Debonair: (adj) courteous, gracious, and having a sophisticated charm

Here’s another thing to love about the United States of America.

Depending on where you travel, being debonair could be wearing an ascot—or eating with a fork.

That is the beauty of a nation which defines itself by how relaxed it is when it chows down, and also how, in the name of God, we never allow anyone to tell us what to do.

It is also why you probably will not hear the word “debonair” very often—unless it’s being touted in a sarcastic or negative manner.

Maybe a mother, seeing her son walk out of his room on prom night in his tuxedo, she might pop off with the word debonair.

Or I suppose it’s possible that some judge in a small-town talent contest might note that one of the contestants arriving dressed in a purple jump suit was attempting debonair.

‘Debonair’ is not something most Americans appreciate, or favor.

We equate it with a posing profile from the Continent, by a bunch of prissy people who are more concerned about the crease in their pants than about how well they come off to others.

So somewhere between slob and debonair, the United States floats along, putting on, every morning, the first thing that comes to mind and insisting all day long:

“It was meant to go together.”


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abroad: (adv.): 1. in or to a foreign country or countries: we usually go abroad for a week in June 2. in different directions; over a wide area: the seeds were scattered abroad.

I always wanted to say “abroad.” Unfortunately, you must have a certain amount of money, clout and look good in an Ascot to be able to mutter the word. I once tried wearing an Ascot, but it ended up looking like I had tied a fancy piece of cloth around my neck to cover up an ugly goiter.

“Abroad” is one of those words people used when I was a kid to refer to countries that were not nearly as freedom-loving as America, but had much prettier stuff. It amazed me that the United States was the greatest nation on earth but you had to go to Greece to see the Parthenon, Paris to check out the Eiffel Tower and London to hear Big Ben ring his chimes.

Maybe that’s the whole problem–we settle for mediocrity in our own lives while maintaining comfort, but yearn to go “abroad” to check out the really cool stuff. I don’t know when “abroad” became “overseas,”  or then changed to specifics like Europe, Africa, Australia.

But I still think if I ever became wealthy, I would be tempted to rub it into people’s noses by telling them I was going to the ambiguous nation of “abroad” so as to make them wonder for a longer period of time, exactly how exotic my destination might be.

I did try it once. I was going on a trip to Toronto, Canada, and informed some friends that I would be out-of-pocket for a few weeks because I would be “abroad.” Looking at me like I had just registered a really loud belch, they inquired exactly where “abroad” was going to be.

I wanted to lie. I really wanted to make up some country that none of them would be familiar with, but frightened to question lest they appeared ignorant. But my nasty penchant for telling the truth, mingled with my lack of creative spontaneity, caused me to blurt out, “Canada.”

They all thought this was hilarious. For after all, EVERYONE knows–Canada is not abroad. It’s attached.

There’s the rule. You can’t say you’re going abroad if where you’re going is hooked to your homeland.  So “abroad” is anything that requires you cross a body of water.

And I think that would mean an ocean instead of a creek.