Claptrap: (n) absurd or nonsensical talk or ideas.

“Come, let us reason together.”

If we’re going to accept the idea that politicians lie, how will we know when they’re telling the truth?

If women want to be equal but still think it’s “kind of cool” when guys open doors for them, how will they ever gain equal footing?

Our generation is filled with the claptrap of contradictions. We want to insist that we’re not bigoted as we awkwardly use a phrase like “African American.”

We want to appear intelligent as we negate the value of studying history to learn what to avoid in our past.

We think if we say something stupid enough times, it becomes smart. Silliness is silliness, whether it’s promoted or not.

There is a lot of claptrap–a lot of concession that things are rotten but perhaps they’re meant to be that way.

There is angst in our souls because we are weary of hypocrisy, yet unwilling to cease being hypocritical.

Claptrap is when we speak things that seem to be popular in the moment even though in our hearts they ring untrue.

It fills the air with fake helium, causing all of us to talk funny.

We are a country which has accepted claptrap as being inevitable instead of squinting at it and offering a quizzical, “Pardon me??”

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Bottom: (n) the buttocks

Perhaps one of the more unnerving parts of the human journey is deciding to admit one’s silly inner thoughts, hoping that others will be equally as candid–thus creating a giggling fellowship.Dictionary B

Of course, there always is the chance that people will button up their collars and look on you as a freak.

For instance, when I was ten years old, I saw a television program where a doctor proclaimed a man died because he swallowed his tongue.

This scared the uvula out of me. Matter of fact, I stayed awake all night, afraid that if I went to sleep, my tongue would no longer be in my cheek.

I also had a brief period when I was convinced that my lips were too big. I don’t know what brought this on, but I was certain that everyone who met me thought that I had some African-American in my bloodline and that my lips were much too large for Caucasian consideration.

And of course, then there was my bottom. My bottom has annoyed me in many ways. Being a big man, I often thought it was huge. Then I decided it was too flat. Overall, I was concerned about its natural aroma.

Human behavior is so bizarre.

We want to be unique–except for the majority of the time, when we want to blend Because being too different makes us appear an outsider. If for some reason, we fit in, we might become invisible.

So since I never swallowed my tongue, and my lips proved to be quite average, I guess, in the long run, nobody really cares about my posterior.

But I am relieved that we got to the bottom of this.

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Aversion: (n) a strong dislike or disinclination.dictionary with letter A

My prejudices are not more precious and beautiful simply because they’re hatched in my well-cared-for mental factory.

I know this.

Yet I wonder sometimes if scolding my personal attitudes that seem distasteful might not be a futile action, considering the fact that some of the things I dislike just might be universally annoying.

But I don’t like stereotypes. Stereotypes exist because specific sounds, attitudes and stupidities blare out at us–often at piercing decibels.

Is it possible to address things that are human-unfriendly without coming across as either a bigot or completely out of step with the progress of society?

For you see, I have some strong aversions. I usually keep them to myself. Why? Because I think they’re prejudices. But part of the time, I also think they’re intelligent insights which just might help the human race to truly evolve instead of monkeying around by accepting the ridiculous.

I will share them with you, understanding that I may come across as bizarre or arcane:

  1. I do not like it when young girls talk like they live in Southern California near the beach, unable to correctly form consonants.
  2. While we’re still on the talking situation, if I found myself to be a person of color, I would do everything in my power to cease speaking with a Southern accent, thereby impersonating my former oppressors.
  3. Fat people should not eat at buffets. Put it in a carryout box and take it home. For since I am a fat person, I am fully aware that if I don’t eat slowly and lightly at the buffet, everyone in the room will assume they understand the heights and depths of my gluttony.
  4. Women cannot achieve equality by insisting they are superior to men.
  5. Men cannot achieve equality by pretending in front of their friends that they think women are smarter than men.
  6. I think black Americans do a disservice to themselves by referring to their race as African-American. There isn’t any one of them who would last five minutes on the African continent.
  7. I would like to live in a world where rock and roll music can be enjoyed without buying into the culture of drugs, illicit sex and profane lyrics.
  8. I think rap music should be allowed but should be considered just as seriously as one values an organ recital at your church. In other words, you’re glad it’s there because it enhances the culture, but you probably won’t show up.
  9. Anyone who is political is unhelpful. Life is not political–it’s unpredictable. And if you’re not prepared to make adjustments toward what works, you will get trapped into what doesn’t.
  10. Stop telling me that you have found a solution to a problem only to tell me next week that the solution offered ends up causing cancer.

There are 10 right off the top of my head without even breaking a sweat.

Wait! There’s an 11th:

People who tell me that breaking a sweat will make me healthier… who end up in the emergency room with pulled muscles, broken bones and heart attacks.

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dictionary with letter A

Anglo: (n) a white, English-speaking American as distinct from a Hispanic American.

What if there is no such thing as distinct?

I contend that we live in a self-defeating society. In the pursuit of honoring two separate concepts, which are contrary to one another, we end up with human beings who are contrary to one another.

The two concepts are:

  1. We are all individuals and unique unto ourselves
  2. We need to get along or we’re going to destroy each other.

Everyone knows that to get along, it is important to discover similarities. So if we’re constantly separating ourselves off with names, doctrines, political parties, gender, sexuality, color, age and taste in food, we are basically proclaiming that finding common ground is a futile task.

So what’s it gonna be? Are we going to revel in our little clump of individuality or are we going to discover a way to keep from destroying our world?

I personally think it would be more fiscally responsible to avoid annihilation. That’s just me. But to do so, we have to get away from identifying ourselves as Anglo, Hispanic, African-American, female, male, Coke or Pepsi.

Nothing truly significant is determined by stating that you’re any one of those compartments. For after all, there are:

  • Bad women and there are good women.
  • Excellent men and real losers.
  • Dynamic Hispanics and fairly worthless ones.
  • African-Americans which contribute to the success of life, and those who don’t.
  • Anglos who find a reason to get along with others and those who segregate.

I could go on and on. The criterion for human quality has to be something that is not visual, but rather, spiritual.

If we can establish that–that each one of us was granted a living soul–we can not only find similarities, but we can also begin to ignore our foolish differences.

So I don’t like words like “Anglo.” I don’t like to be identified as white, bald, fat, male, Republican or Democrat.

If you would ignore everything but the human eyes and peer into them, you would realize … that we all look the same.


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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Albino: (n) a person or animal having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair (which are white) and the eyes (which are typically pink).

Yes, it would certainly be one of the more difficult jobs–being hired on as an albino Dean of Students at an African-American college.

Even if your heart was in the right place, your total whiteness might be a constant reminder to the students of former indignities and ongoing indiscretions.

How would you approach that job?

First of all, it would be a little difficult to get hired. I mean, your qualifications would have to be over the top–so much so that the trustees of the university would be compelled to accept you, or face legal action for discrimination.

(That would be a touchy case, right? “Southern Black University Taken to Court by Albino Professor for Bigotry)

Secondly, you’d have to have a reason for being there. Maybe it would be a compelling notion that your obvious difference would bring greater discussion about race relations to the forefront.

It would be good to have a sense of humor, don’t you think? You certainly wouldn’t want to walk around acting like you didn’t know you were really, really, really white…

How about a talent? Juggling or harmonica would certainly be beneficial.

Yes, being an albino, working in an African-American college, would immediately beg some questions.

So even though nowadays we pride ourselves on the progress we have made in race relations, gender roles and even sexual orientation, there’s always a new prejudice around the corner, which will baffle us because we fail to apply previous discovery to the present situation.

Yes, it’s difficult to remember, as you walk in to apply at your college, in front of your albino dean, that you once were forbidden to sit at a lunch counter.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

1. AARP: (abbr.) American Association of Retired Persons

2. AAU: (abbr.) Amateur Athletic Union

3. AAUP: (abbr) 1. American Association of University Presses 2. American Association of University Professors

4. AAVE (abbr.) African-American Vernacular English

If you don’t mind, I will take this series of initials to “initialize” my article for the day.

Seeing these four organizations lined up in the dictionary together really tickled my funny bone, because other than the dictionary throwing them together in alphabetical order, these four groups would not only be unaware of each other, but might be tempted to avoid contact.

It got me laughing. Wouldn’t you love to attend a party where a bunch of old people, aspiring athletes, college professors, reporters and hip-hop African-American rap stars got together to share the same pot of dip?

What a hoot!

I don’t think anybody would venture into that possibility, even for a mad-cap comedy. Too far out. But it IS the reason why fear and prejudice survive.

For instance, I was deathly afraid of a roller coaster until I sat in one. The theory and definition of a roller coaster bleached me white in apprehension. Likewise, being raised in a small town but far from rural America, I was absolutely petrified at the notion of being around barnyard animals. Pigs, cows, goats and sheep seemed like alien creatures out to suck my soul. And then, one day a friend of mine invited me out to the stables. Once I got used to the odor and learned how to carefully walk, I found the creatures to be quite domesticated, as long as you followed a few simple rules and honored their territory.

Bigotry is not the by-product of experience but rather, the lack of it.

Just think if the AARP, AAU, AAUP and AAVE got together somewhere OTHER than the dictionary. After the awkwardness wore off and the menu was reviewed for acceptability, conversation would naturally lend itself towards common goals and similar journey jaunts. It would end up being inspiring.

Segregation is not natural. Birds of a feather don’t really flock together, but actually tend to gather in promising trees near meadows filled with food sources.

It would just be so neat to see Grandma talking to some urban black man about her experience with blues music. Both of them would have to explore their resources and expand their boundaries. Meanwhile, the professor could amble up and explain the origins of both getting old AND the American ghetto. One of the athletes could be an anomaly … by being white.

Such a palette for colorful discourse.

So even though they only appear together in the dictionary, you would have to agree, our world would be better if these four actually did plan a meet, eat and eat. Yes, the world needs MEG’s–Meet, Eat and Greet.

It is only then that we will begin to birth a nation that has old, amateur athletes who are former professors that are completely well-acquainted with African-American vernacular.