Concert

Concert: (n) a musical performance given in public

At a very early age I convinced myself I could sing. Growing up in a small village, there was not much competition–and since I was willing to intone and offer my voice as a possibility, folks around my community had no reason to doubt my prowess.

So when I graduated from high school, rather than heading off to college and finding out if anyone outside of Delaware County thought I funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
could sing, I put together a music group, started writing some of my own songs and planned concerts.

I immediately learned the difficulty in concert promotion.

  1. Just because you think you can sing does not mean anybody wants to hear you.
  2. And if you can convince them to come to your concert, it may require that you offer some other stimulus, like refreshments. Or prizes.
  3. If anything else comes up before the concert, or even on concert day, which is more alluring, chances are that promise to attend, even by your friends, is quickly forsaken.
  4. People’s patience in hearing you sing is based upon how well you can take them to a happier (or sad) place and make them glad they went there.
  5. Just because you can sing doesn’t mean anybody wants to buy a recording of you doing it, so they can play it in their free time.

These were tough lessons.

So ferocious was my training during this period that I often found it difficult to supply food for my family and was only able to lodge as long as I could dodge coming face-to-face with the landlord.

It was actually many years before anyone, of their own volition, walked up to me and said, “Hey! When’s your next concert?”

I froze the moment in my mind… and replay it frequently.

 

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By-product

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By-product (n) a secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else

The Good Book calls it “the fruit of the Spirit.”

That was back when people saw fruit growing on trees or bushes. They understood fruit was the by-product of planting, a process and a passage of time.

They comprehended that Spirit would come into a situation, and the evidence of that blessing would be the by-product of fruit.

But now we call our fruit “produce” and buy it at the market.

We now approach our humanity much the same way. If we can’t pick it up quickly, buy it over the counter or assume that we already have it, we are too impatient to wait for something of the Spirit to grow to a point that it creates a by-product.

And even though the Good Book lists many things, it refers to all of them as a single fruit. It’s a lesson–that beautiful teaching that comes our way, informing us that you can’t have one without the other.

Some groups want to be loving but not joyful.

There are other organizations that will talk to you about the joy of gathering, but they find no peace.

Of course, there are peacemakers who have absolutely no patience for waiting at the bargaining table.

Is it possible to insist you are patient without expressing kindness?

Or does kindness ever fail to manifest goodness?

There are human beings who will tell you they can be good without ever being faithful.

I heard someone tell me they had faith, but felt no gentleness toward mankind.

And of course, there are many of us who think we’re gentle or forgiving, but we have no self-control.

When the by-product is born from the true Spirit, the love makes you joyful. That burst of joy makes you perpetuate peace. Realizing you’re dealing with human beings, you bring along buckets of patience plus the wisdom to know that greasing the wheel with an abundance of kindness is never a bad idea. Goodness arrives, and it’s so good that we actually decide to be faithful to it at all costs.

Then we get a surprise.

Being faithful makes us less nervous. We become gentle. And when gentleness settles in, we don’t feel the need to be erratic and out of control.

There are by-products.

There is living proof that the Spirit is at work inside a human being. When the Spirit is absent, you may see lots of trying, but the only by-product is aggravation.

 

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Between

Between: (prep) the space separating two objects.

I spend most of my life “between.”Dictionary B

And it certainly isn’t between a rock and a hard place. (What a self-piteous scrap of frumpy thinking…)

Actually, the choices afforded me are matters that I consider easy, or options that loom in the distance, appearing to be hard.

If I develop a lifestyle of choosing only the easy possibilities, I will always wonder what I missed, or will wear out the patience of simplicity.

On the other hand, if I project myself to be adventurous and always select from the menu of the more arduous entrees, I may just end up in a bunch of Herculean tasks–with indigestion.

Since I live my life between, I certainly should build a home there–a place where I am satisfied to be challenged by new ideas, as I also add a bit of spice to my common daily gruel.

Yes, human life is about learning how to be content and overjoyed with the decor of the modicum, yet knowing when to wisely move from “between” … to the next castle in the sky.

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Benefactor

Benefactor: (n) a person who gives money or other help to a person or cause.

Dictionary B

  • The problem with autonomy is that it’s lonely.
  • The difficulty with collaboration is that it generally votes itself into a position of doing nothing.

So what is right?

When do we have an idea that is good enough that it needs a benefactor to fund it immediately instead of waiting for the greatness of the idea to bloom?

A good question.

I have had benefactors in my life. Even though each experience has eventually gone astray, I am still grateful for the generosity of those who believed in me for a very special season.

The reason that benefitting others eventually goes afoul is that when we try to control both the creativity of another person and the circumstances of life, we always end up looking foolish.

My benefactors were very excited about my gifts, abilities and talents–until they realized that “all good things come to them who wait.”

When their generosity did not bring forth immediate profit, they became impatient and started pointing fingers–many of which fell in my direction.

They left me too soon.

It’s not their fault.

Patience is where we possess our souls.

Yet most of our spirits are infested with the demon of shortsightedness.

 

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Bagel

Bagel: (n) a dense bread roll in the shape of a ring, made by boiling dough and then baking it.Dictionary B

I like bagels.

Of course, considering the fact that I am a food addict, there’s nothing unique about that statement–I rarely run across any particular food that is distasteful to me, unless someone has over-explained where it came from.

One of my favorite stories about bagels revolves around my first journey to New York City. I was a little intimidated to be driving my vehicle in the huge metroplex, especially when I arrived at the George Washington Bridge and saw the back-up of traffic.

Historically, I have made great efforts to stay away from gridlock, because I have no desire to try my patience behind the wheel.

But since I was trapped on the bridge, I decided to make the best of it by looking around at other cars. As I inched my way up the ramp to the bridge itself, I looked to my right and left, and scattered all over the terrain, adjacent to the road, were little, tiny bits and pieces of discarded bagels.

I do not know why this specific location became a dumping ground for the remnants of the breakfast of hundreds of motorists, but there were so many pieces of these bagels lying around that you nearly could not see the ground.

So I put my mind to it.

Obviously, somewhere along the line, this area was bagel-free. God did not create the Heavens and Bagel Earth. In other words, the original earth was free of bagels.

So ONE PERSON decided, looking ahead at oncoming traffic: “Hey! I’d better stop eating this bagel and focus on this driving. What should I do with it?? Look! There’s a completely open field, where I can cast it aside and no one will be the wiser.”

Then the guy behind this pioneer noticed that his fellow-traveler was casting a bagel onto the turf and thought, “What a damn good idea!”

Perhaps thinking there was even some sort of roadblock ahead, to trap a bagel thief, he likewise tossed his.

This certainly created intimidation in Cars 3, 4, 5 and 6, as each one noticed what had to be presumed to be the official “Releasing of the Bagels.”

Of course, by the time eight or nine bagel pieces were thrown aside, it began to appear to the rest of the travelers that this was an official New York Bagel Dumping Ground.

So it certainly did not take too long for this region to become a bagel cemetery.

It gives you pause, doesn’t it?

Sometimes we think our individual actions are so insignificant, unnoticed and lacking in meaning, when actually, the first person who does something can often prompt a mob to join in.

 

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Augment

Augment (v): to make something greater by adding to it; to increase.

dictionary with letter A

I must warn you that this particular essay may be a bit blunt and graphic.

I am not choosing this profile because I desire controversy, but rather, to explain how powerful ideas can be supplanted by mediocrity.

From time to time when I check the inbox for my emails, I am inundated by offers to “augment” my penis.

They are basically working under the concept that I am dissatisfied with the little fellow. Or maybe it’s the insecurity they wish to play off–that I fear my lover is unfulfilled with my girth or length. It could be just the classic misconception that “big is always better.”

I quickly delete these advertisements, and sure enough, after a few weeks they disappear for a season, only to once again pilfer through, trying to convince me of the dwindling possibility below my belly line.

Yet there are many things I would like to augment. My penis is not one of them.

  • I would like to augment my generosity.
  • I would like to augment my perseverance.
  • I would like to augment my discipline in eating fewer calories.
  • I would like to augment my compassion.
  • I would certainly like to augment my patience.

I could go on and on about what I wish to augment–but I never receive offers on these points of interest, only a proliferation of opportunities to extend my cartilage.

I am not a prude. But I’m also not obsessed with my own sexuality.

I want to live in a world that becomes concerned about augmenting common sense–so that I don’t have to be known by what “Jane thinks about my Dick.”

 

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Alumnus

dictionary with letter A

Alumnus: (n) a graduate or former student, esp. male, of a particular school, college or university

I am an alumnus–even though my degree was not acquired through higher education, but rather, lower institutions of learning–by overcoming mediocre concerns.

I have learned.

  • I’ve had the benefit of competing with those who graduated from the University of Misunderstanding, whose main function is to cause trouble in life and disrupt the common good.
  • I have dealt with those from the College of Petty Jealousy–completely insecure about the training they received, confident that the best way for them to succeed is to intimidate others.
  • I certainly easily surpassed those from the Institute of Procrastination.
  • Quietly walked away from the competition posed by the Graduate School of Bitterness.
  • Found different ways to construct my future, rather than succumbing to the curriculum at the Technical School of Bigotry.
  • And even refused a scholarship from the Doctorate Program at Meanness.

I received my diploma from the Nothing Works Out Immediately University, with my major in Patience.

I am grateful for this training.

And it also makes class reunions much more pleasant.