Comment

Comment: (n) a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.

Having abandoned journalism, many forms of etiquette, courtesy and basic grammar, the Internet continues to pass along ideas from people who refuse to accept the fact that others have a creative bend and require consideration.

Somewhere in the past two decades we have lost the true definition of commenting. Let me begin by telling you what it is not.

A comment is not you offering an opinion. In other words, if someone writes an article stating that the President of the United States is a great historical figure filled with virtue, a comment would be on the writer’s approach, delivery, information and process in drawing conclusions. A comment is not jotting down, “Idiot, moron, and son-of-a-bitch” with multiple exclamation points. (A single exclamation point is supposed to express great passion. When I see two, I perceive stupidity.)

Commenting is letting folks know how what they had to share, think, or even a meal you prepared was received. It is not replacing their input with your dogma–feeling as if this resolves the issue for all time.

Often my children recommend a movie to me. If I watch it, I offer the following comment:

“I can see why you liked it. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this movie on the night I watched it, but I did not garner the usual impact or inspiration that I normally enjoy from a flick. It is certainly the kind that I normally do pursue, but this particular one left me cold. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand what the writer and director were trying to communicate.”

This is commenting–a blend of honesty and humility allowing the person who has shared to leave the house without fear of being gunned down by a maniac.

I welcome comments.

I make errors.

But I do not give you permission to ravage my material simply because it busted out the walls of your mental one-room sublet.

 

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Comfortable

Comfortable: (adj) clothes or furnishing providing physical ease and relaxation.

I didn’t become a writer because I favor timeclocks. Deadlines were always dead to me.

I avoid them.

It happened to me this morning. I got up in the middle of the night and enjoyed a creative time of scrawling and bawling. I often do that.

The sheer beauty of God’s Universe and the joy I have in emoting about it sometimes turns me into a silly little girl who just found out that the boy she likes
didn’t check the right box on the note she sent asking if he liked her.

So when I awoke again, at what would be considered a normal “getting up time,” I was not comfortable with such an explosion of energy.

Guilt slipped in.

I thought to myself, I’ve got to get busy–write my blogs and post my articles, prepare my podcast. Hardboil my eggs.

My God, without all of these responsibilities, who am I? I become just some sort of guy walking around, breathing air, enjoying life as it happens, appearing to be without reasonable constraints.

I rolled over.

Sure…my blogs are getting posted later today. I assume this will merely create intrigue rather than disapproval. And if there are people out there waiting for them, they shall have the pleasure of perusing them in the afternoon.

It is important on our journey to be comfortable. You can tell when you’re around someone who is festering a gut-full of tension, because all you have to do is suggest the idea of pursuing comfort in your adult life, and they will quickly explain why this is impossible, irrational and a sign of having a “Peter Pan Syndrome.”

Peter Pan wanted to stay young.

I don’t need to be young. I can get old…

Just as long as you let me be comfortable.

 

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Coated

Coated: (n) a layer of covering

I, for one, appreciate and enjoy the candy coating on my aspirin.

I know it’s just a brief whiz-by of sweetness, but it keeps me from tasting any of that aspirin flavor that sticks in the back of your throat and makes you cough.

It’s just damned considerate.

This crossed my mind about twenty years ago, but I didn’t really do anything about it until last year. (Sometimes it takes nineteen years to work up the gumption to follow through on one of your own pieces of brilliance.)

But twenty years ago, I thought to myself, the problem with human relationships is that they aren’t candy-coated.

We walk around with some adult, grown-up notion that things should be nasty, and the more bitter they are the better it is–because we’ll end up with such a great, complaining story.

It wasn’t until last year that I realized that this applied to me. I was waiting for somebody else to put it into practice. But then I sat down one afternoon and realized that I am sometimes hard to swallow:

I can be bitter

I can be nasty

I can be sour.

And the truth of the matter is, my responsibilities require that I use candor and truthfulness to get the job done. After all, can there be anything worse than a writer who’s a liar–which may force him to write more lies later?

Yet there are human ingredients of sweetness that can be added to truth, so that we can feel love as we embrace reality.

May we never lose kindness.

May we never forget the power of being gentle.

May we always take into consideration a sense of humor.

And certainly, may our daily lives be blessed by the power of apology and the simplicity of a thank you.

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Chosen

Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.

 

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Chink

Chink: (n) a Chinese person.

I am prejudiced against skinny people–mainly because I’m fat.

I am intimidated by handsome men, truthfully because I’m quite plain.

I get nervous around other writers because deep in my heart, I need to be the best.

And the only reason I would ever call a Chinese person a “Chink” is because deep in my heart I know he or she is superior to me in attitude and talent, and I need
a way to degrade the prowess.

Certainly white people would never have brought black slaves from Africa unless the natives were superior to them working in the fields. Even after Emancipation, the white community was intimidated that the black work ethic would overtake them and lead to their poverty. So it’s easier to call them “niggers” and send out the signal that they are to be relegated to a lesser position.

We’ve done it for years with gender. All the terms used for women have eventually exposed a disguised prejudice.

  • “Ladies”
  • “Weaker sex”
  • “Little miss”
  • And of course, “bitch”

I’m not quite sure why the word “Chink” is in the dictionary. Perhaps it’s to remind us that there will always be people who are better at what they do than we are, and simply humiliating them with a condescending name does not take away their power.

We live in an America where there is still prejudice against the black race, even though we mimic their actions, customs, worship style and sports efforts in almost every way.

If bigots actually did think they were better than the people they prey upon, it would still be disgusting, but at least comprehensible.

But knowing that bigots are mean-spirited because they are secretly jealous and wish they possessed the abilities of those they attack may be the Earthly definition of satanic.

 

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Certifiable

Certifiable: (adj) able or needing to be certified.

“You certainly are a good dad. I can tell by your sons.”

Or maybe they just decided to become nice people to spite me. Perhaps they saw what an ass I was and chose a different path.

We are guilty of taking credit for what is not our effort–and if it is our effort, we know deep in our hearts that we truly never pulled it off.

Another lady asked me if I was a good writer. You see, she wants me to be certifiable. She wants some reputable organization, publisher or book club to ratify my claim to authorship.

It seems you can do almost anything in this country as long as you can get two other people to vouch for you.

Yet I seem to recall a childhood memory of a statement: “The proof is in the pudding.”

I don’t know what pudding has to do with it, but the true proof of whether something is worthy of honor is not in the number of certificates or awards it receives.

Because of that, none of us will ever hear the best singer, read the best writer or have the privilege of being governed by the best President.

The process of becoming certifiable is just too insane.

 

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Bunch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bunch: (n) a number of things, typically of the same kind, growing or fastened together.

There is a three-step process, and you will be happier if you understand that only two of them usually work.

We frustrate ourselves by thinking that gaining approval has much of a chance of coming our way. Here is life in a nutshell (though I don’t know why you’d want to place it in there):

  1. “I like it.”
  2. “I enjoy it.”
  3. “It is accepted.”

Too often we make our decisions based on whether something will be accepted. For instance:

If you’re a writer, you may try to pen the perfect American novel, suited to the present taste of the populace.

If you’re a musician, you may choose to chase down the current beat and sounds that are rattling the charts.

And if you’re just an average person who has something you like to do, you may find yourself tempering it to gain favor with the general population.

Since acceptance comes from humans and they are totally fickle, trying to gear your life to gain their “happy face” is frustrating, if not hopeless.

So why not go for the first two? Do I like it and do I enjoy it?

If you’re waiting for a bunch of people to come along and confirm your sanity, your value, your talent, your good looks or even your race, you will probably spend a lot of time at the bus stop, reading novels. 

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