Comrade

Comrade: (n) a companion who shares one’s activities

In the English language, many words get tangled up with each other and are perceived to be synonyms when they actually are not at all–and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
when distinction is made, their purpose is more powerful.

May I show you what I mean?

Here are five words that are sheltered under the larger house of “friend”:

  • Teammate
  • Acquaintance
  • Fellow-traveler
  • Family
  • Comrade

In concluding this essay, I will give you definitions for each word so you can distinguish one from the other:

Teammate: someone who is on a team with you, who is focusing on his or her part in the game and demanding that you do the same.

Acquaintance: an individual who exchanges smiles and greetings with you in a casual, pleasant way, because no conflict has challenged the depth of the affection.

Fellow-traveler: the human beings we meet every day who, like us, deserve a seat on the bus and should never be told to go to the rear.

Family: folks you share genetics with, Thanksgiving with, embarrassments with and who also, unfortunately, may be prejudiced one way or another because they know you too well.

Comrade: Of all the patrons lined up at the bar in all the beer joints of the world, this is the person who has decided he or she wants to stand next to you and will fight for the privilege of that proximity.

 

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Compare

Compare: (v) to estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

During a very brief stint of working in the motelier industry, I ran across a gentleman who owned an establishment, and took me on a journey of his array of available rooms.

Every time he entered one of the bathrooms, he took a deep, long, sniffing breath. I decided to ask him what he was trying to smell.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He turned to me sternly, peering into my eyes, and said, “The beginnings of mold.”

Yes, this fellow was completely convinced that long before the mold showed up in the bathroom tile, it could be sniffed out, tracked down and destroyed.

I had no reason to argue with the man–even if he was wrong, a good dousing of the tiles in bleach every once in a while is a capital idea.

But I must be honest with you–even though I can’t tell mold from gold, I do have a nose for the beginnings of bigotry.

And long before it becomes prejudice which has lost control, it pops its little head up with the word “compare.”

As human beings, once we allow ourselves to compare what we do to what other people do, it is safe to say that we will rarely consider their approach to be better than ours.

So in attempting to establish our refinement–or should the word be “superiority?”–we somehow or another have to sully or taint other renditions.

As people sit on panels and compare one race to another, one country to another, one gender to another or one religion to another, they feel so goddamn intelligent–never realizing they often have the sniff of social mold.

 

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Community

Community: (n) a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

Our little village was filled with community pride.

It was cute–a little bigger than a postage stamp, yet you could walk around the entire downtown area in less than ten minutes.

Growing up there, I was taught that community is not so much sharing a location, but rather, absorbing a basic ideology.

I’m not sure who came up with the standards or the principles which were passed down among the locals and inhaled like air, but generally speaking, you could do well in my community if you understood the mindset and the dress code.

If for some reason, you wanted to vary from the common universal brain, or clothe yourself in such a way as to gain too much attention, then you were initially viewed as comical.

If you persisted, you went from comical to being deemed confused.

And if confusion was maintained, then you would be considered dangerous and need to be dealt with by the negative approaches established by our community.

It was a very successful system.

We were able, through this system, to keep all blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians and long-haired rock and rollers far from our borders–without ever firing a shot.

The teeny tiny handful of those who remained were simply ostracized–or maybe just received really poor mail service.

None of the people in our community considered themselves prejudiced–just enamored by a preference. After all, if you wanted varying behaviors, you could drive twenty miles down the road to the Big City, where there were all sorts of options available, complete with rape, murder and a variety of other crimes. We were thoroughly frightened of the outside world, without ever being officially indoctrinated into a cult.

But our community was a cult.

I found this out when I wanted to stray from the daily routine and pursue my own ideas. No one struck me, no one physically attacked me, and no one even openly rebuked me. They just left me out of everything.

The system works to this day. All across America little towns have a network of gossipers who warn of suspicious arrivals, allowing the community a chance to provide the inconsideration to drive good folks away.

 

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Comity

Comity: (n) courtesy and considerate behavior toward others.

In the pursuit of peace on Earth, goodwill toward men–certainly an angelic venture–we must never contend that stereotypes about race,
nationality and culture are false.

They are not.

Matter of fact, many folks who would launch into pursuing tolerance become weary in well-doing by hanging around the folks they’re trying to love, but realizing that many of the prejudices spoken end up being true.

It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s about color, culture, gender or sexual orientation–too much time spent with any one category can turn you into a cynic and a bomb-shelter-bigot.

Open-mindedness is not about facts–it is about mercy.

For instance, using the term “terrible twos” is not prejudicial against human beings who have only lived for twenty-four months. It’s actually a rather astute, but negative, assessment of children of that age. Why? Because we have to work real hard to find one who isn’t–two and terrible, that is.

Equality is not about proving that there is no foolishness within the human race. Equality is blinding yourself to the stupidities in order to elevate your brothers and sisters to the position they were granted by their Creator.

Comity is that moment when we turn our heads away when we see the village idiot sprawled on the ground, so that we can give him a moment to get to his feet…and then view him again as an equal.

 

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Clue

Clue: (n) a piece of evidence

“There is a way that seems right unto a man…”

So true.

Even people who are crazy do things that honor what they think is right. That’s why right is often so wrong. Right does not need to prove
that it has a universal quality–just be sensible to one person.

That’s why we have laws. We can’t have three-hundred-fifty-million interpretations of right in the United States and think that we’ll be able to function. Yet even though there are rules, regulations and guidelines, human beings still feel what they think–is right.

Then they spend their whole lives searching for clues to prove their conclusions.

The problem? It’s not difficult.

If you want to step out today and establish a case for white people being stupid, there’s enough data available on the subject to support your claim. It certainly won’t be impossible to gather clues.

If your goal is to assert that men are different from women, and women from men, you will absolutely be able to find adequate examples to undergird your proclamation. There will be clues.

So there has to be some other way to determine actual value and lasting quality other than running it through our own personal prejudices.

What might be the clue for that?

I think perhaps the greatest clue to help us understand life on Earth is that no creature gains supremacy–just opportunity.

Even though humans may be more intelligent than other creatures, these other members of the animal kingdom certainly have an edge on survival instinct. And since Earth runs on a delicate balance between survival and intelligence, then each one of us can take a clue from the cockroach.

The greatest clue in the Universe–we are welcome to participate, but not encouraged to control.

 

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Citizen

Citizen: (n) a legal personage of a country

He loves his country but not to the exclusion of others.

She salutes the flag but well knows the weaknesses of her government.

He is offended but doesn’t become offensive by dishonoring the nation.

She works very hard to overcome her prejudiced training, to welcome those from all colors and walks of life.

He learns from the past, to bless the present, to set in motion a better future.

She weeps over those who have been wounded by history and joins them hand-in-hand to make sure it never happens that way again.

He doesn’t demand that everybody do things his way, but instead, tries to understand their journey, their perspective and their patriotism.

She stops complaining about inequality and every day proves through her life that she is equal to the challenge.

He freely admits where his homeland has failed.

She celebrates the times when common sense overcame political patronage.

They joined together to believe in a country that has heart and soul, and not just mind and strength.

They are citizens.

They make us great.

They make our country possible.

They are the currency of this nation’s wealth.

 

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Chosen

Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.

 

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