Cadge

Cadge: (v) to ask for or obtain something to which one is not strictly entitled.

I did not know this word.

Sometimes when I run across a word I don’t know, I pursue it no further, figuring that if I’ve survived to this point, I will probably be safe to
ignore it for my lifespan.

But for some reason, “cadge” piqued my curiosity. I’m glad I looked it up. I probably will never use it–because people will look at me with that wrinkly face which communicates, “You’re just showing off.”

But to cadge–or cadging–is an infection in our society.

It is a mental illness, leading us to believe that we are to get something before we give something.

All of nature contradicts this assertion:

  • Seed comes before harvest.
  • Consideration breeds love.
  • And we must do unto others if we expect them to do back to us.

But somewhere along the line, we’ve begun to honor the social interaction of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

We wait to see what is available, what people are willing to give, and then we decide how open and kind we will be to them.

Case in point: People who live in the inner city, who often have darker skin, are not able to make large contributions to their congressman. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will get the potholes fixed on their streets. For after all, the politician is cadging to acquire money to re-elect him or her, and since nickels and dimes rarely add up to dollars, the poor will have to wait until someone who is not elected, elects to help them.

We tout ourselves a Christian nation while promoting a social “take and give” which is Jewish or Muslim. It is a philosophy of retaliation–an attempt to get something before we give something, so we can decide how little we have to give for what we got.

It is nasty business.

And it is doomed to failure because there are certainly people who are better at the game of “cadge” than we are.

 

 

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Cadet

Cadet: (n) a young trainee in the armed services.

When I was a teenager, we hated soldiers–mainly because we hated the war. (Well actually, the real reason was that we were all afraid we were going to be drafted into that war to be soldiers.)

Nowadays, we revere the armed services.

We not only “support the troops,” but we’re “grateful for their service” and laud their efforts.

Risking being controversial, may I say that somewhere between deeming the military despicable and granting them sainthood lies the truth.

All of us should be a little embarrassed that it’s necessary for us to have an army. We should pray for a world where such regulation and violent alternatives either decrease or cease to be.

Since that is not our present situation, we should teach our cadets to be war-ready but peace-loving.

In so doing, we will have our first line of defense prepared but not eager.

Well-gunned but not trigger happy.

And provided for without being over-stated.

I salute those who are willing to take up arms to defend the defenseless.

But I warn my country that every time we put a young man or woman in uniform, placing them in harm’s way, we risk losing the abundance of energy and power they could give us by living for their country rather than dying for it.

 

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Blanket

Blanket: (n) a large piece of material used as a covering for warmth.

Dictionary B

Having met my share of homeless brothers and sisters, I became very curious. What was it like to be homeless?

So I made a decision to don the uniform of the street and attempt to walk in the shoes of those without gainful employment, hearth and home.

I decided I would do it for a week, but must tell you that I abandoned it after twenty-four hours.

The daytime found me in a situation in which I constantly needed to be on the move so as not to annoy the “civilized” people who passed by. I got hungry very quickly and didn’t have any money, so had to figure out where to go for a free luncheon, or beg off of my neighbors.

It was humiliating.

But the most difficult part was when nighttime fell, and my mission was to locate a place to sleep that was both comfortable and safe.

I discovered that such a utopia does not exist for the street person.

I hid behind a huge bush and laid down several cardboard boxes I had broken up to use as my mattress. Several problems leaped to the forefront:

1. Every sound spooked me.

2. Sleeping on the ground means sharing the turf with things that creep and crawl.

3. I was uncomfortable not having my head elevated (pillow).

4. But the most annoying part was the lack of a blanket.

I was so accustomed to being covered, protected, swaddled by that piece of cloth that gave warmth and the sense of cocooning.

It made me bitchy, frustrated, cold, and caused me to wake up the next morning antagonistic toward the world around me–in a season when I was most vulnerable.

A blanket is a sense of well-being.

When you remove it, it takes away a gentle reassurance that all is well … and you are coddled.

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Barbecue

Barbecue: (v) to cook meat, fish, or other food on a barbecue.Dictionary B

Annoying.

What is the definition of annoying? Annoying is anything that makes me grouchy instead of allowing me to enjoy the pleasure that was intended for the moment.

  • Barbecues are annoying.
  • Barbecuing, even more annoying.
  • Those who barbecue–annoying most of all.

Am I the only person who wants somebody to fix me a steak, put it on a plate and let me eat it instead of having to listen to the evolution of the whole process or hear the cook explain the tedious measures necessary to garner just the right sauce and tenderness for the meat?

There is more discussion of food at a barbecue than there is unabated joy in devouring it.

And God forbid that you should find yourself standing at the grill next to the Master Chef. By the time you get done listening to a recitation of recipes, mystery ingredients and correct temperatures for the best flavor, you will want to run from the premises and go out and eat a salad.

That’s how serious it is.

Everybody thinks they are an expert on almost everything–but most people eventually admit some weakness.

But not barbecuers.

They are the best, or nothing at all.

That’s why they make silly hats and aprons for the process, as a uniform to go along with the insanity.

So when I find myself invited to one of these escapades, I sit at the furthest table until I am sure that the food is thoroughly cooked, and then, when most people are being bored by the giver of the feast with a lecture on charcoal, I slip in, steal my portion from the platters, and run into the woods to eat … like a scalded bear.

 

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Ballboy

Ballboy: (n) a boy who retrieves balls that go out of play during a game such as tennis or baseballDictionary B

I grew up in a village which was about 20 miles from a big city.

Even though we insisted that we were an autonomous population. we privately knew that we had to go 20 miles to actually be entertained or purchase clothes that were not second-hand.

Every once in a while, the big city would invade our little burg with a possibility. This happened when I was ten years old.

The minor league baseball team which headquartered in the big city decided to bless the neighboring burrows with an opportunity–to let one of the favorite sons be a ballboy for one night at the park.

It was a big deal.

You got to go to the game, put on a uniform and run out and chase balls that went awry, or give bats to the superstars.

So they further made a big deal of it by holding an audition to select the ballboy, which drew a crowd of about 45 kids between the ages of ten and twelve.

I was one of them.

Even though I did not like baseball very well, I was fairly athletic and certainly competitive. So at the end of fielding flies, chasing balls, and even some opportunity to use the bat, the committee selected me to be the ball boy for this game.

I had never won anything in my life expect the privilege of being born.

My skin was tingling, my head was swimming and the rest of me just wanted to pee.

So they took me into a room and pulled out the uniform I was to wear for the game and asked me to try it on.

It didn’t fit. Not even close.

I was chubby, which is what my parents called it, and everybody else knew to be fat.

I tried hard to fit into that uniform. I said that by next week I could lose some weight. But reluctantly, they awarded the opportunity to the boy who came in second place. Even though he had less ability, he also had less blubber.

I was shocked.

I was devastated.

And on top of that, I heard a giggle or two from the gallery, causing me to feel humiliation.

Until I sat down and wrote this essay today, I did not realize that I still had remnants of feelings about the injustice. Here’s an idea–one we might want to use in the future, even when electing our leaders:

Let’s find the best person for the job, and then pick the outfit.

 

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