Corsica

Corsica: (n) an island in the Mediterranean, Southeast of France.

I don’t know a lot about Corsica.

I am not going to insult you by looking up a few details and making it seem as if I’ve done an exhaustive study. After all, the purpose of these funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
essays is to give you my immediate, often ignorant, and sometimes humorous take on the words of the dictionary as they stumble out in order.

I know one thing about Corsica—it’s the birthplace of Napoleon.

I don’t know whether Corsica would advertise this. Napoleon is an enigma. If you study him as a general, a leader, or even as a French Emperor, he may be considered one of those overly zealous tyrants who come along every once in a while to shake things up and let us know that we need to be on the lookout for “rampagers.”

But in many ways, Napoleon Bonaparte was an Adolf Hitler without the compulsion to kill off Hebrews. He took advantage of the French Revolution, leaving the Francos trying to imitate the Americans, and ending up with a “spaghetti mess.”

He stepped in, established his authority, claimed himself to be the leader of the Holy Roman Empire incarnate and even took the crown from the hands of the priest who was trying to coronate him, and placed it upon his own head.

Thousands and thousands of people from Africa, to Asia and all across Europe were killed because of this man’s desire to conquer.

So intent was he on paying for his wars and ongoing struggle with the English, that he ended up selling the United States—from the Mississippi River all the way west to the Pacific Ocean, in a deal dubbed “the Louisiana Purchase.”

He sold it for pennies, even though it was not his land, and it belonged to countless tribes of Native Americans, who were not privy to the deal and received no remuneration.

But that was Napoleon.

I do believe, even though the average Corsican is probably willing to claim Napoleon as a son of their land, that the smart ones have discovered not to follow in his violent manner.


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Corner

Corner: (n) the place at which two converging lines or surfaces meet.

Jerry was my friend. His dad was a conservative preacher who refused to own a television.

Jerry didn’t share his father’s convictions. When he was around his papa he was as silent as a mouse, and as soon as he walked out of the door of his home he turned into a roaring lion.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He was fun.

But even though I was just a kid myself, I knew there was something a little bit mixed up with Jerry. There was a hidden rage which was not very well disguised. It was like a box sticking out from under your bed that you thought was put away, but everybody knew there was something beneath.

Jerry got angry easily. Matter of fact, one night we were at my house and went into the garage. We found a possum next to our freezer. (I share this with you because it was unusual. If we normally had possums next to our freezer, I would have left it out of the tale.)

The possum was a little surprised to see us. It acted like it was pursuing a normal routine and we had interrupted the process. It gave a quick snarl in our direction. It was enough to convince me to get the hell out of the way. If you’ve never seen a possum up close, it’s ugly enough to avoid without the snarl, but if you put a growl with it… Well, I was ready to head to the next county.

But not Jerry.

Jerry seemed upset that the possum had dared to emit disapproval. He ran over to a shelf in the garage and picked up a hammer. I know I probably should have said something, but honestly, it was my first time being in a garage with a man who was going to attack a possum.

The possum scurried over into the corner of the garage.

Bad maneuver—now it was trapped. It was either going to have to fight its way out, or it was going to face whatever verdict Jerry had chosen for it.

Jerry changed right in front of my eyes. He was breathing heavily, standing with his legs spread, hammer over his head, eyes bulging—and it became obvious to me that he planned on attacking the creature.

I did finally gain speech. “Jerry, let it go. We’ll just leave the door open and it’ll scurry away.”

Excellent advice—especially coming from a teenager whose frontal lobe was not yet complete.

Jerry did not hear a word I said. He was ready to “kill possum.”

He moved closer. The possum snarled even more ferociously.

And even though I liked Jerry, when I heard that possum, I got the hell out of there. So peeking through the window from outside the garage I watched as Jerry grasped the hammer tightly.

One, two, five, ten…twenty blows. With all his strength, he killed that possum.

I don’t think Jerry had anything personal against the possum. Jerry’s outburst was coming from somewhere else.

When he was done, he backed up, panting, with the bloody hammer in his hand.

As I slowly walked back into the garage he spoke, “I got the goddamn motherfucking thing.”

I was completely shocked, I had never seen anyone kill a possum. Matter of fact, I had never encountered a pissed-off possum. And I sure had never seen Jerry so out of control or heard him spew such profanity.

About that time, my mother arrived, came into the garage, looked into the corner and saw what remained of the smashed possum. She gazed carefully at Jerry, who was still clutching his weapon.

Honestly, my mother was not a sensitive or intuitive person, but in that moment, she knew that Jerry was not all right.

She put her hand on his shoulder, gradually reached over and took the hammer away, and then cupped her hands around his face and said, “Good job, Jerry. Why don’t you two boys go bury the possum while I clean up the corner?”

So we did.

We walked about a quarter of a mile down the road to the railroad tracks. Nothing was said. It was so quiet I could hear the shovel strike against the ground as we drug it along.

We dug a hole and buried the flattened creature beneath it and covered it up.

When we were done, Jerry returned to being Jerry.

That day I learned a very valuable lesson.

If you corner any of God’s creatures—and that includes the human variety—they will fuss, spit, growl and even snarl at you. At that point you have to decide whether you’re going to walk away or if you’re going to destroy them.

Let me tell you—there are a lot of “Jerrys” in the world.


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Confidant

Confidant: (n) a person with whom one shares a secret or private matter

Sometimes my own body scares me.

I believe it’s strong–but there is a fragility standing in the wings which often threatens to take the stage.

I fight feeling useless. I’m not. I just have this unquenchable desire to be more valuable. Or is it just ego?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I grew up in a household of violence. I don’t want to erupt with rage over something that is truly insignificant.

Although I’ve tried to put lying in my past, it hangs around like a lazy brother who might soon need a loan.

I am fat. I can’t escape that–at least, not so far. How much does this hurt me with my fellow humans?

I’m proud of what I do, but don’t want to be too proud. Otherwise, I might think I’ve done enough.

I work on being color-blind, but every once in a while some coloration clouds my reasoning.

I believe men and women are equal. I really do. Even when men make me question that and a certain woman I may encounter tempts me to be a misogynist.

I’m not strong all the time.

I am not smart.

I am not well-educated.

I do not have a diploma to cover every situation.

I enjoy creativity but honestly, despise obscurity.

I don’t want to be famous. Just helpful.

I’m not as good as I think I am, but not as bad as I fear might be the case.

I share this with you in confidence.

Are you a good confidant?

 

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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Color

Color: (n) pigmentation of the skin, especially as an indication of someone’s race.

To find a real black person you have to go deep into Africa.

The only white people are albinos.

To get yellow skin usually requires liver disease.

And red skin is any one of a number of young girls in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.

Yet for some reason we decide to take these colors and differentiate not only race–not only customs–but certainly intelligence, morality, violence and quality.

What actually is the difference in color between an American Negro and an American Hispanic, or an American housewife of Beverly Hills after leaving the tanning booth?

It can’t be about color. There just isn’t that much variation.

And of course, once you get right below the epidermis, we all pink up.

So what in the hell is this all about?

At one time we were so frightened there wouldn’t be enough squirrels, rabbits and wild turkeys in the woods, so we tried to thin the herd of our human competition by making them lesser, therefore teaching them they couldn’t eat the actual meat of the buffalo, but could have all the internal organs they wanted.

Are we still stuck in that survival mode?

Are we so terrified that we’re going to be exposed as lackers or slackers that we try to characterize one group of people as already occupying that space–and then colorize them?

 

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Collision

Collision: (n) an instance of one moving object or person striking violently against another.

Striking violently.

Or is it just an accident?

Perhaps a meeting of the minds.

The truth of the matter is, our country, the United States of America, is a collision.

Instead of sitting around discussing why things are not working well, we should be admiring how well things are working, considering how often factions and faiths are colliding with one another.

Keep in mind, the Christian church does have a book that says that gay people are an abomination. It says a lot of other things, too, but it certainly mentions the
homosexual community in a negative light.

Simultaneously, we have a document called the Constitution, which presents the concept that we don’t have any right to curtail another person’s pursuit of happiness.

We also have scientists who are quite convinced that the world is on life support due to the melting of polar ice caps and other unnatural calamities.

Then there are those who feel that worrying and being concerned about such things is mistrusting the Creator.

Shall we even mention the fact that men and women are in a continual collision?

So I assume that some people would try to eliminate the collisions.

But I believe the key is to make bigger bumpers.

 

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Cloak-and-Dagger

Cloak-and-dagger: (adj) characteristic of mystery

I suppose if I saw someone walking toward me wearing a cloak, I might be curious enough about their fashion choice to wonder what they were hiding beneath the bulky garment. I’m not so sure I would assume it was a dagger–more likely twenty unwanted pounds.

But maybe it’s the same thing. Since we don’t live in a time when people are stabbing one another with stilettos over grievances, a redefining of “cloak-and-dagger” for our period might be in order.

I contend that the cloak-and-dagger of our generation is the hiding the real truth of our abilities behind self-promotion. And the dagger which follows is an inadequate performance, leaving our fellow-travelers unimpressed.

Then too often violence ensues.

Because we should never have claimed to be more than who we are, we are inevitably going to fail, which will make us defensive and therefore volatile.

What would happen if we stopped lying about our abilities?

What if we decided not to chase big dreams?

What if we judged our talent on the response to our performance rather than what we think the response should be “if people weren’t stupid?”

Our society is still menaced with the “cloak-and-dagger,” because unless we praise the misguided claims of those around us, they just might turn on us and stab us with whatever is available.

So let me be the first one to take my cloak off and cast aside my dagger. I will do my best to tell you of the gifts I have, mingled with my weaknesses. If you find additional flaws, I thank you for saving me from the embarrassment of humiliating over-assessment.

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Churn

Churn: (v) to move about vigorously.

It all depends what you disrupt.

If you stir up and churn milk and have the patience to stay with it, you get creamy, sweet butter. On the other hand, you can probably sit all
day long churning dirt, and even if you add water, you will end up with muddy conclusions.

It isn’t always effective to motivate people or circumstances. If there is quality, intelligence, spirit and humility, then churning can bring about a beautiful, natural change.

But if people are stubborn, angry, racist and ignorant, churning normally initiates violence.

You’ve got to judge your circumstances.

Is there enough milk of human kindness in the people you’re dealing with to see them turn into butter?

 

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