Dane

Dane: (n) a native or inhabitant of Denmark.

Some words get swallowed up by just one definition.

For instance:

  • “Appaloosa” always finds you horsing around.
  • “Rockies” brings mountains to mind.
  • And for me, the word “barbecue” will always be linked with ribs.

The “Dane” that always comes to my mind is Hamlet.

Actually, it’s a vision of a very distraught young man, eating cheese Danish.

With my limited understanding of the Shakespearean play, what we have here is a whiny millennial from the sixteenth century, upset because his life is miserable, everybody’s lied to him and he seems to be trapped in a family of the hysterical. (And I don’t mean funny.)

So his answer is to consider suicide.

And he’s very noisy about it.

I guess I would kind of assume that anyone who’s noisy about trying to kill himself is hoping that someone will lodge an objection. Otherwise, you open the door one morning and they’ve already gone to it.

Hamlet whines.

I suppose there’s some level of interest in the style of his complaint—his wording—and you may even think that his character explores the depths of human despair and depravity.

But he doesn’t do much to promote the cause of the Dane—especially since there are people like me, who don’t have any other reference about a whole nation of people, other than their twisted, perhaps unfavored son, Hamlet.

To be or not to be?

That is…

Depressing.

Cyanide

Cyanide: (n) a salt of hydrocyanic acid, as potassium cyanide, KCN.

 If, in your job description, there are instructions describing the circumstances, conditions or situations in which you are required to drop cyanide tablets in your mouth to commit suicide, then, in my opinion, you’ve chosen a poor profession.

I don’t care for any philosophy, religion or nationalism that promotes the idea that ultimate devotion requires the loss of life.

For instance, I would be very happy to assist my country in diplomacy, giving food to the hungry or even trying to find a way to motivate myself to dig a ditch.

But when you refer to the ultimate sacrifice—that being, giving your life in a war for freedom—I must tell you, I find this hideous.

Likewise, in Christianity, when they discuss the disciples becoming martyrs for the faith, I have a tendency to mull over the possibility that there might have been a way to skip out of the pagan land that was so pissed with their preaching and just go to more receptive audiences.

I know this might make me sound shallow.

But death, suicide and popping cyanide in the last moments to make sure you are not captured and interrogated is not only unappealing, but anti-human and anti-common sense.

I will not dwell with those who revere death as the supreme statement of consecration without objecting to such futility in favor of using our hands, our minds and our spirits to enhance the world.

Certainly this eliminates me from being a spy.

I probably will never work for the CIA.

Even the FBI might pass me over in favor of a more death-willing applicant.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Corvette

Corvette: (n) brand name for a type of sports car made by Chevrolet

I think the correct term for it is “urban legend,” although, since I grew up in a town of only fifteen hundred people, it may be a rural legend.

When I was a boy there was a man-made lake near our town which had several back roads along the banks, which were often impassable funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
because they were covered with water if the lake was particularly bloated by rains.

I was familiar with the roads because sometimes it was fun to go down them to park with your lady, or to scare your girlfriend because it was so spooky at night. (Everyone knows that teenage lasses who are frightened are much more susceptible to romance.)

On one of these roads, a gentleman took his 1969 bright-red Corvette Stingray, parked it, took out a shotgun and blew his head off.

It did no physical damage to the car whatsoever, so after he was removed and the remaining parts of him were cleaned out, his family tried to sell the car. The problem was, it was nearly a week before anyone found the body in the car, so the stench of the corpse had settled into the upholstery, and it was necessary to pull out all the seats, the dashboard, and start from scratch. They did this, figuring it would still be cost-effective to sell the automobile.

But even after all the fastidious effort, the smell of the dead man’s remains lingered—because a Corvette is made of fiberglass and is much more porous than metal. Therefore, it retained the stench.

Try as they would to deodorize, they were unable to get the odor out of that beautiful red Corvette.

It had to be junked.

I was present for this event, but I would understand if you wanted to question the authenticity or validity of the tale, and I do realize that at this point I should come up with a moral for the story or a clever closing for this essay, to make you yearn to come back for more.

But the best I can muster is, if you’re going to kill yourself, don’t do it in an expensive sports car, because no one will be able to “vette” your stink.


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Cold-blooded

Cold-blooded: (adj) without emotion or pity; deliberately cruel or callous

The reason we call someone a sociopath is because our social abilities should be on a path. When they aren’t, it is odd, it is dangerous and it shows that something is horribly wrong.

Although it seems to be popular to imitate ruthless, the conscience placed into us by a Creator keeps us from being able to pull it off without great personal destruction.

I remember coming into the yard of my home and seeing that my dog had killed some guinea pigs my son was using for his science fair.

I could have sworn that my puppy was smiling.

That canine had no idea that he had done anything wrong. Matter of fact, he seemed a little proud of his teeth prowess.

Not until I began to yell and chase him did he realize there might be a problem and that he should get the hell out of the way.

You see, that’s not the way it is with people.

Maybe we watch too many TV shows.

Maybe that one hundredth horror movie was detrimental to our thinking.

But even though human beings are temporarily capable of cold-blooded actions–where it seems like they have no soul whatsoever–they actually are so tormented that they often end up mentally ill, committing suicide.

The danger with being cold-blooded is that too often guilt sets in–and it’s your own blood that’s cold.

 

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Chain Smoke

Chain smoke: (v) to smoke continually, especially by lighting a new cigarette from the butt of the last one smoked

I never saw my dad smoke a chain. Yet this is what my nine-year-old mind tried to envision when my mother yelled at him and told him he
was nothing but a “damn chain smoker.”

I was aware that my father smoked cigarettes. Actually, he rolled his own. I think he saw it in a movie Western and thought it was cool, manly, and decided to take it up as a practice.

So he bought the tobacco, the papers and pretended he was the Marlboro Man.

He smoked continually. After the passing of time, he mainly smoked so he could keep from coughing. Yes–the absence of the smoke filling his lungs was such a shock to his system that he desperately needed to inhale the tobacco to make him feel normal again. For every morning in our home began with a coughing fit, lasting about twenty minutes.

I knew it was over when the smell of cigarette came floating through the house and I arose from my bed, and walked to stare at myself in the bathroom mirror, around the little speckles of my papa’s spittle.

I was the son of a smoker who decided never to smoke.

I was the son of a mother who spent a lot of time bitching, only driving her husband to more rolling and lighting.

 

Smoking is a vice.

Chain smoking is committing suicide–one drag at a time.

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Brigadier

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brigadier: (n) a rank of officer in the army, above colonel and below major general.

Sometimes foolishness gets a pass, but it has to be legitimate foolishness. Dictionary BI’m talking about that fresh kind that just slipped out of your stupid brain because of your ignorance. If you’ve done foolishness before, you can’t claim that it’s “innocent foolishness.”

I did a foolish thing.

I was so young, self-inspired and full of false confidence that life decided not to punish me for my presumption.

My younger brother decided to join the army. Considering he had never even played with army men and walked with the sensitivity of a marshmallow, the idea was ludicrous. But it was in full swing before any of us realized that he had sauntered off to be a soldier.

The first we knew of it was upon receiving a call from basic training, where he pleaded for us to “get him out of there”–or he was going to commit suicide.

Now, I can discuss with you the unfairness of him placing me in that situation, but instead, I will tell you that in an attempt to be a good big brother, I called the army base where he was doing his imitation of G.I. Joe, and talked to a Brigadier General. Now, I don’t know exactly what a Brigadier General is, but it sounds a whole lot more important than me.

For some reason, he took my call. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just a nice guy. Maybe he couldn’t believe that someone was asking for his younger brother to be released from basic training.

His first inclination was to laugh at me. After all, you can’t maintain a volunteer army while promising a money-back guarantee. If everyone who was displeased with the accommodations at “Fort Kick Your Ass” was released immediately, we wouldn’t have enough soldiers to march in a small-town parade.

So on the first call he chuckled.

On my second call, he took the fatherly approach, explaining how the military works.

On the third call he appealed to my patriotism.

On call 54, he asked me if I knew how powerful he was.

But somewhere along the line, on the 93rd call, he paused. This is what the Brigadier asked me:

“You’re going to keep calling me until we release him, aren’t you?”

I replied, “You can just stop taking my calls.”

“Then I would have a suicidal assistant to deal with,” he presented.

I really don’t know what happened.

I don’t know if what I said made any difference at all.

But this fine Brigadier General realized that I was sincere and that my brother was not even suited to the rigors of being a back-up in the chorus line.

They released him.

It was a miracle.

But actually, it was an expansive piece of grace … granted by a man who was trained to be ruthless.

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Blameless

Blameless: (adj) innocent of wrongdoing.

Dictionary B

People were killed because they happened to be in a night club with a man who brought a gun and a nasty vendetta.

It doesn’t make sense.

Human beings who insist on the world being sensible end up either committing suicide or writing really bad poetry.

But we are not blameless.

I want to find my fault in the fiasco. I am weary of studying the scrambled brains of troubled little boys.

None of us are blameless.

All have sinned and fallen short of glorious possibilities.

An attempt to point fingers–especially prompted by political motivations–is what truly enrages our Creator.

So I went off yesterday morning and did what I think I do best. I shared a message of good cheer enjoined with personal responsiblity.

For after all, I will never change the world by focusing on its tribulation.

I am also useless if I quietly intone to others, “Be patient because God is in control.”

I find value in the human tribe when I bring a spirit of good cheer with a simple idea on how to make things just a little bit better.

I didn’t shoot one bullet at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida.

But legislation is useless. I must share a responsibility to make this world a little bit more pleasant by offering a courtly grace to the next brother or sister I encounter.

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Befriend

Befriend: (v) to act as a friend to someone by offering help or support.Dictionary B

$500.

That’s how much they were charging for a 1970 Corvette Stingray.

I was nineteen years of age and could not believe what I was reading in the advertisement.

It was a beautiful car, late-model, and my dear God…it was a Corvette. And they only wanted $500.

I just about broke my neck getting there, to see the vehicle, and when I arrived I was astounded that nobody else had shown up for the auction.

Now, even though $500 was well beyond my means, I would have done almost anything to get the money to buy the Corvette.

The gentleman selling the car explained that there was one big problem: a man had committed suicide in the car and no one had discovered him for three weeks.

It did creep me out a little bit, but I thought I could get over it–until he opened up the door and I sniffed the problem.

The odor of the decomposing body of the suicidal owner was absorbed into the fiberglass of the car.

Nobody was interested in a car that stunk.

It was beautiful on the outside and smelled rotten inside.

I passed.

Over the years, I have remembered that story in my dealings with human beings.

Even though it seems noble to befriend others and help out people in need, you have to make sure that no matter how good things look on the outside, that these individuals have taken time to go inside themselves and clean out the garbage.

Rotten people continue to do rotten things, until they decide to stop being rotten.

  • You can befriend them.
  • You can love them.
  • You can help them.
  • You can encourage them.
  • You can send them to a seminar to learn about self-esteem.

But it is up to them to remove the stink.

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Bee

Bee: (n) an insect of a large group to which the honeybee belongsDictionary B

There certainly seem to be a lot of design flaws in Mother Nature.

I am not offering this as a criticism, nor do I think I could have done a better job stomping around the Universe.

It’s just that in the mortal brain, we have a tendency to seek sense where Nature only offers tension. The whole process is held together with tiny fibers, little branches, and maybe chewing gum and lint.

How it actually works is beyond our comprehension.

For instance, I would love to be friends with the bee.

I’ve heard of the good work they do.

  • I realize that they pollinate plants and flowers which keep us alive and allow us to eat, escaping starvation.
  • I am very favorable to honey, the by-product of their process.
  • They are colorful.

But then, they have this thing called a “stinger.” And because I do not want to be stung, I am tempted to kill them, and therefore be party to terminating their noble work, and in a sense, setting in motion my own suicide.

It’s really crappy.

Why couldn’t the bee sing like the bird, so we would be able to admire both mission and personal traits?

But mingled in there is the need for the bee to defend itself against those who would try to quell its progress. So the bee threatens with a sting.

It is bizarre.

It is beyond my grasp.

Yet it works.

And when the bees started to die off a few years ago, we very complex human beings were sent into a dither over the prospect of losing the little fellas.

For after all, we need them.

So we must remember, there are many things in life that benefit us … which are also allowed to sting us if we misuse them.

 

 

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Asp

Asp: (n) another term for Egyptian cobra.dictionary with letter A

I don’t know much about Cleopatra.

Supposedly she was beautiful.

But honestly, I’m not convinced that all the reports of beauty throughout the history of humankind are valid.

After all, she lived thousands of years ago, before women were as well-tended-to and groomed as they are today. Who knows? She might have had hairy armpits, which would have been totally acceptable during her time, but might be a bit of a detraction from our concept of modern-day beauty.

I think what bothers me most about Cleopatra is that she killed herself.

It produces a paradox: we want to teach our children to deal with problems, not give up and never snuff themselves. Yet throughout history we glorify people who have committed suicide, from Socrates to Cleopatra, and oh, let’s not forget…Romeo and Juliet.

Even in today’s society, if somebody kills himself, we have a tendency to romanticize it or find reasons why he or she was ill-suited to be part of the family of man.

For instance, supposedly Vincent van Gogh was just too creative and spiritual to be with us mortals.

And then, we turn to our young people after glamorizing self-execution and insist that they seek counseling, gut it out or survive the bullying instead of “offing” themselves.

Sooner or later, we have a responsibility as a society to speak consistently. If you have nothing against killing, then continue to promote all forms of life-termination.

But if one kind of killing bothers you, please admit to yourself that killing as a whole might be obtuse.

Likewise, we should make a decision whether it is a brave thing to commit suicide, or an act of cowardice. And please don’t tell me it’s both, depending on the circumstances.

  • Cleopatra may have been beautiful.
  • She may have been powerful.
  • She may have been cunning.

But when push came to shove and she was floating on a barge on the Nile, she stupidly made an asp out of herself.

 

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