Aorta

dictionary with letter A

Aorta: (n) the main artery of the body, supplying oxygenated blood to the circulatory system.

“Take no thought.”

It was an admonition from a Nazarene-carpenter-turned-itinerant-preacher many centuries ago. He contended it was good to not think about things we cannot change. It was not approval for lethargy or indifference, but a warning that the same fussiness that causes us to be concerned about our lacking is the thief that quickly steals them from us.

That’s the way I feel about the word aorta. I need to not think about it too often.

Realizing that my life is at the mercy of a small clump of skin and blood vessel which has been given a job of carrying my lifeline of survival is just about enough to drive me crazy.

I know I have a heart–I mean, a physical one. But the best way for me to maintain my emotional and spiritual heart is to not spend too much time studying or considering my physical one. Does that make sense?

We are frighteningly fragile, and but can on occasion fall a hundred feet from a cliff, bounce and rise to our feet. I do not know how it works.

Yet I am very disconcerted by a report given from a coroner which says, “Well, all I can tell you is that his aorta just wore out.” They shouldn’t do that.

I remember when I was a little kid, I watched a show on television where someone died from swallowing his tongue. Even though that seemed implausible to me, I spent the entire night wide awake, pinning my tongue to my cheek with my teeth.

Maybe I’m a little bit weird, but I think some things are better left to be studied in the halls of academia, tested on and practiced in theory rather than discussed in great detail.

I have an aorta … but I would rather not talk about him.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

A-OK

dictionary with letter A

A-OK: (adj) in good order (e.g. everything will be A-OK)

Is my “A-OK” your “great” or could it be that my “fantastic” is your “mediocre?” A-OK has validity only if the people delivering the report are reliable.

This has come up many times in my life, but especially in the realm of parenting children.

I would often ask one of my sons to go down and clean up the garage, and when I inquired about the success of the project, I got the following replies:

  • “A-OK”
  • “Great.”
  • “Pretty good.”
  • “It was really a mess down there.”
  • “I did my best.”
  • And even, “Come on, Dad. It’s just a garage.”

You can see how these responses are not confidence building. The problem is, I had to filter what they said through who they were.

We now live in a time when “A-OK” is spoken too easily, with the hope that the lacking in effort will be made up for by either luck, God, or more than likely, the patient repair of other folks who follow us.

Sometimes it terrifies me to get in a car and drive along, realizing that it’s being made with the quality control of today’s corporate thinking.

Whatever happened to pride in work?

I know we have the adage of “going the second mile,” but truthfully, that statement lacks any punch if we all have not pre-determined the length of the first mile.

Because every day of my life, I meet individuals who are convinced they have done more than they needed to, never realizing they have fallen short of adequate.

I have rejected “A-OK” from my lingo.

So what I chose to do instead is to quickly explain the choices I have made in my efforts, and then allow other people to ascertain the status.

Because if we do not discover what is bare minimum, we will begin to dangerously flirt with incompetence.

So the greatest danger we face is our own sleepy attempts to cut corners … and end up cutting ourselves.

 

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anytown, U. S. A.

dictionary with letter A

Anytown, U.S.A.: (n) any real or fantasy place regarded as being typical of American small-town appearance or values.

As a verified vagabond who has done my share of stopping at the local convenience store to inquire about the best diner in town, I will tell you that the similarities which exist among these little burgs are few and far between.

I know we would like, for the sake of political or spiritual agendas, to categorize certain locales as possessing the true crust of the American apple pie, but just as in the case of that delicacy, the fruits that fill them are varied.

I grow weary of listening to pundits portraying America as a conservative nestling of Puritanical, family oriented souls huddling over a common fire, exchanging “favorite scriptures.”

Likewise, America is not a bustling metropolis of cosmopolitan, creative beings on their way to the next cocktail party to discuss the brush-strokes of a new, controversial artist.

People are magnificent as long as you understand them. And here are three things I have learned which reflect the only commonality in the human family. They bring me both comfort and a bit of comic relief:

1. We are obliviously self-centered.

Even though we would be offended by the notion that we are highly focused on our own thoughts and lifestyle, it is just the way we survive. Without it, we probably would spend too much time correcting mistakes or being hit by buses.

2. Our values change as our problems mount.

It amazes me that someone who insists they are against some particular vice will suddenly become more forgiving when one of their children commits it. You can call that hypocrisy if you want to, but to a certain extent it is a necessary blending of survival, mercy and inconsistency.

3. If given the chance, we really don’t want to hurt anyone.

The trouble is, there is so much animosity in the air that we are continually tempted to be assholes. But if you can separate people from the media, politics and religious arrogance, they generally have enough heart that they want to make sure to give the other guy a chance.

If you comprehend these three things, you will find them anywhere you go, with anyone you meet, at any time.

If you have a mission to separate the “good people” from the “bad people,” to create a superior chosen race which is more “American,” then you will be a contributor to the insanity that divides us … instead of the understanding that unites us.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anything

dictionary with letter A

Anything: (pron) used to refer to a thing, no matter what

If you’ve ever parented teenagers, this response is probably one of your pet peeves.

If you ask them a question of any sort, they will either ignore you or reply, “I guess anything’s OK.”

I grew weary of this.

So one night when I asked my teenage sons what they wanted to have for dinner, and they replied, “anything,” I complied.

I went out to a neighbor’s trash can and pulled out the cast-aside leftovers of their previous lunch–some half-eaten sandwiches already drawing the interest of a couple of ants, the skeleton of a fish, and believe it or not, some broken pieces of pumpkin shell.

I found two bottles of partially consumed Coca-Cola, put it all on a platter, set plates, silverware and called them to dinner.

At first they were in such a state of oblivion that they didn’t recognize the placement set before them as being basically inedible, but perched in their chairs and reached for their cell phones.

So adding to the comedy of the moment, I asked one of them to offer grace. It was at this point that the child felt the need to look at the food, in order to determine the length and intensity of the prayer. Amazingly, he did not gaze at me in horror, but rather, looked at the spread before him, perplexed, shook his heads, and began to pray:

“Thanks for the food and the hands that prepared it, and for this day. In Jesus name, amen.”

Finishing the prayer, they both stared at the food–or shall I say, the “remains of the day”–and then looked at me quizzically, asking, “What is it?”

I smiled, grabbed my fork and spoon and touted, “It’s anything. Dig in.”

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anyplace

dictionary with letter A

Anyplace: (adv) informal term for anywhere.

“I’m waiting for my big break.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that statement uttered in my presence, and even to this day, it appears to be the mantra of all the American souls attempting to break out of their perceived poverty, into riches, wealth and notoriety.

I have been guilty of thinking that there will be an occurrence, event or even divine intervention which would propel me from obscurity into prominence.

Of course, the first presumption is that I deserve such acclaim.

Then there is a second burst of arrogance, allowing me to accept the idea that I’m prepared for such a spotlight.

But at no time when I have slid into this self-piteous “waiting room” have I ever asked myself, “What can I do anyplace?”

In other words, if I’m not doing what I can do where I am at this present moment, how do I ever expect to have that talent multiplied into a larger field of view?

But we really think that you can go on The Voice, American Idol, or America’s Got Talent and intone your ability or manifest your gig, and that you should receive a large prize and immediate universal acceptance.

I will tell you–there would be nothing worse in life than performing in front of twelve million people on television, only to discover two months later that you can’t get a gig at your local Holiday Inn.

The power of paying your dues is that when you finally get to the point that you have achieved some status, you know exactly how you got there and you have some experience which might permit you to remain for a season.

  • Some people are teachers–until they run across students who don’t want to learn. Sorry, educators. You gotta be able to do it anyplace.
  • Some people are entertainers until they have an audience of seven people. Sorry, let me inform you. You’ve got to be able to do it anyplace.
  • Some people are loving until they get around the hateful sort. Once again … anyplace.

Even though we occasionally let somebody who’s unworthy slip through the fence and play in the backyard, generally speaking, we like to make sure they’ve been invited and come through the front door.

To put it simply, I am not anything unless at anytime I can do what I do anyplace.  

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anymore

dictionary with letter A

Anymore: (adv) usually used with a negative connotation, to any further extent; any longer: (e.g. she refused to listen anymore)

I don’t want to focus on color anymore.

I don’t want to pursue an eye for an eye anymore.

I don’t want to treat women as opponents anymore.

I don’t want to be jealous of my fellow-humans anymore.

I don’t want to make God work so damn hard to save me anymore.

I don’t want to look across a room and decide what I think about a person anymore.

I don’t want to be so demanding anymore.

I don’t want to look for a savior in politics anymore.

I don’t want to eat more than I need anymore.

I don’t want to pray to a God in heaven without looking for Him on earth anymore.

I don’t want to watch trash on TV that has been touted as art anymore.

I don’t want to hurt people anymore.

I don’t want to call my selfishness self-preservation anymore.

I don’t want to accept pornography, excess and violence anymore.

I don’t want to pretend that abortion is a casual choice anymore.

I don’t want to insist that I have a “fat gene” anymore.

I don’t want to don the robes of judgment anymore.

I don’t want to get in a bad mood and pick a fight anymore.

I don’t want to rationalize my bad behavior anymore.

I don’t want to look on the rest of the world as non-American anymore.

I don’t want to believe in a God who claims to be love but occasionally sprouts hate through his followers anymore.

I don’t want to second-guess my generosity anymore.

I don’t want to look back on the “anymores” of my life which were opportunities to set myself apart and do something great, and choose to be mediocre anymore.

“Anymore” doesn’t have to be negative if you use it to do positive things … to battle your own stupidity.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anyhow

dictionary with letter A

Anyhow: (adv) 1. another term for anyway 2. in a careless or haphazard way (e.g.: the suitcases were flung anyhow)

There are three particular approaches I would like to see done away with simply because they’re frustrating if you’re trying to get something accomplished.

  • The first is a phrase: “Is this good enough?”

If you have to ask, you already know it isn’t. You’re just begging to be released from the responsibility.

  • The second is a gesture: the shrug.

When people don’t want to commit, share or open up, they use this nasty little shoulder lift to express their boredom or disdain.

  • And the third is a word: “Whatever.”

It’s the definition of passive-aggressive. Whenever I hear it, I realize the speaker has a strong opinion against what I am doing, but apparently I am unworthy of discussion about the matter.

In fifty years this generation will be known as “the anyhow clump.”

Thinking that tape, band-aids and bubblegum are just as good building materials as nails, boards and screws, we have generated an atmosphere of potential mishap simply due to poor quality effort.

The reason we are afraid of terrorists is that we know how mediocre we are, and we figure that someone in the world is more efficient than us.

The comical thing is that the terrorists wake up every morning just as humanly lazy, and willing to keep their plans “in committee” as we are.

So what keeps us safe from the terrorists is the same thing that places us in danger from the terrorists.

It’s called “anyhow.”

We’re not concerned with excellence, but instead merely getting to the finish line, while not ruling out the option of cheating.

So if you’re around me, be careful of these three options. Because if you ask me if it’s “good enough,” I won’t even look. I’ll tell you no.

If you shrug your shoulders, I will turn on my heel, quietly walk out of the room and offer you my back side as an exit.

And if you are so presumptuous as to speak “whatever” in my presence, I will quickly cure you by providing a litany of reasons for “whatever.”

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix