Crab

Crab: (n) a crustacean

I believed myself to be successful long before there was any evidence. I saw inklings of possibilities, and I occasionally rewarded myself with the accoutrements of someone who had achieved his goals. But most of the time, a look from the outside might have produced giggles about my inside.

For a brief season I owned a Fiesta Ghia. It was made by Ford. What is significant about this car is how small it is. What is further interesting is how large I am. There were times that I felt I was gathering a small crowd just to watch me get into it. (I am sure I was paranoid.)

But I was thrilled. It was bright red and it was mine—as long as I made the payments.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I decided to take it on a trip to play music in some nearby states, treating it as my personal limousine. Originally the excursion was planned for myself and one other guy, but soon three other fellows whined, cajoled and pleaded their way into becoming part of the entourage. So five of us—count them—five of us got into my Fiesta Ghia, with the backend hatch packed with luggage, and we took off.

We were somewhere on the back roads of Arkansas when the Fiesta Ghia developed some transmission problems. (Hard to believe, isn’t it, considering the amount of weight we were carrying).

We were able to cripple our vehicle into a very small community, and found a mechanic, who told us he could fix it and have it ready by noon the next day.

We found a cheap motel (which I’m sure was the embarrassment of the whole town) and settled into our room to await our repaired chariot. About thirty minutes after we arrived, one of our touring group came running into the motel room, breathless. He explained that there was a restaurant right next to this motel, which had a banner advertising “All the Crab Legs You Can Eat for $8.99.”

A hush fell over the room, followed by a quiver, and then a mutual scream from all the inhabitants. We were gonna go have crab.

$8.99, even at that time, was very reasonable, so even though we possessed limited funds, we believed it to be God’s will for us to use them to stuff ourselves with crab and celebrate the repair of our Ghia and the bonding we were having together as men.

We arrived at the restaurant at 7:15 P. M. and did not leave until 10:00 P. M.

Five grown, hungry crab-eating fools.

When we first entered the establishment, they were grateful to see us. When we left, there was no person in the joint who would speak to us. We had cleaned them out of their crab—not just for the night, but all they had bought for the entire weekend. (Keep in mind, it’s a little difficult to get crab on the back roads of Arkansas, since “the docks” are a thousand miles away.)

I suppose we should have felt guilty about eating too much. If we had been more temperate, we would have slowed down after the twelfth helping. But we were young, brash, self-involved, slightly traumatized by our car ordeal, a little scared of the motel we were staying in, and ferociously fond of crab.


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Colonel

Colonel: (n) an army officer of high rank

Many, many years ago, my younger brother decided to join the Army.

It was a split-second option that popped into his mind based on the fact that he discovered that he was out of money, his transmission was
going out and his prospects with females seemed dreary.

Of course, in his mind the logical thing was to join the military and bivouac himself with thousands of other confused young studly types.

I tried to talk him out of it. He insisted I was against the country and had no patriotism.

Now, I knew my little brother real well. For example, he was not only afraid of spiders, but once peed himself when the word was mentioned–no actual hairy-legged threat nearby.

So in my mind’s eye, the possibility of him becoming a killer infantryman or a marauding marine was not only implausible, but a threat to our nation.

He mocked me. He rejected my counsel. Off he went.

In forty-eight hours–nay, forty-six hours later–I received a phone call from Oklahoma. A desperate wisp of a voice gasping through the receiver, “Get me out of here!”

“Here,” of course, was basic training. And the reason they call it basic training is that you are going to train, and basically, that’s the end of the discussion.

The worst part was that he threatened suicide.

Now, I’ve always heard through the clumps of wisdom that come from the grapevine that you should take it seriously when someone threatens to do himself in.

So I got on the phone. I called the base.

I was connected with a colonel. I shall leave his actual name out of this essay due to respect for his service to the country, and also the fact that he was being harassed by an older brother who had no idea of protocol.

I shall therefore refer to him as “Colonel What the Hell Are You Talking About?” or “Colonel Please Don’t Call Me Again,” or my favorite–“Colonel We Are Going to Come and Arrest You.”

Apparently, by some rule of his job or position, it turned out that he had to take my calls. He was not permitted to dodge them. Therefore, we got to know each other real well. (He has a dachshund named “Scottie.” His wife likes tulips but doesn’t think the word fits them.)

After he interviewed my younger brother, who had huddled himself in one of the bathroom stalls in the barracks, he agreed with me that this young man had no business being in the Man’s Army whatsoever. Matter of fact, we agreed that he had no business being in the Women’s Army.

But the Colonel insisted that his “hands were tied.” I must have heard this phrase a thousand times.

I did not know when to stop. It seemed to me that the only time to cease and desist was when my little brother was back at home, trying to figure out how to borrow money for repair on his beat-up car.

For after all, he was a young, confused fellow whose main concern should have been his frequency of masturbation.

Suddenly something changed.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t believe it was anything I said, but “Colonel I’m Sick of This and Ready to Move On” started to work with me instead of against me.

Two weeks later, my brother was standing back at home, wearing his army greens, sitting around a table of fried chicken, trying to tell his “war stories.”

I took in a deep breath, smiled inwardly, looked over at him and thought to myself, “Thank God you’re home, you miserable little twerp.”

 

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Budget

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Budget: (n) an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.

Sometimes I think the word “budget” was created so that the word “over” can be used more often.

Over budget.

I don’t exactly know why we’re so obsessed with budgets. I mean, I understand the practicality of them, but itDictionary B often resembles the little ant talking to the rubber tree plant.

In other words, we can account for many things as human beings:

  • We can tally.
  • We can work.
  • We can place things in envelopes.

But none of us are prepared for the surprises. Usually, those unplanned happenings are negative and not positive.

For instance, your car never tells you that it grew another transmission. That would be nice.

This is why, when we play Monopoly, and we pick the card that says “Bank error in your favor. Collect $100,” we almost feel like crying.

What is the value of a budget? The greatest purpose for a budget is to confirm that we have the possibility for solvency in the first place. Without such a consideration, we can launch a ship and run out of supplies in the middle of the ocean.

It’s called “counting the cost.”

And even though it doesn’t solve all problems, it at least informs us that if the wind blows just right, the figures we put on paper have half a chance of covering the need.

 

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