Appeal

dictionary with letter A

Appeal: to be attractive or interesting: activities that appeal to all.

Attractive.

For a moment, let us escape the normal interpretation of being beautiful or handsome. Attractive actually means “to attract.”

Many years ago, I was at a convention and a beauty queen sat down next to me and we started a conversation. She was very relaxed because…well, honestly, I’m not very good-looking. I had no intentions of hitting on her because I was married. I seemed safe.

As she related the story of her life and situation, her eyes filled with tears. At length she said, “Do you know what really pisses me off? I never really know if anybody likes me because all the men want to make love to me.”

I was startled.

Moments earlier, I was convinced that this young girl had everything. She was pretty, slender, poised and obviously a winner. But these physical attributes were so plentiful that she wasn’t really able to attract anything in her direction except male bees trying to invade her hive.

It was disconcerting to her. It was unfulfilling.

I walked away from that discussion with a strange sense of peace. Even though I will never attract anyone solely based upon my visage, I have decided to use my brain, talent and spirit to be the means by which I welcome others into my life.

Attractive does mean “to attract”–and being attractive means that we have a certain amount of appeal.

But wisdom is deciding what we should lead with.

Because what we use to attract others always determines the type of individuals we snag.

 

 

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Apparition

dictionary with letter A

Apparition (n.) a remarkable thing that makes a sudden appearance, especially a ghost.

I believe in ghosts.

Not the cloudy, smoky spirits of souls who have gone on to their reward or retribution. I’m talking about the ghosts of bad ideas, inclinations and fallacies that possessed our world in the past, and now have come to haunt us in the present.

  • Sometimes I just wish we could come up with new bad ideas.
  • Sometimes I just wish there was something new.

But instead we have the poltergeist of previous ridiculous concepts rising up from the grave, where we thought we buried it, only to spook us once again.

We don’t have new scandals. We have the spirit of Richard Nixon and Watergate infesting the present bodies of our politicians, making them do the same stupid mistakes he tried to pull off, which ended up with his destruction.

We don’t have music born of the spirituality and emotions of our own generation, but rather, grave-robbers who go and dig up the tunes of those who are now decomposing.

We are continually vexed by the apparitions of past failures or the ongoing celebration of victories, where the band has already played and marched away.

We spend too much time celebrating the past, forgetting the prejudice, disease and dumbness that prevailed.

I believe in ghosts because we refuse to inter the past.

So we just keep living this stuff over and over again … like a bunch of tales from the crypt.

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Apparent

dictionary with letter A

Apparent (adj.)1. clearly seen or understood; obvious. 2. seeming real, but not necessarily so.

All of our eyeballs have been blurred, leaving our vision tainted.

Perhaps it was the disappointment brought on by the tension of adolescence, or some hidden prejudice inserted into our thinking by well-meaning parents.

It might have been high expectation which was dashed and brought crashing to the earth by the flak of reality.

Somewhere along the line we began looking at the world through clouded lenses of bigoted conclusions.

Therefore what is apparent to one person is not equally as apparent to another. Matter of fact, we’ve developed a whole philosophical approach to the issue, insisting that we’re all quite different, and in our difference we find our “special purpose.”

Yet it doesn’t occur to us that if we all have different views of what is necessary, beautiful and spiritual, we’re more likely to collide into each other in the dark than to embrace each other in the light.

I do think it’s important that we come to some common ground on what is apparent, and even if we don’t completely understand it, submit to the wisdom of some very essential precepts:

1. We are not here alone.

In other words, we cannot live our lives as if there are no other human beings, and trying to pursue our goals without a belief in a Creator can be more frustrating than enriching.

2. The truth will make you free.

Lying is a detour which takes you through town, past the beautiful houses, but always ends up at the city dump. No one ever gets away with lying–and truthfully, the longer the deceit is disguised, the worse the retribution.

3. Miracles are God’s business, but talent is mine.

There is no replacement for ability applied with hard work. Those who peddle shortcuts, easy diet plans and get-rich schemes may be the closest thing we will ever see to flesh-and-blood satans.

There are things which are apparent. If we agree, we can begin to pull together instead of pushing and shoving each other. But to get this done, we must stop believing that the Earth is a series of human islands instead of a continent of brothers and sisters.

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Apparel

dictionary with letter A

Apparel: (n) clothing

For most of my life, I have been a vagabond traveler with a bit of gypsy in my soul, who mustered just enough air of sophistication to avoid being deemed “Bohemian.”

But for a very brief season, I bought a piece of land and became “Lord of the Manor,” which along with its title, warranted the purchasing of garments to hang in a closet, since it was available for walking in.

I was a little shocked at how quickly I accumulated apparel. A shopping trip here, a gift there, a sale when someone was convinced I couldn’t live without some sweater handed over to me as a surprise…

It all eventually filled my closet with more turtlenecks than prayer.

And with it came shoes.

In my early years, I had one pair of shoes to my name and when they began to wear out, it would take me several weeks to conclude that they were no longer foot-worthy and needed replaced. But at one point, I think I had almost twenty pairs in my hideaway.

So here’s what I discovered about an abundance of apparel: for most of my garments, it was a very lonely life. Matter of fact, it’s a wonder that some of them didn’t “suit me” for non-support. (I apologize for that one. Sometimes I can’t resist.)

After all was said and done, it boiled down to about four outfits that I universally wore from week to week, and a few extra pieces thrown on as occasional accessories.

I truly learned the importance of the adage, “Take no thought for what ye shall wear.”

Because all a closetful of apparel did for me was make me feel guilty about ignoring my threads.

 

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Apparatus

dictionary with letter A

Apparatus (n.) 1. the equipment needed for a particular activity or purpose. 2. a complex structure within an organization: the apparatus of government.

Did you read the definition??

There’s that horrible word which is plaguing our society, leaving us bewildered and baffled as to what to do next.

“Complex.”

There are folks who enjoy complexity. It makes them feel they are problem-solvers and more intelligent than their competition, or worse, that they have the inside track on how something or other works.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever used the word “apparatus.” To me, it conjures a vision of going to a store and asking for a specific mechanism which is only suited for one particular compartmentalized purpose.

I am incapable of this.

If the apparatus is that special, it really requires a qualified technician.

I learned a long time ago–just because I know what’s wrong and maybe even what needs to be done, it does not authorize me to be the doer.

Just because I know how to screw up my life does not mean I don’t need help to get it screwed back down.

And when it comes to matters of fixing things, repair, or even everyday tasks, I only implement three simple tools: a hammer, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.

If for some reason, the task before me cannot be addressed with one of these tools, I need a professional to bring in an apparatus.

I’m even in a bit of terror when I use a plunger on a toilet. Why? Because after my work is complete and I’ve “plunged in,” as it were, then I have to flush it, and will find out if my labor was in vain.

Scary shit.

Literally.

So if you don’t mind, I don’t need an apparatus.

I will be willing to stand back and pay a craftsman to complete the repair … instead of having me create the need for more repair.

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Appalling

dictionary with letter A

Appalling: (adj) greatly dismaying or horrifying

What is appalling?

I would think that our value and service to humankind is based upon our ability to discover what is truly appalling instead of what we promote as appalling.

For example:

  • It is not appalling that young people want to have sex with each other. It is a healthy situation demanding wisdom.
  • It is not appalling that people make mistakes. What we should be teaching in our schools is gracious repentance instead of clumsy denial.
  • It is not appalling that people don’t believe in God. God knows He’s hard to understand–that’s why He keeps sending people to simplify Him to the masses.
  • It is not appalling that politics has degraded itself to a mockery. What is appalling is that we don’t seem to be able to have any statesmen step out of the shadows to represent the common good anymore.
  • It is not appalling that men and women, and people of different races have some natural conflicts. What is appalling is the idea that this is irreversible and should be accepted rather than addressed.
  • It is not appalling that businesses cheat and sell inferior products. No need to get your ire up, just hire more competent laborers.
  • It is not appalling that people want to do away with unwanted pregnancies. What is appalling is the hypocrisy that allows for one form of termination of life while promoting another.
  • It is not appalling that the Jews and the Arabs are at each other’s throats. It is a family squabble, and only appalling if we think we can resolve it.
  • It is not appalling that in the long run we do need a savior to rescue us from our inconsistencies and sins. What is appalling is keeping people weak to constantly remind them of those inconsistencies and sins.

If you’re going to use the word “appalling,” you should shrink it to cover less and less variety of subjects.

For after all, the only thing that’s truly appalling is that after all these years, we still don’t understand that if we’re going to survive as a species, it is a necessity that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

 

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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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