Approximate

dictionary with letter A

Approximate (adj): close to the actual, but not completely accurate or exact.

Pet peeve. Please forgive me. Example:

“How many people were at the concert?” I ask.

“Approximately 47,” he replies.

Yes, it bothers me when people say they’re going to approximate a number and then give me a specific one. You can feel free to say “I would approximate between 45 and 50,” but 47 is what I would call a hard count.

Also pet peeve, case in point:

“What time will you be there?”

“I would approximate 7:15ish, but it could be later.”

Now I’m confused. First of all, I don’t know what “ish” is doing on the end of any word. 7:15 comes around once a night, and all of its neighbors have names, which are not associated with it. For instance, 7:16 is different.

I know this is silly, which may be the definition of a “pet peeve. (All pets are silly in their own way. Anybody who thinks a hamster or a fish gives a crap about them should spend a day or two in the loony bin. So when my peeve is my pet, I feed it, hold it, pet it, put it back in its cage and hope it does not poop all over everything.)

I do try to be patient with people. I realize they don’t share my predilections.

I also try to understand some of their pet peeves, though honestly, their particular renditions always seem, to me, to be pet rocks.

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Approval

dictionary with letter A

Approval (n): the action of officially agreeing to something or finding something acceptable

It’s not easy to get approval.

Matter of fact, most human systems are set up to filter out the riff-raff, and in so doing, often discourage those who are not as tenacious as they should be, but still possess value.

This is the problem with the committee.

There are four types of people who populate committees, and are therefore in charge of approval:

1. The individual who has legitimate concern about an issue and wants to make sure good things happen.

2. The person who has an ax to grind and disagrees with most of the decisions made by previous committees and wants to be there to rectify the situation.

3. The person who can’t say no to the job but really has little interest in it, and therefore is swayed back and forth by the majority.

4. That guy or gal who feels it is their duty to say no to most things–otherwise affairs may get out of hand. And simultaneously, they hope to be known as the person who stood against something that turned out to be really bad.

I have spent most of my life trying to avoid seeking approval.

It’s not that I don’t want input and opinions, it’s just that in the pursuit of approval, the wheels of progress grind to a screeching halt and the vehicle which was taking us to our future plans suddenly is parked, looking like it doesn’t run.

Approval is hard to get and because of that, we have a tendency to be stingy in giving it to others. So my feeling on the issue is that I welcome you to have insights on what I do as long as you understand that I’m going to do something.

 

 

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Appropriate

dictionary with letter A

Appropriate (adj): suitable or proper in the circumstances

Yes, it is similar to those orange cones they set up around construction areas.

You find yourself driving along and you look up ahead, and suddenly traffic is backed up, and as you inch your way closer, you discover that someone has put up these orange cones to cordon off an area which is under repair–although it is not always obvious that such care is actually being given.

That’s the way I feel about our society.

Having lived for a while now, I have seen the social “orange cones” put up around certain issues to slow down the traffic of human progress and establish the fact that this subject or issue is “not appropriate” for either consideration or discussion.

When I was a kid it was divorce. “Good people” just didn’t get divorced. Matter of fact, if you were writing a play in that era, you could connote that a woman had loose character simply by stating that she was a divorcee. But eventually the orange cones were removed from the issue simply because so many people were participating in the practice.

In my teens, we were taught that the Vietnam War was patriotic. Orange cones were placed around the appropriate response, which was to show support for the endeavor. Anyone who considered it a worthless adventure was alienated.

Then, almost overnight, the orange cones were removed and it became appropriate to stand against the war and criticize U.S. involvement in Indochina.

It goes on and on.

I suppose there are those who consider the removal of all orange cones, offering a freeway in policy and thinking, to be the ideal way for human evolution to travel.

But it’s tricky business.

We do need some orange cones placed around a few issues–otherwise we will ignore the appropriate response necessary to grant each individual dignity.

I can think of two right off the bat:

  • Orange cones should be put around free will.

The minute we think we are victims of destiny, unable to change our circumstances, we lose the power of what it really means to be human.

  • And I think orange cones need to be placed around the sanctity of life in all its forms.

Otherwise we will make arbitrary decisions that certain members of the family of humankind are worthy of death and others should be lifted up on the shoulders of life.

What is appropriate?  Give people free will. And don’t kill.

How cool. It rhymes.

Free will and don’t kill.

Great orange cones for protecting something that is totally appropriate.

 

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Approachable

dictionary with letter A

Approachable (adj): 1.friendly and easy to talk to 2. able to be reached from a distance.

Ten things:

1. Don’t be dark and mysterious. James Dean is dead and so is the “brooding human.”

2. Value the power of ignorance because it makes you more accessible to other people. There is no such thing as a know-it-all. Such a creature ends up knowing nobody.

3. Laugh. Preferably at yourself instead of others.

4. Don’t feel the need to be the savior of the world. Instead, start filling sandbags to hold back the flood.

5. Don’t be sure. People who are sure have to later lie about either what they believed or about how successful it was.

6. Do not be a respecter of persons. The minute you assume that someone or some group is better than another, you’ve cut yourself off from a large portion of the earth.

7. Don’t talk about God. Live God.

8. Show up in a consistent mood. It doesn’t have to be good–it just has to be predictable so people aren’t wondering whether Jekyll or Hyde will show up at the party.

9. Believe in something. It’s too easy to be cynical. It’s also very lonely.

10. Learn something every day–and be prepared to admit it.

Approachable is when we’re not afraid to be human, but instead, revel in the uncertainty of our humanity.

 

 

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Approach

dictionary with letter A

Ap·proach (n): 1. a way of dealing with something. E.G.: “We need a whole new approach.”

I find myself in Clarksville, Tennessee.

If you’re going to be a journeyman, you should be prepared to journey and become a better man in all situations.

I think I pride myself in the fact that I’m able to blend with various cultures and be of benefit to the people around me, as they also share their flavors and insights in my direction.

At breakfast this morning, there was a man who serves the food, who happens to be a fellow of color. I had been interacting with him for several days with a bit of conversation, generosity and expressing interest in his life.

Honestly, I felt quite cosmopolitan doing so, feeling that I was “a man for all seasons.” (Remember, arrogance is always more likely when one thinks one is being righteous)

As I sat at breakfast, two other young chaps, who happened to be of his hue, came into the room, sat down, and began to talk. I didn’t want to be impolite by listening in, but I did anyway, and it didn’t make any difference.

I was only able to catch about every tenth word and make out its meaning from my limited translating ears.

My acquaintance was a different individual around these two than he was with me. I realized that when he spoke to me he was more cautious, overly respectful and maintained a certain distance.

It wouldn’t even have occurred to me had these two gentlemen not come in and brought out his internal workings. I realized that through the combination of the Southern culture, his upbringing, racial tensions in America, and honestly, my ignorance, that he and I had barely brushed against each other.

I had deceived myself into believing that I was a “great communicator,” when really, I was still just a color, a shape and an obstacle.

It gave me pause.

What is the approach we will need to cross these horrible barriers we’ve constructed between each other, and to heal the inconsideration and atrocities of careless ancestors?

I’m not sure what the approach should be, but I know that somewhere along the line we will have to be honest about our lackings, laugh at our weaknesses and give some good ground to one another–or nothing will change.

 

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Apprise

dictionary with letter A

Apprise (v): to inform or tell someone.

So the girl you just met–who is very attractive–also has a large piece of broccoli stuck in her tooth.

  • Do you tell her?
  • Do you risk losing romantic possibilities?

You’re sitting in front of your potential boss at a job interview and he has horrible breath.

  • Do you offer him a mint?

Or you have made a severe error in calculating the family budget and have accidentally misled your wife to think that all the bills are paid.

  • Do you share with her so that she’s aware of the situation?

Ninety percent of the lying we do in life is caused by being deathly afraid and insecure about what would happen if we told the truth. Our conclusions don’t have to be realistic. After all, that is the definition for fear–an often-unmotivated sense of dread.

All we have to do is convince ourselves that the truth will not make us free, but instead, leave us stupid. At this point, we start the ugly process of elaboration.

Nobody has a situation in their past when if they had simply told the truth, a tragedy could have been averted.

So why are we afraid to apprise one another of the actual situation? It’s because we are all uncertain that anyone truly loves us.

Adam and Eve lied to God because they were unclear of the true depths of His love. That is sad.

I may not be able to have a totally clean relationship with everybody I know, but I certainly should practice candor with those who I am content love me.

  • Would I tell the girl that she had broccoli in her teeth? Probably not–unless I was willing to lose a dating possibility.
  • Would I tell my potential future boss that he had bad breath? Probably not, but shamefully, I would gossip about him later.
  • Would I tell my wife about the mistake in the budget? Absolutely–or the relationship is a joke.

I would hope that eventually I would apprise the broccoli girl of her tooth obstruction with a bit of flair.

I also would like to learn to offer the mint to my superior without feeling intimidated.

And I think the best way to achieve this status is to begin to apprise those I love of our true heart instead of making up fake emotion, and desperately trying to pretend it’s authentic. 

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Apprentice

dictionary with letter A

Apprentice (n): a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages.

Perhaps it is too late.

Yes, maybe Donald Trump has ruined the word “apprentice” for all time by misusing it as the title of his NBC show.

But I will take a risk. Yes, I will step out and say that if we could return the word “apprentice” to our lives, and especially to our business practices, we would be much better off than we are today in our commerce.

For the truth is, we send people to college, hopefully to gain general knowledge and for them to finish wild-oat-sowing, only to place them in an occupation where they start all over again as an apprentice. Because after all, every company has policies and practices which are different from the competitor next door.

To think that we can teach art, business or education in a college atmosphere and transfuse the blood of the business world into a student is absolutely ludicrous.

What we are hoping is that a twenty-three-year-old is going to be more prepared to apprentice than an eighteen-year-old.

We are assuming that the four or five years of maturity garnered by attending college, being forced to interact with other cultures and races, will make our potential employee a more well-rounded individual. Truthfully, it is dishonest to convey that a college education prepares someone for success in the market place.

It does not.

It does keep them learning until they can finally arrive in a place where they truly do learn.

It keeps the edge and acuity of thinking in practice while we prepare a place for them in line, to see how they measure up against the other applicants.

Are there occupations that demand higher learning instead of apprenticing? I will probably frighten you by saying that even a doctor could apprentice a student. Certain things would have to be done slowly and patiently, but eventually terminology and certainly, more importantly, operations, could be transferred from physician to intern.

So am I saying that a university degree is meaningless? Absolutely not. For some people in our culture just aren’t ready at eighteen years of age to listen to anything but their ear buds.

During the time of Dickens and Mark Twain, young men were allready mollified by the age of fourteen. It is not so with our rendition of humanity.

So college gives young men and women the chance to be kicked in the face enough to learn how to handle a punch. At least, that’s what we hope.

But we will do better in this country when we finally admit that no one walks from academia into the board room.

Everyone spends some time sorting mail before they get the privilege of receiving it.

 

 

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