Debacle

Debacle: (n) a complete collapse or failure.

It is my opinion that the word “debacle” and “failure” should never be linked.

As human beings, it is our responsibility to learn and appreciate the value of failure. In the long run, failure saves time, energy, money and much future humiliation.

That is, unless we try to fix our failure.

A debacle is an attempt—or many attempts—to mend a failure, so it appears there was never a misstep in the first place.

It is duct tape on a broken piece of glass.

It is an awkward apology to someone who’s truly been offended.

It is becoming offended yourself when the awkward apology is rejected.

It is trying to explain something unexplainable.

It is pardoning yourself before anyone else suggests you might be guiltless.

It is sitting in the middle of a mess and demanding it continue because funding is available.

It is repeating the same service over and over again, though nothing and no one is transformed.

It is taking a system that was crafted two hundred and fifty years ago and holding onto it through tradition, even though modern technology suggests there’s a need for alteration.

It is taking the side of your political party when it is obvious that error has been made.

It is swimming in an ocean when warned not to swim—simply because they don’t know how good a swimmer you are.

It is believing that since people are different, you can claim to be better.

It is arrogance added onto sin, dipped in pride…

…and deep-fried in unforgiveable ignorance.

 

Damp

Damp: (adj) slightly wet; moist:

To avoid landing in uncomfortable situations, one must be willing to listen to counsel and follow it without trying it out for oneself.

Yet all of us—and I mean all of us—have some sort of ingrained streak that requires we touch the hot stove before we’re convinced it burns.

Otherwise, you arrive at age thirty-one, standing in front of your small child, saying, “Don’t touch the hot stove”—to which the child questions, “Why??”

And for a moment, you find yourself stalled, having no personal experience—just anecdotal evidence.

But mostly, though, we are just bratty and defiant.

When I was a younger fellow, just about ten years old, we went swimming at the lake. From the lake, we were going to go swimming at the local pool. I don’t know why both events were chosen for the same day, because I wasn’t in charge. After the pool swimming, we planned on going to Dairy Queen to have a good old-fashioned American dinner of grease, fat, sugar and unknown preservatives.

After the last swim, all the children were told by the counselors to go into the bathroom and change out of their swimming suits into their street clothes before we had our supper.

I decided not to.

I chose to wear my damp swimsuit during the entire encounter at Dairy Queen.

Here’s what I learned:

Although a swimming suit may not be uncomfortable as you sit on a bench, having just left the pool, after an hour or so of having it cling to your skin, you discover some shocking realities.

It stinks.

All during our little dining experience, people kept saying, “Can you still smell the pool? I can. That’s weird.”

I just kept praying no one would notice I was still in trunks.

The odor was a mixture of an elementary school’s nurse closet, blended with the budding body odor of a ten-year-old fat boy.

It wasn’t overwhelming—but there were moments it threatened to sting the eyes.

On top of that, the two blocks we had to walk to get to our car and the block-and-a-half we strolled from our car to Dairy Queen made me chafe due to the damp swimsuit.

It was kind of itchy, kind of sore and very unpleasant.

And finally—and most importantly—having something damp down near your pee-pee hole makes you think you should be pee-peeing all the time.

So I spent a lot of time wiggling, or excusing myself to go to the bathroom, only to discover that it was a false alarm induced by my damn damp suit.

I share this with you today because there are reasons that traditions have come to be—like not touching the stove and changing out of your wet swimwear.

There may be others.

It’s always a good idea to consider that some rules may actually be there to protect us against ourselves instead of punishing us for being free thinkers.

Contempt

Contempt: (n) the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless

I listened intently as the gentleman closed his argument by proffering, with a sneer on his lips, “Just because you’re swimming doesn’t mean you’re a fish.”

The point he was trying to make is that no white person could ever understand what it’s really like to be a black person.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There was applause in the room when he spoke the words. I, on the other hand, sat quietly, seething in my soul, feeling nothing but contempt.

I have complete contempt for racism.

My contempt is also full for culturalism—the assertion that certain groups of humans react differently from others due to their location or skin color.

I have great contempt for ancestry.com, which propagates the idea that because my family members from the past were of a certain ilk or style, that this characteristic influences my decisions.

Anything that tries to break us down into a category other than “human” shall always receive my contempt.

I do not care if I am alone in this position—it doesn’t frighten me if people find my thinking to be insensitive to what they would refer to as “the natural divisions among people.”

It is wrong.

If God did not tell us what color Adam was or what preferences Eve had in salsa, I think the message is clear: The human race is, and evermore shall be, one family that just wants to squabble about who’s superior, so that they might receive better seating in the living room.

 

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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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Aqualung

dictionary with letter A

Aqualung (n): a portable breathing apparatus for divers.

There are some movies I just can’t watch.

I shall not bore you in this brief article by listing them, nor elaborating on each and every style that curries my disfavor. Let me just say that any movie where people are swimming under water, holding their breath, scares the…well, scares the salt water out of me.

Especially when people around me start trying to imitate, holding their breath also, to prove they would be able to survive the ordeal being dramatically acted out in front of us.

Let me be honest. Normally I find myself to be a generous, giving sort of soul. If you’re a dollar short, I will come along. If you need a lift to work, count on me.

But if we happen to be under water, sucking on breathing tubes and suddenly my tank goes dry, I’ll rip that mother right out of your mouth.

That’s right. It wouldn’t matter if you were my mother.

Some sort of terror of suffocating would cause me to abandon all social restraint, and Christian training, for that matter.

Upon resurfacing, breathing and seeing your body floating in the water, I would be ashamed. I might even second-guess my instinct to survive.

But I can’t even bear to watch people trying to use those tanks in a movie, or discovering that they are low on O2, and begin passing it between them like there’s a choice for the other person to survive.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this and I certainly hope I never find myself in this position. Because no one wants to play the coward in the movie, who swims away from the little girl who’s in peril.

But I guarantee you, if I were placed in such a dilemma, I would swim away … like a little girl in peril. 

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Aphrodisiac

dictionary with letter A

Aphrodisiac : (n.) a food, drink or drug that arouses sexual desire.

Her name was Carol Ann. She was a cheerleader.

I was sixteen years old and always got a stirring in my Southern Hemisphere every time she walked by. Embarrassing as it may sound, it occasionally led to an eruption.

I was a teenager. I required no aphrodisiac. (Matter of fact, every year when the Sears catalogue arrived in our mailbox, I stole it, took it into my room and stared at the pictures of the models in their bras until pleasure had its way.)

That’s why, when I read our word today, I had to smile. An aphrodisiac is an additive which is necessary for those who have already lost the urge to participate in the game of love but still want to believe they are playing at mid-season strength.

It’s astounding to me the amount of sexual energy that overwhelms the human body between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five, when, for some societal determination, we are supposed to be more interested in taking chemistry instead of making chemistry.

By the time you are allowed to participate in the carnal cravings, the interest has already begun to wane a bit–thus the introduction of aphrodisiacs.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t know what stimulates true sexual passion. It really isn’t pornography, nor is it celibacy, just as being drowned doesn’t teach you to enjoy swimming and living in the desert doesn’t provide the correct environment for learning the back stroke.

There are three great aphrodisiacs in the human experience once you pass the age of thinking that every pencil looks like a penis and every marshmallow, a boob.

1. Great, intelligent conversation. There is something that makes us all horny–when we believe that we’re being heard and we become very proud of how well we listen.

2. Food that is prepared by other hands which you were able to pay for while summoning a waitress. Isn’t that a gas?

3. Admiration. Is there anything sexier than having a deep, abiding and lustful appreciation of the person you are about to ravage?

So by the time you need an aphrodisiac instead of just a cheerleader walking by, you must realize that magic potions rarely produce magic. That takes a delicious blending of the concoction of generosity and humor.

 

 

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Amphibious

dictionary with letter A

Amphibious: (adj.) relating to, living in or suited to both land and water.

Time is one of the three ingredients necessary to change my mind. (By the way, for your reading enjoyment, the other two would be pain and pleasure.)

I need this trio to become the Holy Trinity, to build a bridge between my feet in the sand and firmly situated on the rock.

This was true with me as a boy on the issue of swimming. Matter of fact, they called me “a little frog.”

A frog is an amphibian, right?

The problem with this name they gave to me was that I really wasn’t little. I guess “big frog” would be inappropriate.

So as a very small child, I swam and swam without fear or intimidation. But then, as I grew into my teen years and became self-conscious about my body image, I was frightened to put on swim trunks and join the other kids at the pool, often sitting on a blanket in my street clothes watching them swim.

In the process of developing this trepidation about being ridiculed for my blubber, I also gradually convinced myself that I hated swimming and despised the water. Matter of fact, if I walked next to a swimming pool and inhaled the chlorine-filled air, I grew short of breath and needed to leave to regain my composure.

I was a frog who forgot how to leap in.

I was amphibious, but completely unable to pursue my inclination.

Then one day I got sick and tired of being afraid. I waited until nobody was looking, ripped off my street clothes and leaped into the pool, hiding my conspicuous overage under the waves.

It was a brave step.

I was a frog again.

I was back in my natural habitat.

I was overjoyed.

Of course, I wasn’t completely cured. On that particular day, I had to stay in the water for about four hours until everybody else left, so that I could emerge in privacy. But over the years I have gradually become more accustomed to who I am–and a bit oblivious to an occasional peering.

Yes. What the hell.

I guess if you’re gonna be a frog–amphibious, living in the water and on the land … a little bit of “what the hell” has to be ingrained in your philosophy.

 

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