Clinic

Clinic: (n) a hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment

Old Marion Webster always tends to leave out a detail or two in presenting definitions.

Clinics are not only places where people go to get medical assistance, but often find themselves frequenting due to poverty.

I’ve been to a clinic. It wasn’t because I doing research for one of my essays. No–I was busted.

Broke. Without bucks. Dollarless.

I found the experience to be humiliating–not because I thought I was better than all the other clientele. It was humiliating by design.

All the furniture was old, scarred, some pieces broken. The magazines were dated at least four years earlier, and had articles which had already proven to be incorrect. The candy machine was empty except for peanuts and Cheese-it crackers. The Coke machine was out of order and the coffee maker had a crack in it, so they could only make one cup at a time.

The nurses were volunteers who attempted to be cheery, but still conveyed a sense of yearning to get over their stint quickly and return to their normal lives.

The people around me were sick–some very sick. It made them look and act dreary.

I sat there and thought to myself, how easy it would be for people of substance and finance to just donate new magazines.

How about that church down the road which recently bought new furniture for their parlor–giving that old plush couch and chairs to this clinic so people would feel just a bit more comfortable as they sat for hours, waiting for a three-minute visit?

Would it kill the vendors to make sure that the candy machine was adequately stocked, and price it just a bit more reasonably for those who have to search longer for quarters?

How about giving them a new coffee pot, or taking up a donation to make the Cokes reappear?

I wasn’t angry over the indifference–just perplexed by the ignorance.

Now that prosperity has crept my way, I have a little extra money every once in a while that might seem like a gold mine for a clinic.

Maybe just buying flowers for the attendants to wear every day. Or if you worry that the patients might be allergic, purchase more colorful scrubs.

For some reason or another, rich people do not feel it’s enough to insult the less fortunate with mere poverty. They want to make sure the experience leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

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Chronic

Chronic: (adj) (of a problem) long-lasting and difficult to eradicate.

There are several maturity banners that are displayed on our human journey. These are truths which are not always comfortable, but if denied, can put us in a chronic state of misery.

For instance:

  1. Nobody is going to do what you want them to do.

People imitate, they steal, they deny that they got what they have from you–but no one wants to admit that they are not autonomous and require assistance..

  1. The fewer categories you put people in, the better off you are.

When you start delineating by culture, color, sexual orientation and even gender, you get yourself in a horrible, tangled mess of misconceptions.

  1. And a third one is the realization that sometimes the solution is more painful than the problem.

Although we extol the value of solving dilemmas, we can often end up in more red tape, difficulty, struggle and misunderstanding than if we just learn to adjust our temperament and approach to the problem.

For instance, it is rather doubtful that poverty will go away. The more we complain about it and compare our levels of indifference, the less people get fed.

Go someplace where they offer two sandwiches for a decent price. Buy two. Eat one yourself and give one to a hungry person on the street.

You didn’t solve the problem–but you also didn’t trap yourself in a chronic search for an unattainable solution.

 

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Breach

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Breach: (n) an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct

A great book once alleged that there’s a power in “repairing the breach”–finding that break in etiquette or sensibility that can be covered with a multitude of grace.Dictionary B

It is a noble notion.

The difficulty with the mission is that people will often argue with you about whether there’s a breach in the first place. After all, a common conversation with fifty Americans will render much different responses:

  • Is there racism?
  • Is chauvinism a problem?
  • Should poverty be addressed or should we just try to motivate people to work harder?
  • Is there a God or are we on our own?
  • Are people of different lifestyles entitled to their rights?
  • Should we judge people by the color of their skin?
  • Should we question religions?
  • Is it possible that some people are just better than others?
  • Do the heavens have a “chosen people?”

If we cannot agree that there’s a breach, then the repairing will be considered foolish or intrusive.

What can we agree on about our pain before we seek a relief?

It is not so much that our problems are complicated–it’s more that they’re denied.

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Bottom Line

Bottom line: (n) the final total of a financial document

If you’re not willing to flirt with some poverty, you’ll never make out rich.Dictionary B

It’s true.

There is such a thing as “safe money,” which remains the same because it is a salary given to you to procure your services by someone who owns a company–who is risking that paying you will end up paying him or her more.

If I had trusted the bottom line in my life, I would not have done ninety percent of the things I pursued. And even if fifty percent of those ended up either failing or having mediocre results, I still have a tremendous compilation of miracles, experiences, friends, creations and adventures to tout because I took a chance … on good things.

 

 

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Borrow

Borrow: (v) to take and use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it.

I have an inkling that determining whether people are getting older can be evaluated by judging the shows they watch on television.Dictionary B

For instance, when I was younger I would never have watched “Wheel of Fortune.” And even though I would not call myself an avid viewer now, it is occasionally on in the background while I do other things.

Likewise, I would have made fun of myself for watching the judge shows like “People’s Court.”

I bring this up because on these court TV shows, each case finishes up with an interview in the outside hall, where the announcer asks the litigants what they learned from the experience. Universally, the eternal truth that falls from their lips is, “Don’t trust anybody.”

Benjamin Franklin intoned, in his pseudo-intellectual way, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be.”

It is a wonderful philosophy–if you are never in need.

But since my life has been bespeckled with all varieties of poverty and prosperity, I can appreciate the fact that every once in a while … you are one cup of milk and one bowl of cereal short of breakfast.

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Berry

Berry: (n) a small roundish juicy fruit without a stone.

Dictionary B

I find it mentally erotic to allow each of the words that I write about every day to leap into my memory and drag out the stories.

The word “berry” has two significant meanings to me.

First of all, I love berries. They are something I can eat without guilt, even though they tell me it is possible to consume too many.

I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten a berry I did not like. Some berries do grumble my stomach a bit, but that doesn’t keep me from enduring the growl.

But I also have a memory of berries which is less satisfying–maybe just a little bit frustrating.

When I first got married, my wife and I were very poor. To complicate our poverty, we were also lazy. The two don’t work well together, for when they arrive at the same time, they can leave you really hungering and thirsting.

My parents had a small parcel of land outside of town–a farm which had some blackberry bushes. (I think they’re called bushes. Maybe they’re vines, but I’m too lazy to look it up.)

My wife and I had the brilliant idea of going out, picking blackberries, and selling them door to door. It was not going to guarantee us a lot of money, but it would definitely succeed in buying a loaf of bread, some bologna or even the more coveted peanut butter and jelly.

It was an arduous task.

The berries are small, so it takes a lot of them to fill up a container. We got hot, stung by bugs and poked by thorns. It was not what I would call pleasant, even though we rejoiced in the opportunity and turned it into a lark.

We picked for about three hours and got seven little baskets, which we sold for fifty cents apiece. It was a long time ago, but that still was a good deal.

We were so overjoyed over the process that we decided to do it again two or three days later, but when we went back to the houses to sell our berries, the customers began to complain about twigs in the baskets, and the fact that some of the berries weren’t quite ripe.

Suddenly we had become a $3.50 corporation, which apparently needed a customer relations department. It took a lot of joy out of the experience. One lady even demanded that we return a quarter as a refund.

So as I sit and enjoy my berries topped with a little Cool Whip, I am grateful for those souls who have to pick them … being careful never to complain if I discover a twig.

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Belly

Belly: (n) the front part of the human trunk below the ribs, containing the stomach and bowels.

Dictionary B

I’ve always tried to stay optimistic because if I become downcast, I see my belly, which only adds to the depression.

I don’t know whether you’re supposed to see your belly when you look down. Some people might have a view of other anatomical parts.

But not me.

Since I was a lad of seven, my belly has preceded me into affairs. It pushes itself to the forefront, trying to establish dominance and certainly, advertise other potential character flaws.

I have tried to lose my belly–but apparently there is some sort of snitch in my brain which always informs this large protrusion of my intentions.

The belly protects itself.

If I try to starve it out, it prepares for the siege.

It actually seems to be proud of its acreage. I, on the other hand, keep trying to find pants to cover it up.

I am not alone in this situation. Occasionally, when I stop to look at other people, I see that they, too, have accumulated quite an impressive forerunner to their forthcoming.

In other words, they have big bellies.

I have read that in history, possessing such a large amount of flesh was once considered to be a symbol of prosperity. That was a time when starvation was common, and obesity was evidence that you could put food on your table.

As I write this today, I am not sure that my belly will ever leave.

It is a damn sentimental creature of habit.

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