Con Man

Con man: (n) a man who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true

Every once in a while I take a stroll through the Ten Commandments to take an inventory on how many I’ve broken.

That is one of the more ridiculous aspects of that top ten list–it does not serve as a guide to our lives, but rather, a reminder of how futile ourfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
attempts often are when we pursue self-righteousness or any form of superiority that makes us feel that we’re near to the heart of God.

For instance, I’ve been a con man.

I didn’t do it for a living. That’s probably good. Otherwise, I might be writing you from Folsom Prison, with the blues, or from Sing-Sing without a song.

But I have presented claims as facts, trying to impress people around me, when in actuality the legitimate information was far less than my boast.

Here’s the only difference between me and the standard con man: I actually believed my own bullshit.

I did.

I had thoroughly saturated myself in fictitious notions that twisted my brain to such an extent that they squeezed out common sense and replaced them with Thanksgiving stuffing.

So not only was I a con man to those around me, but I did a remarkable job promoting it to myself.

This is why self-awareness is probably one of the greatest virtues that a human being can pursue–it makes you stop off every once in a while and read the Ten Commandments and realize how far you have fallen short–as you chuckle over your own inadequacy.

 

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Conceit

Conceit: (n) excessive pride in oneself

What is excessive?

It reminds me of the old saying about prunes: “Is two enough? Is six too many?”

Of course, the source of that little piece of whimsy is that if you eat too few, your bowels won’t flow, and if you eat too many, you end up funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
gushing.

I guess that’s the way it is with conceit.

If you don’t have enough self-awareness to believe in your abilities to get you through the tough times, then you’ll probably have a life that’s constipated–gripped in fear.

On the other hand, if you think the journey is all about proclaiming the power of your excellence, you will produce so much information that people will not want to be near you.

Here’s a simple way to handle it:  when someone asks what you do, tell them without adding any of your credentials and awards.

For instance, someone asked me the other day: “What do you do for a living?”

I responded, “I’m a writer.”

I stopped. I didn’t explain what I write, how much I write, or whether someone, somewhere decided to give me an award for my scrawlings.

As it turned out, they were completely comfortable with my answer and pursued no further.

Had I produced one more “prune of thought,” my questioner would have been turned off by my self-gushing.

 

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Clandestine

Clandestine: (adj) done secretively

Although clandestine can refer to any practice or situation we may attempt to hide, normally it harkens to romance or sexuality.

It is difficult to admit that on the issue of faithfulness each one of us is as slippery as a greased hog.

We don’t like to talk about it.

Especially we don’t like to talk about it in front of people to whom we’re committed. After all, we don’t want to hurt their feelings or stir up trouble.

So there’s a certain amount of awareness that has to constantly prod our minds in order for us to make quality choices.

That’s why the Good Book tells us that no one else can tempt us–not people, devil or God. We are drawn away by our own lusts, and even if we try to curtail that aching iniquity by using pornography, we are still dealing with the same problem.

Clandestine ideas just seem more fun.

Strange flesh appears to be better flesh.

And new encounters glisten and gleam instead of just sitting there waiting for us at home.

What can we do about this? Develop an inner candor filled with a nasty bit of personal honesty.

It will keep us on the” strait and narrow” of relationship instead of crashing our ship on the rocky choices of temporary gratification.

 

 

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Cavalier

Cavalier: (adj) showing a lack of proper concern; offhand.

If we can laugh at it, we can mock it.

If we can mock it, we can make it seem insignificant.

If we can make it seem insignificant, we can deny its importance.

If we can deny its importance, we can stop doing it.

A nasty little process that’s being practiced every day in the entertainment industry, politics and even religion.

The cavalier approach we take to essential issues is damnable. You cannot take life-giving activities and place them on pedestals and put them in the museum of
“practices of the past” without setting up the destruction of our species.

Every morning I get up and ask myself, “What is important?”

It’s not important that my eggs are over-easy. That’s just nice.

It’s not important that my coffee was made correctly. That would be amazing.

It’s not important that my car did not start. That sets up a possibility for a lasting repair.

It is important that I have enough self-awareness to be aware of the other “selves” I will encounter.

To take the cavalier attitude that certain situations, certain occupations and certain people don’t really matter because they are either impossible to handle or not worth the time is the definition of hell on Earth.

After all, hell is the absence of God.

And God is the presence of “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

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Blush

Blush: (v) to develop a pink tinge in the face from embarrassment or shame.

Dictionary B

Removing one misconception from the stacked-up views of a human being may temporarily topple the tower but will make the rebuilding more sturdy.

We are full of misconceptions.

Matter of fact, we feel compelled to lie to one another so as to remove all sense of embarrassment, shame or inadequacy.

So the singer who is loud and boisterous is never told that he’s off-pitch.

The beauty queen who is painted to excess to gain approval is never informed of how obnoxious she is.

And the politician is never surrounded by those who will truly ask the right questions.

We are afraid of embarrassment.

We are frightened that our weaknesses will surface, so we smother self-awareness under an ocean of flattery.

Sometimes I need to blush.

  • I need to realize I have said something inappropriate.
  • I have fallen short of expectation.
  • I am a bow-tie worn with a jogging suit.

It’s good for me.

It literally puts some color in my cheeks. 

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Aristocracy

dictionary with letter A

Aristocracy: (n) the highest class in certain societies, especially those holding hereditary titles or offices.

“All men are created equal.” (And that would also include women.)

The recent American interpretation of this Jeffersonian precept has become: “All men and women are kings and queens who have birthed little princes and princesses.”

As we continue to foster the notion that “family is everything,” we have begun to establish millions and millions of little castles all across our land, where people drive across the drawbridge, over the moat, and into their domain where they believe they rule and reign.

The trouble with believing that all people are aristocracy, equally worthy of wealth and fame, is that we don’t have any serfs.

In other words, we don’t have anybody who lives outside the castle who understands the nature of the land, can grow a good crop and has the intelligence to fix the plow when it breaks.

In the pursuit of self-esteem, we have completely obliterated self-awareness.

For example, I have a lovely family, but I have also made it clear to them that there are no kings and queens, and therefore no princes and princesses in our little fiefdom.

So because of this, my children have learned that there’s a time to become a serf to everyone.

  • There are occasions when workers are required, not thinkers.
  • There are moments when digging is better than planning.
  • And there are times when self-worth must be laid aside because the task feels like it’s beneath us.

The aristocracy in our country has caused us to cease to be interested in menial jobs, and at the same time, persecute those who are willing to work them.

This is exactly what happened in the Middle Ages, when those who lived in the castles, who survived on the work of the serfs, mistreated and taxed them so heavily that the whole idea fell apart.

Yes, it truly can be said that the feudal system is … a futile system.

 

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