Contrarian

Contrarian: (n) a person who takes an opposing view

The contrarians of one generation are the high school teachers of the next.

It was a contrarian who stood up in 1847 and said slavery was wrong. Move ahead forty or fifty years and the whole country has fought a great war (if such a thing as a “great” war is possible) to confirm the point of the contrarian.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Contrarians are people like you and me who affix themselves to a notion they believe is universal or perhaps even divinely inspired, and rather than giving into the pressure to be average or common, they persist in pursuing their train of thought.

I have spent most of my life being a contrarian and have dwelt on this planet long enough to see many of the things that troubled me get worked out, discussed and now everyone assumes they were never issues.

I lived through the civil rights movement, and though I grew up in a white-bread-mayonnaise community, I decided to support equality.

While people were screaming about patriotism and Viet Nam, I listened carefully and gradually decided I agreed with the contrarian position—that the skirmish in Indochina was ill-conceived.

I was there to remind those from the Moral Majority that they were neither moral nor really a majority.

I have been a blessed man.

There’s nothing special about me except for the fact that I am not afraid to be a contrarian.

I am not terrified when the plurality of my society frowns at my outlandish contentions.

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Contraption

Contraption: (n) a mechanical contrivance; gadget; device.

Getting older changes my opinion on many things.

When I was much younger, I viewed myself as a discovery—a unique human being placed on Earth for some divine cause or mission. Such an idea was immature, short-sighted and arrogant simultaneously.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Getting a little more experience under my belt, I thought I might be an invention. In other words, the creative forces in the universe stumbled upon my attributes and decided to use me to make something else.

Yet as time marched on, I realized that although I was happy and did possess some ability, the combination was not unique to my person.

Pressing on, I now realize I’m a contraption, and like any such device, I’m about as usable as I am willing to be flexible.

For instance, a tire iron is a contraption. It can function to work on tires. You can use it to get something from underneath a couch. Or if an attacker decided to bother you, you might be able to scare him or her away with by brandishing it.

Yes—I am a contraption. I’m just about as functional as I’m willing to evolve myself to be.

I used to be prideful and say I would never do certain things. Once I abandoned the pride, I suddenly discovered there were many more inventive things I could do.

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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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Common Ground

Common ground: (n) a basis of mutual interest or agreement.

I do believe the quote is attributed to Sting, lead singer of “The Police.”

When explaining his tour into the Soviet Union, in one of his lyrics he offered the conclusion that “Russians love their children, too.”

It is so easy to sit on the precipice of destruction and discuss, like naughty brats, how much more our destructive weapons could kill your people than yours could destroy ours.

But in the long run, or in the short time it takes for a bomb to explode, people are dead–and most all of them look somewhat like us.

Anything that comes along to encourage the destruction of the planet, the deception of racism, the alienation of the genders or the false pride of a culture is the feeding frenzy for us pursuing the insanity of gobbling one another up in our social cannibalism.

Every single day, in every single way, in every single building where decisions are made about human life, three things have to be honored:

  1. Flesh may have color, but it is all basically the same.
  2. If people were created, they have one Father.
  3. We have not perfected a way to snatch life from death.

Slow down.

This is called common ground.

Everything else is just a silly argument among children about who can jump the highest, and who owns the shiniest bike.

 

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Coaster

Coaster: (n) a small mat placed under a glass to protect the table underneath.

It’s one of those factors that determines whether you are a bungler or a baron.

There are many.

But when you find yourself with a glass of drink and there is a table in front of you, do you procure a coaster so your condensation does not leave a ring on the table, or do you just put your glass down and later act completely bewildered because your hostess or host was offended by your choice?

It’s where we teeter–all human beings teeter between understanding and arrogance.

Often we understand the purpose for matters, yet in our arrogance, we resist performing the courteous function simply because it seems tedious and makes us appear too subservient.

A long time ago I had to decide whether to be a bungler or become a baron. Would I be willing to learn the things that are important to my brothers and sisters, and simply avoid conflict with their tender conscience by doing them? Or would I stubbornly going to insist that it’s a “goddamn free country,” and proceed to take my pet bull off the leash for the latest visit to the china shop?

Coasters are not effeminate.

Coasters are not irrational.

Coasters may not be necessary–but you won’t know until you don’t use one. So why take the risk, especially on the chance that you might unnecessarily offend a friend?

But stubborn we are–all children of Adam and Eve.

Yet, if you want to get back into the Garden, you need to swallow your pride and discover the location of the forbidden apples.

 

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Citadel

Citadel: (n) a fortress on high ground

How can you take the high ground without instinctively looking down on those beneath you?

It became an issue in the recent presidential campaign. Both candidates insisted they were taking the high ground, while simultaneously
using the concept to proclaim themselves superior.

Unfortunately, any insistence on superiority renders us weakened by the kryptonite of pride.

I need a citadel.

I need a place where I can climb a little higher in my consciousness–not to peer down at the infidel, but to have the chance to see things the way they are, and not the way they appear at ground zero.

My life requires a sweetness of morality, a gentleness of empathy and an awareness of my talent.

In order to mingle these factors, I must don the cloak of humility. For humility is not the absence of ability, but rather, the evidence of it without needing to overpower all comers.

Yes–America should be a citadel.

Our faith should be a citadel.

My life should be a citadel: a piece of higher ground that does not insist on being worshipped because of its elevation, but instead, uses the bird’s eye to consider all the sparrows.

 

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Charity

Charity: (n) the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.

“I’m no charity case!”

It is a statement often flung in my direction when I’m attempting to be generous to someone who obviously could use some bolstering.

The statement is prideful statement, and unfortunately, doused in ignorance. For truly, there is not a soul among us who does not
occasionally require the charity provided by strangers.

In viewing my abundant life, there have been many times when I have possessed finance to fund an unnecessary, extravagant dinner–and also specific occasions when a dollar bill lit up and danced before my eyes because its arrival was truly divinely inspired.

If we go with the Old English definition of charity–which is love–the desperation each of us possesses to be loved is incomprehensible.

Denying it makes us look like foolish, pouting children.

Demanding it too often has the whiff of the charlatan.

So I have a simple saying in my life:

“May those around me who happen to arrive at just the right moment to come to my aid find me busy doing my best, unaware that they are on their way.”

 

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