Amount

dictionary with letter A

Amount: (n) a quantity of something, typically the total of a thing or things in number.

Amount does not exist.

For somewhere between kindergarten and adulthood, we forget how to count.

Everyone develops their own take on any given situation, and skews the numbers to prove their contention.

Unlike our experience in the fifth year of life, when seven pencils were placed in front of us and we faithfully reported the exact number, we now will either pad the stats or limit the possibility of our seven pencils.

It is difficult to get a straight answer.

If people favor a project or pursuit, they will embellish the number to make it seem more plausible.

If they think the idea sounds boring or ridiculous, they will play down the potential and make it seem futile to attempt the endeavor.

Yes, perhaps the greatest thing we can do in life is just learn to count again:

  • If it’s seven pencils and we know we need ten, then we can honestly assess that we’re three short.
  • If it’s seven pencils and we need five, we can generously donate two of our assets to others in need.

I don’t think the word “amount” actually exists in the adult world.

We’re just too busy advertising our opinions to simply offer an accurate assessment of what we have.

 

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

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Alarm

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alarm: (n) 1. an anxious awareness of danger 2. the sound or warning of imminent danger

Do they still call it a fire drill?

I’m not sure.

When I was a kid, about every six or seven weeks, the school bell rang uncontrollably, and we were told to rise from our seats, get into single file and march out of the building into the awaiting parking lot in anticipation of what could have been a fire breaking out.

Of course, we all knew it was just a drill. A practice, if you will. But it was still a bit alarming to hear the bell, and delightful to be able to escape the world of desks, pens, paper and droning “teacher voices,” to go outside for a few minutes with your friends.

Of course, in the adult world, they had plans set in place to rectify that potential for pleasure.

You had to remain silent.

This was the same thing you were cautioned to do when standing in line for the cafeteria, gathering for an assembly or even finding your path to the bathroom.

Silence.

I realize now that we were never in danger of fire. And I’m not being critical of the craft of preparation. I understand it thoroughly and agree with the premise.

But the alarming part of the process of leaving our school, considering the potential for a blazing inferno, was actually the fact that we were taught to be non-social.

  • Couldn’t talk in class.
  • Couldn’t talk in the cafeteria.
  • And couldn’t talk on the way to the fire drill.

And then we wonder why human beings grow up sheltered, protected, suspicious and just downright cranky. After all, we’re not about to let our offspring chum with one another when we were forbidden to do so.

Yes, I would say the most alarming thing about hearing the alarm bell tell us to go to a fire drill, considering the alarming possibility of a burning school, was the fact that we weren’t allowed to be human and interactive.

I guess that’s true all over the world. I’m sure Chinese people discourage chattiness in their children just like Americans quell such outbursts. But I wonder if we lose something by being too alarmed.

Don’t we sacrifice the child-like instinct to enjoy ourselves, believe for the best and want to whisper interesting things to our neighbor?