Convivial

Convivial: (adj) friendly and agreeable

It becomes obvious to me why some words are foreign to my ear, or for some reason, have ceased to be popular. After all, when would the word “convivial” actually come up in our present-day society?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I suppose if we found ourselves at a particularly exciting party, and inebriation was only making people silly, a wordsmith might offer “convivial” to describe the event.

Yet to live a life where you are pursuing a convivial attitude might cause the large majority of fellow-travelers to be suspicious, if not angry, over your lack of awareness about how miserable everything truly is.

I have often wondered what I would have done if I were on the deck of the Titanic the night it struck the iceberg, and it became obvious that in a short time I would be floating in the water, an iceberg myself.

Would I turn religious?

Would I pray, scream to the heavens?

Would I get angry and push people around because I wanted to be the last one in line to croak?

Would I crawl into a lifeboat and pretend I was “Mrs. Something-or-Other?”

Would I grab my banjo and join the band in playing, “Nearer My God to Thee?”

Since I assume the galley would be deserted, would I go down and hit the pastry tray, knowing it wouldn’t make any difference anymore?

Or would I look around into the frightened, horrified and distraught faces of my cohorts and try to make our last moments convivial?


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Clout

Clout: (n) influence or power

Liars talk too much.

It’s one of the sure ways to pick ’em out. Rather than just stating the facts or presenting the situation, they feel the need to emphasize some
aspect of their story to further impress you with its validity.

That’s always been my problem with the word “clout.”

How much more reinforcement is necessary for a good idea?

How many times do we need to recite our accomplishments before we understand that nobody cares?

How often will we find ourselves stumbling over words because we are not yet convinced that the room has been swayed by our argument?

Does a nation have clout because it has a big army? (Candidly, the nations which have had big armies throughout history are no longer around.)

Do a people have credence because of their faith in God or their morality? If that were the case, the Puritans would still be very popular instead of deemed assholes for killing little girls as witches.

Does a woman gain clout by convincing everybody that she’s just as good as a man, when being a man may not be good enough?

How many characters do we need to introduce to develop the plot?

How many promises should be secured before we decide to move out and attempt a noble deed?

When I was in my thirties, a very prosperous music producer told me that I had no future because I didn’t carry enough clout. I looked him in the eyes and said, “I decided a long time ago not to carry anything I didn’t need.”

We don’t need clout. Actually, it warns of insecurity, pomposity and arrogance.

If I believe I am the best at anything, I need to leave my house more often.

If I think that God favors me because of my numerous religious inclinations, it may be necessary for me to encounter those human beings who scrape together fifty cents, knowing they need sixty cents to survive.

If you want to legitimize the word “clout,” then here is a better definition:

Clout is when I have the humility to realize I don’t really matter, so if I want to keep from being invisible, I should open up my heart and do what I can for the human race.

 

 

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Charade

Charade: (n) an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.

When the hair started thinning, I grew it out longer and tried to comb it over the top of my crown, but didn’t fool anyone.

When it was obvious that I was not going to go to college because my third child was born, I developed patter to explain my education at
fictitious universities.

I often exaggerated my potency when in the presence of female friends so as to appear one of the great bulls in the herd.

When I was younger, I found reasons why people who were better than me were actually just hiding their inefficiency and sin.

I lied to get out of predicaments and then, when that seemed to work, sometimes I lied just to make myself look superior.

I pretended to like people because they had money or position.

I pretended to dislike people because they didn’t.

I went through the motions of religious shenanigans, trying to convince those around me that I was truly committed.

I pretended to be smart when I was dumb and equally put on the charade of being dumb when I knew more than I pretended.

I’ve never been good at charades.

Too many motions and gestures around people who just don’t get it.

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Chapel

Chapel: (n) a small building for Christian worship

It was only five miles from my home town.

It was a small, clapboard building, which held no more than ninety people. But when my place of birth found out that my girlfriend and I were pregnant, and they began expressing their disapproval over our immoral carnality, I escaped to that little refuge, starting my music career.

It was pastored by a fellow who was no more than eight years my senior, and he was either oblivious to the gossip about me or had enough rebellion left over from his teen years that he didn’t care. The people of the church took a liking to me, even though some of them disapproved of my long hair and my decision not to join the American work force.

I wrote my first song for that church.

I had my first public performance with my group in that church.

I stored my equipment in a downstairs closet.

I rehearsed there two or three times a week.

They even gave me a key so I could come and go at my own pace.

I held my first revival in that chapel.

And when I got signed by a Nashville recording company and made my album, I came back and debuted my success in front of the congregated in the chapel. That morning the house was packed–about a hundred folks–and everybody was just as overwhelmed with joy as I was.

Although later on the pastor became more religious and therefore a bit more judgmental and we parted ways, I will never forget that little building and how much it meant to me as a haven of escape from the demands of becoming a budding man, and the criticism of the locals.

 

 

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Cage

Cage: (n) a structure of bars or wires in which animals are confined

Even though Maya Angelou seems to know “Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I, myself, do not.

I believe in the power to overcome negative circumstances, but such an endeavor always takes a toll.

A loss of simplicity.

A leaking of faith.

Some intangible that departs the soul because we struggled too much to maintain normalcy.

There are three cages.

Undoubtedly, one is the cage we build inside ourselves to limit our passion while justifying such a move by having lengthy explanations to quantify our fears. We’re never able to adequately interact with others or fathom why they would be interested in any person like us–locked up.

There’s also the cage right beyond our space–a barrier we’ve created that says since we’re a father, mother, religious, addicted, black, white, brown, gay, straight, male or female, we are not going to be able to cross the bars of that enclosure and enter into a larger hemisphere of fellowship. We try but we pull back in horror, fearing that the barricade is electrified to discourage our noble effort.

Then there’s the cage that is somewhere out there. We don’t know where it is. We can’t see it. It’s the boundary of our limitation. We don’t speculate on what it may be, but instead, explore all terrain until confronted by the wall. Perhaps we can avoid it. Yes, maybe we never have to reach the edge of our understanding and ability.

So in the meantime, we can pretend that we’re powerful.

 

 

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Buzzards

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Buzzard: (n) a large hawklike bird of prey

Sometimes I find myself discontent with my status and very fussy about my being.

Even though the more religious souls around me would disagree, I believe the Creator was much better intentioned than adept at design.

You know what I’m saying? Every once in a while, each one of us gets in a mood to buy some watercolors and try to paint a picture. Even though the experience may be pleasant, the results of the painting adventure need to buried in the back yard.

Yet what often causes me to recover from my spiritual swoon is considering how fortunate that I am not another type of creature.

I would despise being a cockroach.

Being a rat living in the sewers of New York City seems uncomfortable.

And I wouldn’t want to be a buzzard. Job description: flying around the sky all day long looking for dead things. Sometimes really, really dead things–so I can eat.

Now, I know that hamburger is just the remaining flesh of a cow, but when you add some ketchup, pickles and onions, it can be quite good.

Buzzards have to land and pick the bones of the dead.

I don’t want to be a buzzard. And I especially don’t want to be an emotional buzzard–flying around looking for the disasters in the lives of others so I can chew the fat with the old birds about their demise.

I don’t like buzzards–but they are part of creation.

So may I say, “Carion, my wayward son.”

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Busk

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Busk: (v) to play music or perform for voluntary donations in the street or in subways.

What is sacred?

Or for that matter, is there anything sacred?

Is Earth so earthy that everything is earthen?

Is there anything of heavenly quality on a miniscule planet orbiting in the midst of an immense Universe?

We certainly think there are sacred things–and it’s not limited to those who have a religious swing to their club.

No, everyone, in their own way, will make it clear to you what they perceive to be so important that it must never, ever be ignored, criticized or portrayed in an unseemly way.

The Muslims insist Mohammed is sacred. No pictures. No criticisms. No embellishment in any way, shape or form.

Some Christians are still that way about Jesus, but the Nazarene has certainly been allowed to tiptoe through darker halls of speculation.

Some people think money is sacred. Just ask them for some. They will explain in vivid detail how separation from finance is the true definition of being cast into outer darkness.They will walk by a musician busking on the thoroughfare and deem the musical effort to be glorified begging instead of allowing some humanity to dribble from them as they realize that this individual who loves music is merely trying to find a way to subsist while doing it.

The list goes on and on.

Motherhood.

Some people consider their sexuality to be sacred.

On Sundays in the autumn months, football is a sacred rite of passage in the United States. If you don’t believe so, factor this in–it comes complete with wings and fantasy leagues.

When I sat down to write this essay, I asked myself, what do I think is sacred?

I know the answer. But I’m afraid to speak it out loud for fear that people will accuse me of “busking” a foolish idea. Or worse, that I will be expected to revere my own assertion.

Yet I believe the only thing that’s sacred is the way I treat the next person I meet.

 

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