Chiller

Chiller: (n) short for spine-chiller.

My parents tried.

As I get older, I vaguely understand that my mother and father attempted to comprehend what was in the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy.

They didn’t do well–that’s why I used the word “tried.” Maybe I should have added “and failed.”

But once a month they would let me have some friends over to spend the night on Friday evening, and after my parents went to bed, we would gather in front of the only television in the house, which happened to be in the living room, and watch “Chiller Theater.”

The movies weren’t really scary–they were 1930′ or 1940’s ilk, chocked-full of silly props and plagued with over-acting.

But with seven or eight young boys in a dark house, poking each other and wrestling, the experience soon turned into a scream fest.

My father would appear from the bedroom, which was adjacent to the living room in our tiny bungalow, and mutter something to the effect of, “You boys need to keep it down.” But my recollection of how it sounded in my ears was: “Youwse keep the clown.”

So since the order was vague, we would quiet ourselves for a small period of time, and soon be right back to the decibels necessary to make us feel like we were really partying.

I think my parents hated “Chiller Theater” night. This was proven by the fact that they always insisted, when the fourth Friday came around, that I had added incorrectly, and it wouldn’t be until next week. Unfortunately for them, I carried a calendar with me and pointed out their mistake.

So when I hear the word “chiller,” I think of six or seven pubescent and pre-pubescent boys gathered in a tiny living room, wrestling, trying desperately not to knock over furniture, while screaming just enough to prove that we were the true “Monsters of Might” instead of those displayed on the screen before us.

 

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Children

Children: (n) plural form of child.

Four sons were brought into this world by my sexual cooperation. In other words, I’m their dad.

Three other young gentlemen arrived on my doorstep because they were no longer safe and sound in their home environment.

As I look back on it, I must be truthful–because I’m a writer, a vagabond, a searcher and a proclaimer, I may not have been the best choice of a man to have
children. Fortunately for me, my offspring generally disagree.

My approach with children was really simple: I have a life. It is my time to have a life. You are welcome to come along if you don’t complain too much.

They quickly became convinced that their dad was cool, because he wasn’t like other dads. Of course, when they came into their teen years, they became critical of me not being like other dads. The charm of my uniqueness had worn off.

Children exist for two reasons:

  1. To remind us how bratty human beings really are.
  2. To give us a chance through instruction, love and tenderness to make a better generation.

I cuddled with my children but I never coddled them.

I loved them but I avoided getting lovey-dovey.

I gave to them, but never gave into their demands.

I respected them as long as they respected themselves.

I laughed with them as long as they realized there was a season to weep.

And when it was time for them to move on, I granted them the autonomy to be themselves without feeling loaded down with ancient family history.

The Good Book says we are the children of God. It’s very true–because after all, we are a bratty group which needs discipline, but still possesses the potential of bringing new hope for a new generation.

 

 

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Branch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Branch: (n) a part of a tree that grows out from the trunk

Over the years I have had many people come to me seeking counsel and advice. Of course, what they’re looking for is a combination of a sooth-sayer, a prophet and someone who has just returned from picking God’s brain.Dictionary B

And unfortunately, there are those folks who will connote that they have a pulse on your situation, and therefore privy to your marching orders.

One of the more popular assertions? Branch out.

In other words:

  • Follow your dreams.
  • Put all of your hopes on 7 on the roulette wheel.
  • Try new things.
  • Experiment
  • Be bold.

That kind of dime-store intuition may get applause on a TV talk show, but when applied in normal everyday life, often leaves believers devastated in disappointment.

Why? Because no one knows your true aptitude, attitude, potential, talent or perseverance. They’re just hoping you get lucky.

Of course, most people don’t. This is why state lotteries work–because most tickets don’t win.

Likewise, the reason the majority of us do not achieve peace of mind, financial success and personal satisfaction is that branching out and trying fresh ideas rarely works.

What does work is pretty simple:

1. What am I doing that works?

2. Since it works, how can I do more of it?

3. Then, how can I do it better so it works even more often?

This information is general, but true.

Anything that is an adventure has risk, and therefore, more than likely will fail.

But if you have something that has proven to be profitable, then just find more opportunities to do that same thing in varied ways.

So be careful.

What sounds good in an auditorium with a large crowd of people has to be followed up by you–with a cup of coffee and determination.

 

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A la

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

A la: (prep) 1. a dish cooked or prepared in a specified style: e.g. apple pie a la mode. 2. in the style or manner of: e.g. afternoon talk shows a la Oprah.

May I give you my “a la” list? Maybe better stated, a reality a la “wish.”

  • Success a la humility.
  • Music a la emotion.
  • Faith a la evidence.
  • Hope a la progress.
  • Love a la tolerance.
  • Nationalism a la vision.
  • Equality a la action.
  • Debate a la cohesion.
  • Purpose a la common sense.
  • Bible a la humanity.
  • Entertainment a la inspiration.
  • Humor a la edification.
  • Encouragement a la critique.
  • Family a la expansion.

There are certain things that were meant to go together, and when they are separated, they wander about the earth in search of a mate. If you become a match maker to these estranged lovers, you ignite a passion that sets the world on fire with potential.

Yes … potential a la “what’s next?”

 

Aground

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAground: (adj & adv) in reference to a ship running on or onto the bottom in shallow water.

Shallow.

There you go. Thus the problem.

We used to believe that “still waters run deep,” until we realized that the adage doesn’t apply to a generation of people who refuse to speak because of the vacuous nature of their thoughts.

I am not cynical of our time or particularly gloomy about our future. Yet I do not think it is the job of people who write articles or who are creatively bent toward sharing wisdom to always kiss the rear end of the person in front of them.

We just need to realize that we have created so much shallowness that we have run aground–and as you well know, when a boat runs aground, it can neither float nor can it sail from its perch.

So where have we run aground?

  1. By telling everybody they’re great, we’ve eliminated the word “great.”
  2. By electronically connecting ourselves to the world, we have emotionally disconnected ourselves from one another.
  3. We have replaced actions with speeches, thinking that merely stating our intentions is sufficient to prove our willingness.
  4. We foster the present bigotry as intelligent study, even though historically, every rejected piece of prejudice took a similar profile.
  5. We promote a war between men and women while simultaneously using sex to sell everything.
  6. We foolishly think there is a permanent solution to problems rather than a gradual revelation in our everyday reality.
  7. We value critique–one of the more useless human endeavors.
  8. We accept mediocrity, hoping that others will accept our rendition.
  9. We want to believe we are exceptional, even though every nationality that has pursued that particular philosophy has ended up being declared tyrants.
  10.  We think that problems can be solved corporately, when nothing ever happens in the human family without individuals repenting.

It’s really quite simple. When you take away personal responsibility, the need for humility and you add in the arrogance of uniqueness, you get people who have a common spiel–which they use to promote a nasty disdain.

Here’s the good news: for each one of these ten that we address and change, we can double our potential.

God is good because He doesn’t demand much change from human beingsfor mountains to move.