Decisive

Decisive: (adj) characterized by displaying no hesitation; resolute

Did you ever notice that we never characterize someone as being decisive if they end up being wrong?

Somewhere in the process of mulling over choices, enough time needs to be taken to increase the possibility of a successful conclusion. On the other hand, if too much time is taken, the juncture of greatest possibility may pass, and the person who failed to step into the historical hook-up ends up not being decisive.

It all depends on three words:

  • Power
  • Purpose
  • Pounce

First, you have to have the power to make the decision.

If you don’t, it’s called an opinion. If you’re not allowed to have an opinion, it’s viewed as an annoyance.

The purpose is the rational common sense that makes the insight viable and necessary for this time.

Without the purpose, we are not just purposeless—we actually end up merely “less.”

And finally, pounce.

The pounce is the exact moment to move on an idea—when to step out and make things happen, doing it with such enthusiasm that there’s no doubt that you and all your teammates have full confidence in the determination.

Without these three working in harmony—like an aging women’s trio from a Southern Baptist choir—the destiny of any project is going to be flawed, leaving the participants wondering why they were so enthusiastic and what in the hell happened.

So don’t favor your power if you can’t generate a purpose.

And don’t over-talk your purpose unless you’re prepared to pounce.

Davis, Jefferson

Davis, Jefferson: (n) man who served as president of the Confederacy throughout its existence.

I’m not brave.

I am not a warrior for the truth.

I am not the kind to run up, state my opinion and stand my ground.

I prefer to appear from behind with a squirt gun, spray everyone and scamper away.

But there are certain things that elevate my consciousness, stimulate my “god-image” and demand that I build a fortress.

I spent most of my adult life living in the American South.

On one occasion, I overheard a gentleman talking about hosting a “minstrel show” in the community. I immediately assumed I misunderstood what he said, but when he sounded it out for me slowly, I realized that he intended on producing a program that was begun in the Confederacy after the Civil War, which allowed white people to dress up in blackface and make fun of the Negroes.

I was confused.

I thought minstrel shows had been outlawed years ago.

Now, here was the word, flying through the air as if it had wings.

For a moment I was emblazoned with a ready hostility—but still, tepidly opined, “Aren’t those illegal?”

The man became indignant and explained that minstrel shows were part of the heritage of the South and gave the people in that region a sense of pride over what had been pursued attempted by President Jefferson Davis and all the Rebels.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Freedom,” he replied.

Even if I were to buy in to the idea that Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis were just trying to “protect their way of life,” I would still be left with a stark anomaly.

If the Civil War was all about “state’s rights,” standing up to Washington, D. C., and not being pushed around anymore, why not just free the slaves and change the dynamic?

If it really wasn’t a malicious adventure to keep four million kidnapped human beings in chains and forced labor, why not just take the higher ground and convince the entire world that you were merely out to sanctify your choices instead of imprison human flesh?

Jefferson Davis was not a nice man.

I suppose if you sat down and had a drink with him and shared some boiled crawdads, you might find him amiable.

But on the inside was a greedy, corrupt man who insisted that black humans were mongrels and needed white people to help them reason.

And he did all of this standing in front of a church, holding a Bible in his hand.

Dandelion

Dandelion: (n) a weedy plant, having golden-yellow flowers

It’s a very simple test—you can do it with anybody.

If you’re curious about the bent of someone’s character or the passion that drives them, just simply bring up dandelions.

You don’t have to offer your opinion—matter of fact, it’s better if you withhold.

You can say something like:

“Well, look over there. I think we’re entering dandelion season.”

Then let them go.

I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t have a strong opinion on dandelions.

I’m sure you are aware of the diversity of ideas that might “crop up” with this little crop.

Some folks were taught that dandelions were nature’s little flowers. As children, they picked them or brought them to Mother, or decorated their room or pressed them into books.

For other folks, the dandelion is a weed which takes away from the beauty of the green grass they have fastidiously planted, making sure their lawn looks like a glorious carpet.

Every once in a while, you run across somebody who lands in the middle. These are the people who don’t prefer dandelions, but sure think they’re lovely.

I did run across one fellow who was very philosophical. He explained that the dandelion is on Earth as a foretelling of the human experience: It arrives, sprouts its best bloom, it is treasured by some and condemned by others. But in the end, it dies, loses all its beauty and is blown away by the wind.

As you can see, you can tell an awful lot about folks by what they think about dandelions.

Me? I think they make a great essay.

 

Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter: 1916–2009, U.S. newscaster. 

He had the right look to calm our prejudices.

The perfect voice to allay our fears.

A coiffed mustache to parallel favorite uncle.

And a serious tone to let us know he knew the hell what he was talking about.

We never could confirm if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He felt that his political leanings were inconsequential—even detrimental in delivering the news.

He cried once, when a President was shot.

And he beamed like a proud father when he saw American brothers walking on the moon.

His name was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t have anyone like him, basically because we’ve decided that people who bring us the news events from around the world need to be pretty, opinionated, over-bearing, caustic and political.

It would be difficult for the younger generation to imagine a “newsman.” They are accustomed to talking heads, pundits and rating whores.

When there was no 24-hour news cycle, but there was a need to know what was going on in the world, millions of Americans invited one man into their homes, through their singular television set which sat in the living room in a corner, offering three channels.

This man was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t know if he had fetishes, affairs or a history of juvenile delinquency. It wasn’t because he was secretive. It was because Mr. Cronkite did not believe that he mattered—only that he accurately, truthfully, and dispassionately delivered the update of what was going on in our world.

He was a treasure. He is still a treasure.

And through the miracle of video tape, he can be viewed by some of the young news gatherers, who might just gain credence by personally taking on a revival of his spirit.

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Cornerstone

Cornerstone: (n) a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.

My children hate President Trump.

I suppose I could take a couple of paragraphs and try to explain the level of dissatisfaction that seems to trouble their souls but then I might funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
be promoting their rumors.

On the other hand, I live in a community where I often find myself surrounded by people who think President Trump hung the moon. (Well, probably didn’t hang the moon, but has acquired building rights on it.)

When I get around my children, they sometimes become convinced that I am a conservative Republican because I refuse to join them in their vendetta against the President. And when I meet up with old friends who were once hot sauce and have become milder over the years, they are a little fearful that I might be “too liberal” for them.

I am neither liberal nor conservative.

I find myself being the stone that the builders often reject. They look at me and say, “He’s too gentle. He’s too calm. He’s too accommodating. He’s too open. He’s too willing to share. He has no place in our plans for a cataclysmic conclusion.”

I do sometimes feel rejected.

I don’t hate the President of the United States. I don’t even wish to tell you whether I agree or disagree with him, since he personally has not asked my opinion.

I am not the kind of person who likes to hide behind rocks, spit at people when they walk by, and then run.

Likewise, I am despaired of joining clubs or organizations that refuse to change their rules or guidelines when the mercy of realization has made it clear that transformation and adjustment are in order.

Yet I take heart.

There is an old adage: “The stone the builders rejected becomes the cornerstone.”

Somewhere along the line, my angry children and my complacent old friends will meet each other once again and I will be there…to bridge the gap.


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Copyright

Copyright: (n) the exclusive right to make copies in music

I had just turned nineteen years of age when I was sitting in the back area of my mother and father’s loan company which they had opened in our small town, and for some inexplicable reason, there was a piano situated in one of the corners.

I don’t know how it got in there. I don’t know whether someone was unable to pay their loan and offered their piano as penance—but it was there.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I was also present—with my new wife, whom I had only been married to for about seven months, but we already had a first son. (You do the math.)

Long story apparently being made longer, I decided to walk over to that piano and write a song. I had sung songs for years. I had done my karaoke versions of popular tunes long before the “Kary” came from “Okie.”

I don’t know what gave me the idea that I could write a song. Maybe it was because I was nineteen and pretty convinced I could do anything. Somewhere in the expanse of the next hundred and eighteen minutes, I wrote two songs. I had no idea if anybody would think they were good—I was so damn impressed with them that the notion of seeking another opinion seemed redundant.

I did not know if I would ever write another song, so I immediately wanted to make sure these two songs were not only recorded, but copyrighted—to make sure that no less-talented individuals would steal them, attaining great notice and gain.

There were two ways to copyright my songs. I could make original copies of the lead sheet and words, and mail them to myself, and never open that envelope because it would have the stamped date on the outside from the official Post Office.

This did not sound dramatic enough to me.

So instead, I pursued the other avenue, which was to contact the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C, and receive innumerable forms, which I filled out, paying a small price for each composition. From that point on, once it was cleared that my songs were indeed original, I would have a copyright for all time.

My God. Who could resist such majestic red tape?

I went through the entire process, and even today, somewhere buried deep in a box in one of my closets, is a certificate informing the whole world that my two songs made a visit to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and returned home again—sanctified.


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Copy

Copy: (v) to make a copy of; transcribe; reproduce:

My mother was totally convinced of it.

You could not change her mind.

She believed if I hung around with bad kids, I would copy their behavior.

It made me mad. I didn’t understand why she didn’t think they could hang around with me and copy my behavior.  Of course, the problem was, I always turned funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
up lame and proved her point.

Why is it so much easier to copy stupidity than intelligence?

Why are we able to Xerox a bad attitude instead of making copies of good ones?

It is because all of us are basically frightened that we’re missing out on something. If we do too many good things, then we’ll never know how much fun the bad ones could have been. So we continue to pursue errant behavior, hoping it will bring a thrill, and then suddenly, without warning, we face the consequences of our actions, and are shocked when we either find ourselves defiled or dead.

Why can’t we have people who pursue joy, goodness, praiseworthy activities and creativity, who are secure enough that they could sway the sinner instead of slipping from sainthood to mediocrity?

I don’t know.

But my mother always felt self-righteous about being accurate concerning me hanging out with questionable characters.

I probably should have told her that self-righteousness is also a sin.


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Conviction

Conviction: (n) a fixed or firm belief

There is a new rule. If the word “rule” sounds too stodgy for you, then call it a guideline.

If “guideline” is still too restrictive, you may consider it an insight.

If “insight” gives you the creeps, then let’s just call it an idea.

Here it is:

You are allowed, permitted and granted an opinion, as long as you’re willing to be wrong.

The very second that you—or I, for that matter—start insisting that our opinion is really a conviction held by millions and even, maybe, heralded by the heavens, we probably need to be hauled off somewhere to live in a poverty-stricken situation until humility settles into our souls.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Discussion would be no problem if we actually discussed. We don’t. We enter discussions with convictions.

Disagreements would still be fine if we were conscious of the need to evolve. But we aren’t, because our convictions arrived to us engraved in stone.

It would even be possible to argue—as long as our convictions didn’t cause us to be arrogant, feeling that we’re pleasing a political party, a science project or a deity by being stubborn.

I used to have many convictions. I used to scrunch my face up when I heard people advance their theories or share their preferences.

Whenever I did this, my ass always found my hole and created an unrighteous unity.

Over the years I have abandoned, ignored, walked away from and giggled at many of my convictions, realizing that the majority of them were hatched in the henhouse of speculation. Let’s be honest—your speculation is as good as mine, and mine is pretty worthless.

So now I listen, I get an idea of what’s going on, and from that idea I develop an inkling which I take into the discussion, only to discover that much of my inkling needs to be trimmed away.

I am not impressed with convictions.

What truly touches my heart is seeing human beings who have the mercy and grace to be wrong while still smiling.


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Conscious

Conscious: (adj) the state of being awake and aware

In a spirit of candor, I will tell you that it is much easier to discuss pain when it is not your own.

Speaking of it in the abstract does afford an opportunity to be philosophical instead of devastated. So I preface my comments today with that realization.

My son was hit and run by a car and suffered a severe brain trauma which left him in a coma, unconscious.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We stayed with him, we loved him, we prayed for him–even though the doctors felt the prognosis was grim. We were about a month-and-a-half into the experience when I asked a nurse when my son would come out of the coma.

I just wanted her opinion.

She looked at me, surprised, and said, “I thought you knew. He’s been out of the coma for about a week.”

I was bewildered.

You see, the reason for my confusion was that the young fellow was not responsive, couldn’t communicate and just stared off in the distance.

I assumed there was more work to be done, but the nurse explained that the coma was over and that he was conscious–but the accident had robbed him of skills and brain-power.

After she told me this, I looked at him carefully and realized that he was exhibiting waking and sleeping periods, and that there seemed to be some presence of life–but no conscious effort to reach out of the shell of his body.

It was frightening, debilitating and agonizing.

It is a great gift–to be alive.

It is even a greater bestowal–to be able to hear and receive information.

But we must never forget how blessed we truly are–to be conscious of the world around us, and able to offer a response.

 

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

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Committee

Committee: (n) a group of people appointed for a specific function

As the years have passed, I have selected to remain silent when hearing ideas which are doomed.

When younger, I often voiced my opinion and even offered prophetic utterances of the gigantic failure which lay in the future of these ideas. It made me a nasty bastard, especially when the words ended up being true.

There are things people get excited about.

Voting–even though we continue to discover that the American public can vote for a candidate and prefer that individual by the popular vote, and a handful of elitists will go into a back room and change the will of the people.

Some folks get excited over new discoveries–an ingenious, creative way to use your toilet paper.

And truthfully, many, many of my fellow-delightful-humans are completely enamored with the idea of committees.

It seems so right: “Why don’t we all get together, discuss this and come up with a suitable compromise?”

I have perched myself in committees. I have watched them–and often been the victim of their anemic passivity.

Because after all, what a committee does is trim the edges off a knife until it looks sleek, is safer, but won’t cut a goddamn thing.

That’s what discussion does. We decide to become inclusive of every opinion, when honest to God, sometimes our opinions don’t matter.

Having a committee to discuss gender bias, racism, personal freedom–and voting, for that matter–is absolutely useless.

But yet:

We learn Parliamentary Procedure.

So we can have our committee.

And obviously pretend that we live in England.

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