Critter

Critter: (n) any creature.

Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.

Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.

I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”

Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.

If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.

Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.

I might be viewed as a hillbilly.

Considered quaint, but not cute.

And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”

I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.

No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.

The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”

You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.

I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.

It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.

It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Brew

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Brew: (v) to make beer

The truth of the matter is, whatever I choose not to do becomes suspect.

I don’t like that. Matter of fact, I try very intensely to counteract that through my actions.Dictionary B

But if internally I have made a choice, generally speaking I think it’s a right one, and therefore have a tendency to flirt with intolerance.

Yet maturity is the process of realizing that our thoughts are not supreme.

This has always been my problem with alcohol. I just never jumped on the “rum run.”

I’ve never had more than a few sips of beer.

I’ve choked down a few glasses of wine.

And maybe once or twice I had a mixed drink simply because I thought the inserted umbrellas looked really pretty.

I found all of those experiences to be unfulfilling.

So the prevalence of alcohol in our society–especially since it’s tied to being an adult–leaves me baffled.

Many years ago I did a tour of Lutheran churches in Wisconsin, and discovered that most of the parishioners brewed their own beer.

Please don’t misinterpret my sentiments. I’m not saying that drinking or not drinking makes you a good or bad person.

Or maybe, in some silly, immature way, I am.

I’m not sure.

But I am grateful that I have never carried through to completion a judgment on someone based on whether they partook of the brew.

Over the years, I have tried to adjust my thinking … without actually drinking.

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Badger

Badger: (n) a native of WisconsinDictionary B

How fortuitous for me to actually find myself in Wisconsin, sharing with you about the badger.

The word actually has three definitions. Primarily it refers to a weasel-like creature which can be extraordinarily aggressive if cornered. Also, along with “a resident of Wisconsin,” it means to be so pesky that people find you annoying.

Honestly, I don’t find the people of Wisconsin to be anything like the badger. Actually they are much more like the other representation tied to the state–cheese.

Not cheesy, as in pretentious, but just a solid block of cheese–aged well, mellow and ready for you to take a slice if you so desire.

It’s not so much that different areas of the country are devoid of emotion, because on any given Sunday, you can go to Lambeau Field in Green Bay and the cheeseheads scream and holler for their team with amazing manic energy. They also do it down in Madison, for the college Wisconsin Badgers.

But when you spend at least seven months a year living in an ice box, it takes a while to thaw out. I have learned to be patient with Badgers–to never corner them and accuse them of being dormant.

Instead, I just take my time, give them their space, and allow them a chance to crawl out of their surroundings and to quietly sniff me.

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Background

Background (n) the circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event.

“What’s your background?”Dictionary B

A very popular question.

I learned many years ago to dodge all inquiries which attempt to squeeze me into a favorable box.

Once people discover the roots of my nationality, the place of my birth, my chosen occupation and even my favorite color, for some reason, these nosy neighbors determine that they know enough about me to converse with me–or even market a product–in my direction.

I believe this is why we’re so juiced up on the idea of cultures and customs. Because once we determine that somebody is from Jamaica, then we are most assuredly confident that they must love reggae music.

So how difficult is it to be a rock and roll advocate and live in Jamaica?

How absolutely frustrating must it be to live in Wisconsin and have never eaten cheese?

Can you actually dwell in Iowa or Nebraska without having a running dialogue on raising corn?

The thing that makes us most uninteresting is the thing that we seem to pursue with great fervor.

“Let me shrink who you are so that who you are will fit into what I need you to be.”

So even as I watch the phenomenon of the gay community gaining credence in our society, television insists that all gay people speak with a lisp, love theater, cry at the drop of a hat and are basically snarky.

So what are we really achieving when we claim to be accepting of people–but we’re really only accepting of people when they arrive in large, definable clumps?

I will not tell you my background.

What I will share is my present footing and what I dream to be my foreground.

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