Coaster

Coaster: (n) a small mat placed under a glass to protect the table underneath.

It’s one of those factors that determines whether you are a bungler or a baron.

There are many.

But when you find yourself with a glass of drink and there is a table in front of you, do you procure a coaster so your condensation does not leave a ring on the table, or do you just put your glass down and later act completely bewildered because your hostess or host was offended by your choice?

It’s where we teeter–all human beings teeter between understanding and arrogance.

Often we understand the purpose for matters, yet in our arrogance, we resist performing the courteous function simply because it seems tedious and makes us appear too subservient.

A long time ago I had to decide whether to be a bungler or become a baron. Would I be willing to learn the things that are important to my brothers and sisters, and simply avoid conflict with their tender conscience by doing them? Or would I stubbornly going to insist that it’s a “goddamn free country,” and proceed to take my pet bull off the leash for the latest visit to the china shop?

Coasters are not effeminate.

Coasters are not irrational.

Coasters may not be necessary–but you won’t know until you don’t use one. So why take the risk, especially on the chance that you might unnecessarily offend a friend?

But stubborn we are–all children of Adam and Eve.

Yet, if you want to get back into the Garden, you need to swallow your pride and discover the location of the forbidden apples.

 

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Club

Club: (n) an organization dedicated to a particular interest or activity.

It reminds me of Dickie. He was a friend of mine.

Dickie had one thing he was very proud of–he loved to dupe adults. He explained this to me one day. He said the key to tricking grown-ups
was finding out what they wanted, and then discovering a way to do it which was more fun.

For instance, Dickie had a lot of dirt clods in his back yard. We used them to throw at each other, playing war and anticipating what it might be like to be hit with a hand grenade.

Dickie’s mother came out in horror and told us to stop throwing them, saying that we would certainly destroy an eye–or at least sully our pretty shirts.

Dickie waited about thirty minutes, then went in and said to his mother, “Mom, maybe it would be a good idea if we got rid of all that dirt and those dirt clods, and dumped them in the nearby woods.”

She thought it was a grand idea, and even offered some bushel baskets that had recently held apples. So Dickie and I went out, collected dirt clods in the bushel baskets, escaped into the trees–and continued our game.

God, we felt smart.

We had our own little club which we had formed, and was built around the notion that since we were the honorary members, it confirmed that we were more intelligent than others.

From that point on, I have wondered if it is possible to separate oneself off from the mass of humanity into smaller and smaller units and clubs without promoting a sense of superiority and propagating a cloud of bigotry.

Does the Methodist feel superior to the Baptist as he drives by on the way to his church?

Does the white man feel empowered when he passes through the black neighborhood and sticks his nose up at the urban blight, touting that he’s part of the Caucasian Club?

Here’s a frightening and perhaps intimidating thought–we’re all part of one club, and that’s human beings.

Breaking us down any further and insisting that the differences are imperative and unique makes us just about as dumb as a bushel basket of dirt clods.

 

 

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Beet

Beet: (n) an edible root that is typically dark red, spherical and eaten as a vegetable.Dictionary B

We have a tendency to prefer things above ground to things that are in the ground.

In other words, we like apples better than beets. Apples grow on trees from pretty stems and beets dwell in the dirt.

It’s just the way we are.

Sometimes I feel that analyzing human behavior is an exercise in futility which can only make you feel desperate or self-righteous. So here’s what I’ve learned to do:

Since beets have a texture which is halfway between a potato and a pear, and they are as sweet to the taste as any plum, I just served them to my kids.

They were naturally frightened at first.

Matter of fact, they looked askance in my direction, as if I was attempting to poison them or make them outcasts from the general population of “kiddom.” After all, how would they ever be able to admit to their friends that they had consumed a beet?

I did explain to them that beets are used to make sugar, so that means they come from a sweet place. And I made sure to place the beets next to a hot dog dish of their favoring.

So to some degree, I think my children learned to enjoy beets, or at least tolerate them when they found themselves dining in my proximity.

For after all, you have to admire a food which has to dig its way out of the ground to land on a dinner plate. Many such organisms having humble beginnings just decide to die in their earthen homes.

Not the beet.

It is prepared to be consumed and relished by anyone who is willing to consider something … a little “off-beet.”

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