Crutch

Crutch: (n) a staff to assist a lame person in walking

Granted sexual energy, stamina and maybe the best physical appearance one ever sports…

The age of sixteen might seem to be the highlight of one’s life.

That is, if it were not accompanied by such stupidity.

I liked Kevin. I think Kevin liked me. We had been friends since elementary school.

But when he was sixteen years old, he broke his leg.

He was out with a bunch of friends, sledding on a snowy day, and failed to notice that his sleigh was going particularly fast and he was unable to stop from crashing into a wall.

It was a clean break.

Matter of fact, he went right to the doctor and had a cast put on (back in the day when such contraptions were humongous, resembling modern art).

Kevin was not part of the very popular crowd–but on any Friday night when a party was being planned, he was also not on the “don’t invite at any cost” list.

Then something strange happened.

His accident occurred on a Saturday, so he showed up at school on Monday, his leg in a cast, on crutches.

At first there was an outpouring of sympathy.

But then, a strange anthropology sprouted in our herd. All the other sixteen-year-old kids began acting aloof to Kevin. Maybe it was because he was always trailing us, hopping along on his crutches. (Or because we grew up in a small, provincial community and the kids thought the broken leg might be contagious.)

Whatever the cause, by the time Kevin completed his seven-week rehabilitation and returned to us wearing two shoes, he had become an outcast.

He tried desperately to return to his normal acceptable position, but invitations to parties went away.

I tried to befriend him–but suffering in the throes of adolescent insanity myself, I also retreated.

It didn’t get better when he was seventeen and it didn’t get better when he was eighteen.

That seven-week period when our comrade had a broken leg, giving us a visual of himself on crutches, sealed his image for the balance of high school.

It was so bizarre.

Kevin tried everything possible to re-establish himself. He tried out for the football team, chorus and the school play. It didn’t make any difference.

Yet I thought it was a phenomenon of being a shortsighted teenager until I grew up and realized that expressing weakness or needing a crutch of any type in the presence of your fellow-humans traps you in a box that is very difficult to escape.

So what is the best advice?

Stay away from a crutch.

Which probably means you should stop breaking your legs.

 

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Crunk

Crunk: (n) a type of hip-hop originating in the southern U.S. and characterized by heavy bass and call-and-response vocals.

If there are social graces, then there most certainly must be social “clumsies.”

I’m speaking of those moments when we become so frightened that we’re going to appear ill-informed that we foolishly pretend we know something about a matter that we have absolutely no connection with whatsoever.

Somebody might mention a word and rather than us asking, “What in the hell is that?” we simply nod our head.

Then someone notices our vigorous head-wagging and challenges us by asking, for instance, what our favorite crunk song is.

At this point, beads of sweat break out on our brow–though we might be a bit relieved because we now know that crunk has something to do with music. (Our first guess was probably that crunk was the past tense of crank.)

Meanwhile, rather than quickly admit that we were caught—or that we don’t have any insight whatsoever on the subject, we try to come up with a generic answer in hopes that the subject will be changed, and the integrity of our all-knowing status will remain.

So in answer to the question about our favorite crunk song, we might say, “There are so many—but I am heartened by the fact that it’s gaining notoriety, and they seem to be including more women.”

We internally smile, thinking that mentioning the addition of new female crunkers was particularly ingenious.

Then we look into the eyes of our questioner.

He knows we’re full of shit.

Now what do we do?

We try to revise the topic. But with our limited musical knowledge, it’s a bit difficult to make the jump from crunk to James Taylor.

We wish to disappear and think it might be a good idea to hasten our exit, even though we just arrived at the party and it might appear suspicious.

Then it happens.

One of those snide, beautiful, skinny women standing nearby snarls, “You don’t know what crunk is, do you?”

For some reason the whole room goes silent. Everyone’s attention is suddenly focused in our direction—people waiting for an answer.

Here are the options:

Come clean and admit that we misrepresented our knowledge on the subject.

Or faint.

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Cranch

Cranch: (v) crunch

 Every once in a while, while minding my own business and enjoying the surroundings, breathing the quality air and musing over the ingredients in the dip adorning my chip, someone will suddenly sideswipe me with a word that is tossed out with the sole intention of being disruptive or pretentious.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

This individual will have spent hours trying to find such a word—or phrase—so as to evoke admiration from a roomful of souls who are relaxing, trying to enjoy themselves in a monosyllabic world.

In such an environment, I heard the word “cranch.”

At first, I did not respond, assuming the person who had spoken perhaps had a lisp or was in a pre-stroke condition. But they continued to say it over and over again until finally I broke down and asked.

“What is cranch?”

The verbal scholar then launched into an explanation of how “cranch” was just another way to say “crunch,” but may have found its origins in blending “crash” and “crunch” together.

I made the mistake of listening. I’m sure you’ve done it before. It’s that moment when you fail to turn your head away, or are unable to doze off quickly, connoting to the person speaking that they have your permission to continue.

The seminar went on and on.

I realized, when he (yes, a male) started into another word, that it was time for me to intercede for my own sanity and stop the onslaught of the teaching binge.

So I created my own little myth. Leaping into the conversation, I explained that not only was “cranch” a blending of “crunch” and “crash,” but it was part of a breakdown of the word.

Everybody looked at me, bewildered. I continued. “Let me give you an example. I crinch. You cranch. We crunch. And the reason we don’t hear these very often,” I explained, “is that crunching is the normal pastime, since it is done mainly in a multiple-person situation.”

It was astounding. Everyone believed me—especially our initial lecturer.

Then I was stuck. Should I tell them I was kidding? I know I probably should have.

But just be prepared and not surprised if one day, someone at a party walks up to you and apologizes for “crinching” his chips too loudly.


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Commute

Commute: (v) to travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.

Sitting around the room at a party last night with a bunch of friends and family, a young man piped up and said, “I evaluate people on whether they voted for this President. If they did I know they’re stupid.”

Well, truthfully, this article could be read forty years from now and it would still apply to someone who felt that way because “their” person did not make the White House.

I did not condemn the young man for his judgmental attitude. I didn’t try to convince him that he was wrong.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I did explain to him that he didn’t understand the mindset, simplicity and utter joy of small-town people all over America–who don’t have to commute an hour-and-a-half to go to work.

If they want a loaf of bread, they climb into their truck, drive down to the local market, where they spend much more time jabbering with their neighbors than getting their purchase. The trip back home takes no more than two minutes. There are no frayed nerves from traffic jams. There are no attitudes that the human race is full of assholes because they got cut off at the one stoplight in town.

It is much easier for them to be genteel.

But it’s also easier for them to be suspicious of the “big city ideas” trying to come in and take over.

When you live in a city where there’s a commute, you, yourself, develop a different pathway to sanity.

You may be more defensive.

You may be more interested in the government taking over matters of social order, since you don’t grow your own corn and soybeans.

You are not worse than the man or woman who lives in Iowa and only needs five minutes to get to their job or their barn.

You’re just different. Your perspective varies from theirs.

Wise is the soul who understands the simplicity of the village folk, and the struggle of those who commute.

 

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Commotion

Commotion: (n) a state of confused and noisy disturbance.

“Turn down the noise.”

Wait! You can’t do that–because there is a holy proclamation to “make a joyful noise.”

Those who want things to be quiet and calm, in so doing, quell the spiritual party.

So what noise do we want to silence? Can we censor it?

Can we stop a commotion by hand-picking the sounds that will be allowed to mingle?

Should they be segregated?

Classical music over here, rock and roll over there? An accordion on a hill far away…?

What is a commotion? Commotion is the sound of something I don’t like. It’s a stirring and rumbling that is disconcerting.

It’s Grandma going to hear a rap artist, convinced that the entire atmosphere is a cacophony which could only be resolved by the second coming of Christ.

But it’s also a poor young eight-year-old having to sit in a room with a string quartet playing back-up at an oboe recital. That commotion causes him to create his own commotion.

If we’re going to only respond to needs in life based upon how loudly they scream at us, we will begin to have the mentality of an ambulance chaser … or the 24-hour news cycle.

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Circulate

Circulate: (v) to pass or cause to pass from place to place or person to person.

I have recently been accused of being anti-social.

The diagnosis was offered because I failed to attend a party. It was assumed that anyone who didn’t want to come to this social adventure
had to be out of his or her mind.

I was supposed to come and circulate among people whom I have known for years, and read about ever-too-frequently on my Facebook page. As a matter of fact, I know so much about these folks that I could probably write personal bios for them.

But they were convinced that I had sunk into some sort of despair because I wasn’t going to come and hear the same old stories while partaking of a dip with only subtle new inclusions.

I do need to circulate–but I need to do it among people who are not necessarily related to me or benefit from me personally or financially.

A great man once said that if you only love those who love you, what in the hell is so special about that?

For instance, I just came back from the grocery store. I encountered at least twenty-five people I have never met before.

I circulated.

I conversed.

I opened up my heart to the possibility that these were good folks and I would benefit from the exchanges. I suspect about half of them thought I was crazy for being so talkative. But the other half took a risk, jumped in and, well…circulated.

We do not circulate when we only hang around those who resemble us or are friends because we buy presents for them on birthdays or Christmas.

We circulate when we allow the blood of human relationship to mingle among castes, races, genders and ideologies.

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Chablis

Chablis: (adj) a dry white wine from Chablis, France.

Warning to all innocents and those easily influenced by the ramblings of raging writers. I am about to spew from my storage bins of persona
l prejudice, based upon my own experience. It is not racial, ethnic or gender-based.

It is an abiding distaste for wine. Or really, any alcoholic beverages.

When I was a young boy, I had bronchitis all the time–something my parents referred to as “the croup.” It produced this horrible hacking cough that sounded like I had run out of mucous and was banging the back of my throat with a ball-peen hammer.

The only medication the doctor recommended for my condition was Pertussin Cough Syrup.

It tasted terrible. It gagged me. Every time my mother threatened me with a spoon, bottle in hand, I tried to wrestle it from her, spilling the contents, in hopes that the family funds were too depleted to purchase another bottle.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I went to a party with friends, and they asked, “Would you like a glass of wine?” I had seen people drinking wine in movies, and they seemed pleased with the taste, so I agreed.

Just imagine how shocked my friends were when I started to gag on the wine, insisting it was my old nemesis cough syrup.

They comforted me, saying that some people found red wine to be a bit strong, but that I would certainly like a white wine–a Chablis.

I didn’t.

Finally, at one party, somebody gave me orange juice with a little bit of wine and said, “Try this! It’s a spritzer!”

It was somewhat better–but still tasted like someone had left the orange juice in the sun for three days and was trying to pass it off as freshly squeezed.

Let us just say, I am not a drinker of wine, nor any kind of alcohol. I feel no self-righteousness about it; I don’t even think it makes me unique.

I just feel, if you’re going to taste something that rancid and foul, you better damn well be sick.

 

 

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