Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter: 1916–2009, U.S. newscaster. 

He had the right look to calm our prejudices.

The perfect voice to allay our fears.

A coiffed mustache to parallel favorite uncle.

And a serious tone to let us know he knew the hell what he was talking about.

We never could confirm if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He felt that his political leanings were inconsequential—even detrimental in delivering the news.

He cried once, when a President was shot.

And he beamed like a proud father when he saw American brothers walking on the moon.

His name was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t have anyone like him, basically because we’ve decided that people who bring us the news events from around the world need to be pretty, opinionated, over-bearing, caustic and political.

It would be difficult for the younger generation to imagine a “newsman.” They are accustomed to talking heads, pundits and rating whores.

When there was no 24-hour news cycle, but there was a need to know what was going on in the world, millions of Americans invited one man into their homes, through their singular television set which sat in the living room in a corner, offering three channels.

This man was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t know if he had fetishes, affairs or a history of juvenile delinquency. It wasn’t because he was secretive. It was because Mr. Cronkite did not believe that he mattered—only that he accurately, truthfully, and dispassionately delivered the update of what was going on in our world.

He was a treasure. He is still a treasure.

And through the miracle of video tape, he can be viewed by some of the young news gatherers, who might just gain credence by personally taking on a revival of his spirit.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Cotillion

Cotillion: (n) a formal ball given especially for debutantes.

A cotillion used to be subtitled “a coming out ball.”

Now that phrase would evoke great laughter—because “coming out” means something completely different from it did when we were funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
referring to the first time a sixteen-year-old girl was dressing up like a woman and spraying perfume in her hair.

Somewhere lodged between the fallacy that “everything in the past was better” and the hard sell of “everything now is superior” lies some sort of compromise.

Maybe if we approached the passage of time similarly to the way we eat food at a smorgasbord, we might just arrive at a blending of practices which would be satisfying and beneficial to our well-being. For after all, at a buffet you grab a plate and walk the line, take a little bit of half-a-dozen or more items, go sit down and discover what is pleasing to the palate.

This is exactly what I try to do with my human life.

I have no desire to live in the past, filled with disease, pestilence and prejudice. Yet I’m not particularly satisfied with being overwhelmed in the present, with forms of idiocy which have merely donned contemporary costumes.

I do like a little bit of the cotillion to go along with my Facebook and Instagram.

I like the idea of the transitions in life being honored with celebration and a touch of reverence instead of the crude way of thinking that a young girl becomes a woman by losing her virginity.

How can we balance the human heart, spirit and brain? The heart wants to be moved, the spirit wants to be inspired and the brain desires learning.

So I guess my goal is to feel my way along, looking for those things that inspire me, and then try to make them my own.


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Coot

Coot: (n) a foolish or crotchety person, especially one who is old

I have officially become old enough to become a coot. I’m not sure what age qualifies you, but age is certainly a factor.

There are other considerations:

Coots always talk about “how good things used to be.”

Coots tend to refer to society as using a “handbasket on their way to hell.”

Coots pine for a time when they were younger and full of energy.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I honestly don’t feel any of that whatsoever.

Many of my growing-up years were filled with ignorance, prejudice, anger, self-righteousness and bloodshed in an unrighteous war. So I don’t yearn to go back—I just insist that there are two things the human race can’t live without, and we should cease deleting them from our browser.

Human beings must have empathy and self-deprecation. If you don’t like the idea of self-deprecation, then insert humility.

When we stop feeling empathy for the man or woman next to us, we become enemies to our own species, similar to a bee who plots with the flies to steal the honey.

And when we don’t produce adequate humility, the obnoxious odor that comes off our being chases people from the room.

I’m not an old coot.  I don’t care who you sleep with. I don’t care what your political party is. I don’t care what your faith or lack of faith might be.

But when you mess with empathy and humility, I will dig my heels in, because then you’re plotting the destruction of the human race—of which I am proudly a member.


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Contiguous

Contiguous: (adj) touching; in contact.

 There are forty-eight contiguous states.

This means they’re hooked together on a continent with imaginary, man-made borders affixed between.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So, in this season of discussing whether we require a wall to protect us from another country, we simultaneously have a problem regarding the social, emotional, prejudicial and cultural walls that have been constructed between our contiguous, allegedly “United” States.

The reason it’s difficult for the members of Congress to get along is not just because of a warring two-party system. It is also because representatives from California are convinced that Congressmen and women from Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama are ignorant. And those who deem themselves from the “Right Coast” are convinced that their brothers and sisters dwelling on the “Left Coast” want to drive the country into a socially distorted and morally ambiguous hell.

Therefore, even though focus seems to be on aliens with questionable activities invading our country, it is actually the friction among the contiguous states that is really generating the atmosphere of hateful tension.


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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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