Cribbage

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cribbage: (n) a card game for two, three or four people

Yes, this is one of those words.

There are many of them: words or terms that are brought up in front of me which I do not know–neither what they mean nor how they are played or applied.

For instance, someone in my presence might say:

“Well, a couple of us were playing cribbage…”

At this point I notoriously nod my head. The reason? Nobody else in the room looks bewildered—they are also covering up their ignorance, and I don’t want to be the one to ask, “Cribbage? What’s that?”

I do it with other words, too. Honestly, Cherries Jubilee is like that for me. I know there’s a fire involved—which is enough to make me want to back off, considering that I’m a bit intimidated by a flaming dessert.

Something topical? The census.

I kind of have an idea what it is, but I’m afraid to speak anything out loud because the whole room may turn to me with one perplexed glance, as if to sneer, “That’s not the census…”

I can break out in a cold sweat if people start talking about constitutional amendments.

I would probably faint if I were suddenly challenged by a woman asking me to explain exactly where the clitoris is.

Sometimes you shut your mouth.

Because the minute you open it, all your stupidity and ignorance come pouring out like the fizz in a two-liter bottle of Coke, uncapped, on a hot day.


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Crevasse

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crevasse: (n) a deep, open crack

“It’s just about eight feet.”

God, I hated those words.

Growing up, I was the chubby, endearing, intelligent and funny friend. If you put me in a room watching Chiller Theater or listening to music or eating pizza, I was the star of the show.

But every once in a while, I got myself trapped into doing activities that blubber-boys should never participate in whatsoever.

I was thirteen years old and was asked to go on a hike.

I cannot lie—I went on the hike because at the end of the hike we were supposed to have a cookout over an open fire with marshmallows. They did not explain that there would be a five-hour death march preceding it.

I was panting within fifteen minutes, melting with sweat within a half hour—my legs so weak at the end of fifty minutes that I could barely stand.

This in itself was problematic.

But then we came to the Brave Man Crevasse.

The grown-up in charge of the expedition had mentioned it the night before with starry eyes, nearly breathless over the joy each of us would have in taking what he called “The Great Leap.” Struck by stupidity and still dreaming of marshmallows, I had failed to consider the impact of his statement.

About three hours into the hike, with me praying for death or the second coming of Christ, we arrived at The Crevasse.

Very simply stated, it was where the path ended and then resumed eight to ten feet over on the other side, with a drop of about fifty or sixty feet in the middle

The major problem was that before I could even consider what we were doing or how I personally was going to achieve it, many of my friends boldly took the jump and landed safely on the other side. Applause followed.

Pretty soon it was down to Lance and me. Lance was considered to be the coward of our troop—afraid of every type of bug, and really somewhat terrified of dirt. Lo and behold, Lance decided to choose this day for his epiphany of courage. He jumped up in the air and landed, his foot slipping at the last moment, nearly falling, but grabbed by some nearby buddies, who then alternated with pounding him on the back for his courage and clapping wildly.

So there it was—that universal turn of nine heads in my direction.

Their faces were full of encouragement, nodding as if to send good vibrations in my direction.

I thought about following Lance’s example, then realized I was not born stupid. So instead I stepped to the edge and looked over at the craggy hillside, filled with rocks and bushes beneath. My first thought was, “I wonder if I could survive a fall and get the hell out of here in an ambulance?”

But it seemed unlikely and certainly painful.

The delay was apparently unnerving to my cohorts, because they began to express verbal exhortations, which gradually became more ferocious and even challenging. That’s when the dastardly statement came to be.

“Come on! It’s just about eight feet!”

You see, they were wrong. It was a crevasse. There was no place for feet at all. If it had been just eight feet, I could just walk across. But it was eight huge spaces of nothing but air.

Spurred on by a combination of humiliation, edification and (still) the prospect of dinner, I leaped.

But I did not do it feet first. Instead I leaped with the top of my body toward the ledge, barely catching it with my hands, my feet dangling and kicking, and me ready to fall.

Blessedly, all of my friends who had made it safely to the other side grabbed me by whatever they could reach and pulled me up to safety.

My heart was pounding. It didn’t stop its thumping for a solid twenty minutes.

Every single one of the people who leaped across chose not to talk about it.

I think they were terrified that they nearly lost me in the Great Crevasse on the overly lengthy hike in pursuit of toasting a marshmallow.

 


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Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi: (n) the body of Christ

I suppose they thought it was extremely clever, to manufacture a rubber bodysuit—bruised, beaten and bloodied.

When they made the movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” they had their actor don this monstrosity of an outfit, believing it would convey the suffering of Jesus on the cross.

It is a classic case of over-kill.

To understand the true indignity of the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, you must step into an operating room in a hospital and breathe in deeply. The smell of funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
blood will rattle your nostrils. It is a nasty odor, meant to be foreign to our consciousness.

Perhaps you want to go on the scene of a horrible car wreck and see the blood still pouring out of the wounds of dying people to understand his situation—there was no time for clotting because the beating continued and the blood was pouring forth, dangerously leaving the body and threatening death long before he was nailed in the hands and feet.

Perhaps if you were around someone bleeding to death and you heard their screams of thirst and realized they were in agony just from the lack of water…

As always, Hollywood dramatizes but never actually captures the drama.

The most tender, gentle man who ever lived, who healed lepers, hugged children, granted women equality and offered love as an alternative to the futility of fear, was beat to a pulp by religious people who thought they were acting in the name of God.

May we learn from that image: Corpus Christi—the body of Christ—which was ravaged by the self-righteous.

May we quietly, humbly and reverently realize how the stupidity of hatred, lying, cheating and self-promotion continues to murder him today.


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Copy

Copy: (v) to make a copy of; transcribe; reproduce:

My mother was totally convinced of it.

You could not change her mind.

She believed if I hung around with bad kids, I would copy their behavior.

It made me mad. I didn’t understand why she didn’t think they could hang around with me and copy my behavior.  Of course, the problem was, I always turned funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
up lame and proved her point.

Why is it so much easier to copy stupidity than intelligence?

Why are we able to Xerox a bad attitude instead of making copies of good ones?

It is because all of us are basically frightened that we’re missing out on something. If we do too many good things, then we’ll never know how much fun the bad ones could have been. So we continue to pursue errant behavior, hoping it will bring a thrill, and then suddenly, without warning, we face the consequences of our actions, and are shocked when we either find ourselves defiled or dead.

Why can’t we have people who pursue joy, goodness, praiseworthy activities and creativity, who are secure enough that they could sway the sinner instead of slipping from sainthood to mediocrity?

I don’t know.

But my mother always felt self-righteous about being accurate concerning me hanging out with questionable characters.

I probably should have told her that self-righteousness is also a sin.


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Comprehend

Comprehend: (v) to understand.

“I don’t understand” is a thousand times more valuable than “got it covered.”

If only we would allow ourselves to comprehend that comprehending is comprehensive.

In other words, if there is a lack of knowing, it is much better to deal with it at the beginning of a project than to arrive on the scene of a failure pursuing damagefunny wisdom on words that begin with a C control.

Ignorant people are just damn afraid of being stupid. Matter of fact, we foolishly use the two words as synonyms.

Facts are, I can be ignorant without being stupid.

And the truth is, I am stupid when I refuse to admit my ignorance.

There is something refreshing, renewing and truly spiritual about stopping all endeavors and saying, “Wait–I don’t get it.”

Just think how many wars could have been avoided and graves prevented.

 

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Collateral

Collateral: (n) something pledged as security for repayment of a loan

No one is ever interested in hearing about my successes.

Perhaps it’s the flash of arrogance that enters the human voice whenever we talk about ourselves in a positive way.

I gain empathy, friendship and humor with my fellow-travelers by “pranking” myself in a snarky way–especially when remembering a time when it appears that I was infested with the demon of stupidity.

To protect myself I always begin these stories with: “It happened many years ago.”

That way you know that I would not pursue this particular adventure today–and if I did, since I am older, I would have more money to address it.

I wanted to borrow two hundred dollars. This was back in a time when two hundred dollars was my “guesstimation” of the value of Aladdin’s castle.

The person from the bank told me that if I had some collateral he would be “willing to consider” such a loan.

I didn’t question any further–I asked myself, What do I possess that’s worth two hundred dollars?

Ruling out my kidney, liver and lungs, I came up blank.

Yet all at once, I remembered that in the basement of my parents’ loan company, there were some huge slabs of marble left over from when they had decorated the office. It seemed to me–since they were marble–that they were certainly expensive.

I wasn’t a rube, so I called a local lumberyard person and asked him what he thought such a slab would be worth.

After he understood the dimensions, he said that if I bought them at the store each one would cost me a hundred dollars.

I was thrilled.

All I had to do was carry three (playing it safe) marble slabs up a flight of stairs, around a corner and out the door, and I would have my collateral.

The problem was, the only person available to help me was my wife. Though sturdy, she was not at a strength level to lift her share of what probably was two hundred pounds each. This did not deter me. I decided the best thing was to put her at the bottom and me at the top.

It took two days. (Not full days. Twenty-minutes-at-a-time days.)

We took a lot of breaks.

Finally we actually unearthed from the basement tomb three two-hundred-pound slabs of marble, got them into the back of our van and drove them to the bank.

I was so damn proud.

I coaxed the banker to come out and see what I had to offer for collateral. Opening the back door of the van, he stared at the dusty pile of stone.

He laughed.

And not just a little. It may be the first time in my life that I was laughed to scorn.

He patted me on the shoulder, shook his head and said, “That’s a good one, man. I can’t wait to tell everybody about this one.”

I assumed the loan was a no-go.

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Cohort

Cohort: (n) a group of people banded together

I have a son who’s convinced that I am becoming more conservative as I get older.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Age has done one thing and only one thing for me–it has insisted that I be practical.

It stands over me, often in a threatening pose, barking in my ear that the plans I had made to do something beyond my physical abilities are not filled with initiative, but rather, reek of stupidity.

I become more and more astounded with the simplicity of the statement, “Those that are not against us are for us.”

Therefore, mankind is my cohort, and I, its.

I am looking for reasons to enjoy the people around me instead of tagging them as enemies to be avoided.

Every time I read something, I find one little tiny nugget of valuable common sense. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Bible or the Communist Manifesto–each document has a golden gleam which makes its writing valuable and worthy of human hearing.

But also, each document is chock-full of filler–statements thrown in, sometimes as afterthoughts and often in ignorance.

So when a Republican talks, I listen for sense. Likewise, when a Democrat shares, I probe the speech for reasonability. In the process of doing this, I find myself making more friends and being far less critical.

Recently a friend asked what I thought about a song that was being touted on the Internet. I replied, “They started on the same beat, didn’t miss a lyric and ended in pitch.”

There’s a lot to be said for that. It is a fine beginning for discussion. But often, humans will find one word within the body of the poetry which they consider distasteful, and relegate the entire presentation to being hellish nothingness.

A cohort of critics.

How boring.

How boorish.

How stubborn

How meaningless.

I found out some time ago that the world never gets anything right. Celebration occurs when the effort comes close.

 

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