Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding: (v) the activity or process of raising money from a large number of people, typically through a website

Let us assume it started with a guy named Jim.

Jim was a happy teenager, but his family was very poor. He had two pairs of jeans.

Both of them were old, both showing wear and even some tear.

Jim sat in his room, quietly trying to figure out how he could go to school without looking like he was poverty stricken.

Suddenly he had an idea. Rather than going to school with a pair of jeans that had one little tear in them, he would go ahead and tear them in several different places—and when others in his class laughed at him, he would explain that this was the rage from the West Coast.

Wearing tattered jeans.

At first his friends mocked him—and then one, maybe two—could it have been five? They stepped out from the taunting crowd and asked Jim where he got his jeans because they wanted a pair.

Jim made up some company, and since the teenagers were unable to find it, they went home and cut up their own jeans, which eventually became a fad. And then, all at once, the jeans that didn’t have wear and tear—didn’t have holes—were the cheap ones.

And the ripped ones were expensive.

Likewise, somewhere along the line, someone (maybe his name was Jim, too) anyway, he got tired of begging his family for money for lamebrain projects and having them turn him down because they weren’t gonna put another dime into what he did “until he went out and got a goddamn job.”

Well, this fellow—let’s just call him Jim—was too proud to go out on the street and hold a cardboard sign requesting aid. So Jim wrote a blurb describing what he would do with seed money, put together a website and started something called “crowdfunding,” which is nothing more than a way to beg for money while looking like you might be in the pursuit of a great endeavor.

It is the torn-up jeans of fundraising.

Most of the people who raise their money by crowdfunding don’t necessarily finish what they claimed they were going to do, but for a brief moment, we think the twenty dollars we donated might become the next Star Wars film, or fund a plunger that needs no human effort, but tackles the toilet by itself.

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Crapper

Crapper: (vulgar) a toilet or bathroom

Every once in a while, I get in one of those misty-eyed moods, when I consider how pissy and shitty the planet will be once I zoom away.

It is totally self-indulgent, foolish and tends to ignore the nature of others, who press on after grief has had its season. But during one of those self-piteous sessions, I occasionally consider my legacy.

How will I be remembered? funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Or will all the collections of my works, writings, music and movies be loaded into a box and placed in a corner to either waste away or later be discovered by one of my great-great-great-somebodies, who is really shocked to find out, first of all, that I lived, and second, that I “made stuff?”

Usually I am able to set myself back into a psychologically reasonable nature by pondering the life, times and memories of Thomas Crapper.

Yes. He lived and was real.

He was an English plumber who founded the Thomas Crapper Company in London, held nine patents and (hold for applause) perfected the floating ball-cock on the toilet.

He also is the inventor of the plumbing trap—and contrary to Webster’s definition, we often refer to the porcelain seat-of-honor in our lavatory as “the crapper”—not to be vulgar, but in honor of Old Tom-boy.

I cannot tell you that I want to be known for something so utilitarian, and also an invention that is capable of receiving such ridicule.

But you have to admit, it beats going through your life without having your ball-cock float.


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Commode

Commode: (n) a concealed chamber pot

Unexpectedly and much to my surprise, during the news cycle recently, “shithole” became a point of discussion.

Even though I find myself to be a person of some insight, and maybe even able to offer a prediction from time to time, “shithole” sideswiped me.

It reminded me of being a young man and having to deal with the subject of the bathroom.

Since most people don’t take baths anymore, and were unwilling to call it the “shower room,” relegating that to sporting facilities, we do need a name for that very important sanctuary for our natural release.

Truthfully, lots of folks are repulsed by the word “toilet.”

“Potty,” aside from being extraordinarily pretentious, also is now tied to a potty-mouth, which means you are susceptible to using all sorts of foul language and profanity.

Yet even though it has become part of the commentating on television, “shithole” is a little strong for me. It’s the kind of thing a bully would say to you when you walked out of the restroom in highschool, to make you feel uncomfortable.

“How’d it go in the shithole?!”

Of course, there is no appropriate response to the question: “The shithole was fine!” Or, “I don’t call it a shithole. I call it a commode.”

No, I have never referred to the porcelain fixture in the water closet as either a loo or a shithole.

I’m actually without terminology.

Sometimes I try variants–to see if there might be a favored word among my friends. But I’m still confused at how to express for a significant part of my journey.

I neither “take a shit,” nor do I “poop.” Nor have I done any “loaf pinching.”

I have referred to it as porcelain, but not a throne.

And of all the terms, “dump,” for me, is the least appealing.

I think the secret code we developed as children still has some universal possibility:

Simply hold up one finger–or two–to announce one’s intention.

 

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Clench

Clench: (n) a contraction or tightening of part of the body.

Most of the time, things work the way they’re supposed to. Just stop for a second and think about that.

Even though we might want to portray that life is bumpy, it’s really more like a pothole every hundred miles.

In our everyday existence, food goes into the mouth, is enjoyed, digested and gradually finds a normal exit. Yet every once in a while, the system is disrupted. A
little bit of chicken is left out too long. A jar of mayonnaise welcomes in unfriendly microbes.

For whatever reason, our stomachs suddenly become very upset. (Huh. I guess that’s why they call it an “upset stomach.”) At that point the human gut is single-minded: “Whatever is in me needs to get the hell out as quickly as possible.”

As you well know, there is a northern route for this process and a southern route. Sometimes it’s better to go north. Yes, regurgitation is very unnatural but very quick, and produces some immediate relief. If not, you will wait a little longer for the bowels to become completely possessed.

Now, as a typical person, I have found myself driving a car, sitting among friends or nowhere near a bathroom when one of these fits and contortions decides to invade.

At that point, I clench my buttocks.

In more merciful moments, the body sends a notice that “there is a flood coming to Johnstown, Pennsylvania,” but relents to the clenching, disappearing for a few minutes, hopefully providing enough time for me to get to an appropriate disposal.

But every once in a great while, the body has absolutely no willingness to be clenched. I guess it would be accurate to say that the bowels suddenly have a mind of their own. The brain sends an urgent message: “The dam is about to break–protect all women and children!”

If you are willing to heed the warning, you might make it to the toilet of your choice.

But if you don’t listen and you think one more clench should do it, you more than likely will find yourself religiously sitting in your own “pugh.”

 

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Bran

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bran: (n) pieces of grain husk separated from flour after milling

I’m sorry to admit that I’ve reached an age when, for some reason or another, I feel comfortable to discuss my bowel movements in public.

Not with everybody.Dictionary B

There has to be some intimacy that’s been exchanged between us in order for me to uncork information on my flow.

I used to go to the toilet without reservation or comment. Often it happened too quickly or too frequently, but I always felt like I was just a “regular guy.”

Then suddenly the large and small intestine became territorial–perhaps because for many years they had been in competition with each other over size.

So the food I now place in my mouth has become like a reluctant old man who has found his favorite park bench and believes there are squirrels yet unfed.

It has become necessary for me to introduce bran–usually in the form of cereal–for my breakfast, without allowing it to look like I have done so because I have been overtaken by a cloud of decrepit.

Especially when I get around my children or younger humans, I will lamely attempt to offer the possibility that the cereal is to my liking and I would choose it over Lucky Charms any day.

Yet I can see it in their eyes–a mingling of mischief and pity which lets me know that they are aware that this consumption of bran products is necessary to unclog my dam.

Oh, damn.

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Beef

Beef: (n) the flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food.Dictionary B

It’s always a battle over three distinctly different approaches:

  • What I know
  • What I think
  • What ends up being true

Actually, most of us don’t know much of anything for certain. What we claim to know is usually an advanced stage of belief. In other words, people will tell you they know there’s a heaven, but that’s because they believe it very strongly.

Knowing is tough. Yet if we act like we don’t know, people accuse us of being dumb. So often, we insist we know without really knowing.

Which brings us to think.

Think is a dangerous combination of prejudice, upbringing and bad experience which we have equated with certainty as being valid. Of course, it can be good experience which leaves us idealistic.

But here’s the kicker: most people blend what they think and what they know and call it truth.

That’s why we fight all the time. Because what you think and know is not what I think and know.

So we have to be extremely humble about what we know, and mighty careful about what we think. Otherwise we will soon miss what ends up being true.

Thus…beef.

From year to year, the opinion on beef has gone from being an excellent source of protein to a murderer of the human heart.

If you bring the subject up, some folks will tell you they’re vegetarians because they want to be healthy, and other folks will never eat a vegetable unless steak has become one.

So once again, we’re stuck on this “think” and “know”–in danger of failing to find out what is true.

Beef is actually no different from prunes. You know the old saying about prunes: Are two enough? Are six too many?

Because if you eat just the right number of prunes, you will have happy times in the bathroom. If you eat too many, you will experience frequent toilet miles.

The same is true with beef.

Eat it every once in a while, and it is an immense builder of protein and strength for your body.

Eat too much beef and it turns into all sorts of heartfelt problems.

So take the time to be careful about what you know. And always be cautious to preface what you think with those glorious words, “In my opinion…”

Because truth eventually stumbles along. And the truth of the matter is, beef is like everything else:

It’s good until it becomes bad.

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Bathroom

Bathroom: (n) a room containing a toilet, a sink and typically also a bathtub or shower.Dictionary B

It is often about choosing the right word.

Calling it a “restroom” is deceiving. Unless you plan on lounging in a bubble bath, there’s very little rest that occurs within its four walls. Yet referring to it as a “toilet” does limit its scope.

This came to my mind yesterday when someone rose to their feet and announced that they were going to go “take a dump.”

Honest to God, I try not to be prejudiced about what comes off the lips of fellow-travelers, but certain phrases were never meant for general hearing, and may not have been necessary for coining and phrasing in the first place.

I am not going to gross you out by discussing these options.

Yet I’m not certain why I need to announce my bathroom agenda to the room anyway.

And certainly referring to the process as “dumping” lacks, shall we say, some charm.

That is the beauty of the word “bathroom.”

Since it contains a bath, which is the least offensive part of the enclosure, honoring that purpose is kind and considerate.

I suppose that’s how we came up with “living room.”

I don’t know what the source of “den” would be.

And I do think “bedroom” is more practical than “sleep or sex chamber.”

Do you see what I mean?

Some people feel very liberated by saying the first thing that comes off the top of their head. But I have always found it much more pleasant to procure verbiage … from several deeper layers. 

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