Cutlet

Cutlet: (n) a slice of meat, especially of veal, for broiling or frying.

One of the more shocking aspects of life is when you escape your childhood home and begin to mingle with the pilgrims on the way to the Promised Land, discovering that all the things you heard in your house did not translate into the lives of other beings.

For instance, my mother used to say, “Don’t freeze your typooker.”

As a child, I assumed there were typookers from sea to shining sea.

But the first time I spoke it aloud in front of friends, post-high-school graduation, they laughed voraciously, and hee-hawed even more when I became defensive. No one had heard of typooker (though one girl thought it was something naughty.)

So I was surprised when I realized that the pressed-together hamburger/ground round patties I was familiar with as a child were universally referred to as “cutlets.”

During my growing up years, we called them “cube steaks.”

I don’t know whether this was wishful thinking in the minds of my impoverished parents—musing that referring to them as steak translated them during dinner time—or if they had run across a cult of “cubers,” which they immediately  joined, touting fake steak.

But it was embarrassing.

I was on a date with a girl and asked the waiter if they had some sort of cube steak. He looked at me, much more bewildered than necessary, and humiliatingly asked, “Could you draw a picture of it?”

My date for the evening, instantaneously sure she would never go out with me again, mercifully stepped in and said:

“I think you’re talking about a cutlet.”

Prideful and unwilling to sacrifice the turf, I responded, “No. I’m talking about cube steaks.”

At an impasse, the waiter suggested the beef stew (if I had ever heard of beef or stew). I was bruised.

Language is so powerful, yet so personal.

And it is so easy to convince ourselves that the words in our mouths are much more sacred than those lodged deep in the throats of our brothers and sisters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Complete

Complete: (v) to finish making or doing

And Alexander “wept because there were no more worlds to conquer”–a sentiment, I’m sure, shared by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Then there were a bunch of Puritans stepping onto a rock in Massachusetts, having arrived in the New World which they believed would funny wisdom on words that begin with a Ccomplete them–but actually nearly killed them.

It’s the bell that rings at the end of the day, telling us that work is done and dinner is prepared. Simpler times.

Or it is the bell rung at the end of the fight, that lets the beleaguered pugilists know they can stop punching.

It is a silly statement made by a man to a woman before he proposes marriage, claiming that “she completes him.”

It is the advertisement on the box that informs you that all the pieces are included and it is complete (until you discover there are two missing bolts.)

It is Christ hanging on the cross, saying “it is finished,” having already told his disciples hours earlier that his actual ministry was complete by doing the work of loving mankind and passing God’s message onto them.

It is what each of us hopes we will think when we come to the end of our journey.

Rather than sensing regret, we hope we will feel complete.

 

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