Crotchety

Crotchety: (adj) given to odd notions, whims, grouchiness, etc.

There are three words that seem to travel together. Buddies, if you will.

I don’t think you can see “crochety” without the word “old” hanging around, accompanied in the back seat by the word “man.”

Crochety old man.

Women aren’t crochety—women are bitchy.

Men, on the other hand, get a “cushioney” word, perhaps pulled out of a hat owned by Charles Dickens: “’Tis crochety, old boy.”

Also, men are old. Women, on the other hand, are decrepit.

At least with the word “old” you have the possibility of “wisdom” traveling alongside. But decrepit immediately conjures a vision of an old witch with a fondness for dining on the carcasses of little children.

The gentleman in the story gets the advantage of maintaining the word “man” to describe him, while the woman would be a hag.

So if you have a penis, you get to be a “crochety old man.”

Absent that appendage, you are a “bitchy, decrepit hag.”

After all, what does it mean to be crochety? It means that nothing is going your way anymore because your way is so old it’s covered with dust.

What can one do to age and still be a person who isn’t crochety?

I think there is a three-step process, whether you’re male or female:

  1. Shut up.

No one wants to hear all your stories.

  1. Listen.

And as you do, learn some of the lingo so you don’t talk like you came out of a 1970’s movie.

  1. Think funny things, think serious things—share the funny ones.

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Crescendo

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crescendo: (n) a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.

I do realize there’s a danger in over-analyzing things. It can become tedious, if not obnoxious. Yet I will tell you—life becomes much simpler when you first realize it’s supposed to be simple, and then you start looking for the parallels that dwell behind every experience and lurk beneath each rock.

Over the years I have played my share of music.

Some people have even accused me of being a musician.

I’ve written songs and I’ve composed about eight symphonies (though Mozart and Beethoven shouldn’t be worried about their day jobs.)

Music has taught me a lot.

That’s not a very profound statement, but once again—simple.

Music knows what the key is meant to be in every situation.

It finds a melody, so some sensibility can be mustered for the hearer.

It certainly acknowledges the need for harmony.

And it has a great desire to strike a chord of commonality among us.

But never does music teach us anything more than it does with the crescendo.

Some people live their lives full out, loud, always punctuating their crescendo to the maximum. Then when they need to say something essential or shout out a truth, no one listens because they are always blaring and trumpeting their feelings.

The wisdom of music is to start your piece quietly and build.

Let’s be honest—if the audience doesn’t want to hear the song or doesn’t prefer the tunefulness of it, playing it more loudly does not achieve much of anything. But if you can acquaint all those around you with a theme they really embrace, by the time you get to the finale, you can generate a crescendo that triumphs the message and the music to the climax.

I used to be of a mindset that the louder I said something, the more emphatic and powerful it became. But I just ended up in a room with a bunch of fellow bellowers, shouting over the top of one another.

I shall never forget the night I was playing a concert, and the band that was on right before our troupe closed out with a screaming anthem, leaving the audience leaping to its feet, applauding wildly.

I realized there was no way to top that, so I looked for a bottom. I took the stage with just my guitarist and sang our sweetest, most childlike ballad. By the time I finished, the attention was mine. If I had desired, I could have manufactured my own crescendo. There was no hurry. It wasn’t a competition.

Turn down the noise.

First in your own mind—your own twitter—and then patiently let it all tone down around you.

Take a deep breath, pick your moment, make sure it’s timely…

CRESCENDO.

 


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Coup

Coup: (n) a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment.

Pleasant.

Pleasant is a very pleasant word.

Pleasant is what happens when our minds are set on the possibility that our efforts, when placed in the right moment and position, can effect a positive change.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Pleasant becomes unpleasant when those who are able to arrive with the relief of wisdom, common sense, humor and gentleness have given up or just slept in.

So because pleasant does not get its day, we begin to believe that life has a sallow sameness which makes our faces pucker in anticipation of bleakness.

The idea of a coup rarely occurs to the mind of the defeated.

I, as a human being, have two functions:

  1. Find abundant life.
  2. As I enjoy it, break off a piece, crumble it in my hands and sprinkle it on the folks I meet.

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Counterintuitive

Counterintuitive (adj) counter to what intuition would lead one to expect

Spirituality and practicality meet together in a holy ground called common sense.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Common sense is the wisdom that is so obvious to each and every one of us, that as long as we’re not rebellious or being bratty, we can see the intuition and understand the next thing that needs to be done.

So what makes us become counterintuitive to common sense is either a lack of belief in spirituality or too much spirituality and not enough function in practicality.

Of course, there is the danger of being so practical that you don’t think anything can actually be spiritual.

We seem to be going through a phase. If I were trying to characterize the present of social thinking and parallel it to the years of our growing up time, I would say the whole world is acting like it’s sixteen years old. In other words, we all have permission to drive and put our lives in gear, but we don’t necessarily have the maturity to achieve it.

We need to come back to the better parts of ourselves and allow the spirituality that we believe in and the practicality we possess to mingle and become our new common sense.

It is certainly counterintuitive to think we’ll be able to make valuable decisions without having common sense.

And it is also counterintuitive to try to achieve common sense without a spiritual practicality.


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Core Curriculum

Core curriculum: (n) a collection of courses with a central theme

I tend to run out of the room in a bit of horror when I hear voices raised and people begin to stomp around sharing their opinions with more energy than wisdom.

I know it may be popular to be sold out on your convictions, but too often I see people’s convictions sell them out, leaving them ignorant or inept.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Every once in a while, you’ll stumble across a discussion laced with some humility—and the participants will admit that the reason a conversation is necessary is because knowledge is lacking.

For instance, what does an eighteen-year-old American teenager need to know, think, believe and feel upon graduating from high school? Candidly, college offers new choices the student can take advantage of if he or she is so inclined, but I do think we should be very interested in what the average eighteen-year-old already knows upon completing the core curriculum in the American educational system.

And in a sense, it does boil down to “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic”—but may I add a fourth “R?” Rationality.

Reading is necessary because if you’re eighteen years old, and you insist that everything you need to know you’ve already learned, then you are certainly a danger to those around you.

‘Riting because if you’re only going to use words in vague half-sentences or tweets, then you will often leave the world around you bewildered as to your intentions. Can you write a decent paragraph that conveys what you’re trying to say?

‘Rithmetic—because entering the adult world, you must understand that things need to add up, and if they don’t you must subtract something and learn to divide up your efforts to grant you the possibility to multiply.

And finally, rationality. Teaching an eighteen-year-old that most of the time, he or she is either wrong or deficient of the data necessary to make a good decision will calm things down, with a bit of needed uncertainty, instead of becoming overwrought, chasing unrealistic dreams.

Yes, there is a need for a core curriculum—where we start out agreeing on common sense principles.


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Cop

Cop: (slang) a police officer

When I was a kid, if you called a policeman a “cop,” you were corrected. You were made to feel like some sort of hoodlum who was trying to be overly cool, overly familiar and by grown-up standards, overly stupid.

Through the years, the constables and police force have adopted the name “cop.” They had a show called “Cops.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

The feelings about these peace-keepers vary from city to city, age group to age group and race to race.

What’s missing, I think, is the definition of what makes a good policeman or woman. Because any officer who is “badge heavy” is a cop by anybody’s standards. And by “badge heavy” I mean that they take their position much too seriously rather than focusing on their responsibility.

I want to see a police-person and not think of the word “cop,” or wonder if he or she is an ass. What tells me this is whether he or she appears to be eyeballing the surrounding world anticipating that most people are going to be criminals or if most people are going to be next-door neighbors.

I want a man or woman who is wearing a uniform and carrying a gun to use the wisdom of mercy as much as possible, short of endangering his or her life.

“Cop” is still not a great name for a policeman. It’s one of those things we’ve accepted because our world is too intent on being cool instead of respectful.

But it certainly will not hurt the police officers in this country to carry their badges a bit more lightly, and their respect for humanity with a deeper and heavier consciousness.


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Con

Con: (n) the negative position

In evaluating the pros and cons of any situation, no one is ever yelled at for coming up with too many pros.

There is not some formal rebuke which proclaims, “You’re just being too positive!”

But if you come up with too many “cons”–reasons that something might not work, you could easily be decried “too negative.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

The question has to cross our minds: is it more dangerous to be too pro or too con? Trying to find the balance is impossible.

Basically, in life you have two positions:

Pursue with wisdom.

Or abstain with intelligence.

And to gain the wisdom and acquire the intelligence does mean that one has to be able to isolate the “cons”–the negatives–in any given situation.

Being too positive has caused tyrants to become dictators and murderers because no one wanted to believe that anyone could actually be that evil.

It has also caused parents to find themselves being interviewed on 24-hour news networks, attempting to explain why their teenage son walked into a school and killed as many innocents as possible.

After all, they just wanted to love their kid and be positive.

When the obvious signs of danger show their ugly faces, it is time to allow ourselves to be a wee bit negative. And those signs of danger are:

  • killing
  • stealing
  • destroying

Whenever this trio–or just one of them–shows up on the horizon, it is a good idea to pose the simple question, “Hold on a second! Now what in the hell is this all about?”

 

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