Decouple

Decouple: (v) to cause to become separated; uncouple

I am always ready to consider a new name for an old idea.

Sometimes it’s just healthy.

For instance, I wouldn’t mind if we changed the word “sin” to “oopser.” It’s cute and devoid of condemnation.

Lying certainly is in line to receive a new identity.

We’re already working on it with “misspoken” and “misheard.” But I think we can do better than that. Instead of referring to it as lying, we could just call it envisioning. There you go. That would feel so much better.

And since the words “break-up” and “divorce” can sound quite foul, especially in unfriendly company, it’s a damn good time to come up with “decouple.” And leave it to Hollywood to take the forefront on this ingenious evolution. Yes, young couples in Southern California now “decouple” instead of bust apart.

Actually, it has a bit of a seductive tone to it, which hangs in the air for a moment after it’s spoken, and we imagine people disengaging from one another—slowly separating their parts to individual identities.

“Decoupled” works.

We will do nearly anything to prove that we did not make a mistake.

And if we can cause a divorce to seem like the careful breaking apart of an Oreo, to share with a friend, then so much the better.

Yet, I don’t know if you can call exploding the romance between two people–which begins with them clawing at each other, then breathlessly panting on a bed–as a decoupling.

But hats off to those who wish to try.

There you go–maybe that would be a better phrase.

“My wife and I have decided from this point on, to be hats off.

Decapitate

Decapitate: (v) to cut off the head of; behead

 Decapitation seems to be the murder selection by those who just want to make sure the job gets done really well.

After all, once you look down at your enemy and his head is disconnected from his shoulders, you probably can have the confidence to move on, assured that you’ve achieved your mayhem.

As long as it’s connected—or just a wound—you might have to hang around and wait for him (or her) to die.

But I must be candid and tell you, there are many ways to lose your head—and all of these varieties do not necessarily leave you dead, but rather, in varying degrees of humiliation, which might make you wish you were gone.

I’ve lost my head.

I have been decapitated of my mental facilities in the pursuit of some wild idea, romantic fling or dreamy goal that had absolutely no merit in the world of reason.

I wish someone had let me know that my head was separated from the rest of my body, and that I had ceased to be logical.

But people like to stay out of such things.

They will let you wander around, headless, running into walls and tripping over obstacles.

There is an old story that a young girl who danced in front of a king wanted the head of her enemy on a silver platter. I must tell you—even though the platter was silver, I’m not so sure she got anything of value, except the satisfaction of staring into the dead, bulging eyes of her nemesis.

Just thinking about it creeps me out.

  • I don’t want to be beheaded.
  • I don’t want to be decapitated.
  • And I want to be more careful that I don’t lose my head in everyday matters.

So if you ever see me in danger of any of these possibilities…

…please give me a heads up.

Debbie

Debbie: (n) a female given name.

As she skipped her way into a small frat house at Cincinnati Bible Seminary, to sit around in a tiny room with about fifteen other post-high-school strangers, to listen to imitation-hippie-music with a Christian twist, she illuminated the whole surroundings with her smile, which foretold of just a pinch of naughtiness.

She never made you work hard to feel appreciated.

I don’t think she ever met a man she didn’t like.

She wasn’t easy—just uncomplicated.

She loved to laugh.

She thrived on flirting.

And she sang like singing was second nature to her soul.

I had come to the gathering that night to find a vocalist for my up-and-coming band, and by the end of the evening I left with Debbie as my new cohort.

I traveled with her for almost three years. We threatened to become romantic, whispered promises—and we sang great music.

With my tunes, her voice and our buddy, we went all over the United States, appearing on national television, hitting the religious charts and getting to sing a song on the Grand Ole’ Opry.

She has remained my friend throughout the journey.

Even though we will never recapture those thirty-six months of music and magic, we maintain a deep-rooted friendship.

I doubt if she will ever read this.

But I know if she did, she would concur.

And oh—by the way—one of my fondest memories as a young man is the first day that she arrived poolside, wearing a bikini.

She had amazing lungs.

Danube

Danube: (N) a river in central and SE Europe, 1725 miles long.

Johann Strauss.

Ring any bells? No?

How about “The Waltz King?”

Still blank?

How about “The Blue Danube Waltz?”

Still have no idea?

How about this?

Da-da-da-dum! Bleep-bleep! Bleep-bleep!

If you discern my “da’s, dum’s and bleep’s,” you might know what Johann does. He was very popular.

He wrote dance music.

You might say he was the Beyoncé of his era. Whenever his music was playing, people were dancing. Dancing the waltz.

Certainly not as feverish as modern dance—but romantic enough to keep the birthrate rising.

He wrote many waltzes.

But since people don’t waltz much anymore, and not a whole lot of people allow classical tunes to decorate their personal music files, you probably don’t know him.

When Johann was alive, he would probably have been shocked to know that a day would come when his waltzes would be used for nothing more than car commercials.

But when he was composing—and The Blue Danube Waltz was played—the girls would shriek with joy and the boys would grab their hands and get to twirling.

Centerfold

Centerfold: (n) the two middle pages of a magazine, typically taken up by a single illustration or feature.

Warily, I share. Why? Because I don’t think anyone will believe me.

I have only looked at one Playboy centerfold in my entire life.

I don’t know if this makes me under-sexed or virtuous. Hopefully, it makes me who I am. I just never had an interest in pictures of good
things.

For instance, I’ve also never looked at photographs of the Grand Canyon or gazed at a glossy of the Eiffel Tower.

Although people insist a picture is worth a thousand words, it usually barely gives me a sentence.

I like to experience.

So the one time I did peruse a totally naked woman in a centerfold of Playboy, I had two sensations:

  1. I was intruding.

Even though this lovely young woman signed on the dotted line to have her image splashed throughout the world, I felt it was not my business.

  1. I knew I would never get that image out of my mind for the rest of my life.

I can still bring it up on the old brain screen today.

So when I’m told that pornography does not affect how people think, feel or react, I must gently scoff. Of course it does. It’s why folks look at it–to be affected. To be stimulated. To be seduced by their own thoughts.

So the notion that this “romantic LSD trip” in the mind will not return when we least expect it is ludicrous.

There is a power in purity–not because it is more righteous. It’s just that purity grants us a clear head to have our own “trips”–instead of those which are photoshopped for us.

 

 

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Boyfriend

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Boyfriend: (n) a male companion with whom one has a romantic or sexual relationship.

Certain words should have an expiration date, similar to milk at the grocery store.

Without this warning, these phrases can turn sour or just downright comical.Dictionary B

Last week at a stop-off in Battle Creek, Michigan, a seventy-eight-year-old woman introduced her male companion to me as “her boyfriend.”

I tried to be good, tolerant and let it pass, but that little imp in me who refuses to be proper, jumped in and inquired, “Did you guys meet at the malt shop?”

What was hilarious was that she gave me an answer.

“Actually, Starbucks,” she deadpanned.

It seemed right.

Starbucks is the new malt shop … where girls apparently find boyfriends. 

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Ballad

Ballad: (n) a slow sentimental or romantic song.Dictionary B

There are only two reasons for music.

I guess I should present that better.

After many years of playing, writing and performing music, I have found that it offers two functions better than almost anything else: it makes people dance and it makes people feel.

Honestly, music that doesn’t elicit either of those reactions tends to be either manipulated or industrial.

That’s why I like ballads.

Even though I find the dictionary definition above to be a bit passive-aggressive by referring to this style of music as slow, sentimental and romantic, I feel that slowing things down, having enough sentiment to produce emotion and on occasion to be romantic, to be confirmation of a more enlightened human life.

I favor ballads so much that someone once commented, “You can’t do a whole concert of ballads.”

I am so amused by anyone who thinks they can manipulate things of beauty to do exactly what they want them to do to fit into the box provided. You can do anything with music you want as long as it makes people dance or it makes people feel.

And every once in a while… there is a time to dance and on other occasions, a time to feel.

 

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Bale

Bale (n): a bundle of hayDictionary B

I think she liked me.

I know I liked her.

I don’t know how much I liked her. When you’re a teenager you’re so anxious to have romantic encounters that you’re willing to consider many obtuse options. It is amazing who looks good to you by Thursday afternoon at school when you really want to go out on a date for the weekend.

All summer long, I had been driving around town with this girl as we tried to conjure various adventures, while experimenting with conversation, learning how to communicate with someone of the opposite sex.

One day I told her I wanted to go out to a nearby farm and see my friend, Jack, who was working there baling hay. He chose this occupation in order to get in shape for the upcoming football season.

I knew she had a small crush on Jack, but I was not aware of the full extent of her hidden affections. When we arrived at the barn and Jack appeared in the doorway of the upper loft, shirtless, holding a pitchfork, with perspiration streaming down his pectorals, she lost it.

He looked like an image from a John Steinbeck novel, perfectly framed, with a sweaty, well-chiseled body. I peered down at my own well-nourished middle as she practically drooled, staring at the sight before her.

I thought to myself, this was not a good move, to come and see Jack.

We spent the rest of the day driving around, talking about how handsome Jack was and discussing how I should help her make connection with him.

I felt completely left out.

Rather than being the pursuer of budding romance, I was cast into the role of matchmaker.

I explained that I had planned to work on the farm this year, but discovered that I had hay fever.

She squinted, concern in her eyes, and said, “Hay fever?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Whenever I think about working in the hay fields, I break out into a sweat of great anxiety and fear.”

I thought it was particularly funny.

She didn’t even fathom my joke, but instead stared out the window … obviously conjuring images of a topless Jack. 

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Auld Lang Syne

Auld lang syne (n): times long past.

dictionary with letter AI was working on a screenplay for a Christmas movie which I had dubbed “Wonderful,” tipping my hat to the style and meaningful nature of Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

I have a way of writing plays or movies that’s a little bit different. I love to know how I’m getting into the story, developing the character and creating the conflict, but I do not want to look ahead to how the movie ends.

I once heard another screenwriter explain that writing a movie was “all about knowing how it was going to end.”

I’m sorry. That just seems foolish to me.

Since none of us know how our lives are going to end, why would telling a great story be benefitted by controlling the circumstances of the closing scene?

So I know it may sound weird, but I always let my characters decide how the movie’s going to end. After all, in both the short and long run, it is their story.

So when I reached the end of this particular movie, I found that the scene was evolving towards a romantic, if not bizarre, conflict, which needed to be quickly pulled together before the credits had completely rolled.

I needed something.

I remembered during the closing of “Wonderful Life,” they were all singing “Auld Lang Syne.” I didn’t want to have a typical, maudlin rendition of the song, but I thought a bluesy, melancholy, updated version would be perfect to cap off things.

So I sat down and wrote myself a musical preamble to the old standard, hired a great female caterwauler to intone the arrangement, and then just let it happen.

It was so beautiful that I cried.

You see, when you take something which has proven to be effective and you mess with it just enough that people know that you’re updating it for the times, and then let it work its magic, it is usually absolutely amazing.

Music has a spirit. There are certain tones that come together to produce emotion; chords that evoke sensation.

And this is why, when we do become nostalgic, the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” takes even the more cynical of us… to a place of reminiscent bliss.

 

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Apprise

dictionary with letter A

Apprise (v): to inform or tell someone.

So the girl you just met–who is very attractive–also has a large piece of broccoli stuck in her tooth.

  • Do you tell her?
  • Do you risk losing romantic possibilities?

You’re sitting in front of your potential boss at a job interview and he has horrible breath.

  • Do you offer him a mint?

Or you have made a severe error in calculating the family budget and have accidentally misled your wife to think that all the bills are paid.

  • Do you share with her so that she’s aware of the situation?

Ninety percent of the lying we do in life is caused by being deathly afraid and insecure about what would happen if we told the truth. Our conclusions don’t have to be realistic. After all, that is the definition for fear–an often-unmotivated sense of dread.

All we have to do is convince ourselves that the truth will not make us free, but instead, leave us stupid. At this point, we start the ugly process of elaboration.

Nobody has a situation in their past when if they had simply told the truth, a tragedy could have been averted.

So why are we afraid to apprise one another of the actual situation? It’s because we are all uncertain that anyone truly loves us.

Adam and Eve lied to God because they were unclear of the true depths of His love. That is sad.

I may not be able to have a totally clean relationship with everybody I know, but I certainly should practice candor with those who I am content love me.

  • Would I tell the girl that she had broccoli in her teeth? Probably not–unless I was willing to lose a dating possibility.
  • Would I tell my potential future boss that he had bad breath? Probably not, but shamefully, I would gossip about him later.
  • Would I tell my wife about the mistake in the budget? Absolutely–or the relationship is a joke.

I would hope that eventually I would apprise the broccoli girl of her tooth obstruction with a bit of flair.

I also would like to learn to offer the mint to my superior without feeling intimidated.

And I think the best way to achieve this status is to begin to apprise those I love of our true heart instead of making up fake emotion, and desperately trying to pretend it’s authentic. 

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