Dang

Dang: (v) euphemism for the word damn 

Added into the anthology of my journey through the ridiculous and sublime is a one-hour class I was required to sit in on when I was a sophomore in high school, with the subject being, “Better Choices.”

According to the principal, there was an outbreak of bad language in the school, and he wanted to explain how frustration could be handled with much more grace, using terms that, although meaningless, were also unoffensive.

I don’t know how this man knew there was a plague of naughty talk all over the campus.

I think he was fuckin’ stupid.

But speaking of that word, three suggestions were made for when the inclination might rise up to use the word “fuck.”

  • “Fudge.”
  • “Forget it.”
  • And “feathers.”

Now, I don’t know how one was supposed to restrain the tongue from spitting the original gem, substituting the new language, but the instructor explained that if it was accomplished and sweeter sayings could be offered, then it was generally regarded among the American populous that your morality was immediately deemed honorable, and you gained at least thirty IQ points.

Shit was shoot.

Goddamn was golly.

Ass was bottom.

Bullshit was baloney.

Dick was private areas.

Pussy skipped vagina and went to lady’s parts.

And of course, damn was dang.

At the end of the session, four students were called up to do a demonstration, with the first pair using the foul words and the second pair, the more respectable lingo.

They probably could have gotten through the whole class without too much ridicule–but it was really a bad choice to do the demonstration. All the gathered students hooted and howled with the ala natural dialogue, but not nearly as much as they squalled in laughter over the dainty terms, which seemed as awkward as a Baptist family having an audience with the Pope.

Because of that forum, I have never used the word dang.

I don’t think that was the goal.

So I apologize to the educators.

Culottes

Culottes: (n) women’s trousers, usually knee-length or calf-length, cut full to resemble a skirt.

I have seen enough things come and go, enough rules altered–opinions ransacked by reality—that I can no longer abide just accepting a set of regulations without asking why.

In my lifetime, I was informed that long hair was effeminate.

I was told that divorce was forbidden.

Masturbation was considered to be a sin.

Dating between the races was anti-Christ.

And one summer, Camp Jesus Something-Or-Other refused to allow the girls to wear culottes.

It was absolutely ridiculous.

None of the boys objected to the restriction, because girls in skirts would be running, sitting oddly and the fellows would get a great vision of their panties, which would last until the next time they were alone in their sleeping bags.

Everybody—and I mean, everybody—knew the rule was bullshit.

Even when the counselors were asked why the stipulation was in place, they parroted off some answer given to them by the founders of the camp (which they didn’t believe).

I comprehend the process. For instance, for ten years we had to whisper that we “passed gas” instead of bluntly saying we farted.

You could talk about dating and love, but you weren’t allowed to mention sex. That is, until you suddenly were permitted.

Can we shorten this agonizing delay?

Matter of fact, let us decide that if there isn’t a legitimate health, well-being or realistic moral reason for a guideline to exist, we will call it meaningless and request that it be reviewed.

Once and for all, can we come to a conclusion that sanctifying our race by trying to corral human emotions is fruitless?

Culottes look good on girls. They make girls more comfortable. And the only time a girl wears pants and looks like a man is if she decides she wants to go for the whole butch persona.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Critique

Critique: (v) to review or analyze

I can’t remember exactly which adjective it is that is thrust in front of “critique” to make it bearable.

Is it beneficial? Helpful? Eye-opening?

Whatever word it is they force in at gun point as a prefix to “critique” to rationalize the fussiness is absolutely ridiculous.

The best way to get along with human beings is to realize they are human.

Then have a working comprehension of what that means.

Basically, we are capable of almost anything if instructed well and encouraged. And we can be murderous if someone wishes to discourage us or give us a critique.

Although we are taught to thank people for their insightful comments, the human heart is geared for praise, which is why it is so susceptible to deception. I suppose we could work on changing that and perhaps we should.

But this is my belief about commenting on people’s efforts, work, art or lives–I call it the fish and bones approach.

Just like you do when you decide to dine on seafood after having hooked one on your line, you carefully pick out the meat and you meticulously leave behind the bones.

It takes a little longer, but it’s better than swallowing the bones or throwing away the entire fish in disgust because it dared to include them.

The same is true with people.

Living on this earth at the same time as you, people have the right and privilege of being handled just as gently as we do our fish dinner.

Find what they do that is meaty.

Leave the bones.

And maybe pretend they aren’t even there.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Convulsion

Convulsion: (n) contortion of the body caused by violent, involuntary muscular contractions

“When you are weak, you are strong.”

This concept is roundly rejected in everyday humanity, because it sounds ridiculous. So we give it the greatest insult of all—we ignore it.

When one of my sons was hit and run by a car, the brain damage that occurred through the accident left him with occasional seizures. I will never forget the first time I saw my child, who was impaired and unable to communicate, lying on the bed in the grip of a convulsion.

Helpless is where I began. It quickly moved to frantic, and then took on a bit of fury as I screamed for the nurses to come, and for somebody to do something.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He was so out of control. I mirrored his position.

I could not understand the worth of such ugliness and felt abandoned, desperate for some sort of purpose.

Yet I must tell you, I despised every deep thought offered to me to assuage my guilt or suggest divine guidance on the purpose of a little boy shaking and shuddering with no remedy.

I had to come to grips with me. After all, disappointment has two parts to it:

  1. Why in the hell did this happen?
  2. Why in the hell did this happen to me?

Each question has to be answered individually until some comprehension about human progress begins to settle into the fiber and DNA of our thinking.

When nothing happens, we remain the same.

When good things happen, we remain the same but arrogant.

When bad things happen, we can’t remain the same, and arrogance prohibits us from finding peace of mind.


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Confabulate

Confabulate: (v) to engage in conversation with imaginary stories

For those of you who are regular readers, I am delighted to report that my new novel is in the works for publication with a major New York House. There’s a great possibility for a bonus check and I’ve been promised distribution all over the country.

On top of that, some of my music has been selected to be recorded and there’s high energy in the label that many of the tunes will be pickedfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
up by famous artists, which will open the door to even more royalties.

It seems that my readership is growing every day and my podcast has quite a following. Just last week, somebody said that I was what they call “a hot property.”

On top of all that, my personal life is booming with my children’s great success, and the fact that I am alive and kicking, and able to make a difference in these tumultuous times.

I want to thank each one of you for allowing me to come every single day and write my heart, knowing that you are listening and you care about what I have to share, especially this morning, when I’ve taken the time to confabulate all this information in this ridiculous essay.

 

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Brace

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brace: (v) to get ready for something difficult or unpleasant

“I’m not alone.”

This statement is the essence of human sanity.

Being alone makes us lonely.

Lonely causes us to think we’re insignificant.Dictionary B

A feeling of insignificance makes us believe our contribution is meaningless.

I am not meaningless.

But I must understand that common sense, compassion, tenderness, fellowship and faith are often isolated on islands, separated from the mainland by cynical thinking.

Brace yourself.

  • You need to be prepared to be considered an outsider if you’re going to bring anything of value inside.

Brace yourself.

  • People are not going to naturally be kind, but instead, are motivated in a mob mentality, to pursue such wisdom.

Brace yourself.

  • What is passed off as logic is often, within a few short months, considered to be harmful and rejected for its ridiculous premise.

Brace yourself.

  • Look for things that are everlasting, and pursue them with vigor.

Brace yourself.

  • If you aren’t considered a little weird, then there’s no reason for you to be in the game.

Brace yourself.

  • Loving your neighbor may be considered to be unnecessary, irrelevant and unrealistic.

It is time for people who do not view themselves as good, but who desire to pursue good … to do good things.

 

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Bow Tie

Bow tie: (n) a necktie in the form of a bow or a knot with two loops.

I realize it is very intolerant to proclaim something ridiculous, assigning no redeeming qualities to it whatsoever.Dictionary B

Yet we all do it.

And in some cases it is applicable.

If you will allow me a brutish example, I think farting is an absolutely amazing experience, but should never be presented as a community blessing. In other words, it is perfectly all right if people object to farting in public, as long as they don’t insist that farts were meant to stay inside.

Likewise, I am certain there is a place for the bow tie. Matter of fact, we have given it a location of honor for formal events, weddings, and occasions where kings or queens may frequent.

But generally speaking, when in public–just as with the fart–it’s a good idea not to don one of these pieces of neckwear. There is a stigma associated on someone who wears one on a Tuesday afternoon in Schenectady.

I am not going to go into what some of the implications might be, or how this individual might be viewed by the general public, but let us say that it isn’t what you might call a classic turn-on.

For a very brief week or two, I thought bow-ties might be an interesting choice for me, as a fashion statement. But every time I looked in the mirror, the short little bloom around my neck made my fat face appear about three times bigger. I looked like a butcher asking if you wanted to pick up a good deal on cold cuts.

Of course, no one told me. The human race is notorious for informing us how nice we look and then whispering and giggling behind our backs.

Finally, a dear friend of mine, in a moment of clarity and sanity, stepped up and said, “Your bow tie makes you look like you’re wearing a tourniquet that’s swollen your face.”

She was right.

So to all of those who love the bow tie, hat’s off to you.  But for the record, maybe you should consider hats.

 

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Bib

Bib: (n) a piece of cloth or plastic fastened around a person’s neck to keep their clothes clean while eating.

Dictionary B

It is impossible to escape ridiculous.

Stop trying.

The only factor even in consideration is whether you’re going to be ridiculous by choice or ridiculous by accident.

Some people prefer being ridiculous by accident. Then they can pull up lame and be the victim of circumstance.

I would always rather be ridiculous by choice. Let me give you an example.

Many years ago, I was invited to be the guest speaker at a banquet. I had just purchased a lovely white suit. Well, actually, at the time I thought it was lovely, but now it would be overstated and draw too much attention.

Yet on this occasion I wore this new suit.

When I arrived for the meal, I discovered that the menu was spaghetti and meatballs.

I am not embarrassed to tell you that it is difficult for me, for some reason or another, to take a sip of water without spilling a drop or two on my front.

It is not an issue of dexterity, but rather, the distance that must be covered and possibly, some of my nervous energy due to memories of previous spillage.

So even though as the guest speaker, I was sitting at the front table, I found a huge dish towel from the kitchen and wrapped it around my neck, hanging down the front of my white suit, to counteract what I was sure would be an avalanche of drippings from my spoon and fork.

I made me a bib.

The towel was ugly. It apparently had been owned by a child and had the picture of a bear eating a bowl of porridge.

I looked ridiculous.

But I smiled through the whole dinner, knowing I had made a good choice.

Especially when I looked down and saw my new little bear friend … completely covered in spaghetti sauce.

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Battle

Battle: (n) a sustained fight between large, organized armed forces.Dictionary B

I think I have a new favorite stupid statement–even though I must admit that “favorite stupid statement” may be an oxymoron.

Nevertheless, I, for one, am tired of hearing people say, “I pick my battles.”

What an audaciously ridiculous notion. It’s really just an excuse for prefacing our cowardice.

In other words, “I have no intention of displaying a backbone in this situation. I have only a certain number of battles I can wage, and this is not going to be one of them.”

Let me make it clear that throughout my journey, I have never seen the time when I could pick my battles.

My battles are laid out in front of me, and I can either choose to fight them, or run away and pretend like I’m looking for “higher ground.”

“I pick my battles” is the phrase that kept stupidity alive in our country, prejudice in full force, bigotry operating successfully and talent relegated to the back row.

We don’t pick our battles.

The battles exist.

And we can choose to either participate, or be part of the people who pretended to march on the side of righteousness or who insist that if it ever happens again, they will be in the front lines.

 

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Ann Arbor

dictionary with letter A

Ann Arbor: a city in southeastern Michigan; home of the University of Michigan.

It was a gray, overcast day–a bit of chill in the air, threatening some sort of storm, whether the precipitation would be merely wet or partially frozen.

But I was sweating.

I had literally broken a surface sweat around my temples and under my armpits. I was nineteen years old, and for the first time in my life, I was about to cross the border into Michigan.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but being from Central Ohio and a fan of the Buckeyes since birth, I had not only been infused with a competitive spirit toward the University of Michigan, but had basically been convinced that north of Toledo lay the barbarian horde.

So intense was this training that upon entering the state, a mere forty miles from the seat of hell in Ann Arbor, I not only found fault with the scenery, but in my mind, generated sinister proportions to every ditch and tree.

There were things I knew about Michigan just from the passing conversations of my friends and family:

  1. They were all mean and hated their children.
  2. They wanted to do harm to all Ohio women.
  3. They weren’t really Americans.
  4. They despised God.
  5. And of course, they cheated at football.

My problem was that I was on my way to Ann Arbor to do a gig, and somehow or another, I would have to muster the courage and professionalism to treat them as humans instead of creatures from the Black Lagoon, the source of their power.

What was particularly annoying was that the concert where I performed was very enjoyable, the audience generous, and I walked out with more money than I had made in weeks.

Damn those tricky Wolverines–trying to seduce me with filthy lucre.

But I maintained my loyalty to the great Ohio, and as I retreated back to the safe haven of my home, on those forty miles to the border, I held my breath half the time … so as to make sure that I didn’t inhale the Michigan spirit.

 

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