Crap

Crap: (n) excrement, or used to reference refuse, rubbish, or junk

 I already spent the money.

I know that’s not smart.

But when you’re poor, you have to make arrangements—then hope those plans don’t fall apart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I had a gig. It was a big gig. At least for me. There was going to be some decent money involved.

I will tell you of a certainty, the only way to ever become an artist is to insist on using your art until it pays for you.

In the meantime, your creditors, your landlord and anyone you find yourself indebted to may question the intelligence of your persistence, and sometimes even dishonor the quality of your talent.

But I felt confident—confident enough to pay my bills before I got the check.

It was a two-day gig, and a conference, where I might be able to make further contacts for other engagements in the future.

On the first night, everything went along just swimmingly. The audience was laughing, clapping, appreciating both song and speech. I was feeling so good that I made a joke. I can’t remember all the details of the setup, but the punchline was, “Get this crap outta here!”

Everyone laughed. I thought I was on safe turf.

But later that night I received a call at my motel, telling me I was being canceled because the audience had children in it, and I had offended everyone by saying “crap.” I was contrite—I disavowed the deeds of my tongue—but it didn’t make any difference.

Move ahead in time.

I don’t know exactly when things changed. I suppose there are some people who still find the word “crap” inappropriate, but it would not be unusual to hear it spoken in the church foyer, and even possibly the pulpit.

Now we are fussing about the word “shit.”

It’s amazing how we can come to agreement on what crap and shit are, while being totally self-righteous on declaring it crap or shit.

I have a meter I run in my mind. It’s very simple.

For instance:

If the Ten Commandments are how God will judge me…

Or:

If you have to be skinny and a perfect weight…

One of the possibilities I consider is:

If you’re not supposed to use any colloquial or profane language…

Crap.

I’m in a shitload of trouble.

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Corral

Corral: (n) an enclosure or pen for horses, cattle, etc.

The key to building a corral is to make sure that the animals you’re trying to hem in are not aware that they are being limited. If they are constantly eye-balling the restriction, they will also be challenging the fences and breaking them down.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Therefore, you give a horse a long way to run before you close off escape.

You make sure all the cows have plenty of grass under their feet, so they don’t start looking to the other side of the fence.

And you give the chickens plenty of huntin’ and peckin’ room, so they don’t try to use their tiny wings to lift off the ground and vault the barricade.

I guess since human beings are creatures of Earth, we also resist being corralled. I don’t know about you, but sometimes just the existence of Ten Commandments makes me want to break ’em all.

Seeing a tag attached to my mattress reading, “Do Not Remove by Penalty of Law,” festers me into a ripping mode.

And I have found the children who have no discipline and the children who have too much discipline are always the least disciplined.

How can you corral the human appetite without encumbering the spirit?

I’m not saying I have the answer for that—but I will tell you, if you build a corral of legalism, attempting to scare people into submission, or if you construct no restraining wall whatsoever, you end up punishing people due to constraint or permissiveness.

My thought is, go as far as you want to—and keep going—and just ask yourself, your conscience and any God you might believe in to let you know when going further is unnecessary.


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Con Man

Con man: (n) a man who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true

Every once in a while I take a stroll through the Ten Commandments to take an inventory on how many I’ve broken.

That is one of the more ridiculous aspects of that top ten list–it does not serve as a guide to our lives, but rather, a reminder of how futile ourfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
attempts often are when we pursue self-righteousness or any form of superiority that makes us feel that we’re near to the heart of God.

For instance, I’ve been a con man.

I didn’t do it for a living. That’s probably good. Otherwise, I might be writing you from Folsom Prison, with the blues, or from Sing-Sing without a song.

But I have presented claims as facts, trying to impress people around me, when in actuality the legitimate information was far less than my boast.

Here’s the only difference between me and the standard con man: I actually believed my own bullshit.

I did.

I had thoroughly saturated myself in fictitious notions that twisted my brain to such an extent that they squeezed out common sense and replaced them with Thanksgiving stuffing.

So not only was I a con man to those around me, but I did a remarkable job promoting it to myself.

This is why self-awareness is probably one of the greatest virtues that a human being can pursue–it makes you stop off every once in a while and read the Ten Commandments and realize how far you have fallen short–as you chuckle over your own inadequacy.

 

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Clerk

Clerk: (n) a person employed to take care of routine activities

I am not completely ignorant.

I do understand that rules are necessary. Without established guidelines, we have many people trying to dictate on the fly, ending up with restrictions which are much more nasty than if they had been thought of before the project began.

But I have just never wanted to be a clerk.

I’m talking about the kind of people who are thrilled there are rules so they can stand with a stony face, reciting them to you as you try to argue, and they sport a
slight smirk over the control they have achieved.

It happens every day.

Some people are destined to be clerks. They learn the routine and find satisfaction in their lives–sensations of importance–by using the regulations to dash the hopes of those who might walk just a little bit different path.

They quote.

It doesn’t matter if they’re using Shakespeare, the Bible or the company manual–they can give you the exact wording to reinforce their decision to treat you like shit.

Every function in life, every job and every position needs to be tempered by common sense and mercy.

Even the Good Book itself started off with Ten Commandments, shrank to four during the Sermon on the Mount, two later on, and finally ended up with one commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.

For after all, if you do that one, you’re doing the other ten.

When you remove common sense and mercy from your dealings with human beings, you become the catalyst for an unnecessary argument, which can lead to a war.

I don’t want to be a clerk. It’s probably why that position is never offered to me.

Some Big Boss Billy looks me in the eyes and thinks to himself, “I can’t trust that one to be an asshole.”

 

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Broaden

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broaden: (v) to widen

Searching until one finds a moral certainty.

It used to be the goal of the human race. Obviously, we never achieved it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have burned witches, hated people of different colors or put leeches on sick folk to heal them of pneumonia.Dictionary B

Often moral certainty is an interpretation of a code of ethics printed in a book–whether it’s the Bible or “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” We scour the material to find the commandments that assure us that we are on the high ground.

The difficulty with this procedure is that simultaneously, the inclusion of other lifestyles suggests that we broaden our outlook on morality–often to the detriment or even deterioration of some of our certainties.

When I was a boy divorce was bad. Now it ranges from being painful to necessary, but obviously common.

Things like abortion, homosexuality and marijuana smoking were condemned and even prosecuted. Now we have been asked to broaden our definitions of acceptable behavior to counteract what was once considered to be a certainty, and instead, deem it a transition in our understanding.

Because we are broadening ourselves so much, we are definitely yanking at the seams of the moral conscience.

So what is immoral?

Without doubt, the denigration of another human being for the satisfaction of our pleasure or religious fervor is immoral.

The purposeful bullying or intimidation of an individual or group of souls falls into the spectrum of unseemly.

But are there carnal acts or deeds that we consider immoral?

Stealing, for instance, is permissible if done on a corporate level instead of a “pauper” one.

Sexuality has to have justification and mutual adult consent to be given license.

And the immorality of indifference to the plight of others can even be disguised as a political maneuver.

I am not a great advocate of moral certainty–but I will tell you that merely broadening our horizons does not guarantee that we see the truth.

 

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Biddy

Biddy: (n) a woman, usually an elderly one regarded as annoying or interfering.

Dictionary BIn the midst of a haze of delusion about my own intelligence, this morning, I once again discovered that a word that I have spelled “b-i-t-t-y” is actually “b-i-d-d-y.”

And believe you me, I have used the word.

Growing up in a small town, I was surrounded by biddies.

Even though I thought they were spelled with “t’s,” the definition held true.

There is some sickness in aging human beings that causes them to forget the total awkwardness involved in learning how things work.

  • No one is born with manners.
  • No one comes out of the womb with an understanding of how to balance a checkbook.
  • No citizen of Earth is hatched with any idea on how to handle his or her genitalia.

Mistakes are needful, obvious and prevalent.

It doesn’t take you long to silence a biddy. All you have to do is look into her past and find the times when she was irresponsible, irreverent or promiscuous.

(It’s not like any human being actually follows the Ten Commandments. We often view them, at best, as suggestions, and more often than not, as annoyances.)

So the best thing you can do as you get older is to develop a great sense of humor and realize there is no short cut to maturity.

It is a painful and clumsy walk through the thorny bramble bushes of confusion.

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Armageddon

dictionary with letter A

Armageddon: (n) in the New Testament, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment.

I have this memory from Sunday School class of a verse in which God shares with Cain that the blood of his brother “cried unto God from the Earth.”

Pretty powerful image.

So every time I think about Armageddon, I’m a bit baffled.

I have never had a desire to go to the Holy Land–mainly because I do not believe that any particular parcel of dust and stone is holy–and especially when the landscape has been so stained by human blood, shed for meaningless doctrines and interpretations.

I am not certain that this position I have taken would be a popular one with those who want to go and see where Moses received the Ten Commandments, or where Jesus walked on the water.

But if I found myself in the unenviable position of being the President of the United States, I would never send any troops into a kingdom that is already crimson with blood.

I would never allow myself to be known as the conduit that initiated a battle over nothing, which destroys everything.

There isn’t much I can do about the Jews and the Muslims wanting to fight with each other. It is my belief that Jesus came to break truth off of tradition, so that we could be human beings with each other instead of tribes.

But I guess as long as we insist on honoring our cultures more than humanity, protecting our kin more than seeking reasons to call the people of the world our brothers and sisters, and debating the personality of a God which is far beyond our comprehension, we will gradually inch our way periodically towareds Armageddon.

When we do, look for me in the rear, turning around and heading the other direction.

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