become Americans, and if these “offspring without a country” complete this journey without bad attitudes or cutting corners, their amends should allow them to become part of “we, the people.”

Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment: (n) physical punishment of a child

Decisions are made for different reasons.

Sometimes we decide to pursue a path because it seems wise. Other times, we choose to follow a direction because it’s popular. And then funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
there are those occasions when we tout our belief because we are convinced it makes us look good and righteous.

But all decisions—whatever they may be—need to be practical, because you will have to employ them and make them work.

For every stance you make will eventually come to the forefront, and your sincerity and purpose will be challenged to see if you are dedicated or just a big bag of wind.

Never is there any subject that typifies this situation more than child-rearing and the subject of corporal punishment. We live in an era when it’s cool to insist that spanking, physical contact or any type of punishment that involves inflicting pain on a child is forbidden and barbaric.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that assertion as long as you can live with it, and also as long as you’re aware that your magical little offspring will test your faith in the premise as often as he or she possibly can.

There are times that children just don’t listen.

There are occasions when you swear that they just came back from a week of camp in hell, and Satan was their counselor.

And there are needful impasses where you must overcome their foolish will with your reasonable nature.

Don’t theorize your willingness to abstain from corporal punishment.

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself making statements to your children about how “you will never…” And suddenly, in a moment of weakness, your “jungle” will arise and create a bungle.

Yes, you just might get on your last nerve and smack one of them.

To avoid this (as well you should) you need an intricate system of clever traps and diversions. If you don’t have these, and you allow your children to run your emotions ragged, the beast in you will come out and you’ll be embarrassed and feel worse than the time at church camp when you struck out in the softball game and all they needed you to do was get on base to win the game.

Hitting is wrong.

Self-righteousness is worse.

If you don’t have a plan on how to avoid corporal punishment, you will hit. It’s as simple as that.

So never say never unless you come up with an answer for, “Whatever…”


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Circumspect

Circumspect: (adj) wary and unwilling to take risks.

I have decided that the best way to protect our country from terrorists is to let moms and dads examine the bags at airports.

Think about it.

Your mother and father could always find a reason that anything you planned to do would either a) hurt you; b) make your grades drop; c)
keep you from God or the church; d) kill you.

If we put these moms and dads in charge at the airport, it would only take about two weeks before frequent flyers would grow weary of bringing along anything
that might be questionable. For after all, not only would it be rejected, but also you would have to listen to the lecture on why it was stupid to consider bringing it in the first place.

Mommys and Daddys are circumspect–careful to a fault.

In the process they possibly spare their children some potential danger, but also plant seeds of suspicion and “Mommy-and-Daddyism” inside them, until such an hour that these children are in charge of their own little offspring, who likewise need to be ferociously protected.

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Chastise

Chastise: (v) to rebuke or reprimand severely.

I was thoroughly convinced that my kids were going to remember their childhood by benchmarking the exciting trips, opportunities or gifts I gave them.

But as I sit around with them now, at holidays, and they feel free to open up about their journeys of being my offspring, rarely do they refer
to a camping trip or a special dinner at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

All of them recount the moments when their errors were brought to the forefront, and it was commanded of me, as their parent, to chastise. Sometimes they do object to the severity of my application, but mostly they are extraordinarily grateful that I was able to muster the backbone to stand up against trends of the time and try to tell them the truth to the best of my ability.

It’s actually a very moving experience, when I realize they understand that it is required to chastise those you love.

So even though I have no squabble with the common thought that love, exhortation, hugs, kisses and praise are very important parts of a child’s security, I also know that there comes a moment when time stands still–and it is the mission of the parent to stop the progression of ignorance, and encourage a better solution.

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Breed

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Breed: (v) to cause an animal to produce offspring in a controlled and organized way.

There’s no such thing as a perfect human.

Matter of fact, built into our consciousness is a sense of horror over anyone who would think they actually had attained such a status.

We hate perfect.Dictionary B

Actually, we favor chaos–and chaos is how I would describe the breeding of the humanity. It is a mish-mash of varying exteriors, while interiors are basically identical.

Yet since we look on the outward appearance, we fail to recognize that we share a universal blood stream, organs, arteries and veins.

So madmen come along and try to breed a “super race,” a chosen people, a “called cult” or designer babies, to fulfill the mission of perfecting the human race.

They always fail–because people aren’t perfect and when they try to be … they sink to their lowest level of imperfection.

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Bohemian

Bohemian: (adj) a person who has informal and unconventional social habits

Dictionary B

It took me years to understand that Bohemia begins two inches outside “the box.”

I have often been accused of Bohemian behavior simply because I question a misguided practice which long ago wore out its worthy welcome.

It’s remarkable that people would rather sustain the dead than risk birthing something squalling. Children are annoying, after all. It’s a very long time before they prove any value to society–and in that way, Bohemian ideas are similar to offspring.

Some are good and grow into delightful examples of wisdom and kindness.

Others are bad seed, pointing out our weaknesses and stupidities.

So I would like to give a counter-definition for Bohemian:

Bohemian is the next thing we’re experimenting with, which soon will be so common that we’ll be looking for something Bohemian.

 

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Begat

Dictionary B

Begat: (v) past-tense of beget: to procreate or generate

A genealogy.

A lineage.

One day, in a fit of boredom, I opened up the Gospel of Matthew in the Good Book and began to read the names of men who lived their lives only to be given a footnote in history in reference to a child they procreated.

I was overcome with a deep sense of meaninglessness.

There has to be more to life than spawning.

I certainly love my sons, but I don’t want to be known merely as the father of offspring instead of the instigator of springing off a new idea.

Is that wrong?

Should I be more focused on the by-product of my genitalia? It annoys me because it seems to have a cave-man quality of “obsession with possession.”

And especially when I realized, upon finishing up with that lineage of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew, that the whole process was interrupted by a supernal notion from a heavenly Father–to insert a woman as the mother of Jesus and the matron of salvation.

Fascinating.

Maybe it was necessary for God to establish the lineage to emphasize its futility.

Similar to playing 24 games of tic-tac-toe before you realize that no one ever wins.

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