Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis: (n) A confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1962 over the presence of missile sites in Cuba;

I was two months from my eleventh birthday when I was informed that the world was about to blow up. I didn’t know much about what was happening on the planet.

My life was simple.

I was climbing in the bathtub every night, looking down at my pubic area for any signs of hair, since a rumor had spread that one of the guys in our class had some.

This was the most important thing to me.

But all of a sudden, my attention was temporarily nabbed by the news that those bad people over there on the other side of the world were trying to kill us good people over here—by blowing us up with bombs which seemed to be a lot more explosive than I could even imagine.

I was very angry.

Matter of fact, over dinner I expressed my rage by explaining that it was completely unfair for a bunch of old people to destroy my life just because they couldn’t get along with each other

The problem was that there were now missiles in Cuba.

I didn’t know anything about Cuba. When I heard the word “Cuba” the first thing that popped into my mind were cube steaks, which were some hybrid of hamburger and sirloin. So the way I remembered the word was to think of “Cuba Steaks.”

Therefore, people in “Cuba Steaks” were planning to fire bombs at us that turned our bodies into dust through fire.

I was not going to get to live long enough to kiss a girl or do any more hair-raising.

That’s what it meant to me.

And honestly, as I think back on it, having studied it, heard renditions of the story and considered the insanity of the times, my ten, nearly eleven-year-old objections seem quite suitable.

It would be wonderful to tell you that the Cuban Missile Crisis is a thing of the past. But now we have a whole new generation of leaders who apparently cannot remember what it was like to be terrified, living in a world of “duck and cover.”

Now they are trying to reintroduce these weapons into everyday thought.

If I had a poison in my cupboard and I knew it would kill someone if they drank it, the only sane solution would be to remove the poison from my cupboard, not expect everybody to remember that it’s lethal.

Perhaps we should all pray that logic will win the day and we will grow so weary of thinking about being destroyed that we’ll finally put the poison away for good—those weapons that snuff out all life.

 

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Corner

Corner: (n) the place at which two converging lines or surfaces meet.

Jerry was my friend. His dad was a conservative preacher who refused to own a television.

Jerry didn’t share his father’s convictions. When he was around his papa he was as silent as a mouse, and as soon as he walked out of the door of his home he turned into a roaring lion.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He was fun.

But even though I was just a kid myself, I knew there was something a little bit mixed up with Jerry. There was a hidden rage which was not very well disguised. It was like a box sticking out from under your bed that you thought was put away, but everybody knew there was something beneath.

Jerry got angry easily. Matter of fact, one night we were at my house and went into the garage. We found a possum next to our freezer. (I share this with you because it was unusual. If we normally had possums next to our freezer, I would have left it out of the tale.)

The possum was a little surprised to see us. It acted like it was pursuing a normal routine and we had interrupted the process. It gave a quick snarl in our direction. It was enough to convince me to get the hell out of the way. If you’ve never seen a possum up close, it’s ugly enough to avoid without the snarl, but if you put a growl with it… Well, I was ready to head to the next county.

But not Jerry.

Jerry seemed upset that the possum had dared to emit disapproval. He ran over to a shelf in the garage and picked up a hammer. I know I probably should have said something, but honestly, it was my first time being in a garage with a man who was going to attack a possum.

The possum scurried over into the corner of the garage.

Bad maneuver—now it was trapped. It was either going to have to fight its way out, or it was going to face whatever verdict Jerry had chosen for it.

Jerry changed right in front of my eyes. He was breathing heavily, standing with his legs spread, hammer over his head, eyes bulging—and it became obvious to me that he planned on attacking the creature.

I did finally gain speech. “Jerry, let it go. We’ll just leave the door open and it’ll scurry away.”

Excellent advice—especially coming from a teenager whose frontal lobe was not yet complete.

Jerry did not hear a word I said. He was ready to “kill possum.”

He moved closer. The possum snarled even more ferociously.

And even though I liked Jerry, when I heard that possum, I got the hell out of there. So peeking through the window from outside the garage I watched as Jerry grasped the hammer tightly.

One, two, five, ten…twenty blows. With all his strength, he killed that possum.

I don’t think Jerry had anything personal against the possum. Jerry’s outburst was coming from somewhere else.

When he was done, he backed up, panting, with the bloody hammer in his hand.

As I slowly walked back into the garage he spoke, “I got the goddamn motherfucking thing.”

I was completely shocked, I had never seen anyone kill a possum. Matter of fact, I had never encountered a pissed-off possum. And I sure had never seen Jerry so out of control or heard him spew such profanity.

About that time, my mother arrived, came into the garage, looked into the corner and saw what remained of the smashed possum. She gazed carefully at Jerry, who was still clutching his weapon.

Honestly, my mother was not a sensitive or intuitive person, but in that moment, she knew that Jerry was not all right.

She put her hand on his shoulder, gradually reached over and took the hammer away, and then cupped her hands around his face and said, “Good job, Jerry. Why don’t you two boys go bury the possum while I clean up the corner?”

So we did.

We walked about a quarter of a mile down the road to the railroad tracks. Nothing was said. It was so quiet I could hear the shovel strike against the ground as we drug it along.

We dug a hole and buried the flattened creature beneath it and covered it up.

When we were done, Jerry returned to being Jerry.

That day I learned a very valuable lesson.

If you corner any of God’s creatures—and that includes the human variety—they will fuss, spit, growl and even snarl at you. At that point you have to decide whether you’re going to walk away or if you’re going to destroy them.

Let me tell you—there are a lot of “Jerrys” in the world.


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Confidant

Confidant: (n) a person with whom one shares a secret or private matter

Sometimes my own body scares me.

I believe it’s strong–but there is a fragility standing in the wings which often threatens to take the stage.

I fight feeling useless. I’m not. I just have this unquenchable desire to be more valuable. Or is it just ego?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I grew up in a household of violence. I don’t want to erupt with rage over something that is truly insignificant.

Although I’ve tried to put lying in my past, it hangs around like a lazy brother who might soon need a loan.

I am fat. I can’t escape that–at least, not so far. How much does this hurt me with my fellow humans?

I’m proud of what I do, but don’t want to be too proud. Otherwise, I might think I’ve done enough.

I work on being color-blind, but every once in a while some coloration clouds my reasoning.

I believe men and women are equal. I really do. Even when men make me question that and a certain woman I may encounter tempts me to be a misogynist.

I’m not strong all the time.

I am not smart.

I am not well-educated.

I do not have a diploma to cover every situation.

I enjoy creativity but honestly, despise obscurity.

I don’t want to be famous. Just helpful.

I’m not as good as I think I am, but not as bad as I fear might be the case.

I share this with you in confidence.

Are you a good confidant?

 

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Bouquet

Bouquet: (n) an attractively arranged bunch of flowers

When you live in a small town, there is usually only one of everything:Dictionary B

  • One drugstore
  • One grocery outlet
  • And one florist

When I was a young boy beginning to dabble in the witchery of romance, I decided, on the arrival of my third date with a young lady, to purchase some flowers. My parents, in an attempt to be supportive, told me I could charge them down at the Bellgrade Floral Shop.

So I walked in, a complete novice, intimidated, and fell victim to a helpful clerk.

She pitied me. She thought it was cute that I was going to buy flowers for my girlfriend. She immediately began to make suggestions. Not wanting to discourage her or come across as a rube, I nodded and agreed to each one of her many considerations.

When she was done, adding in all the baby’s breath (which she explained to me) I had a huge bouquet of flowers. It was impressive.

She asked the question. “How would you like to pay for this?”

Obedient son that I was, I told her that it was to go on my parents’ account. I was thrilled, and my girlfriend was over the moon about her array of garden beauties.

Two weeks later I was called in to my mother and father’s presence because they had received the bill from the Bellgrade Floral Shop.

Fifty-three dollars.

And keep in mind, this was in an era when my dad made seventy-five dollars a week. So he was red with rage and my mother could barely breathe. They asked me, “Why did you spend so much money on those flowers?”

I had no real answer.

I did not know how to explain how the combination of the fragrant greenhouse, the happiness of my girlfriend and the salesmanship of the lady … had swept me away.

 

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Blessed

Blessed: (adj) made holy; consecrated.

Dictionary B

To lead a blessed life, one must be aware of how to bless.

Even though the Christian experience extols the power and virtue of “doing good to those who do evil to us,” the typical human reaction is to duplicate what has been done to us–with a 20% increase in rage.

In other words, it’s not really “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” it’s more like “an eye for a popped pimple” and a “tooth for a sneer.”

With that in mind, we must learn that true progress cannot be made in our lives if we’re constantly plotting or dodging revenge.

To be blessed is to bless.

And to bless people is to balance the beauty of challenging and encouraging.

So to be blessed, we must be willing to be challenged, and receive our encouragement as fuel instead of awards. Yes, I take your words of appreciation and fill my tank so I am prepared to dole out the challenge and encouragement to others.

I also take your challenge as a way of improving my ability to relate to humankind instead of constantly finding myself an irritant.

The “Abrahamic” principle of “eyes and teeth” is not going to be rejected by the human race. It is firmly established in most of the religious people of this world.

But if you want to be successful, free of fear and devoid of the need to even the score, then find a blessed life … by knowing how to challenge and encourage those around you.

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Bitter

Bitter: (adj) angry, hurt, or resentful

Nothing ever gets better if we insist it should never have happened.Dictionary B

It is the source of all bitterness.

Discussion is avoided because the mere mention of the event creates such a ferocious response that conversation is impossible.

Maybe there’s a little arrogance tied to it. Perhaps it is this “life in a bubble” experience that we all desire–which is continually burst. Then not only are we offended, but also find ourselves rigidly refusing to consider reconciliation.

Why?

  • Because “how dare he?”
  • Or “how dare she?”
  • Or even “how dare they?”

Even though we acknowledge they are just human beings, we still think they should have had the divine insight to be aware that we should not have been challenged.

The Good Book calls bitterness a root.

It is a seed of pride which we plant in the dirt of failure, which sprouts a rage burrowing deep within our soul, disguising its presence.

So we cover up bitter with apathy … and we insist our apathy is just a preference or a decision to move on.

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Apoplectic

dictionary with letter A

Apoplectic (adj.) 1. informal overcome with anger. 2. dated relating to apoplexy (stroke).

If anger is a turd, then rage is a pile of manure. And if we were able to deal with our turds, we wouldn’t have to shovel our shit.

You see, that’s the problem.

Some sense of false kindness prevents us from speaking our hearts, causing us to be deceptive rather than forthcoming.

It doesn’t change the fact of what we feel. Choosing a gentle answer does not make us more gentle. It actually causes us to create a second storehouse, where we stockpile resentment instead of building up our barns of blessing.

It is impossible for me to live a blessed life if I’m pissed off–and the longer I stay pissed off, the less chance I have of ever satisfying the breach I’ve created in my own emotions and soul.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the driving habits of the American traveler. People who would normally appear rational lose all sense of dignity when they get behind the wheel of an automobile, because they feel they’re protected by armor, like a knight on a crusade to kill dragons. They become profane, horn-honkers and selfish intruders into the lives of other human movers.

Why? Because the anger that should have been dealt with days ago is now stinking up the joint.

There is one mission in discovering the value of human life: don’t be afraid to say what you feel … as long as you’re prepared to be wrong.

And since most people are not suited for such an admission of guilt, they would rather keep their feelings to themselves and maintain them in a chest of self-righteousness.

  • Rage is what kills.
  • Anger is what opens the door to communication.

If we allow ourselves to be transparent in our emotions, we will avoid the danger of rage.

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