Cadge

Cadge: (v) to ask for or obtain something to which one is not strictly entitled.

I did not know this word.

Sometimes when I run across a word I don’t know, I pursue it no further, figuring that if I’ve survived to this point, I will probably be safe to
ignore it for my lifespan.

But for some reason, “cadge” piqued my curiosity. I’m glad I looked it up. I probably will never use it–because people will look at me with that wrinkly face which communicates, “You’re just showing off.”

But to cadge–or cadging–is an infection in our society.

It is a mental illness, leading us to believe that we are to get something before we give something.

All of nature contradicts this assertion:

  • Seed comes before harvest.
  • Consideration breeds love.
  • And we must do unto others if we expect them to do back to us.

But somewhere along the line, we’ve begun to honor the social interaction of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

We wait to see what is available, what people are willing to give, and then we decide how open and kind we will be to them.

Case in point: People who live in the inner city, who often have darker skin, are not able to make large contributions to their congressman. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will get the potholes fixed on their streets. For after all, the politician is cadging to acquire money to re-elect him or her, and since nickels and dimes rarely add up to dollars, the poor will have to wait until someone who is not elected, elects to help them.

We tout ourselves a Christian nation while promoting a social “take and give” which is Jewish or Muslim. It is a philosophy of retaliation–an attempt to get something before we give something, so we can decide how little we have to give for what we got.

It is nasty business.

And it is doomed to failure because there are certainly people who are better at the game of “cadge” than we are.

 

 

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Cadet

Cadet: (n) a young trainee in the armed services.

When I was a teenager, we hated soldiers–mainly because we hated the war. (Well actually, the real reason was that we were all afraid we were going to be drafted into that war to be soldiers.)

Nowadays, we revere the armed services.

We not only “support the troops,” but we’re “grateful for their service” and laud their efforts.

Risking being controversial, may I say that somewhere between deeming the military despicable and granting them sainthood lies the truth.

All of us should be a little embarrassed that it’s necessary for us to have an army. We should pray for a world where such regulation and violent alternatives either decrease or cease to be.

Since that is not our present situation, we should teach our cadets to be war-ready but peace-loving.

In so doing, we will have our first line of defense prepared but not eager.

Well-gunned but not trigger happy.

And provided for without being over-stated.

I salute those who are willing to take up arms to defend the defenseless.

But I warn my country that every time we put a young man or woman in uniform, placing them in harm’s way, we risk losing the abundance of energy and power they could give us by living for their country rather than dying for it.

 

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Alabaster

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Alabaster: (n) a fine-grained, translucent form of gypsum, usually white and often carved into ornaments.

What a great word for the Christmas season!

I don’t know where I got the idea–I’m sure somewhere in my twisted history it slipped in through an available crack, but I always envisioned the wise ones from the East, who came to Bethlehem, bringing their gifts in alabaster boxes.

Maybe it’s something I just absorbed over the years from viewing artists’ renditions of the astrologers’ luggage. But it was always a beautiful sight–because truthfully, you can tell the value of a gift by its packaging.

Let me rephrase that. I believe you should be able to tell the content of the quality of a gift through its container.

A story: many years ago, at Christmastime, one of my children, lacking finance for the occasion, bought a good number of the one-dollar boxes of chocolate-covered cherries. The reason that I knew they cost a buck is that the store printed the price on the front of the wrapper, and my child was unable to dispel the evidence. Being a little bit embarrassed over offering such a cheap gift, he wrapped them beautifully in gorgeous paper, placing a bow on the top.

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed, after commenting on the beauty of the packaging, to discover the cheap contents. I hid my disappointment pretty well, though, and acted like they were the best chocolate-covered cherries that God, the angels, or Russell Stover, for that matter, had ever come up with.

But the incident gave me reason to contemplate the issue of presentation. It’s why we dress up for formal occasions instead of showing up in t-shirts and jeans. The person inside is the same, but the outward appearance certainly advertises better possibilities.

So I imagine when these star-gazers from the East arrived in Bethlehem, and Mary and Joseph saw the alabaster boxes, a tingle went through them, down to their spines, because they suspected they were in for a good haul. Being simple folks on the fast track for sainthood, they probably attempted to hide these very carnal sensations. But I’m sure the presence of  alabaster  stimulated a great hope in their hearts, that just maybe they wouldn’t have to be poor forever. And sure enough, upon opening them, they found gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So you may think it’s funny to wrap a stick of gum in golden paper with ribbon and tinsel. Or you may want to play down your offering by placing the gold watch you purchased in a brown paper bag. But I will tell you, there is a power in at least attempting to match what’s inside with what’s outside.

For instance, it’s why I continue to diet … even though my efforts are mocked by the universe.