Dank: (adj)  unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and, often, chilly:

Although many enthusiastic pilgrims insist that adventures bring the spice to life, that same spiciness often generates emotional indigestion.

I like a good turn of affairs—but my body, my being, my feelings and soul do not always concur.

Just once—a single time—hopefully never to be repeated—I found myself trapped in a house, trying to outlast a hurricane.

The storm itself was not particularly terrifying.

For the answer, my friend, was just blowing in the wind.

The struggle came when the electricity went out along with all the accoutrements afforded by such a charge.

Especially air conditioning.

Also, you can’t open the windows because of the hurricane, so you’re in an old-fashioned hot box, doing your best imitation of a TV dinner.

I sweat. Then I sweat some more. I got tired of drinking since there was no ice, but I still kept sweating.

Trying to sleep was a bit futile.

I must admit, I’m a creature of habit who deeply enjoys sleeping ice-cold. Instead, I lay naked on my bed, perspiring, with my brain gradually twisting like an exotic pretzel.

Yes, for me that kind of heat and sweat and dank surroundings were mind-altering.

I started feeling an itch in my brain that I could not scratch. It was inaccessible to me without the inclusion of air conditioning and ice.

I grew grumpy.

I was fussy.

I couldn’t sit still—but moving around seemed to be a heinous flaw.

There was a point when the air felt so heavy that I wasn’t sure I could actually breathe it. It was like I needed to cut it out of the space in the room—chop it up—before it could pass through my lungs.

I had always prided myself on being adjustable, but suddenly I was at the mercy of a deep, dark, dank hole in my universe, that was anything but chilly.

Rather, it was sweaty and tropical.

Fortunately for me, just about the time that I was ready to scream out my disapproval, the shutters were lifted, the windows opened, the generator turned on and I sat in front of a fan, blowing hot air into my face.

It was enlightening.

I always felt that in all circumstances I could find contentment.

Instead, I discovered a glaring exception.



Dacron: (n) a brand of polyester textile fiber that is wrinkle-resistant and strong.

Many years ago, deeply embedded in the cultural tributaries of the American social superhighway, I traveled the land as a young man with long hair, great passion and questionable decision-making capabilities.

My entire wardrobe was Dacron polyester.

The fabric was magical.

Although a case can be made that it looks rather cheap, it refuses to wrinkle. Matter of fact, one of the tests I had for choosing a stage garment was wadding it up in my hands and throwing it on the floor. Then I picked it up to see if I could find any flaws.

Dacron was divine for traveling.

You could take it off after a show, let it fall to the ground, step on it four or five times during the night, kick it to the corner in disgust—but still, in the morning, it would come back to you, submissively unmarred.

There is one thing you had to be careful with, and that was temperature. Keeping my clothes in the back of a hot van in August, at times an odor wafted to the front, which fell somewhere between platypus poop and mustard gas. (I’m guessing.)

It was just the natural “sweating” of the Dacron fabric (which, of course, really isn’t cloth at all, but a series of chemicals mingled together to somehow or another explode into a fabric shape).

Without Dacron, we would never have had the leisure suit.

Without Dacron, we would never have had poofy bell bottoms.

And without Dacron, we would never have had the disco era, complete with its wild coloration and flashy, over-sized clothing. (A argument could be made that our country might have survived the absence of that particular era. I will remain neutral.)

Yet if there is a lawsuit pending to isolate those souls who wore their fair share of Dacron polyester, I am guilty.

But wrinkle-free.



Cushy: (adj) involving little effort for ample reward

If you keep insisting that you have “nothing against hard work,” someone will eventually make you do it.

Hard work, that is.

I don’t know where we got the idea that sweating, struggling, grunting, groaning, bitching and moaning are the virtuous parts of adult life—signs that we are truly getting something done.

Without shame—minus guilt—jubilantly, I proclaim to you that I will always seek the cushy path.

I don’t care if you think that makes me lazy or if you feel me less trustworthy because I will not trudge along with the weary.

I have worked for many years to be speedy, efficient and good at what I do in my particular lane on the human highway. So when the need for other labor comes up, I can reach in my pocket and pull out good, cold, hard cash to give to someone who is willing to do the jobs that I am not.

I never plan on mowing a lawn again. You can explain to me that it’s good exercise, or there’s a sense of satisfaction when you complete the ordeal. I am ecstatic for you.

But somewhere there’s a young man who wants to go to college who can use my cash for his adventure—and all he has to do is trim my green.

I understand there may be some merit in knowing how to change your oil, fix your toilet or go into the wilderness and live off the land for three days.

But I do believe if I dug up my ancestors and they were suddenly given body and breath, they would tell me, “If you don’t have to dig, plant, hoe and harvest…go for it.”

I will never bitch to you.

I will never complain.

Because I will sit over here, really cushy, admiring you as you struggle.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Climb: (v) to ascend, especially by using the feet and sometimes the hands

Everyone understands the choice but no one discusses it. It is an unspoken piece of information that is decided in the internal workings of every human being.

You have to find out if you would like to go to a gym and sweat four times a week so that when you climb a flight of stairs, you won’t sweat.

There you go. I don’t know why nobody talks about it.

People working out in the gym are not thinking about how they’ll feel when they’re sixty-five or seventy years old. They just want to make sure that if they’re on a date and there’s a half-mile walk to the auditorium, or a two-hour wait standing in line at the restaurant, or four flights of stairs to ascend to reach the destination, that they will be able to do it without looking like they’re flirting with death.

Also, nobody wants to be the one panting the loudest in the bedroom after sex. If you’re a man and it sounds like you’re going to have a heart attack because you made love to your woman, it may just discourage her from trying again.

It is our vanity that presses us on to bench-press.

And for those who think to themselves, what do I care if it takes forty-two seconds for me to recover my breath after climbing a flight of stairs?–well, you will never catch those individuals stomping, dancing or doing a Pilate.

Do people live longer because they are aerobically able to climb without much difficulty? There’s no evidence for that. They just look prettier and healthier doing it.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s much to be said for reaching the top of a mountain with your clothes undrenched.

But unless it is a major concern, or you’re just bound and determined to convey that your tight pecs, flat abs and muscular legs make you more sexy, I think you will probably join the ranks of those who file away from the gymnasium.


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Caddie: (n) a person who carries a golfer’s clubs

Mike was always trying to figure out ways to make money. He was a fifteen-year-old entrepreneur before anybody was prepared to spell or
pronounce the word.

He liked me.

Now, Mike weighed about 122 pounds. I also weighed 122 pounds–but stored 150 more as a backup. So Mike had a lot of stamina. I just had a lot.

Mike had the brilliant idea of going to the new golf course just outside our town and offering his service as a caddie to our limited supply of financially successful people. He did it for two or three weekends, and came back with… cash.

At fifteen years of age, I so infrequently saw money that it seemed almost mystical and certainly magical.

Mike convinced me that I should take my 270-plus pounds and go out with him the next weekend to caddie at the golf center. He explained that it was nothing more than going on a long walk. (I should have realized at that point that it had been many years since I had been on a long walk. My personal preference was a long drive.)

But I agreed and arrived at the gold course at 8:00 A. M. sharp to carry the bags for Mr. Fundergetz. Now, I’m sure that’s not his real name, but he said it with a German accent so quickly that the best I could ascertain was “Fundergetz.” Most of the morning I opted to call him “sir.”

I had not realized that golf courses were measured in yards–and this was before anyone had thought about using a golf cart. By the time I reached the third hole, carrying the bags and trying to keep up with Fundergetz, I was panting, sweating down the insides of my legs and so flushed in the face that he became concerned for me and asked me to sit down while he ran and got some ice for my forehead.

After a few moments of recuperation, I said, “I’m fine now, and it won’t be too much longer, right?”

At this point, Fundergetz explained to me that it was an eighteen-hole golf course and we were only one-sixth of the way through.

Noting the fear on my face, my trembling brow and a tear coming to the corner of my eye, he showed mercy on me, handed me two dollars and asked if I could make it back to the clubhouse on my own.

I was so humiliated.

Mike was so disappointed.

I was completely emasculated by the whole experience.

So when I arrived back at the clubhouse to complete my restoration, I got two hot dogs, a coke and a Baby Ruth candy bar.

It is amazing how good they made me feel.

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Burgundy: (n) a deep red color

I’ve spent much of my life wondering if I am focused or obsessive. It may be impossible to get an accurate meter from anyone else on the issue due to their prejudice. But let me let you decide.

When I was twelve years old I had a little singing group. We all ended up going to church camp together, and after several strategic “nags,” I was able to convince the counselor to allow us to sing an a capella number before vespers.

Now, the evening vespers time at this particular church camp was about a half-mile hike up a big hill.

I bring this into the conversation because I had decided that our singing group should dress up for the occasion in these new shirts we had purchased, which were deep burgundy in color, and made out of some sort of acetate that resembled velvet. They were also long-sleeved.

The day arrived for us to sing, and it was about 90 degrees outside, but by the time of vespers, it had gloriously cooled to 85.

My friends wanted to wear t-shirts and shorts, but I insisted that we maintain our plan and climb the huge hill in our burgundy, long-sleeved, unforgiving shirts.

Being the largest member of our group, I labored, I wheezed, I panted, and I perspired like a man on the gallows.

When I got to the top and it was time to sing, I spent the entire song wiping my face with my hand and dropping the moisture to the ground beneath me. (One of my buddies got so warm that he swooned. Fortunately, he was bolstered by the baritone.)

The other kids looked on with a combination of amusement and admiration. We finished our song and our tenor screamed aloud, “I can’t take it anymore!” and ripped his shirt off, casting it to the side, sitting with his naked top, much to the chagrin of a nearby counselor.

Needless to say, I received a lecture the following day, from several members of the staff, about appropriate attire for vespers.

To this day, I cannot see the color burgundy without breaking out into a cold sweat.


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Balmy:(adj) pleasantly warm weather.Dictionary B

I will take the risk of speaking ideals. (After all, being idealistic is a tedious journey to frustration. At least when you’re pessimistic, you’ve already arrived.)

But taking a chance on musing the magnificent, let me say that when it comes to the subject of weather, I find the perfect to be simple.

It should never be so hot–or balmy–that you’re sitting without moving, and sweating.

Likewise, it should never be so cold that while sitting, you shiver.

Whatever that temperature may be in whatever climate or particular nation, there is the ideal.

Because even though I have found myself in regions which are deemed to be tropical paradises, they were always infested with bugs, buzzing things, and sweat.

  • Yes, the sun is warm.
  • Yes, the sky is blue.
  • And yes, I am melting.

Likewise, growing up in the Midwest, there were four or five months during the year when I either needed to grow fur or cover myself with it. I could not go outside without freezing and once inside, found it difficult to thaw out at an adequate pace.

So without being a complainer, I will tell you that for about two or three weeks every year–in whatever area of the country–I escape the perspiration of balmy and the icicles of frigid, and find the ability to sit and enjoy the air without interruption or being accosted by insects and snow.


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Ann Arbor

dictionary with letter A

Ann Arbor: a city in southeastern Michigan; home of the University of Michigan.

It was a gray, overcast day–a bit of chill in the air, threatening some sort of storm, whether the precipitation would be merely wet or partially frozen.

But I was sweating.

I had literally broken a surface sweat around my temples and under my armpits. I was nineteen years old, and for the first time in my life, I was about to cross the border into Michigan.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but being from Central Ohio and a fan of the Buckeyes since birth, I had not only been infused with a competitive spirit toward the University of Michigan, but had basically been convinced that north of Toledo lay the barbarian horde.

So intense was this training that upon entering the state, a mere forty miles from the seat of hell in Ann Arbor, I not only found fault with the scenery, but in my mind, generated sinister proportions to every ditch and tree.

There were things I knew about Michigan just from the passing conversations of my friends and family:

  1. They were all mean and hated their children.
  2. They wanted to do harm to all Ohio women.
  3. They weren’t really Americans.
  4. They despised God.
  5. And of course, they cheated at football.

My problem was that I was on my way to Ann Arbor to do a gig, and somehow or another, I would have to muster the courage and professionalism to treat them as humans instead of creatures from the Black Lagoon, the source of their power.

What was particularly annoying was that the concert where I performed was very enjoyable, the audience generous, and I walked out with more money than I had made in weeks.

Damn those tricky Wolverines–trying to seduce me with filthy lucre.

But I maintained my loyalty to the great Ohio, and as I retreated back to the safe haven of my home, on those forty miles to the border, I held my breath half the time … so as to make sure that I didn’t inhale the Michigan spirit.


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