Cornhusker

Cornhusker: (n) a Nebraskan

It would be much easier to claim that you’re a cow if you’re able to chew your cud and moo. Producing milk would also be a positive.

When I graduated from high school and opted not to go to college because my wife and I were pregnant with possibilities, I realized that I did funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
not want to be the kind of guy who didn’t go to college and worked at the kind of job this kind of guy is forced to take.

I liked music. I thought I had some talent.

No one ever actually sat down with me and made suggestions on how to use my ability or guided me in a direction of turning my existing efforts into some sort of cash flow.

I was told that I was not allowed to do anything but get a job and take care of my family.

I didn’t want to do that.

Now, I’m not asking you to side with me on this issue, nor am I desiring your cultural rebuke. I’m just explaining that if I were claiming to be a singer and a musician, I needed to go “music” somewhere.

So discovering in a very obscure newspaper a notice that there was a coffeehouse opening up in Kearney, Nebraska, I contacted the fellow beginning it on the phone, told him about my little group, and said that we would love to come and share at his new venue. He was thrilled (since we were from Ohio and he was all the way in Nebraska.)

It didn’t even cross my mind to look at a map. Before I knew it, the gentleman invited us to come and sing at the coffeehouse with the promise that he would “help out with gas.”

At that point in my life I had a van which creaked and squeaked just driving around town, threatening to break down at a moment’s notice. I didn’t care. Nor did my three other comrades.

We set out for Kearney, Nebraska. Matter of fact, when I began this essay today, I had to look up how far it was from Columbus, Ohio, to Kearney, Nebraska. I am so glad I didn’t have the Internet back then, because the distance one way is 968.4 miles.

We packed in some soft drinks, made some sandwiches, gathered as much money as we could borrow and pull out of couch cushions, and took off. We joked about “touring to the Cornhusker State,” never realizing that it would be many, many hours—twelve to be exact—before we would be anywhere near those who were traditionally proclaimed “huskers of corn.”

I’m happy to report that we actually made it there.

As is often the case, the opportunity was even smaller than I could have imagined. But the fourteen people who showed up said they were really impressed with our songs and happy we had made the trip. They gave us thirty dollars for our gasoline, a bushel of sweet corn and a peck of apples.

It was my first payday.

The round trip, as you can imagine, ended up being nearly two thousand miles.

But I was young, looking for an adventure, and especially trying to find a way to escape—for one week—from hearing all the town cronies telling me what a deadbeat I was.


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Condo

Condo: (n) short for condominium, a multiple-unit complex

Over the years, I have lied to keep up with the Joneses, who, by the way, ended up being massive liars.

When I realized that people expected me to have a higher education, I attempted to make up a college career.

When it occurred to me that the number of songs I had written seemed small, I inflated the tally.

In my youthfulness, I promoted myself as a tree-top lover, when within a few moments, the true status of my report became obvious.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Many times in my life I have shared, insisted and informed people that I lived in a condo. Why? Because it sounds affluent.

On those occasions, what I was actually living in was one of the following: an efficiency, a duplex, a flat, an apartment or the back end of my van.

But no one was impressed with these locations. I was young. I felt the need to blow minds.

Before I started really touring, I made up a schedule which made me seem to be a combination of Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

I always worked on the simple premise that people are too lazy to actually check out your stats–but time and time again I was proven wrong. There are many individuals who live to disprove other people’s false reports–especially when you insist you have a condo, forgetting that you have invited this person over to dinner next Tuesday.

 

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Briefcase

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Briefcase: (n) a flat, rectangular container, typically made of leather

Mine was an old, cheap, black variety, torn places all over the fake leather, with bent hinges.

It was my briefcase.Dictionary B

I carried it officiously, thinking it made me look…well, I guess, important.

When I began writing my first novel, I made sure that every time I stopped typing (yes, this was back in the day when we actually used typewriters) every page was placed meticulously, nestled into my briefcase of safe-keeping.

I was so proud.

I had actually written maybe a third of my first great American manuscript when one night, somebody broke into my van and for some inexplicable reason, stole the knobs off my radio–and lifted my briefcase.

I didn’t have anything in there except the first draft of this work and some pictures my kids had drawn of sunsets and oddly-shaped horses.

It was totally useless to the person who stole it, but to me it was gold. I felt like I had lost part of my life.

The idea of having to start over again to regain the energy and thoughts already spilled out onto paper seemed extraordinarily arduous, if not impossible.

Fortunately for me, a friend who had been retyping the material had kept her old copies. Therefore, all of the inspiration which had poured from my heart was salvaged.

Once I received that reprieve from the prison of my fears, I gained a little sense of humor about the whole affair.

I wondered what the thief thought when he pried open that briefcase, thinking he might find treasure, and discovered 102 pages … of poorly-typed novel.

 

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Altitude

dictionary with letter A

Altitude: (n) the height of an object or point in relation to sea level or ground level

Whenever I drive up a mountain in my van, even though I can feel the strain on the engine, I am always grateful because of the perspective I gain by climbing higher.

I don’t want to become overly philosophical here in discussing things that normally can be registered on an altimeter, but there is something magnificent about increasing your vision by ascending.

It reminds me of a story in the Good Book of a chap named Zacchaeus. For the sake of the reader (and spell check) I will refer to him as Zack from this point on.

Zack was a short dude. When Jesus came to his town and Zack picked up on the energy of the crowd, he was unable to see what the source of the excitement was because of his…well, because of his lack of altitude.

So instead of bitching and complaining, Zack ran ahead of the crowd to get a better look, only realizing that his situation was not improved–only distanced. For when the crowd arrived he would still be too short to see.

So Zack did something really smart. He climbed up in a tree. He let his attitude increase his altitude. Or maybe better stated, he let his altitude rejuvenate his attitude. Because he did, Zack was able to visualize–and also increased his possibility of being seen–so much so that Jesus calls him down from the tree and spends the afternoon with him.

So what is the lesson?

If you want to see better, climb a little higher. It not only increases your own vision of life, but gives others a better chance … to envision you.


Absent-minded

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Absent-minded: (adj.)  having or showing an habitually forgetful or inattentive disposition

I’ve misplaced my notes. I could have sworn I left them next to my wallet, which still may be possible because right now I can’t find my wallet. It is my style to leave my wallet on my nightstand next to my keys. But I just found my keys in the bathroom next to my razor, so I guess they are not near my wallet, unless my wallet is in there, too–which upon careful inspection, is …

Speaking of inspection, I think this year I have to have my van inspected for tags, even though I am not sure if the state of Florida demands that particular situation to acquire tags.

I was thinking about a tag I had on my window that my son and daughter-in-law purchased for me, to pay for tolls when you go through those easy tag places on the roads. It’s not on my window.

I was so glad the other day when I had a big pebble hit the front of my car off of one of those gravel trucks–you know what I mean?–it slammed against the glass and I thought, “Oh, no. I hope it doesn’t chip or leave one of those little stars on the windshield, it would have to be repaired.” But it didn’t–so I was relieved.

Speaking of relieved, it was really cool that the Louisville basketball team won, even though they lost one of their players because he broke his leg. I’ve never broken a leg, though I think I cracked a bone in my ankle once. Can you crack a bone? I never got it set or anything. Of course, now, with these emergency outposts in malls, you could get that kind of thing done quickly.

And on the subject of malls,  it’s been a while since I’ve been to one. You know what I find? The things I want are so specific that I don’t just go to shop around anymore. I just get them.

And back to getting, I need to find my notes. Where did I put them?

Well, there’s my wallet. Yep. There’s my notes. Right next to my wallet.

Let me see. Notes for absent-minded…

The phone is ringing. Perhaps another time.