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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Bunker

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Bunker: (n) a reinforced underground shelter, typically for use in wartime.

We have begun to create bunkers to buffer us against contact with one another.

We don’t view it that way–we call them political parties, church denominations, clubs or ardent study of cultures.

But the more we try to segregate that which we believe makes us special, the less and less valuable we become to one another.

If Washington, D.C. is a bunker, and your local church is a bunker, and your community is a bunker, and your race is a bunker–then isn’t it just bunk?

Bunkers are meaningless attempts to make people unique by alienating them from one another, placing them in positions to be defensive.

In the process, we all become perniciously offensive to one another.

How do you know if you’re in a bunker?

If you have to go somewhere else to hear ideas that aren’t your own, you’re probably already buried in the ground.

 

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Buck

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Buck: (n) slang for a dollar

I don’t know who gets to decide what’s important and what isn’t.

I’m not really sure how we place value on one thing while assigning insignificance to another.

For instance, a buck private in the army is the lowest rank, yet no war can be won Dictionary Bwithout thousands of them.

There are times when a single dollar bill seemed so unimportant to me that I joked around with a friend and took a match and burned it, just to see what it felt like.

Then there were occasions when I rummaged through the seat cushions of my car because I thought I remembered dropping a dollar bill down there.

Also, if there’s some sort of problem when “the buck stops”–and it more than likely will be here–maybe it would be a good idea to do more to prepare for buck stoppage.

  • What is important, what is worthless?
  • What is without value, and what is invaluable?

There is one constant mistake humans make which triggers all the afflictions that trouble our species: we misuse what we have because we’re either anticipating or demanding more.

Just solving that misdemeanor can set in motion a lifestyle which salvages the little … and transforms it into much.

 

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British

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British: (adj) of or relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom

A sense of doom hangs in the air whenever people discuss the Israelis and the Palestinians.Dictionary B

Because they have fought for so long–argued, battled and killed each other–we’re totally and completely convinced that any attempts at arbitration are futile.

I guess I would have a tendency to go along with this perspective, until I consider the relationship between the British and the United States.

Let’s look at it as a panorama:

The British were in charge of the Colonies, and the Colonies, in turn, were so loyal to the King that they fought for him in the French and Indian War.

But it was less than two decades later that the British and the Colonists were at each other’s throats over issues of freedom, taxation without representation and independence.

For seven-and-a-half long years, they struggled with each other, hatefully. And even when the Revolutionary War was over, the British Navy continued to conscript American sailors, claiming that they were really English citizens.

This led to another war.

This time the British burned down Washington, D.C., destroying the White House. So great was the hatred between the two nations that they actually fought the last battle of the War of 1812 in New Orleans after the peace treaty had already been signed. (No instant messaging.)

On top of that, the British government considered entering our Civil War–siding with the Confederacy against the Union. They didn’t do it, but it was touch and go.

So how did we go from this ferocious animosity to being allies in World War II, overthrowing Hitler?

Here’s the truth: we found a common enemy that was more necessary to defeat than maintaining our feud.

Is it possible that the Palestinians and the Israelis could find a common enemy to unite them, and in the process give them the chance to fight side-by-side instead of face-to-face?

I don’t know.

But we human beings are much more likely to unite for a fight than to see and agree.

 

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Bison

Bison: (n) a humpbacked shaggy-haired wild ox

Dictionary BWhile driving through Wyoming, I saw a bison standing along the side of the freeway, not more than fifty yards away.

A buffalo.

It was such a strange sensation.

I had seen many pictures of the bison, but to suddenly be in such close proximity with its three-dimensional form translated me back to a time when America was young, settlers were traveling across the prairie in Conestoga wagons, and the Native Americans were struggling to maintain their integrity without becoming belligerent.

These bisons were everywhere. They were sustenance.

I had a sweeping awareness that came over my soul, realizing how hard it was to live when the bison roamed the Earth at will.

Nowadays, we have an interesting dilemma in America: we want to feed the horse, but no one wants to shovel the shit.

Matter of fact, sometimes we try to stop feeding the horse so there’s not as much shit. Or we let the shit fall where it may, insisting it’s just reality.

But on this Memorial Day, what really impresses me about those who have gone before us and have given their lives to a cause is that they completely comprehended that feeding the horse does produce shit that needs to be shoveled.

In other words, for every bison you kill, there’s one less bison.

And for every human being you hurt, there’s one new enemy.

Likewise, for every war you start, there’s a few less sons and daughters who will grow up and live full lives.

And finally, for every prejudice you express, there’s an anger that will come back your way from those who have been oppressed.

Sometimes it’s just good to drive along the freeway, see a bison and appreciate the beauty of life–because the truth of the matter is, all matter demands truth.

And truth comes with a balance of feeding the horse and shoveling the shit

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Better Half

Better half: (n) a person’s wife, husband, or partner.

Dictionary B

I am willing to giggle at silly things until they become dangerously stupid or prejudiced.

I have gone to a comedy club and heard a black comedian joke about his heritage and community and laughed along with him, realizing that if the jokes were told by someone with a more pale complexion, they would be radically bigoted.

But I have grown weary of the ignorance being promoted in our society by the little quips thrown out by men and women, seemingly attempting to praise the other, while obviously lamenting a hidden dilemma.

Things like:

  • “Women are smarter than men.”
  • Or “I do what she says.”
  • Or “I’ll have to check with my wife.”
  • Or the notorious aside: “This is my better half.”

Actually, men and women are so ill-suited in their naturally confused culture of gender bias, that they should be quarantined from one another.

Because the true better half of both men and women is the soul.

The heart and the mind are in great conflict: the heart feels, the brain pumps out training.

When that happens, you have the climate for war.

It is in the soul that we find the arbiter.

It is the soul that says, “We have more in common than difference.”

The soul tells us, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

The soul gently nudges us to realize that “in the Kingdom of God, there is neither male nor female.”

My wife is not my better half.

But we have a chance of getting along with each other when we allow our souls to enlighten us … and alleviate the half-witted skirmish between our hearts and our brains.

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