Cruel

Cruel: (adj) willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.

You do know that your clock doesn’t say, right?

I’m talking about when we casually cite, “The clock says…” and we note the time.

Since clocks can’t speak, they can’t say.

Some folks would say that’s being picky. (Actually, it’s a little trick you learn in writing to make sure you don’t have grumblers and complainers instantly mocking you because you claim to have a talking clock.)

But two nights ago, I caught my clock reading, “2:53 A.M.”

Suddenly I was wide awake.

It’s amazing that during some of these midnight stirrings, it feels like you could get up and build a bridge. And then, five hours later when you’re supposed to get up and bridge something, you can barely move.

We are strangely constructed, curiously functioning and unfathomable in our conclusion.

But since the clock read “2:53,” I decided to ask what the plot was. Yes—my brain always has some sort of idea it’s brewing, contrary to what I might think about during the day, and also frequently critical of my self-assured attitude.

The question on this particular awakening was, “How have I been cruel?”

When I’m better prepared—after the selection of my favorite shirt and a good breakfast—I would probably insist that I’m not cruel. But my brain was reading something else at 2:54 in the morning. So I stayed quiet and listened.

This is the lecture I received:

You are cruel when you withhold appreciation simply because you believe you’ve already expressed your favor.

You are cruel when you know someone requires a hug and you supply a handshake instead.

You are cruel when your friend has contacted you by text or email, and you arbitrarily decide to return it—the next day.

You are cruel when you hear an ignorant statement made in your presence and you let it go without comment, thinking it’s none of your damn business.

You are cruel when you turn into cement over an issue of spirituality, politics or morality because you think it makes you appear more righteous.

You are cruel when you comply to the mediocrity of a situation or the indifference of a room because there’s no need to be a boat-rocker.

You are cruel when you no longer believe you’re capable of being cruel.

I don’t like it when my clock reads.

I guess I’m just like everyone else:

I would be completely satisfied with an ignorant time piece.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Covert Action

Covert action: (n) a secret action undertaken to influence the course of political events, as a government intelligence operation.

Stubborn doesn’t work.

Oh, we think it does. Somehow or another we believe that “sticking to our guns” empowers us to win the day.

Think about that phrase: “sticking to your guns.”

May I point out that if you’ve had to introduce a gun into a situation, maybe arbitration has failed.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We live in a time when people are impressed with the ability to stubbornly hold on to their politics and their beliefs. It makes it very difficult to have the kind of intelligent conversation which allows for everyone to walk away, head out the door, and on their way home, change their minds just a little.

Maybe that’s the best we can do—just change ourselves a teeny bit, so we don’t come across too predictable or too obnoxious.

Yet I will tell you—it is fruitless to approach a stubborn person with a stubborn profile. You will never argue down someone who’s argumentative. And for those who believe they have found the secret of God, you are wasting your time blurting out a piece of theological insight that might enhance their profile and journey.

Those who still give a damn, wish to see some change and are yearning for a humanity that is as humane to humans as it is to animals, well…

If that’s what you want, you’re going to have to be covert.

You’re going to need to be humorous when others are blatantly serious.

You’re going to be required to bring some gravitas when the world seems to have gone tipsy on an alcoholic binge.

And you’re going to have to find ways to say good things in a better way, in order to convince anyone to honor the best.

You will not be able to speak to Republicans if they smell “donkey” on you.

Likewise, those Democrats can see an “elephant” coming a mile away.

What is needed is a covert action, if we’re going to change the politics, the spirituality, the manners, the integrity, the ethics and the temperament of our time.

We will have to cease to punch their conscience and instead, create new ways to tickle their fancy.

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Counterintuitive

Counterintuitive (adj) counter to what intuition would lead one to expect

Spirituality and practicality meet together in a holy ground called common sense.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Common sense is the wisdom that is so obvious to each and every one of us, that as long as we’re not rebellious or being bratty, we can see the intuition and understand the next thing that needs to be done.

So what makes us become counterintuitive to common sense is either a lack of belief in spirituality or too much spirituality and not enough function in practicality.

Of course, there is the danger of being so practical that you don’t think anything can actually be spiritual.

We seem to be going through a phase. If I were trying to characterize the present of social thinking and parallel it to the years of our growing up time, I would say the whole world is acting like it’s sixteen years old. In other words, we all have permission to drive and put our lives in gear, but we don’t necessarily have the maturity to achieve it.

We need to come back to the better parts of ourselves and allow the spirituality that we believe in and the practicality we possess to mingle and become our new common sense.

It is certainly counterintuitive to think we’ll be able to make valuable decisions without having common sense.

And it is also counterintuitive to try to achieve common sense without a spiritual practicality.


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Constitution

Constitution: (n) a body of fundamental principles or established precedents

Shall we call it the quest?

It is the odyssey that science, spirituality, government, entertainment, business, morality and ethics should be on in the pursuit of finding out what is best for the human race.

Many years ago, our forefathers decided to establish a document which would explain their hopes and dreams for a new country. It was a step. It was the beginning of this quest–a constitution which constitutes that we intend to get along together, and will find a way to do it while granting each other the pursuit of happiness.

Tricky business.

After all, your happiness may be my definition of immorality–and my morality may seem to be an unlawful imprisonment to your desires.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So the constitution is not a collection of thoughts, phrases and paragraphs, but rather, an attempt to understand that there will be some evolution, discovery and realizations that come along the way which will cause us to reflect on what we have already written–and add to it with an eye toward the common good.

Matter of fact, there may be some things we need to subtract because they limited a particular group of people at the time the document was written.

The beauty of a constitution is that it is a great starting place to commence something truly significant.

But the quest must go on.

And those who try to freeze time, limit possibilities or preclude others are not following the constitution, but rather, using it as a means of inhibiting the free expression of all citizens.

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

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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Compulsion

Compulsion: (n) forced to do something through an irresistible urge

At one time I had a compulsion to be noticed. Now I like to notice.

I had a compulsion to be sexy. Now I’m extremely grateful if anyone is willing to have sex with me.

Also, there was a great compulsion in me to have money. Now I like to high-five myself when I find a clever way to use leftovers.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I had a compulsion to be famous. Now it’s exciting to be well-thought-of.

I had a compulsion to yell at other people I felt were idiots daring to drive cars around me. Now I ignore my horn–we haven’t interacted for weeks.

I had a compulsion to be spiritual. Now I’m lavishing in the joy of being real.

I had a compulsion to see my children do well. I woke up and realized it’s their lives.

I had a compulsion to participate in politics. Now I pop some corn and watch it.

I had a compulsion to be thinner. Now I work on trying not to be fatter.

I had a compulsion to be healthy. Now I cross my fingers and thank God for His grace.

I had a compulsion to be compulsive. Now I’ve learned the victory, the peace of mind and the utter bliss of “taking no thought.”

 

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Colander

Colander: (n) a perforated bowl used to strain off liquid

The key is in finding the secret.

For instance, the secret to good lasagna is the cheese blend.

The secret to good pizza is a toss-up between the crust and the sweetness of the sauce.

The secret to good sex is to make sure the woman has an orgasm before the man pursues his.

The secret to spirituality is to read less, be more.

The secret to politics is to tell the truth.

Which brings me to the secret for spaghetti. (You may not see any particular clarity in the path I’ve taken, but here we are.)

The secret to spaghetti is the colander.

Some would insist it is the texture–preferring al dente–but spaghetti can have perfect texture, but still cling to too much water, making the sauce ineffective.

The colander allows you to shake off the extra moisture, which puts the spaghetti on your plate drier and more able to make love with the cheese and tomatoes. Anybody who has ever tried to make spaghetti without a colander always finds that at the bottom of the pan is a whole bunch of liquid that hangs around to steal the taste.

Sometimes I wish I could be thrown into a colander and shaken around–just to get rid of all the extra meaningless residue. Of course, I would never fit into a colander, and the shaking would probably kill me.

So I shall not do that. I promise.

 

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Code

Code: (n) a system of symbols substituted for other words for the purpose of secrecy

When we’re finally convinced that we cannot establish our superiority over other human beings by clearly stating it out loud, we develop a code.

It is a code we only teach to certain people–the ones we feel are worthy of our intelligence, depth, maturity and spirituality.

We sneer when others try to understand but fail due to either their weakness of character or lack of brain power.

This is why doctors choose to use medical terms instead of practical ones.

It’s why ministers refer to oblique verses of Holy Book, in order to communicate the idea that only they, a few others and God are privy to the translation.

It’s why politicians have a stump speech, and then have a real code of behavior which they enact with their staff and subordinates.

This is one of the reasons Samuel Morse developed a code–so ideas could be quickly passed from one party to another without having to wait for the arrival of a letter by stage coach.

There’s nothing innately wrong with a code.

It would be extraordinarily paranoid to assume that not being familiar with a code of one group or another was a purposeful snub.

But I do think it is the responsibility of kind human beings everywhere to dispel codes and find language, emotions and gestures which have a more universal appeal.

 

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