Crab

Crab: (n) a crustacean

I believed myself to be successful long before there was any evidence. I saw inklings of possibilities, and I occasionally rewarded myself with the accoutrements of someone who had achieved his goals. But most of the time, a look from the outside might have produced giggles about my inside.

For a brief season I owned a Fiesta Ghia. It was made by Ford. What is significant about this car is how small it is. What is further interesting is how large I am. There were times that I felt I was gathering a small crowd just to watch me get into it. (I am sure I was paranoid.)

But I was thrilled. It was bright red and it was mine—as long as I made the payments.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I decided to take it on a trip to play music in some nearby states, treating it as my personal limousine. Originally the excursion was planned for myself and one other guy, but soon three other fellows whined, cajoled and pleaded their way into becoming part of the entourage. So five of us—count them—five of us got into my Fiesta Ghia, with the backend hatch packed with luggage, and we took off.

We were somewhere on the back roads of Arkansas when the Fiesta Ghia developed some transmission problems. (Hard to believe, isn’t it, considering the amount of weight we were carrying).

We were able to cripple our vehicle into a very small community, and found a mechanic, who told us he could fix it and have it ready by noon the next day.

We found a cheap motel (which I’m sure was the embarrassment of the whole town) and settled into our room to await our repaired chariot. About thirty minutes after we arrived, one of our touring group came running into the motel room, breathless. He explained that there was a restaurant right next to this motel, which had a banner advertising “All the Crab Legs You Can Eat for $8.99.”

A hush fell over the room, followed by a quiver, and then a mutual scream from all the inhabitants. We were gonna go have crab.

$8.99, even at that time, was very reasonable, so even though we possessed limited funds, we believed it to be God’s will for us to use them to stuff ourselves with crab and celebrate the repair of our Ghia and the bonding we were having together as men.

We arrived at the restaurant at 7:15 P. M. and did not leave until 10:00 P. M.

Five grown, hungry crab-eating fools.

When we first entered the establishment, they were grateful to see us. When we left, there was no person in the joint who would speak to us. We had cleaned them out of their crab—not just for the night, but all they had bought for the entire weekend. (Keep in mind, it’s a little difficult to get crab on the back roads of Arkansas, since “the docks” are a thousand miles away.)

I suppose we should have felt guilty about eating too much. If we had been more temperate, we would have slowed down after the twelfth helping. But we were young, brash, self-involved, slightly traumatized by our car ordeal, a little scared of the motel we were staying in, and ferociously fond of crab.


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Convenient

Convenient: (adj) at hand; easily accessible:

Although in the annals of literary history, he is considered to be one of the greatest villains of all time, Ebenezer Scrooge has a classic response to Bob Cratchit when his worker asks if it’s convenient to take Christmas Day off. In all candor, Scrooge spits back, “No, it’s not convenient to pick a man’s pocket.”

I, for one, have tip-toed my way around friends and family for years when asked if something was convenient or not, fearing I would come funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cacross Scrooge-like if I voiced my real opinion.

So this morning I will tell you five things that are not convenient:

  1. It is never convenient to be lied to, even if an apology follows. Mistrust lingers.
  2. It is never convenient for someone else to make an appointment for you simply because he or she thought it was “in your best interest.”
  3. It is not convenient to assume that as a Grandpa, you will attend every event at the school pertaining to your grandchildren, just because “you better, or you suck.”
  4. It is not convenient for the restaurant to run out of straws and napkins, but “they hope you’ll understand.”
  5. And finally, it is not convenient to be honked at in traffic simply because someone views him or herself as an aggressive driver on the way to an important meeting.

I shall add a sixth:

It is not convenient to listen to talking heads on television tell us that politicians just naturally run by different rules than us normal human beings.


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Chef

Chef: (n) professional cook

“Vanity, vanity, kitchen is thy name.”

You may note that I have altered the adage.

It does not matter if it’s a man or woman–if you start talking about cooking, the reaction falls into two categories:

  1. “I don’t cook, I will never cook, I will not touch a pan. Serve me.”
  2. “I’m such a good cook, people think I should start my own restaurant.”

Folks get very nasty about their ability to stir sugar in with spice to make something nice. They’re convinced they have the best recipe for any delicacy.

This is confirmed by dozens of shows on television, with chefs competing with one another for the honor of being chief cook and bottle washer.

What is it about the human race that causes us to believe that we have a passable ability to serve a meal instead of the overwrought notion that our platter of “pleasables” should be offered to wine and dine kings?

Do you really have the best barbecue sauce in the country?

Is the secret to a great turkey to deep fry it?

Are green beans better with almonds?

Does the extra thirty seconds of whipping the egg whites truly make a better meringue?

Is hot sauce the universal elixir for “delish?”

Even if we can convince all the brothers and sisters of Earth that we are alike, equal and that no one is better than anyone else, after that meeting is over, there will be someone who will insist they should cook the victory meal–because they’re a better chef.

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Café

 

Ca: (n) a small restaurant selling light meals and drinks.

All of my life I have been surrounded by friends who enjoy discovering out-of-the-way, little cafes.

I won’t even mention the fact that these establishments usually last about six months before someone finds one down the street that’s
“cuter.”

I am a big person. (By big, I’m referring to the size of my body, not necessarily my soul.)

So these little places are tedious, if not arduous, for me to negotiate. The tables are tiny and the chairs provide a landing area for only one of my butt-cheeks.

Then there are the toy meals:

Croissants–which can be consumed with three bites.

A Danish–which doesn’t really taste that much better than the one I once ate at a flea-bag motel off their free Continental breakfast.

And of course, the over-emphasis on the coffee and tea.

My friends sit there, cross their legs and chat with one another, munching on the tiny provisions as if they have found a precursor to heavenly bliss.

I am uncomfortable. I am misplaced. I am a dog at a cat rodeo. I am an apolitical advocate who finds himself at a get-out-the-vote rally.

Over the years, I have learned ways to excuse myself from such awkward pretense.

So now when I hear the word “café ,” my brain just naturally translates it into “caf-nay.

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Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar: (n) dark, sweet Italian vinegar that has been matured in wooden barrels.Dictionary B

I guess it was around age 35 when I stopped trying to be enticed and instead, allowed myself to be convinced.

Up to that point, everything needed to have a sensuality, an obvious value or a pleasure related to it in order to grab my interest.

To put it bluntly, a stick had to come along a poke my lust–whether a lust for food, romance, power or even work–to get me revved up and ready to go.

Yes, I needed to be enticed.

So in that time–those “salad days”–when I ordered a salad, I always got a mix of Thousand Island and Blue Cheese dressing. Why?

  • Because I loved the taste.
  • I loved the rich, thick texture.
  • And I think, secretly, I was enthralled by the number of calories.

But then when I reached 35, I started thinking about my mortality. Death is highly unlikely when you’re a kid. But death lurks in your late thirties, and even though it’s not prominent, it is still evident.

It was at that point that I realized my choice of salad dressings was contrary to my good health. So I investigated other choices.

The one suggested to me more often than any other was balsamic vinegar. “Low in calories, good for your tummy and a promoter of excellent digestion.”

When I tasted it, I wanted to run out of the room. It was not creamy. It was not delicious. It was intrusive. Yes, that’s the word.

But since I was trying to move out of a climate of enticement, I allowed myself to be convinced that this dressing was to my betterment.

To this day, when I go to a restaurant and they don’t have lower calorie options, I will order it–not because it’s enticing, but because I finally am convinced.

 

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Avenge

Avenge: (v) to inflict harm in return for an injury or wrong done to oneself or another.

Human beings are capable of understanding the concept.dictionary with letter A

A vast majority of us mortals understand that it would be completely inappropriate and foolish, not to mention selfish, to get on an airplane and request that all the people sitting near us move so that we could lie down across the three seats.

The saner members of the children of Adam and Eve are also aware that we take our turn in line at movie theaters or the DMV.

As you can see, there is an awareness that “time and chance happens to us all.”

Yet for some reason we have a tendency to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the action of being offended, attacked or mistreated. Why we think this is not bound to happen, considering the ego of our species and the amount of interaction we are required to have with one another, is beyond me.

Yet perfectly rational people who just left a football game, where they trickled out of the stadium in single file without complaining, will get into their cars and blare their horns at a person who dares to pull into the provided space in front of them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, we’re already halfway on the journey–why not complete it?

For of a certainty we are aware that if someone walked into a restaurant and pushed to the front of the line, insisting that they needed to be served first, the whole room would hate them.

Yet why don’t we understand that it is a “hateable” instinct–to want to hurt someone else just because they hurt us?

Not only does the philosophy of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” fail to heal our pain, but it doesn’t make us any less blind or grant us better ability to chew.

Somewhere along the line spirited people have to stop avenging–just the same way they learned to stand in line and wait their turn.

 

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April Fool’s Day

dictionary with letter A

April Fool’s Day (n): April 1st, a day on which people play tricks on each other.

Most of the time, April Fool’s day is fun, filled with practical jokes ranging from the sublime to even the macabre.

I remember once convincing my seven-year-old son that I had to go off to war against Poland, because the people of that country had refused to send us our alloted Polish sausage, and it was a time to stand up for our rights and demands for processed meat.

But there was a time in my life when I pulled an April Fool’s prank which backfired seriously, because what I thought was obviously comically bizarre was accepted as true, and had to be played out.

It was about two years after my father had passed on. I was continually trying to cheer my mother up with various antics and projects. (About six months after my dad’s crossing over, I took my mother bowling, agsint her strong objections, only to discover when we got there that she had never been bowling before, and rather than being a joyous release of tension, it became an arduous task of painful instruction and embarrassments, ranging from trying to get bowling shoes on her feet to retrieving a ball she had rolled down the alley which only made it halfway.)

So I should have been aware that April Fool’s jokes involving one’s mother were not always destined for success.

There was a restaurant near our town called Kahiki. It was known to be very expensive and a posh center for those of affluence.

Thinking that it was obvious that I would be unable to afford such a dining experience, I jokingly told my mother I would take her to Kahiki that night for dinner. I walked out of the house giggling to myself, figuring that she would decipher that the whole thing was a joke when she realized it was April 1st.

About three o’clock that afternoon, my little brother came running to the door of my apartment, and told me that our mutual mother was in the process of putting on her best Sunday dress and was even wearing makeup and fixing her hair. She had intoned to the little fellow that she was so moved and so looking forward to “a night at the Kahiki.”

Somehow or another, arriving at her home and screaming “April Fool’s!” did not seem appropriate.

I spent the next two hours driving around town borrowing money from people who had told me they would never lend me money ever again, to secure the funds to take her to this lavish eatery.

Arriving at 6:30 that evening, a bit out of breath and pulling on my suit coat, there was my mother, sitting and waiting for me with her purse in her lap, tears in her eyes, so grateful for her son’s generosity.

I took her to the restaurant. We had a lovely evening. And I spent the next two months being bugged by my friends to get the payback for the cash.

I learned something very valuable: April Fool’s Day jokes always need to be very, very obvious.

 

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