Cruise

Cruise: (v) to sail about on a pleasure trip.

I stumbled upon a little piece of personal revelation, which after much thought, might just end up being worthy of universal application.

(Not everything I think falls into this category. Many things that I pursue pertain mostly to me, and would not be helpful or even interesting, to an outsider.)

For instance, my daily regimen in approaching healthy eating would certainly bore the most prideful listener.

But what I’ve discovered is that nothing in life has immediate appeal—nor is it dead-on-arrival.

Each one of us ends up talking ourselves into everything.

So it only stands to reason that we talk ourselves out of other things.

For me, one of those things is a cruise on a ship.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with such an adventure. There have even been television shows produced extolling the pleasures of food, fun and romance—even promising that the boat itself might just be “love.”

But somehow or another I have talked myself out of this.

I talked myself into being a musician. Honestly, there’s little that’s more tedious.

I convinced myself of the glories of fatherhood. Yet this did not happen until children were afoot.

But I’ve also talked myself out of… Let me see:

How about a daily run? I think a daily run would be possible for me if there were someone trailing me slowly in a jeep, firing a machine gun at my heels. Yes, I would need adequate motivation.

So as I think about a cruise, the following four things immediately annoy me:

  1. Walking up the plank to get on.

I don’t know why. It just seems like I’m lining up in a prison yard for daily gruel.

  1. Cramped quarters.

To make money, a cruise ship must have little cabins, and of course, the smaller they make them the more people they can put onto the ship, and therefore, the more profit.

I am a big man, constantly perturbed by living in a medium world.

  1. A constant barrage of food.

Perhaps I’m odd, but after I eat, the last thing I want to do is go dancing in the Mambo Room.

Doesn’t that sound horrible? Where is the time for digestion?

  1. And finally, the pool.

If the boat is for love, then people are peering extra carefully at one another for the potential of unexplainable romantic entanglements.

When I go swimming, I’m thinking more about cannonballs and floating. Probably not the mindset of Carnivale.

So you see, I have not given a cruise a chance—because I have convinced myself that it is not worthy of my consideration.

I probably should have done that with bologna and sausage years ago.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Coax

Coax: (v) to persuade

I finally had enough children that I became a fairly decent father. Therefore I’m not responsible for the initial flops.

All kidding aside, one of the mistakes of all parents is investing too much time into the well-being and involvement of the child.

For me, this realization happened at the swimming pool. My first son, two years of age, came down in his cute little swim trunks. I could hardly wait to get him into the water and see him splash around–a vision I had perceived in a dream the night before.

But instead of jumping into the water or into my arms, he stood at a distance, critically, like an old maid viewing a Playboy magazine for the first time.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I made promises. (I’m talking about Baskin Robbins promises. In other words, the big scoops.)

He was unimpressed.

Matter of fact, he was quite enamored that he had gained my full attention over such a small thing. So in his toddler mind, he was dangling me over the abyss of an emotional cliff, giggling over my slipping grasp.

I hated myself.

He never did get into the pool. I must have asked him a thousand times, and I’m not exaggerating for the purpose of literature.

But by the time I got to the second, third and fourth kid, I realized that the key to engaging your children in good things is to always act like you just don’t give a damn.

I did not invite them into the pool. Matter of fact, I passed along the impression that they were “too small to swim.”

I jumped, threw balls in the air, and in no time at all, each of them came over to the edge, bouncing up and down, waving arms and saying, “Daddy, let me come in!”

I elongated the process (so there wouldn’t be any bitching about the temperature of the water). So when they got in, it was an honor.

Children are manipulative. They are not angels from heaven, unless you’re talking about the fallen variety, hanging out with Lucifer at the clubhouse.

Children were meant to come along with us, not us with them.

I have stopped all coaxing. I don’t coax anyone.

You can watch what I do, listen to what I believe or follow me around to see how hypocritical I am. Then decide for yourself.

I, for one, do not have time to talk people into pursuing good crap.

 

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Chlorinate

Chlorinate: (v) to impregnate or treat with chlorine.

Sometimes I don’t know if things have improved since I was a boy–or if I was just a little wimp-ass. In other words, I have memories of
some activities being very difficult, odd or unusual, which in my life today, are common.

One of those would be a swimming pool.

When I was a boy of ten years, I went to the local pool in my Central Ohio area, and when I got near the water, I couldn’t breathe. The odor, the chlorine, the mixture of too many people–I don’t know what it was. But my head spun and I thought I was going to faint. (For God’s sakes, you can’t faint when you’re ten years old–unless you plan on being the kicking post in your school for the rest of your life.)

Stupidly, I reached out, thinking it was my brother’s arm, and grabbed onto a thirteen-year-old girl, who immediately screamed. When the lifeguard came running up, she explained that I had accosted her, and with my head still spinning, I was unable to contradict her story.

I looked loopy.

The lifeguard came close to my mouth and insisted he could smell cigarettes, so it was assumed I had become dopey and out-of-control by smoking, and had attacked this young girl at the pool.

The worst part was, as my punishment, the lifeguard made me sit on a chair next to the pool for a full hour, as I breathed in the fumes and became weaker and weaker.

But eventually I got used to the atmosphere and it no longer felt like I was sniffing the air on Venus.

Chlorination seems to have improved over the years.

Or I have just stopped being a flag girl for the marching band.

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Buoyant

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Buoyant: (adj) able or apt to stay afloat

I was nearly sixteen years old before I worked up the courage to take my shirt off and slide into a swimming pool with other people my age.

I was fat.

When you’re a teenager and fat, you’re convinced that everything is much more dramatic and even bulbous than it actually may be.

For instance, I was frightened that my lips were too big. Matter of fact, I asked my mother if there were any blacks in our ancestry. There weren’t. For you see, my lips weren’t too big–they only appeared that way when they were placed an inch-and-a-half away from a mirror.

I also thought I might have accidentally inherited women’s breasts. I was sure if I took my shirt off, someone would notice this, or if there was a doctor in the house it could be diagnosed. Of course, nothing was further from the truth. My belly was so big it made my chest look flat. Nevertheless, the notion lived and breathed in my mind.

So when I finally did work up the courage to get into the pool on one summery afternoon, I waded into the deep end, and when I stopped waving my arms, I realized I could stand in the water without having to tread.

I was so damned impressed with myself.

I was buoyant.

The rest of my friends swimming around me were ferociously trying to keep afloat by moving their arms and legs. But not me.

I was so proud of the discovery that I shared it with everybody in the pool. Many people were equally as astounded.

For a brief moment I gained the status of “the man who could float on water.”

I was empowered.

And then one of the adults who was in the pool with us (for some reason feeling the need to be truthful) swam over and explained to me and all my followers that the reason I was able to float in the water without moving my arms was that fat floats–is buoyant–and was lifting me up in the pool and holding me in place.

One of the girls I was desperately trying to impress crinkled her face as if trying to gain greater wisdom.

“So what you’re saying,” she said, “is that he’s like a beach ball–because you can’t drown a beach ball. It keeps popping to the surface.”

The grown-up nodded, feeling he had successfully achieved explaining the premise.

I lost my entourage. No one was impressed anymore.

For after all, how attractive is a human beach ball?

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Awkward

Awkward: (adj) causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.dictionary with letter A

I suppose I could take the popular position and insist that “I was born this way.” I would receive empathy and maybe even support from those who would agree with my assertion or share my dilemma.

I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not fat.

Yet I have to tell you that taking personal responsibility for it and realizing that even if my body has a predilection towards obesity, that I can discourage its wishes, is powerful.

The truth is, being fat is not only unhealthy, it’s a constant burden placed on your torso, lending itself to many an awkward situation.

  • As a child I ran and played but not without wheezing.
  • I wasn’t fast enough to get to first base on a hit called a single. For me to get to first base, I had to hit a double.
  • I’ve never been comfortable with my clothes off.
  • Generally speaking, I made sure that every place I was seated would be wide enough or hold my weight.
  • When rejected by a girl, I needed to question whether it was because of my blabber or my blubber.
  • Until I was twenty-five years old I never wore a pair of shorts in public. Much too awkward.
  • Until I was forty years old, I refused to get into a swimming pool until everybody around had turned their heads and were involved in some other activity.
  • And today, because I have led an active life, my knees are worn out, causing me to use a wheelchair to handle long distances.

It’s awkward.

I’ve never been able to sustain myself on my visuals only, but have had to rely on my emotions, spirit and mind to compensate for my body.

Now, before you go to weeping or preparing a lecture about my eating habits, let me tell you that I’ve already cried enough tears and pursued enough diets.

Now I try to eat as healthy as I possibly can, exercise to my capability and realize that awkward does not need to be a nasty situation.

Actually, awkward gives us enough vulnerability that people understand our humanity instead of resenting our perfection.

 

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Anorgasmic

dictionary with letter A

Anorgasmic: (n) an inability to achieve orgasm despite responding to sexual stimulation.

I found myself in the position where it was necessary, or at least presumed to be, to teach a class on human sexuality to a group of adults. (I clarify that they were adults, because once we started talking about sex, they actually turned into a bunch of giggling teens.)

Considering that sex is so important to our well-being and self-worth, we actually have an extremely flippant attitude about the subject. I will grant you, it’s not necessary to become intellectual in the discussion, but certainly, if we don’t get beyond whispering, smirking and leering, we will never understand how we are meant to co-exist, procreate and satisfy one another.

I think the greatest mistake is the assumption that men enjoy sex and women tolerate it.

Here is a simple fact: No one avoids anything that pleasures them. I have run across people who were either bored or dissatisfied with adventures that promised pleasure and only delivered a modicum of the proposed package.

It’s like going on a vacation and staying at a hotel, hoping to sun-bathe, only to discover that the swimming pool has been closed for repairs. No matter how much you try to make the local restaurants and shops interesting, the original goal taunts you.

Even though we consider ourselves to have a high-falutin’ society, our approach to sexuality lands somewhere between Neanderthal and Bedouin.

Basically, we believe that men are to be pleasured and women are to provide the pleasure.

Once I was able to convince my class to stop snorting and chuckling, we discovered that human sexuality is meant to be a mutual effort made by two people to achieve orgasm–no matter what it takes.

The ideal circumstance is to make sure that the female acquires pleasure. Then the male doesn’t have to feel the need to perform, but instead, can relish the interchange.

  • Yes, women would be much more interested in sex if they were having orgasms.
  • Men would have to spend much less time wooing them if they were trained in how to assist a woman in finding her own space and time.

But to do this, we must admit that men and women are more similar to each other than different … and we just might be one or two generations away from that conclusion.

 

 

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Almost

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Almost: (adv.) not quite or very nearly: e.g. he almost knocked Georgina over

I don’t want to be cynical but I must point out that we have become the Almost States of America.

“Almost” is our new favorite word. It used to be a compound word — “fries-with-that.” But now, we have embraced the message of emotional anemia, spiritual weakness, mental denseness and physical laziness.

May I give my definition of “almost?”

  • It is the universal certificate given for trying.
  • It is the party thrown for a victory that never arrived.
  • It is the hug provided for losers.
  • It is the hand grenade that never exploded.
  • It is the swimming pool without water.
  • It is the kiss on the cheek.
  • It is the “let’s be friends” in the vernacular.
  • It is the pat on the back instead of the vigorous thump.
  • It is the reassurance we give one another, that most of the time it is the lot of human beings to see the finish line and pull over well short, for a McDouble.

I am guilty of failing, but I have forbidden my addicted, crack-whore soul from going down the path to the pusher of inadequacy and getting my fix of blandness.

Yes, I am prepared to fail without being told that I tried.

I want to look at the pile of stink I’ve left behind in my endeavors without insisting that it’ll be good fertilizer for the future.

I want to admit that my “almost” was not only not good enough, but should be forgotten as quickly as possible, in a flurry of sweat-drenched training.

  • We almost have a President.
  • We almost have a Congress.
  • We almost have progress.
  • We almost have racial equality.
  • We almost have an educational system.
  • We almost have a solution for poverty.
  • We almost have drug addiction on the run.
  • We almost have figured out gun control.
  • We almost have a church.
  • We almost have entertainment.
  • We almost have excellence.
  • We almost have almost of what we need, without having almost of what it will take to do almost everything.

Don’t tell me I tried. Don’t tell me I almost got it. Let me fail. Let me suffer.

Let me rise from my ashes  … and do better.

The Almost States of America could never have won the Civil War. We could never have defeated Hitler. And we certainly would never have landed a man on the moon.

If we’re not careful, hundreds and hundreds of years from now we will be remembered like ancient Athens–a society that tried democracy … and almost pulled it off.