Climax

Climax: (n) the most intense, exciting, or important point of something; a culmination or apex.

Having directed a play or two, I finally had to resort to using the word “denouement.”

When referring to the culmination of the final scene–when all the factors come to completion–I found that it was impossible to refer to this
as the “climax.” Every time I did, my actors smirked and their eyes glassed over in glee.

I probably was doing the same thing without knowing it.

There is only one climax. It has never, nor will it ever be exceeded.

It contains great pathos and comedy, all within the same twelve seconds. Its brevity taunts us with the fragility of life and its intensity encourages us to continue on even though we are fragile.

Perhaps it should make us giggle. Yes, the word “climax” might cause us to stare off in the distance, remembering a particularly favorable one.

It is no longer suitable to refer to the closing portion of a play. Get over it, grow up and start getting used to the word “denouemont.”

I know it’s pretentious. I know there will be those who are aware that it’s being used so that “climax” will not be uttered, which might make them grin even more.

But sexual pleasure is such an intricate part of our lives, I do not think we’re greedy by setting aside one word exclusively to define its glory.

 

 

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Beloved

Beloved: (adj) dearly loved.

Dictionary B

I didn’t like the script so I’ve written my own play.

The script provided for me by the American culture says I should really love those people who love me, who are attached to me, or who were spawned from my seed. The rest of the world is supposed to be viewed with various contortions of suspicion.

I found the premise for this theatrical presentation of “Life on Earth” to be boring, short-sighted, and lacking in plot twists to grant a thrill.

Somewhere along the line, mankind, humankind, or whatever-kind needs to become beloved to me.

This does not mean that everyone I meet will curry my favor, but it does promote the idea that if I start off viewing all women as my sisters, all men as my brothers and all children as my immediate kin, I have a much better chance of being valuable to the world than if I close off membership in my circle to the tiny ring I call friends.

Then, if I do run across those who are not very brotherly, sisterly or childlike, I can give myself a great gift: avoid them.

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Beacon

Beacon: (n) a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.Dictionary B

Flashing lights.

No one likes them.

I suppose they’re okay on a Christmas tree. But if you’re in a room for a long time and the decorations are too garish, it can become annoying.

We were taught that flashing lights warn us of danger or at least, pending inconvenience. So I guess we need them.

Yet by the same token, a world without flashing lights is a sudden discovery of disaster without any way to prepare or avoid it.

Therefore a beacon can be one of the more unappreciated necessities in the world. They appear in our lives at a very early age.

For instance, you’re five years old. The first snow has fallen and you want to run outside and play–throw it in the air and maybe make a snow man.

You are stopped.

A beacon–your mother or your father–steps in and feels the need to take at least ten minutes of your precious snow time to don you in garbs which inhibit your free movement, all because they want you to be warm and not get sick.

Who knows if they’re right?

It isn’t like you can look back and say, “Yeah, because I wore my ear muffs and toboggan, I avoided a cold.”

No, it’s just an annoying flashing.

And then, when you become a parent and find the need to “beacon out” some piece of wisdom or counsel, you suddenly realize that you are the annoying, flicking going on in the life of a child who loved you moments earlier, until you interrupted the flow.

Case in point: I just finished seeing family for Christmas. One of my jobs is to be a beacon.

That means if I see something that could be ridiculous, dangerous or lead to unhappy conclusions, it falls my lot to flash out a warning.

God, it’s horrible.

For you see, everybody wants to be a cheerleader and not the director of the cheerleaders, who has to decide whether the skirts are too short.

Yet a world without beacons would probably end up being one big explosion of light, producing destruction instead of intermittent blinking.

 

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Armchair

dictionary with letter A

Armchair: 1. (n) a comfortable chair, typically upholstered, with side supports for a person’s arms. 2. (adj) lacking or not involving practical or direct experience of a particular subject or activity.

There should never be more pundits than participants.

There. I have established a new rule.

Like most rules, it will be ignored in favor of some sort of haphazard pursuit of unbridled freedom.

Yet we have too many people with too many opinions who have too little talent to participate in the matters that are too important.

Last night as I watched the National Championship for college football, I was astounded at how many different people they had conglomerated to voice their opinions on the activities of these barely post-adolescent young men, who have been pushed to the forefront as superior athletes.

Some of these “armchair quarterbacks,” as we often call them, are actually former players. But they all seem to forget a very important fact. Even though I didn’t play football very long, I will tell you something which is never brought up by those in armchairs, be it about sports, politics or life in general:

It happens too fast.

If you expect your training or your brain to be able to come up with some magnificent way to handle the task in front of you, you will be confounded, stumble and make mistakes.

Just as a politician who wants to seek counsel with many people before making a decision always ends up piping in a little too late, any football player who believes he will have time in the middle of the game to access the resources of his brain and come up with the perfect solution for the situation, is going to end up looking foolish and inept.

Life really works with the conjoining of two magnificently unpredictable units: instinct and luck.

And the only way to be successful is to put yourself into enough uncomfortable situations that your instincts begin to turn you in the right direction, and then realize that the choices you make will still require some luck in order to be fruitful.

I got tickled after the game last night when they asked a player what he was thinking “right before he threw that pass.”

The young man crinkled his brow as if he didn’t understand the question, but politely replied, “Well, it was just a play and I played it through.”

Exactly.

America sometimes seems obsessed with the notion that we can educate ourselves into a better world.

Pundits love to discuss, from their armchairs of comfort, how somebody should have done something completely different in a given situation. But the best we can really do in life is to stop being afraid of difficulty.

For it grants us the instinct to know what to do at the right moment, and then step back…and pray we get lucky.

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Ambrosia

dictionary with letter A

Ambrosia: (n) something very pleasing to taste or smell: e.g. the tea was ambrosia.

It was about 750 square feet from kitchen to front door and located directly across from the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio.

It was a Chinese restaurant–the first of its kind in our area, and I was quite uncertain whether to go in and eat, because being raised provincially, I had some sensation that it might be un-American.

But it smelled good and I was a teenager–adventurous and rebellious to the notion that I should forbid my taste buds an opportunity, based upon politics.

I didn’t know what to order, so the dear young girl who waited on me suggested sweet and sour pork. I didn’t ask her to explain what it was, because I didn’t want to come across as if this was the first Chinese restaurant I had ever been in–but when it arrived it was beautiful: fried, golden-brown chunks of juicy pork, covered with a red sauce that was sticky like cake, sweet like candy and just a little bit sour, like lemon. On the side was fried rice, which still contained some of the grease left over from the pork tanned over the flames.

I put a bite in my mouth and I was transported to every religious expression of heaven known to the human thinking.

It was delicious: sweet, sour, some salty from the fried rice, juicy fat from the pork.

There is not and never will be any flavor to surpass it.

I have eaten other foods which I enjoy immensely and which do flirt with competing and jockey for position, but sweet and sour pork at that little store-front across from the Capitol in Columbus, Ohio, is still the ambrosia to my palate.

Of course, over the years I have learned that it’s also an overnight delivery system for death. There isn’t anything in it that’s good for you and everything is a greasy slide to Valhalla (I used the Viking heaven in respect to the pork).

So the truth of the matter is, when we actually find our ambrosia, we must be willing, as mature and healthy adults, to walk away from it and pretend that other foods which are not nearly as lethal are actually as flavorful.

Even though I’m convinced that neither Meryl Streep nor Tom Hanks could pull off such a performance, I will learn my lines and deliver them on cue in the great play … acting the part of a more balanced eater.