Apothecary

dictionary with letter A

Apothecary: (n.–archaic) a person who prepared and sold medicines.

I was just thinking about these three names–apothecary, drugstore and pharmacy. Don’t ever tell me that words don’t have significance.

For if someone told me they were “going to the apothecary,” I would conjure visions of someone sitting around mixing chemicals, trying to turn lead into gold.

Unfortunately, in my twisted mind, if you told me you were heading for the drugstore, I would see some guy with slick-backed hair, two day’s growth of beard, pulling little plastic packets out of his coat to sell on the street corner.

I think that’s why we ended up with “pharmacy,” although there are no animals, barnyards or crops involved. (Please forgive that.)

Do words get tired, or do we get tired of words? Because we’re certainly justified by what words we use, and also condemned.

For the person who says he is heading to the apothecary immediately casts himself in the role of the ancient of days.

And drugstore does reek a bit of being white trash. (Not that there’s anything wrong with white trash. As far as I’m concerned, since I’m a forward-thinking human being, you can be whatever color of trash you desire.)

But somewhere along the line, the apothecary had to become the pharmacy, and someday the pharmacy will be much too stuffy and we’ll have to come up with another name for it.

But I seriously doubt if we’ll ever go back to apothecary … unless men wearing tights and pointy shoes return to fashion. 

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Apostrophe

dictionary with letter A

Apostrophe (n.): a punctuation mark (‘) used to indicate either possession or the omission of letters or numbers.

It is a very good question. Are shortcuts in life an expression of laziness, or a desire to simplify before we end up being conquered?

Because honestly, I have taken some shortcuts which certainly ended up at dead ends, and have often found myself taking the long way home, only to be mocked by those who use a better GPS.

You see, the apostrophe already had a job. It was being used to prove that we own something. It was a clerical title-deed, to be presented to the reader, to establish the authenticity of our rights.

But them someone said, “There ought to be another job for this little marking. After all, the formal nature of using words like ‘is’ and ‘are’ over and over again is extremely tedious. So maybe if we leave out one of the letters, and stick in the apostrophe, which is already hanging around, we could come across as more relaxed, if not hip.”

I don’t know if someone experimented with this once in writing a document, or even when it started. For instance, I don’t see any apostrophes in the Declaration of Independence. It remains rather “verbal.”

Yet as a writer, I am often encouraged to shorten words with apostrophes so as not to appear to be a stick in the mud. Why is that?

(Or perhaps better phrased, why’s that?)

I think we do a disservice to ourselves when we merely accept the radical concepts of the previous generation as common doings in our own time simply because they survived the rigors of scrutiny.

So for me, there are occasions when I think clarity demands the addition of the full use of the little verbs … instead of sticking in a comma dangling in midair.

 

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Apostle

dictionary with letter A

Apostle: (n.) 1. each of the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ. 2. an enthusiastic supporter of an idea or cause.

Titles are what non-talented people cling to in order to avoid being evaluated on the quality of their work.

You can tell exactly how useless these assigned names are by how popular they are in our present-day society, which seems to be stuck in the muck of ego, unable to maneuver in any direction.

I, too, am often asked to produce my running list of titles. These are supposed to be words that inform the hearer that I am worthy of being listened to and that I have jumped through enough hoops to be part of the circus.

I’ve even had people correct me when I’ve addressed them by their first name, to inform me that their title must be included–otherwise they have a sense of what we might call “nomenclature nakedness.”

So instead of granting people dignity and appreciation for their deeds, we bequeath them with titles.

And this is why the original apostles nearly suffocated the message of Jesus of Nazareth–because they spent most of their time sitting around discussing who was greater and who Jesus liked better. In the process they began to kiss up to the very same individuals who originally had crucified their Master.

Fortunately for us, they stopped being apostles and turned back into rag-tag fanatics.

Because I will tell you of a certainty, King George III was not impressed that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of electricity or had constructed a stove. He considered him a rebel and a rapscallion and was prepared to hang him.

And the American history books can be grateful that Mr. Franklin did not take offense, but agreed to don the role of rebel so that we might be free.

Titles frighten me. They assume that their mere inclusion should produce respect.

What should give us our respect is whether we follow through on what we say is truly important.

 

 

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Apostasy

dictionary with letter A

Apostasy (n.): abandonment of a belief or principle.

Fascinating.

In actuality, I have abandoned many beliefs in order to embrace principles.

For when reality takes hold in your life, you realize that any notion of God which is not in synchronization with nature is superstition rather than truth.

And in like manner, any reverence for a natural order that does not in some way include a creative force is believing that life occurs in adulthood with no reverence for the birthing egg.

I guess in many ways I practice apostasy all the time–because I am equally as disillusioned with religion as I am with the secular world. I am perpetually unimpressed with the presence of a practice that ignores reason and the appearance of a reasonability that denies faith.

So on the occasions that I sit around with my brothers and sisters and listen to the common conversation proffered, I often find myself internally asking more questions than actually receiving enlightenment.

Many years ago I decided to abandon an agenda.

  • I am not a promoter of the Republican or the Democratic party.
  • I do not particularly find the Judeo-Christian form of governing spirituality to be edifying.
  • And I certainly cannot go along with the populist view that my family is “more special than anyone else in the world” simply because it was conjugated from my sperm.

Sooner or later what we call apostasy becomes a gentle move of common sense towards inclusion.

Often it’s just including good information.

Usually it involves including others without prejudice.

But honestly, mostly it includes the possibility that since knowledge has expanded, there is the chance that it will continue to do so.

Locking ourselves into a prison of platitudes is the best way to end up looking foolish to our grandchildren.

I guess I’m apostate–because I’m not satisfied with what I’ve discovered.

What I have uncovered has only made me hunger and thirst for more.

 

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Apoplectic

dictionary with letter A

Apoplectic (adj.) 1. informal overcome with anger. 2. dated relating to apoplexy (stroke).

If anger is a turd, then rage is a pile of manure. And if we were able to deal with our turds, we wouldn’t have to shovel our shit.

You see, that’s the problem.

Some sense of false kindness prevents us from speaking our hearts, causing us to be deceptive rather than forthcoming.

It doesn’t change the fact of what we feel. Choosing a gentle answer does not make us more gentle. It actually causes us to create a second storehouse, where we stockpile resentment instead of building up our barns of blessing.

It is impossible for me to live a blessed life if I’m pissed off–and the longer I stay pissed off, the less chance I have of ever satisfying the breach I’ve created in my own emotions and soul.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the driving habits of the American traveler. People who would normally appear rational lose all sense of dignity when they get behind the wheel of an automobile, because they feel they’re protected by armor, like a knight on a crusade to kill dragons. They become profane, horn-honkers and selfish intruders into the lives of other human movers.

Why? Because the anger that should have been dealt with days ago is now stinking up the joint.

There is one mission in discovering the value of human life: don’t be afraid to say what you feel … as long as you’re prepared to be wrong.

And since most people are not suited for such an admission of guilt, they would rather keep their feelings to themselves and maintain them in a chest of self-righteousness.

  • Rage is what kills.
  • Anger is what opens the door to communication.

If we allow ourselves to be transparent in our emotions, we will avoid the danger of rage.

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Apologetics

dictionary with letter A

Apologetics (n.): reasoned arguments defending a theory or belief.

Living in a world that wants to debate the power of argument and argue over the rules of debate, I find myself retreating in self-defense.

It isn’t that I’m afraid to make a stand, nor that I lack evidence of a personal nature on what I hold dear. It’s just that when I am limited to the power of mere articulation, I lose the majority of the beauty of my human emotion and faith.

We are not better people when we are convincing. For after all, Adolph Hitler was able to make a case for his Super Race.

What makes us viable and appealing is the stream of evidence which oozes from our pores as the proof of what lies within.

So a politician who is jaded and angry off-camera fails to convince me of his or her sincerity.

A corporation which revels in its slick advertising, capturing a market, is not nearly as appealing to me as one which takes responsibility for inferior products and sets in motion the research to improve.

And the religionist who mocks the simplicity of a child-like faith in favor of a theology with so many twists and turns that it produces a pretzel logic is not the mind of God to my weary ears.

Here’s what I want to know:

  • Can you tell me the truth?
  • Is it working for you?
  • What can you share with me that confirms that assertion?

Many centuries ago, a blind man who was healed by an itinerant preacher was mocked by the intellectuals of his day because the so-called miracle didn’t make any sense nor follow any acceptable form of religious practice.

His response was precious.

He said, “I don’t know about all your opinions and learned ways. All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see.”

Amen.

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Apologetic

dictionary with letter A

Apologetic (adj.) admitting and showing regret for a wrongdoing.

In my opinion, saying “I’m sorry” is only effective when it comes from the lips of an explorer instead of a captured criminal.

We live in a time when people do and say ridiculous things, and then are compelled by our media to stand in front of a microphone and mouth some sort of anemic confession of weakness, waiting for the news cycle to lose interest in them.

If they don’t do this, we assume they’re perniciously evil and should be shunned from the next barn-raising.

Yet an apology is probably the most powerful tool in human relationships. It is the glue that holds pieces together which are mismatched, but still strong because of the bond.

Still, an apology, like any other misused virtue, becomes nearly sinister when it is coerced and turned from the beauty of repentance to the aggravating death-march to compliance.

It reminds me of the parents who stand around and require their child to say “thank you” when you give the little one a candy bar. You become the victim of their insistence as the child, with chocolate dripping down his cheek, reluctantly mutters what is assumed to be words of gratitude.

How can we teach ourselves that an apology does not diminish, but rather, accentuates, our status?

I don’t know.

But there is a wise adage which states, “Except you repent, you will perish.”

To the human mind that seems unlikely. So what does perish?

What we lose in this transaction, because we have not used our own cognition to apologize, is the peace of mind and trust we have in others to be sincere–which can cause us to become angry, unforgiving souls … if we don’t believe them.

 

 

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