Comport

Comport: (v) to conduct oneself; behave.

In an attempt to avoid being considered assholes, we have gradually deteriorated the quality of character in almost every profession in our country.

By no means do I want to come across as a prig, and certainly not self-righteous, but it does occur to me that without some guidelines on howfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C we should comport ourselves–conduct our affairs–in the everyday world, we will start settling for less…until we have none.

For instance:

If you’re going to be a teacher, you should comport yourself by being willing to listen to things that sometimes may seem ridiculous.

If you’re a father, you should choose strength by respecting the equality you have with the women around you.

If you’re a preacher, you should comport yourself by being a student of humility.

If you’re a banker, you should reluctantly refuse loans and joyfully and gratefully accept deposits.

If you’re a politician, you should comport yourself by rejecting the erroneous concept that dishonesty is necessary to propel good ideas.

If you’re a writer, you should be an encourager.

If you’re a musician, you should uplift.

If you’re a laborer, you should believe that your work will endure.

If you are a believer in God, you should make God believable through the life you live.

If you’re an atheist, make sure you bring something to the table of caring humanism.

It is not necessary for us to judge one another.

But it is certainly required that we set standards on how we comport ourselves when we’re given the humbling opportunity of serving others.

 

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Bunsen Burner

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Bunsen burner: (n) a small adjustable gas burner used in laboratories.

I certainly hope we’re not going to be evaluated, judged or memorialized on our hidden fears. They’re hidden, right? Just where they should be.

It happened to me this morning when I read the words “Bunsen burner.” I found myself suddenly terrified, with a little tingling in my bowels.

I did not realize I had this memory of a Bunsen burner which is–pardon the expression–seared into my consciousness.

I was a sophomore in high school and arrived late to chemistry class on a day when Bunsen burners were going to be used for some experiment. I think we were going to take a beaker of fluid and warm it under the Bunsen burner to see what happened to the consistency–yet the exact purpose is beyond my recollection.

But because I arrived late, I ended up with the Bunsen burner due for retirement. The teacher warned, “Be careful. That one’s a bit tricky.”

Since I had never used a Bunsen burner before, I didn’t know what would make one temperamental. So I got it all hooked up, released the nozzle or whatever you do to get it to light–and it didn’t. I turned it off and tried again. No luck.

I looked to my teacher for help, but he purposely averted his eyes as if he did not want to deal with this particular apparatus.

I was about to try a third time, reaching over, and suddenly the Bunsen burner decided to come alive.

I burned my hand.

I was pretty sure it was third degree, but was later told by my doctor that it was just a scorch. But it hurt like hell, though I’m not sure why hell would hurt–or maybe I am.

After all, it’s a place of fire.

Like a Bunsen burner.

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Bruise

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Bruise: (n) an injury appearing as an area of discolored skin on the body

He had an unusual name: Page.

He was a boy. So he took a lot of crap for it.

I think his parents thought they were clever–because his whole name was Page Unus McCloy.Dictionary B

In other words, “Page One McCloy.”

I liked him.

He was a simple little fella. He tried really hard to do everything that everybody else did, but he was sickly–that’s what the teacher said–had a difficult time keeping up.

He also had a problem when playing, because the slightest little bump could cause a bruise. So you can imagine, there were times that Page came from home black and blue. The cops would be called and then everyone would realize it was just due to his…you know. Sickly.

So physical games were pretty much impossible because he always ended up looking like he had been beat up in a bar fight.

One day we found some crab apples in his backyard, rotting on the ground. We decided to throw them at each other. Apparently one of them wasn’t quite rotted enough, and it hit him square in the middle of his forehead, knocked him down and left a huge bruise.

His mother was really mad at me, so I wasn’t allowed to play with Page for a couple of weeks.

But when I returned the friendship was as sweet as ever, and we continued to carefully carry on as young boys do–dodging injury.

Christmas vacation arrived, and I told Page that I would call him over the holidays and that I was looking forward to seeing him “next year.”

When January 7th arrived and we returned to school, I couldn’t find Page. A teacher took me to the side and explained that he had passed away over the holidays, from complications due to something called leukemia.

My first thought was that I must have killed him with the crab apple. That idea haunted me for months.

Matter of fact, it wasn’t until we were in biology class two years later that I understood the type of disease that caused Page to bruise.

Whenever I think of bruises, I think of Page.

Then I think about how important it is, if you love someone, to be tender to their condition … and try not to leave any kind of bruise.

 

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Box

Box: (n) a container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular

There are several phrases I do not like.Dictionary B

Actually I despise them so much that I scold myself when I use them.

  • “You’re stupid.”
  • “I hate you.”
  • “You don’t get it.”
  • “You’re a foolish asshole.”

Well, I could go on.

But one of my least favorite–a thought that makes my skin crawl–is when people turn to me and say, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

I know they’re really not interested.

I know they’ve sized me up and they’re trying to figure out what box they want to put me in.

They want things simple.So they have a system of storing people away so that their decisions are neat, tidy and final. If you don’t fit into one of their boxes they will decide that you’re a misfit or a rebellious anarchist.

They’re listening for buzz words.

About ten years ago, someone asked me about my occupation. I explained that I was a writer but also a performer. So they said, “Are you a teacher? A storyteller? A philosopher? Or an entertainer?”

Then they smiled, waiting for me to climb into their box.

My response was, “Well, really all of those and more.”

This was displeasing to them. They shook their head and walked away.

Mankind is ready to build a box for you.

They will encourage you, praise you, instruct you, guide you and applaud you until you get inside one of their pre-prepared cartons.

And once you do … you will never be heard of again.

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Blind

Blind: (adj) unable to see; sightlessDictionary B 

Visiting the Grand Canyon. Bad time to be blind.

A fireworks display. Be prepared to enjoy the bangs. Not a positive if you’re blind.

Running across some race situation, culture or individual where your prejudice is still rubbed a little raw by your ignorance. Blindness can be a plus.

A great teacher once said, “The blind cannot lead the blind or they’ll fall into the ditch.”

But the truth of the matter is, if the blind have already walked the path, then they are better ushers for other blind people than those with sight, trying to explain what lies ahead.

I’ve been blind.

  • I’ve been blinded by my bigotry.
  • I’ve been blinded by my sense of inadequacy.
  • I’ve been blinded by my greed.
  • I’ve certainly been blinded by my lust.

My blindness helps me understand my fellow-sightless-brothers and sisters.

Matter of fact, I’m not so sure that you can ever see unless you go through a season of being blind.

Certainly you’ll never appreciate it as much.

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Bitch

Bitch: (n) a female dog, wolf, fox, or otter.

Dictionary B

Her name was Mrs. Calvert.

She was my seventh grade science teacher.

The reason I remember her name so well is that she was constantly telling people how to pronounce it, even though it was not particularly difficult to speak.

She also had another annoying practice. She decided, since I was a fat boy, that I had limited ability. So when she took the class to the science museum, she explained to me–in front of everyone else–that there was an elevator available if I didn’t feel I could climb all the stairs.

I was not only humiliated, but was targeted by my classmates for further ridicule.

It was devastating. She was a fat bigot.

But if you had asked her, she would have merely shared her concern for my well-being.

It is exactly the same way I think America handles gender.

We “Calvert” it.

Yes, just like Mrs. Calvert, we have privately decided what men and women can do, and if anyone tries to step out of their compartment and suggest otherwise, we have names for them.

If a man selects to be more sensitive and open to the female perspective, we view him as “pre-gay.” In other words, maybe not a part of the club, but sympathetic to the rules.

If a woman chooses to compete and be more aggressive, she is deemed to be a bitch.

Let me explain the full range of the use of the word bitch:

It can be “any woman who disagrees with a man” all the way through “any woman who insists on having equal rights.”

You can always tell when you’re in the presence of stupidity.

It is a group of people who find a nasty word to describe a whole bunch of folks so they don’t have to deal with the real issues.

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Analgesic

dictionary with letter A

Analgesic: (n) a drug which acts to relieve pain.

Quite honestly, I have a cave man’s philosophy concerning pain and pleasure.

“Pleasure. Much good.”

“Pain. Me no like.”

Although I do try to move away from this darkened cave of understanding, sometimes I feel silly being philosophical about a pain I can only discuss intelligently when it is not inflicting me.

Yes, it seems noble to put forth the theory that pain assists us in our journey to greater understanding of ourselves, both physically and spiritually, but since I believe in reaching for an analgesic whenever pain even peeks over the horizon, I do feel a little bit hypocritical trying to turn Socratic when discussing it in the abstract.

Here’s the truth. Pain means there’s something wrong.

Even in the case of childbirth, the baby is trying to make it clear that further occupancy is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the reverse is not true. Not all pleasure lends itself to improvement.There is pleasure that is so temporary and brings such lasting pain that it is well worth avoiding the temporary jolt of satisfaction.

So is life about:

  • avoiding pain?
  • learning from pain?
  • healing pain?
  • or defining pain?

I don’t have the foggiest idea.

But I feel no shame in reaching for my favorite off-brand analgesic any time one of these aching situations pops into my life.

If pain is a teacher … it probably needs to find a better approach.

 

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