Aphorism

dictionary with letter A

Aphorism: (n.) a short, witty remark containing a general truth.

The definition is filled with redundancies.

For I will tell you that after years of writing articles and even speaking in front of audiences, if something is not short, it will never be viewed as witty. And honestly, it is virtually impossible to be witty without revealing some sort of abiding truth.,

So what is missing today? In an age of Twitter and Tweets, when we’re trying to limit ourselves to 140 characters, we should be uncovering the secret to communication–and a great doorway for sharing abiding precepts.

But remembering that it is out of the abundance of human emotions that we speak, when we are devoid of emotional purity, entangled in webs of our own deceit and selfishness, what emerges from our speech and our writing is the drivel of nonsense, as we attempt to be clever, often ending up crude.

  • Is it possible to be pointed without stabbing everyone with your jaded attitude?
  • How about using comedy minus vulgarity?
  • Can you challenge without becoming a critic?
  • Can you question while leaving out all the brattiness?

You can awaken the senses without slapping the face. It takes a willingness to improve the human situation without trying to degrade humanity.

Will there be a cycle which will take us back to a time when “short,” “witty” and “truth” mingled with each other to hatch delight?

I certainly think so.

But I do believe we’ll have to learn how to tip-toe through the pasture, avoiding all the bullshit, to make sure we can get to where the flowers grow.

 

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Antipsychotic

dictionary with letter A

Antipsychotic: (n) a type of drug used to treat psychotic disorders.

I believe the old saying is that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

I don’t know if that means that fools are careless, or angels are chicken shit.

But I do know that ever once in a while, it’s important to risk appearing foolish in an attempt to focus on something that’s important.

So playing the part of the fool, let me state bluntly that America is nuts.

I know that’s not a clinical word normally used by psychiatrists, but it does describe the mishap of activity that is being presently performed under adult supervision.

Religion, politics, entertainment and corporations have lost all sense of morality and even any compass for productivity, chasing down either imaginary dragons or unicorns in the enchanted forest.

There seems to be a national sense of neurotic.

Now, what is the difference between being neurotic and psychotic?

  • Neurotic is when you’re afraid that you’re going to go out on the street and get robbed, so you end up staying at home.
  • Psychotic is when you stay at home and have a visceral experience of being robbed by imaginary thieves named Imogene and Darnell.

Here’s my concern: neurotic people can become psychotic if their neurosis is not talked out.

I believe we’re already on the verge of finding imaginary enemies that are chasing us down instead of having the good cheer and wisdom to tackle simple problems in our everyday lives. So more than ever, people are being prescribed medication for conditions that should be handled among our peers with comedy and conversation.

Yes, if we stop talking to each other, only texting and posting on Facebook, the little demons will start crawling out of the closet and begin to gnaw on our ankles.

So let me be foolhardy and tell you that social networking, the Internet and cynicism are tempting us as a nation to leap from neurotic to psychotic. Then we scratch our heads and wonder why somebody would ever go into a school and shoot a couple dozen little kids.

I know we’re concerned about tragedies like this, but I’m much more worried about the loss of humanity, the missing link in our species that creates brotherhood instead of culture wars, and the rejection of a gregarious nature, forcing us back into our caves, where we scrawl on the walls, admiring only our own artwork.

We will become psychotic, and then will probably become so alarmed that we’ll prescribe a national antipsychotic for the water system if we don’t learn to deal with the neurotic notions that make us feel superior to each other and afraid to merely use our abilities the best we can.

 

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Antipruritic

dictionary with letter AAntipruritic: (n) a type of drug used to relieve itching.

Life is a farce.

The sooner you realize it and become comfortable with the idea, the more proficient you will be at achieving your goals and the less resentful toward the overall comedy.

Let’s look at the basic rollout:

When we’re young enough to have energy and the passion to drive us to participate, we’re too stupid to do anything of quality. After we survive the “season of stupidities,” we gain the intelligence to make better choices, but we’re too exhausted to enact them.

Isn’t that hilarious? It’s an invitation from the Creator to relax and not take things too seriously.

Because when I was twelve years old, I got naked with a bunch of my friends, and slid down the bank of a creek in Oklahoma into an ice-cold pond, to skinny-dip.

The water was so cold that there was no room for ridicule because all of our genitalia disappeared. It was a blast.

But since we were young, inexperienced and mentally flawed, we had no idea of the local terrain, vegetation or possible perils.

So about three days later, I discovered–on my bummer side–that I had contracted poison sumac. I didn’t even know what sumac was. (Actually, I would have been happy to go through the rest of my life dwelling in that ignorance.)

It itched like poison sumac sounds like it would, and since it was on my backside, it had an inclination to “go west, young man,” and creep up to my more non-scratchable areas.

I needed to do something.

I tried every over-the-counter antipruritic–and the relief lasted only the length of time it took to smear it on, pull on my underwear and take two steps.

Nothing helped.

Apparently, this particular strain of sumac was well-versed in medical treatment.

After numerous attempts to relieve my scratchiness, one day I found a huge clump of ice which was left over from a fishing trip, where the catch of the day was kept frigid.

A thought came to my mind. If no one was looking, perhaps I could pull down my underwear and sit on the ice.

So I did.

At first it stung. Then it burned.

But when it froze, I found God.

It was a little embarrassing to go around my tiny village trying to acquire large chunks of ice, but it was the only thing that brought me any sense of contentment, and kept my “sumacian” enemy from attacking the neighbors.

It took about two weeks–but it finally went away.

I think it’s safe to say, I put that one on ice.

 

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Alzheimer’s Disease

dictionary with letter A

Alzheimer’s disease: (n) a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age due to generalized degeneration of the brain.

When you read the definition, there’s nothing funny about it.

But candidly, I think everybody feels a little nervous about taking this disease seriously.

It isn’t that we don’t have empathy for those who suffer from it. It’s just that the one-liners, comedic set-up and potential sketches available on the subject of older people becoming forgetful are so ripe with scenarios that it’s difficult to pass them up in favor of more sensitive profiles.

So when are we being callous?

I remember once in a show I joked about the fact that “considering my size, you know I’m not anorexic.” A lady walked up to me afterwards and complained about my choice of humor, saying that her daughter suffered from the condition and that it was not a jocular matter.

I apologized.

The reason I offered this remorse was that I had offended her. I didn’t do anything offensive, but because the subject matter was so personal and close to her, she was offended by my making light of the gravity of the situation.

But honestly, I do not know if we can progress the human race without learning to laugh at ourselves.

Would I think jokes about Alzheimer’s Disease were funny if I had it? Since I probably wouldn’t know–yes. (See? There are people who probably would find even that turnaround crass…)

All of us are going to get old, and that looming condition is both real and frightening at the same time. To approach it without some sort of good cheer is probably the greatest danger.

So I follow a simple philosophy: I try to find humor in everything, serious or not. It is not because I don’t care. It is because the only way to care is to relieve pain, not merely point it out.

We must be careful in a time when we are touting our personal feelings more than understanding our human need–that we don’t lose sight of the escapism of comedy.

I do not condone those who are rude and crude. I am not saying that any kind of disease is pleasant. I’m just saying that as an obese man, plagued with many of the complications associated with it, I have never gained ground by digging in my heels, weeping or looking for reasons to be offended.

The only light I’ve ever seen at the end of any of my tunnels … is humor.


Adept

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adept: (adj.) very skilled or proficient at something: e.g. he is adept at cutting through red tape; an adept negotiator.

Beware of titles that require follow-up.

I often come across individuals who want to quantify my abilities or value by assessing names or positions to my talents. We all are tempted at times to tout our value by putting some sort of signature on it, which is supposed to communicate our qualification or aptitude.

  • Lieutenant
  • President
  • Senator
  • Manager
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Principal
  • Reverend
  • Husband
  • Wife

Well, the list goes on and on–an unending collage of words that are supposed to scream out our uniqueness, so people will give us respect in the foreground before they check too much into our background.

Matter of fact, without these accolades, we sometimes feel that we’re just human beings, God forbid. But when we insist on such bravado in front of others, we take away the element of surprise, which allows people to surmise our lack of worth based upon our appearance, only to be proven wrong by the tally at the end of our endeavors.

Sometimes I don’t even like it when people ask for a resume. I always hated it in a job interview when the question was posed, “Tell me a little about yourself.” An impossible inquiry. If you stumble or act humble, people will say you lack confidence. If you go on and on about your personal achievements, you certainly will flirt with arrogance.

Yet for some reason the human race is convinced that carrying our “blue ribbons” to the starting line is confirmation that we will win the race.

The beauty of life is also the most frightening part. For after all, what I did yesterday is worth very little if I plan on screwing up this morning–and calling me by some regal proclamation only increases the pressure or takes away any praise I might achieve by exceeding expectation.

Am I adept at things? Probably. But I will never tell you.

  • Tell someone you’re adept at writing and they’ll critique your paragraphs.
  • Adept at love-making? God help you.
  • Adept at comedy? Be prepared for the audience to stare at you, waiting for the funny.
  • Adept at parenting? Watch your neighbors scrutinize your children very carefully.

“Adept” is one of those American words we use to attempt to impress before we actually perform. Sometimes it’s just better to shut up, do the best you can and surprise everybody when you actually have … some game.

 

 

Abubble

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abubble: (adj.) with great happiness and enthusiasm.

Gosh, I wish I could use that word. Wouldn’t that be fun, if you could walk into your house and turn to your family or friends and proclaim that “everyone seems abubble tonight?”

I certainly don’t want to begin this Monday with a lamentation; it’s just that sometimes it seems to me that if you use really colorful words or intelligent expressions, people look at you like you’re hoity-toity or maybe even a little fruity. Or worse–perhaps British.

Abubble is a great term.

There are certain occasions that should be abubble. People walking out of a movie theater should be abubble if they’ve seen a comedy, bouncing around from one foot to another, excitedly talking to their friends about what they’ve just viewed.

When the doors of a church open to release the congregants into the parking lot, there should be folks abubble with excitement, blessing and a celebration of God’s wonderful grace.

I think husbands and wives should be abubble. I know there are serious times and difficulties, but generally speaking, if we’re working out our problems instead of tabling them like we’re at the United Nations, the by-product of glee and gladness should seep forth.

But some words are deemed to be overwrought or old-fashioned. For instance, I told a group of people yesterday that they were proclaimed to be “contemporary” because they were laid-back, unmoved by the circumstances around them. When did the evidence of youth become a countenance unaffected? I don’t get it.

Even though we may never be able to return to commonly using the word “abubble” to describe the happiness coming from our hearts, we do need to find some word that allows us to celebrate the beauty of surviving difficult moments of humanity and coming out the other side …  victorious.

Abolish

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abolish:   v. to formally put an end to a system, practice or institution

That’s a strong word. Matter of fact, as I sat down and thought about it, the only “abolish” I ever heard of was slavery.

  • I personally would like to abolish fat grams.
  • I would like to abolish calories.
  • I would like to abolish ignorance that tries to pass itself off as comedy.
  • I would like to abolish about seventy-eight pounds off my body.
  • I would like to abolish some of the decisions made by my children in the name of free choice.
  • I would like to abolish some of the choices made by me when I was childish, in the pursuit of some hippie philosophy.
  • I would like to abolish the parliamentary procedure which seeps into our grown-up world and makes us feel like we’re really adult but ends up just halting progress.
  • I would like to abolish political parties so that individual candidates could run, and since we didn’t already know the talking points, we would have to listen to what they had to say.

But none of those are as strong as abolishing slavery was.

How about this one?

I would like to abolish all the foolhardy people who are talking about legalizing mind-altering drugs simply based on economic convenience, with no aforethought about what might cause some young person to become involved with these deadly chemicals, lending themselves to other even more deadly chemicals.

I guess there are a lot of things I’d like to abolish. But the problem with “abolish” is that you find out that merely stating your case is not enough, and as in the American Civil War, you end up squaring off and fighting to the death over the issue.

I’m not sure what I’m willing to die for. Certainly not abolishing fat grams (although the little boogers probably have a plan for MY demise).

Abolish is a strong word. I guess instead of abolish, I would just like to hear some intelligent dialogue on many of the issues of our day instead of hearing pundits portray their platform as they pontificate their principle.

Yes, I would like to hear an intelligent conversation about abortion, capital punishment, civil rights, global warming and nuclear proliferation, without being handed a pamphlet listing the ten reasons why the other side is anti-American.

It was a good thing to abolish slavery.

Who knows? Maybe it would be a good thing to abolish calories. But if you stand up to abolish something, you’d better be ready to fight.

That’s scary crap.