Dander

Dander: (informal) Anger; temper

Bruce Banner generously offered a warning before he turned into the Incredible Hulk.

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like it when I’m angry.”

It gets me thinking.

Do we really like it when anyone’s angry?

Men have been known to say they think girls are cute when they get miffed. (But I just think that’s the horniness talking.)

If you stop and think about it, is anyone on Earth improved with the implementation of anger?

So even though the old phrase, “get your dander up” is no longer used, it’s modern-day equivalent of “you piss me off” is equally bizarre.

Because “dander” is nothing more than the dried flakes of the scalp, which we normally refer to as dandruff.

And “piss” is just something we squeeze out of our body several times a day, so we don’t bust.

Nobody is better when they’re angry.

Even people who think they have a righteous indignation almost always end up overdoing it—either getting too ferocious with their temper, or verbose with their complaints.

And although anger is an unattractive portion of the human experience, it seems to be written about, portrayed, discussed, displayed and commiserated more than any other emotion.

I think, deep inside us, we enjoy getting angry. It lets off some of the steam that’s been simmering because we feel cheated, left out or disrespected.

I guess that’s the power of saying yes when you mean yes and saying no when you mean no.

Because if you don’t, all that frustration piles up in your little head and eventually—sometimes unexpectedly—it pours out in some of the ugliest displays imaginable.

So maybe “get your dander up” is an excellent term for being angry.

Because generally speaking, after we get angry, we sure do feel like a flake.

 

Curveball

Curveball: (n) a pitch thrown with a strong downward spin

If I tell you it was his favorite phrase, I do not want you to assume he said it all the time.

But whenever he found himself in a predicament, an unusual situation or a circumstance not to his liking, he would utter:

“You threw me a real curveball.”

He was the minister of my hometown church—normally h just an average fellow. Occasionally, in the pulpit he became verbose, excitable and perhaps even profound. But once he took the few steps down from the Holy Desk, he was just a typical sort.

Except for the fact that he absolutely hated any form of transition.

Even when that change was for the better.

Once we were getting ready to go on a church picnic, and one of the ladies arrived late to line up her car in the caravan to the park. Pastor Fussy became distraught. When she explained that she was delayed because the owner of the IGA Grocery heard the church was having a picnic and offered a free ten-pound slicing ham for the festivities, the shepherd of our flock still grumbled, “Well, it would have been nice if he had done it yesterday.”

We must understand why the curveball came to be.

It is a pitch, if executed correctly, that causes the batter to reach for the ball before swinging. It doesn’t always strike him out—but if he does make contact with the ball, normally the hit will be a grounder and easily retrieved for an out.

I suppose at this point that I should tell you that life is full of curveballs. You might anticipate that I’ll make an analogy about how we should all be ready for the curveballs, and not swing and miss or get grounded out.

But actually, curveballs are unusual.

They’re not easy to throw.

They rarely stay in the strike zone.

So a good pitcher saves them up for the right moment.

I will say the same thing about our lives. We don’t spend our time preparing for curveballs—that would make anybody grouchy.

Matter of fact, I heard one batter say, “A curveball is so rare and hard to hit that when it comes my way, I step back to see what it does instead of messing with it.”

Here, here. May we all learn from that.

Preparing for disasters may be the easiest way to welcome one.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Copy-edit

Copy-edit: (v) to edit for publication

Although classically it is portrayed that writers suffer “blockage” and are unable to come up with ideas—or even the next line—the truth is,  when a writer is inspired with a good story, the characters often become so verbose, and dare I say overbearing, that the end result is an overabundance of syllables, paragraphs and even chapters.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There is actually only one rule in writing, and since there’s only one, we shall not call it a rule, but rather, refer to it as a smiling opportunity.

That would be: “Don’t do anything to interrupt or impede your own story.”

This is why it’s important to copy-edit a book, a story or even an article (such as the one I’m writing to you).

It is not fair to the reader, to get him or her all tied up in useless information about the entwined colors in a particularly plush davenport—when what is happening on the couch is the real gig.

Some writers become fussy and sentimental about one particular thought or character’s involvement. But as you age and mature, you realize that the reader is what you’re writing for—not the approval of other writers or publishers who would jump up and down in great glee if they got the chance to reject a submission from Ernest Hemingway.


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Aquarium

dictionary with letter A

Aquarium (n): a transparent container of water in which fish and other water creatures and plants are kept.

Sometimes I look back at the hiccups in my life and giggle over my choices, predilections and the fads that permeated my consciousness temporarily, only to fall to the wayside as a new idea punctured my awareness.

About fifteen years ago I decided I wanted an aquarium. I think I saw one in a movie, thought it was cool and believed it would be a conversation piece for individuals who came into my home and seemed incapable of speech.

I did what I usually did–researched the subject just enough to make me totally unqualified.

Unqualified, but verbose.

So I bought the tank, filled it with water, got the pellets, put in the little furniture, rocks and stuff to go along with it, and bought myself some fish.

Let me tell you–I selected my fish based upon what looked pretty and interesting. The proprietor of the pet shop, in great generosity, donated five gold fish, which looked rather bland and unappealing.

I threw all the fish together with no concern for cultural integrity.

In two or three days I noticed that my gold-fish were gone. I looked for them in the bottom of the tank, planning to retrieve them for a decent burial, but no luck. I looked along the sides, but not there either.

So I called my pet shop owner and he explained to me that those pretty fish I bought were…well, shall we say, cannibals.

They ate the gold-fish.

I asked him why he didn’t tell me that in the store and he gave that lame response often provided by shopkeepers.

“I thought you knew.”

So you see, much like my gold-fish, my interest in aquariums was short-lived. But it gave me pause for thought.

In the aquarium kingdom–and I assume paralleling into the human–the pretty and interesting fish always eat the dull and boring ones.

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