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.

Curtsy

Curtsy: (n) a respectful bow made by women and girls

I cannot officially report that the stigma ever went away.

I think it passed after a couple of years—but Glenn certainly carried the sniff of it all through his general education days in our small town.

It all happened quite innocently.

For some reason, our high school decided to have a square dance for homecoming.

One of the teachers, our Spanish instructor, was quite the proponent of square dancing, and apparently made a case to the other teachers—how “cute it would be” for a bunch of high school students to participate in the old form of hoofing.

I remember that learning the square dancing was particularly mind-numbing, partly because it was so abstract to my adolescent mind, and also because I thought it looked like some of the stupidest shit I’d ever seen.

But the worst part was when we took one whole day—yes, an entire school period—to learn how to bow and curtsy.

Because somewhere in the process of doing this ridiculous dance (that should have been killed off with the rest of Dixie) there is a lot of this bowing and curtsying nonsense.

So each one of us had to come forward and show off our best bow, if you were a boy, or best curtsy, if you were a girl.

At first, the reluctance in the room hung like moss from trees.

But when the threat of extending the lesson into yet another day was put forth, we all realized we needed to get through this quickly and efficiently, so we became filled with (fake) enthusiasm, which nearly brought our Spanish teacher/square dance aficionado to tears.

Because we were trying to be exuberant, and even a little madcap, when Glenn took his turn–because the girl in front of him had just curtsied–his brain apparently froze and he did a curtsy also.

The room grew still.

Our teacher/instructor was so offended that Glenn was “mocking” her that he ended up being sent to the principal’s office.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Being teenage boys, we made the assumption that unbeknownst to Glenn, his body was screaming from some homosexual prison to be free.

And in doing the curtsy, he was manifesting his real desire, which was to be a fag. (This was long before “gay.”)

Even as I write this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. But so did everything else I thought when I was fifteen.

Glenn later went out for the football team–probably to prove he was a man.

I think he expressed disdain for girls (like the rest of the macho locker-room gang) just so nobody would think he was “overly sensitive.”

Glenn had to be careful when we showered after gym class—not to cast his eyes in the direction of any fellow. So normally he sat on the bench, quietly dressing and staring into his locker.

This is why I can tell you of a certainty, through this tragic story of Glenn, that the curtsy is mighty dangerous.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crap

Crap: (n) excrement, or used to reference refuse, rubbish, or junk

 I already spent the money.

I know that’s not smart.

But when you’re poor, you have to make arrangements—then hope those plans don’t fall apart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I had a gig. It was a big gig. At least for me. There was going to be some decent money involved.

I will tell you of a certainty, the only way to ever become an artist is to insist on using your art until it pays for you.

In the meantime, your creditors, your landlord and anyone you find yourself indebted to may question the intelligence of your persistence, and sometimes even dishonor the quality of your talent.

But I felt confident—confident enough to pay my bills before I got the check.

It was a two-day gig, and a conference, where I might be able to make further contacts for other engagements in the future.

On the first night, everything went along just swimmingly. The audience was laughing, clapping, appreciating both song and speech. I was feeling so good that I made a joke. I can’t remember all the details of the setup, but the punchline was, “Get this crap outta here!”

Everyone laughed. I thought I was on safe turf.

But later that night I received a call at my motel, telling me I was being canceled because the audience had children in it, and I had offended everyone by saying “crap.” I was contrite—I disavowed the deeds of my tongue—but it didn’t make any difference.

Move ahead in time.

I don’t know exactly when things changed. I suppose there are some people who still find the word “crap” inappropriate, but it would not be unusual to hear it spoken in the church foyer, and even possibly the pulpit.

Now we are fussing about the word “shit.”

It’s amazing how we can come to agreement on what crap and shit are, while being totally self-righteous on declaring it crap or shit.

I have a meter I run in my mind. It’s very simple.

For instance:

If the Ten Commandments are how God will judge me…

Or:

If you have to be skinny and a perfect weight…

One of the possibilities I consider is:

If you’re not supposed to use any colloquial or profane language…

Crap.

I’m in a shitload of trouble.

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Covenant

Covenant: (n) an agreement between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.

 I have neither the time nor the patience to seek out another person to agree with me to seal the deal. So I guess I cannot officially call my rant a covenant.

But I will anyway—because no one is here to stop me.

I do have a covenant with myself. Bluntly:

I’m sick of the shit.

I’m sick of people making a livelihood off stirring up trouble.

I’m sick of politics being given a free pass to be disingenuous and evil.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I’m sick of the shit put out by a religious system that hides behind two or three verses of scripture, to attack and destroy two or three billion people.

I’m sick of the shit inside me—which causes me to want to hold back the true essence of my soul for fear that I’ll be found unworthy. Hell—I am unworthy, and so far, still alive.

I’m sick of the shit that makes us believe we can be prejudiced against half of the population simply because they nurture a vagina. Many times we’re grateful for that vagina, so for us to declare it insipid, weak and lesser might be considered hypocritical.

I’m sick of the shit that I was taught as a boy which kept me away from the simplicity of loving my neighbor as myself, but instead, checking skin tone first.

I’m sick of this shit.

And I don’t think I’m alone.

The only problem is, the people who might have enough heart and spirit to be sick of the shit won’t use the word shit. And the folks who are reveling in the shit don’t really think it’s stinky, just historical. (Sometimes historical is hysterical…)

So I may be more alone than I think. But if you’re sick of the shit, just like me, do me a favor and join me in this covenant.

According to the definition, I only need to win over one of you.   Donate Button


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Conjecture

Conjecture: (n) an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information

The young man disagreed with me.

I gave a college concert years ago, opening it up to a Q & A with the audience afterwards. One of the male students asked me, “Since you’re afunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Christian, when did ‘turn the other cheek’ actually ever work?”

I think he expected some sort of conjecture on my part–about the value of pursuing lost causes, even though it might not seem that they possessed immediate merit.

Maybe he just wanted to justify his passion for revenge–or his girlfriend, sitting next to him, might be greatly impressed by him challenging the guest artist.

Wanting to make sure the audience understood his question, I asked him to repeat it. He rolled his eyes to communicate that I was apparently old and deaf, and posed the question again.

“What I asked you,” he said, “was, when did ‘turn the other cheek’ ever work in history?”

“I see,” I responded. “So let me ask you a question. When did gouging out eyes, pulling teeth and counterpunching ever exactly work in history?”

He stood tall and patriotic and replied, “Well, at least we went to war and beat the shit out of them.”

A small piddling of applause.

“Well,” I objected, “apparently we left some shit in them–because they’re back again. You see, my friend, turning the other cheek is not an attempt to bring flowers to a gun fight, but rather, to buy some time to see what can be done to change the fight from guns to conversation. And that, historically, has proven, over and over again, to be effective.”

Feeling the need to be justified, he spat, “Well, that’s just your opinion.”

“That it is,” I replied. “Actually, it’s my conjecture–a conviction I hold because pursuing anything else leaves blood all over my hands.”


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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

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Come

Come: (v) to move or travel toward or into a place

I am tired.

Come.

You don’t understand.

Come.

I mean, I’ve been mistreated–beaten around.

Come.

Did I mention, I also feel sick.

Come.

Sick and tired and worn out.

Come.

I’ve tried everything.

Come.

I really don’t believe there’s a solution.

Come.

No one listens to me.

Come.

Maybe I should say, no one hears me.

Come.

People are sons-of-a-bitches.

Come.

I’m afraid.

Come.

I’m needing comfort and understanding.

Come.

What do you have to offer?

Come.

No–I want to hear the plan.

Come.

Matter of fact, I insist on seeing a contract, negotiating a deal, having long conversations about this and finding the perfect set-up for myself, so I don’t have to go through this shit again.

Stay.

 

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Colon

Colon: (n) large intestine or large bowel

Talk about “it’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.”

How’d you like to be a colon?

“What’s your job, Mr. Colon?”

“My entire function is to take the shit to the hole.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies in my life. That’s where they go into your intestine with a camera to make sure that it’s ooey-gooey and doing its job. They want to confirm that you don’t have cancer or polyps, which are possible precursors of the disease.

The first time I had a colonoscopy I went into the hospital feeling really bad. A beautiful young woman from China was my doctor. She was so sweet–but I knew
she thought I had cancer. It’s not that I believed I was free of the affliction, but I saw no particularly good reason to etch my tombstone until I had more information.

So they prepared me for the whole process.

The day before the event they brought in a gallon of fluid and told me to drink all of it in as short amount of time as possible. The drink loosens the bowels and empties everything inside–or at least, everything that is willing to be dislodged.

I was faithful. I pooped until my poop looked like water. (And that is a little weird.)

Well, long story short, she went in with her camera and found out there was no cancer and gave me a clean bill of health.

What I remember most about that experience is the legitimate joy on her face when she came to tell me I was alright. It was so intimate, tender and childlike that I teared up and cried.

Was I crying over her gentleness, or was it releasing tension I didn’t know I had about the possible diagnosis?

I don’t know. But it was beautiful.

So every time I go to the bathroom–well, nearly every time–I think about my colon and how patient it is to do its job.

And I also think about someone who was a complete stranger to me–a doctor–who possessed such empathy that she took a moment of grace and the memory of it will last for my whole lifetime.

 

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