Commandment

Commandment: (n) a divine rule, especially one of the Ten Commandments

Sometimes it baffles me.

If God is our Creator, and He knows that we have a strong streak of asshole right in the middle of our attitude, why would He think presenting us with Ten Commandments was a cherry idea?

I’m not saying He should have made it “suggestions” or “insights,” but if you tell anybody that sprouts human skin that there’s something they must do to acquire approval, they will not only do the opposite, but will also insist that you applaud them for doing it.

So I’ve never been clear on what a Commandment does.

For instance, I never understood why a bunch of old people in Dixie want to put the Ten Commandments out on the front lawns of courthouses all over the county. What do they expect? Do they think children are going to walk up, read them and say, “My God, if I knew what ‘bear false witness’ meant, I might consider it…”

And also–those Commandments have not done a lot to prevent screwing, stealing and murder.

What is the correct approach?

After all, we have another old saying, which concludes that merely leading a horse to water does not guarantee that it will drink, let alone bathe.

So how do we impact ourselves, other people and the world around us with great ideas?

Everyone knows the answer to this:

Just do them yourself until you start a fad and sell t-shirts.

 

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Bunch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bunch: (n) a number of things, typically of the same kind, growing or fastened together.

There is a three-step process, and you will be happier if you understand that only two of them usually work.

We frustrate ourselves by thinking that gaining approval has much of a chance of coming our way. Here is life in a nutshell (though I don’t know why you’d want to place it in there):

  1. “I like it.”
  2. “I enjoy it.”
  3. “It is accepted.”

Too often we make our decisions based on whether something will be accepted. For instance:

If you’re a writer, you may try to pen the perfect American novel, suited to the present taste of the populace.

If you’re a musician, you may choose to chase down the current beat and sounds that are rattling the charts.

And if you’re just an average person who has something you like to do, you may find yourself tempering it to gain favor with the general population.

Since acceptance comes from humans and they are totally fickle, trying to gear your life to gain their “happy face” is frustrating, if not hopeless.

So why not go for the first two? Do I like it and do I enjoy it?

If you’re waiting for a bunch of people to come along and confirm your sanity, your value, your talent, your good looks or even your race, you will probably spend a lot of time at the bus stop, reading novels. 

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Better

Better: (adj) an improvement on an existing or previous level or achievement.

Dictionary B

“Better” is in the probing of the critic.

It immediately has sprouts weaknesses:

  1. It has us probing and over-analyzing the good things of life,
  2. And it makes us believe that we are viable or possibly more intelligent by being critical.

Matter of fact, to gain the approval of everyone in the room, all you have to opine is, “I want to get better.”

I suppose it’s because each one of us is intoxicated by the notion of becoming the best. That solitary position, afforded to the individual or even the team that acquires the top position, seems to drive us to the exhaustion of hurrying and worrying.

When is enough, enough?

When do you finish making a great meal, sit down and just enjoy it instead of musing, “You know what this needs?”

When can you have great love-making, and just lay back in ecstasy instead of contemplating the next “better position?”

And when will we finally look across the terrain of our present landscape and point out the attractions that are filled with promise instead of gazing off in the distance, believing there should be more?

Better is an anxious word.

It is filled with dissatisfaction and it often makes us believe that we can do more than we’re actually able to accomplish.

It aggravates the saint and condemns the sinner.

Even though I will probably fall under the spell of those who want to better everything within their purview, for the time being–at least for today–I will enjoy all that I have that is good.

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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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Appliance

dictionary with letter A

Appliance: (n) a piece of equipment designed to do a specific task, typically a domestic one.

I have often thought it would be a very intelligent maneuver to set my mind to becoming more of a handy man.

I have a very firm conviction (though many of you would consider it a superstition): I think my appliances know that I’m ignorant.

I think secretly they hide out in the kitchen, the bathroom or the office and plot ways to make me nervous by pretending to pull up lame at the most inopportune times so they can view me fidgeting nervously, wondering how to accomplish my task without them.

If you think about it, this is the only self-worth an appliance has. No one pops the bread in the toaster, has it cook to a golden brown and then pats the chrome while saying, “Thank you, toaster for doing your job.”

The only time we actually acknowledge the toaster, or any number of appliances, is when they decide to go on the fritz or become intermittent in some disgusting pattern. It is only then that we appreciate the value they bring to the household.

Is it too far out for me to believe that these appliances might have some sort of agreement among each other, to seek approval by refusing to operate?

So I think becoming a little more handy with tools, threatening to break them open and play with their innards, might be enough to rein them into submission.

Of course, the times I’ve hung around such skillful laborers, I have quickly deterred from my passion to pursue their abilities, because within moments, their explanations and terminology leave me totally baffled. (For instance, a friend of mine talked a good ten minutes about various types of screws before I realized he wasn’t being lascivious.)

So since I’m pathetic with the implements which might be able to fix my appliances, I’ve decided to be very polite, gentle and appreciative to them. Landing somewhere between encouraging a baby to walk and a dog to retrieve a frisbee, I have developed lingo for each and every one of them to let them know how much I value their service.

  • So the dishwasher is “dear.”
  • The toaster is “cool, man.”
  • And the blender is “wow.”

I hope by using these little bursts of encouragement, I can keep them operating in tip-top shape…so they don’t feel the need to threaten me with the silent treatment or their shut-down mode.

 

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Agency

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Agency: (n) a business or organization established to provide transactions between two or more parties

Every time I hear the word I break out into a small surface sweat.

Maybe someone just tells me I will have to go to an agency to fill out an application or form to gain approval to acquire something I feel I should already have.

Let’s look at the source of my fear. What is the origin of an agency?

1. It was formed because someone was afraid to say yes or no.

There’s a problem right there. We all know the power in life is being able to come up with a positive or negative answer, and let the chips fall where they may. When you decide you don’t want that responsibility, and you spread it over a breadth of people so as to remove guilt from yourself, you create the kind of nasty red tape that makes people suicidal instead of overjoyed.

2. Someone likes to “play office.”

He or she is the kind of person who stacks pencils, puts the stapler in the upper right-hand corner of the desk planner and has a can of air freshener nearby which also acts as a disinfectant for the phone receiver when there is “foreign” use. This is the same person who always volunteered to help the teacher pound the erasers to remove the chalk dust and the kid who wanted to be the hall monitor, to tell on everyone for their bad deeds on the way to the cafeteria.

We didn’t like ’em then; we don’t like ’em now.

3. Lacking power, we imitate power.

Because we don’t think our decisions have much weight, we like to have an acronym behind our points to make them more pointed. It also gives us somebody to blame if there are objections.

4. And finally, it gives us a way to be mean and disappoint others while hiding behind a desk or a series of rules.

After all, we’re not allowed to punch somebody in the nose without suffering the consequences. But sending a form letter of rejection or explaining in boring detail why something cannot work out is the method that an agency promotes, turning its employees into street thugs.

Now, you may think that I’m too critical, but that’s probably because you work for an agency and would like to keep your paycheck.

So the next time someone tells me I have to go to an agency to seek approval or acquire information, I will stop to realize that the BEST I can hope for is a diluted possibility.

Because the only thing an agency can ever muster … is to water down the liquor of life.

Adorable

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adorable: (adj) inspiring great affection; delightful; charming: e.g. she looked adorable

FBY.

It’s my new abbreviation for Facebook Yap.”

I, for one, have always been suspicious of anything that steps in to replace something of importance which really does not capture the value–just fills the space.

Muzak, for instance, is no substitute for a concert. It deserves to be in an elevator, enclosed and prevented from being broadcast to too many corners of the earth.

That’s what I feel about the conversations, chatter and implications of Facebook.

So when I look at the word “adorable,” which used to have some tenderness, in my mind it has just become a way to describe a picture you received from someone, which you did not ask for, of their dog or child, and you are desperately groping for a way to tell the person you received it. so you send back a quick message, which says, “adorable” with twenty-four exclamation points. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

FBY has ruined so many words.

I can no longer use “cute,” especially S-O-O-O-O-O-O-O cute.

“Inspiring” is gone, since any little piece of drivel someone sends that they feel has a deeper meaning you must proclaim to be divinely unctioned.

Some of the old standards which should have died a long time ago have been dug up from the grave and re-shot in the head:

  • “They’re growing up so fast …”
  • “You can tell they’re in love …”
  • “I miss you …”
  • “Wish you were here …” and
  • “It’s really been a rough day …”

It saddens me–because there ARE things in life that truly are adorable. I once watched a bug try to crawl up a tree. Every time it got to the same place, gravity took over and it would fall. The little critter tried about seven times, and then apparently tapped some unused brain cells and decided to walk around the tree instead. That’s kind of adorable.

But when we have created a medium which focuses on US more than anything else, we have to also conjure a response to the offerings of others who intrude on our self-promotion by sending their own press clippings.

I have made the mistake of trying to write something truly significant or meaningful in one of the “comment” spaces, only to be ignored, and probably relegated as a “non-FBY’er” who still believes in complete sentences and knows the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

I value progress–as long as it goes FORWARD.

But I’m not willing to call something progressive that takes us back to the status of scrawling on cave walls, stepping back and grunting our approval.