Coulter

Coulter: (n) a surname

I have made it a practice to never insert someone’s real name into one of my essays or articles. Whatever that person and I chose to do in our adult moments of living shouldn’t be regaled for all the world to read. At least I owe them that.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But I could not help myself when I rolled across the name Coulter, and realized that a very dear friend by that name once strolled into my life and took me from a status of nearly homeless to a position in which my music and art was given the chance to be considered as viable.

Coulter was my friend. He was part of a music group I joined, and in no time at all they had me singing his vocal parts. Rather than being angry or jealous, Coulter was appreciative and supportive.

He tried many things. Coulter’s problem was that he was good at everything he attempted.

For instance, he started working at a doughnut shop and within two months, they made him manager. (I benefited from that experience, because my wife and I were without an actual place to sleep at night, nor regular food.) Coulter always provided a big box of day-old doughnuts, which he set outside the back door of the establishment with his blessing)

He always believed that underneath my neediness—and sometimes grubbiness—there was someone worthy to be heard. Eventually, because of his love of the entertainment business, he started his own agency to book acts. Completely in line with his employment history, in no time at all he had a stable of artists and was scheduling them into everything from conventions to churches to county fairs.

He helped our fledgling group along, throwing us work every now and then, and when I wrote my first musical theater piece, he became so excited that he found ten investors, who gave a thousand dollars each to fund the effort.

He not only helped me put together the cast for the production, but also got on the phone and scheduled dates in twenty-five cities around the country, so we could go and perform it.

He was so enthralled with the music from the play that he wanted to promote to large publishing concerns. All he needed from me were lead sheets and chord charts. Unfortunately, my technical knowledge of music was limited, and I ended up handing him materials which were pitiful and comical at the same time.

But he never held it against me. He never became enraged or upset about anything.

Even when we were in the midst of promoting our musical play, and a minister who believed he possessed both the knowledge of God’s will and the right to judge others who didn’t understand, attacked Coulter because he heard rumors that my friend was a homosexual (that’s back when they were homosexuals instead of gay) Coulter refused to retaliate.

Even though I was a stupid kid with a gnat’s worth of sense, I defended him and stood up against the Pharisee. It’s one of the better things I ever did in my life.

I don’t know where Coulter is today—or even if he is today.

But wherever he may be, I want him to know that his good buddy turned out okay—due in large part to a friend who arrived in the early days with a box of doughnut—just at the right time.


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Claptrap

Claptrap: (n) absurd or nonsensical talk or ideas.

“Come, let us reason together.”

If we’re going to accept the idea that politicians lie, how will we know when they’re telling the truth?

If women want to be equal but still think it’s “kind of cool” when guys open doors for them, how will they ever gain equal footing?

Our generation is filled with the claptrap of contradictions. We want to insist that we’re not bigoted as we awkwardly use a phrase like “African American.”

We want to appear intelligent as we negate the value of studying history to learn what to avoid in our past.

We think if we say something stupid enough times, it becomes smart. Silliness is silliness, whether it’s promoted or not.

There is a lot of claptrap–a lot of concession that things are rotten but perhaps they’re meant to be that way.

There is angst in our souls because we are weary of hypocrisy, yet unwilling to cease being hypocritical.

Claptrap is when we speak things that seem to be popular in the moment even though in our hearts they ring untrue.

It fills the air with fake helium, causing all of us to talk funny.

We are a country which has accepted claptrap as being inevitable instead of squinting at it and offering a quizzical, “Pardon me??”

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Bumptious

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Bumptious: (adj) self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree.

It’s a beautiful, bright red fedora with a feather in the band.

One of my sons bought it for me and I wear it every once in a while. It’s a moody thing–because my children refer to it as “my pimp brim.”

So when I feel pimpy, virile, naughty, rambunctious and just overall powerful, I don my pimp lid.

Now you may think it would look ridiculous on a person who’s a little older, but it really doesn’t come to play unless I look in the mirror.

I have found that to be true with lots of things. Sometimes I can even pretend that I’m thirty years old if there’s no reflecting glass nearby. My brain has no problem conjuring the image of my arrogant, overly confident former self.

So anyway, I slip on this particular hat as a way of spitting in the eye of the witch of birthdays, and cursing the demon of achy joints.

It is my bumptious attempt to remain viable in the world that annoyingly continues to ask me if I would like to take advantage of “the senior discount.”

 

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Backstage

Backstage: (n) the area in a theater out of view of the audience, especially in the wings or dressing rooms.Dictionary B

Everyone who ends up onstage has to spend some time backstage.

Matter of fact, you may feel that you’re cursed to that arena, never to gain spotlight.

But I have been backstage many times in my life, and I will tell you, there was never one single occasion when I failed to learn something.

I went through a season when I warmed up the audience for national acts, who were much more famous and adept at the art form than me. So being backstage was a mingling of realizing that no one in the large audience knew who I was–or cared, for that matter–and that if I was to gain any traction whatsoever, I would be required to arrive with my running shoes.

I’ve also been backstage during talent competitions when it was obvious that the person performing center-stage before me was equally talented, or even more blessed, and I needed to refuse to criticize them, but instead, just give my best.

Backstage is where we learn to listen and prepare instead of perform and mug for the audience.

It’s where we take inventory of what we are about to do and eliminate foolish choices.

It is the location for the introspection that causes us to become viable to those around us instead of just becoming jealous no-talents.

 

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