976 Towards a Definition of “Wisdom” 03-24-2021

The Grandson,

a lumbering, knuckle dragging, football playing lummox,

sought to establish his place

in the patrio-logical line

by challenging his Grand Father

to an arm wrestling match.

The young fellow sweetened the offer

by including a ten dollar bet

that only he would have to pay,

(if he lost).

“How ’bout it, Grandpa?

Still got it in ya?”

The grandfather,

in his still spry mid-eighties by then

thought for a moment or ten,

smiled and said,

“Sonny, do you know how

they put the definition of a word in the dictionary,

any dictionary,

Websters, Cambridge, American Standard?

They put down a few descriptors,

synonyms, they call them,

right after the word to be defined.

Then they give a few examples

just to help the researcher

get a more concrete idea of the words meaning.

Do you have any idea

what the first example is after

the meaning of the word,



the grandson was just smart enough

to just begin

to fathom

how much trouble he was suddenly in.


not smart enough to graciously extract himself

from his mess

by saying something


like, “Oh! Hell! Grandpa! You know I was just kidding!”

and then just skulking away.


Not this kid!

He just stood there,


and said, “Uh…no…”

“Well,” Grandpa continued,

“Example A

tells the researcher

that a Stupid person purposefully places himself

into a position where he

cannot possibly win,

no matter the actual outcome.

Like challenging a much older person,

like his Grandpa,

to some sort of physical contest,

like arm wrestling.

What if he wins?

What is he gonna do?

Brag to his pals or his sweet little girlfriend

that he just beat his eighty-four year old Grandpa

in arm wrestling?

Ya see, don’t ya, that he would be mocked

by anyone with half a brain.

How could he gain


that added to his already

less than sterling reputation

by winning

and getting no financial benefit either

since he got nothing from the bet?


What if he looses?

His Grandpa

gets an immediate ten dollars

to do with as he chooses!


for the rest of his life,

the old man gets the joy

of telling the tale of how this


was stupid enough

to put his

less than sterling reputation

on the line

by offering his challenge to the old guy

in the first place!!

And that pleasure the youngster gave

to the old guy

continues even from Grandpa’s grave

as the children and friends

of the grandson-now-grown-older

continue to tell the story

at every family reunion and holiday celebration

even unto the third and forth generation,

it even taking on a title,

“The Bet Great Grandpa Would Never Lose.”

While the now older grandson

has to sit

at his seat at the table

and grin,


while the same old story is told

over and over and over


Here Grandpa paused for a breath.

Then he said,


That’s how dictionaries taught vocabulary,

at least in my day!


Forgive me…

I’ve been having some trouble remembering,


What was that you said…..

about …

arm wrestling?”

About Ken Greenman

Married and Happy. Retired and busy. Living in NC. 71 and counting. December 12, 2020 and it's 72! ... I would love some written comments, critiques, adulation or kind suggestions.... If you have the time and or inclination, please feel free! Not in fear but by faith. We will see. See you later! If you ever want to talk for real, email me and I will send you my cell number.... I am enjoying this!
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