Chair

Chair: (n) separate seat for one person

I was five years old the first time someone referred to me as “fat.” It came off the lips of Aunt Pruney-Face Fussypants. (I don’t recall her real
name so I’m working off stage directions.)

She whispered to my mother, “Don’t let him sit in that chair. He’s too fat. He might break it.”

I don’t know if I was stunned, mystified, humiliated or defiant, but I went over and sat down in the chair anyway–just to prove that it would embrace me from the bottom up.

It held its ground.

Yet over the years, certain chairs have gone “snap, crackle and pop” when introduced to my backside. So I hbave developed the mystical ability to peer at a piece of furniture, determining its width and sturdiness. I avoid bargain-basement furniture, realizing that it’s only suited for an anorexic market.

Chairs are problematic when you’re large.

Large is problematic because you’re always looking for a chair.

Aye–there’s the rub.

So even though I have encountered tens of thousands of seating units on my journey, many had to be rejected by my prejudice toward their outward appearance.

 

 

 

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Buster

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Buster: (n) a mildly disrespectful or humorous form of address, especially to a man or boy.

Beware of an aunt who doesn’t have children of her own, and insists that she “really loves kids,” who comes to visit and in no time at all is so irritated that she starts referring to you as “buster.”

I had one.

I will not mention her name out of deference to her feelings, even though she has since passed away. We always have hope for people when they go to a proposed afterlife. For my aunt, my hope is that it is an adult-living condominium with no children allowed.

I will have to admit to you–she tried. Each time she arrived at our home, she came with a fresh, energetic approach, to relate to us kids as human beings.

She always brought books instead of toys. And these were books that were at least five years too old for us. There were no pictures, and she would always take at least ten minutes explaining the history, background and mission of the author.

She would also bring a casserole with her, ablaze with color and all kinds of ingredients, but for some reason, the taste and texture of it always reminded me of asparagus snot. (Now, I don’t personally know what asparagus snot is, but I thought it was a very descriptive way to relate my feelings about the dish.) More annoying, she stood over me and waited for me to taste it before I got the chance to scrape it into the trash can or slide it under the table for my hapless dog to slurp.

Also, this particular aunt was always on the verge of tears. Now, it didn’t take much. One day I was yelling at my little brother because he wouldn’t help me with the trash cans, and she came over to hug him in the most exorbitant way, looking up at me as she did, scolding me for failing to be sensitive to one of God’s precious creatures.

Interestingly though, it didn’t seem to bother her that when she talked to me, she was always suggesting that I lose weight, tuck in my shirt, or, on several occasions, remarking on how bad my breath was. I guess you had to be a little kid to be one of God’s creatures.

My aunt was a woman who married once, got a divorce, never had children–but was sure she would have been the best mother in the world.

Whenever I was out of line, she looked at me with her fiery eyes and said, “Buster, you should be glad I’m not your mother!”

She was right.

I was.

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Banshee

Banshee: (n) in Irish legend, a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house.Dictionary B

Although I am often surprised by Webster’s true definition of a word, this particular rendition really took my breath away.

It’s because when I was a child, I had an aunt who screamed at the children running in a room, telling us to settle down and stop acting like a “bunch of wild banshees.”

I did not know what a banshee was, nor did I care to ask her to explain. I just assumed that banshees were children who were having fun, which for some reason or another, drove this old lady crazy.

  • I knew “banshee” was not good.
  • I knew it was an insult.
  • Just like I privately knew, in my young spirit, that when my aunt used the words hillbilly, worthless slut, wetback and nigger, that she probably wasn’t being complimentary.

So in a sense, banshee became associated to me with the word nigger. In other words, I knew it was bad and I knew I didn’t want to be one, since it made my aunt so pissed off.

Oh, yes, did I fail to mention? She thought that the black people in America–the niggers–were just as uncontrolled as we banshees.

So I grew up a confused young man who was offered a lexicon of terms, which if I accidentally used in public, my parents–and aunt–would quickly silence me, expressing their displeasure over my timing.

I was a child of Middle America, instructed in “public talk” and “private talk” … cautioned to never mix the two.

 

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Aunt

Aunt: (n) the sister of one’s father or mother or the wife of one’s uncle.

dictionary with letter AThe value of one’s relationship with an aunt is based upon the quality of the memories they have with your mother and father.

I wish I would have known that.

I had some pretty pukey aunts.They would not agree with that, I’m sure, but since they’re dead, I will risk offending their consciousness.

They were picky, they were self-righteous or they were completely disengaged.

I took it personally.

Being a kid, I tried to please them because I heard rumors at school about kids who had great aunts. Matter of fact, the abiding notion was that aunts were nicer than parents, or even grandparents, because they had so little invested in the future of the prodigy.

But my aunts were toads–and I don’t mean good toads. They just kind of sat there and peered at me, waiting for me to be either too loud or unmannerly.

Now that I’m older, I realize that these aunts didn’t have anything against me–they just didn’t like my mom and dad. So they decided to take it out on me.

After all, I was the swill that came from their bog.

I was the offspring of these people who the aunts had found fault with for years, had developed grudges against, and now persisted into the next generation.

I didn’t know this at the time. I thought I was perniciously ugly, fatally stupid or satanically infested.

It’s a good idea, if you happen to be an aunt and you’re pissed off at your sister or brother, to try to work that out with them and not pass the anger onto the kids.

Because in the long run, a good aunt is a treasure.

But a bad aunt would be better off living on the moon.

 

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Anti-climax

dictionary with letter A

 

Anti-climax: (n) a disappointing end to an impressive, exciting series of events

I have giggled my way through many a drama class and theatrical discussion as people have tossed the word “climax” in the mix, forgetting that it is a double entendre. If it weren’t for the word “orgasm,” I would not be able to pursue creative adventures without constantly chortling like a schoolboy.

That said, I will tell you that the actual definition of anti-climax gives you the source of the despondency and lack of faith that has begun to creep into our social structure.

I have never thought agnosticism to be a vice, but rather, an obvious pouting which occurs from disappointed dreamers. Let’s just look at the things in our society which are anti-climactic:

1. Our election of public officials.

We spend so much money electing officials and then basically end up with what we started with–except those elected become arrogant because they won.

2. Sports.

I don’t want to be the old guy walking around hiking up my pants, talking about “how good it used to be.” But we certainly have lost the ability to field teams which have consistency, humility and the capacity to evolve instead of merely seeking out a new sneaker deal.

3. Church.

It has now become like some great-aunt who is constantly complaining because “you don’t call or write.”

Rather than offering a dynamic platform for lifestyle and vision, it heaps tons of guilt onto people who are ill-prepared to deal with their inadequacies.

4. Sex.

Speaking of climax, we seem to have gone back to an era of sexual embarrassment, wherein we promote the struggle between men and women instead of the pleasure that can be derived by enjoying each other’s company.

5. Music.

Songs are being recorded and performed, with staging and production becoming much more important than message and heart. I have nothing against adding dancers to a song, but when I find myself discussing the choreography instead of the musicology, I think we may have gone a little too far.

Honestly I could go on all day and by the end of that time you would hate me for being such a nudge.

I think the key to avoiding anti-climax is what every young man eventually learns if he’s going to function in the world of romance:

Don’t make too many promises, show up eager, learn from the experience, and get better.

 

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Aalto, Alvar

by  J. R Practix

dictionary with letter A

Definition of Aalto, Alvar (1898–1976), Finnish architect and designer; full name  Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto. He often used materials such as brick, copper, and timber in his building designs to blend with the landscape. As a designer he is known as the inventor of bent plywood furniture.
Come on. The dude has four names. Let me give you a scale on numbers of names:
People who go by one name are divas. Beyoncé. Kermit. God.
Two names: Hard-working folk. John Deere. Jack Daniels. Martha Stewart.
Three names: Serial killers, authors and mascots. John Wayne Gaycee, Henry David Thoreau, Smoky the Bear.
But four names or more?  Really?? Fruitcake. And I don’t mean any disrespect.
Also, what’s the big deal about blending into the landscape? Isn’t that what cavemen did? “Hey, look, Buck! There’s a hole in this rock. We can live inside there without changing the landscape or ambience!”
And by the way…bent plywood furniture?? I have done that many times–just by sitting on it suddenly.
I’m sure Mr. Aalto is a nice guy, and probably came up with his own idea on how to blend things together…ala Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and army intelligence. But if you ask my opinion, making furniture out of plywood is what causes many young married couples to end up purchasing living room suites that wear out long before the payment stops.

Aardvark

by  J. R Practix

dictionary with letter Aaardvark: a large, nocturnal, burrowing mammal, Orycteropus afer, of central and southern Africa, feeding on ants and termites and having a long extensile tongue, strong claws and long ears.aardvark

Let me get this straight. Aardvark is just a really fancy, British way of saying “anteater.”

I once thought about eating my aunt. Actually, it was an assignment in my sociology class. Our teacher posed the question: if you were stuck on a desert island with your family and you were starving to death, which member would you eat first?

I decided it couldn’t be my mother. Let me not get into the reasons.

My father would be tough and taste like cigarettes.

My little brother would be an option, but it would take days to wash him off.

I thought about my uncle, but I didn’t want to eat him because he’s humorous. At least that’s what my parents said–he was a “funny uncle.” I was nineteen years old before I realized he did not own a comedy club.

I decided the best option was my Aunt Mary, even though I feared she would be a bit sour. You could always sweeten her with sugar, add a dash of cayenne pepper and the flavor would be tolerable.

I also noticed that aardvarks have long noses, but they do keep them to the grindstone instead of poking them into the air. Of course, it would be hard to be superior if you had really big ears and a really long tongue.

No, I guess if I had to, I could be an aunt eater–not the little black bugs, though. Wouldn’t they try to sting you on the way down as their last protest to being consumed? I’ll have to go over to England and ask an aardvark sometime.

Now I know what an aardvark is. It’s a funny looking creature with its head hung low, embarrassed over its appearance which likes to eat ants with its long tongue.

Good information. Just be careful discussing it too much, or it conjures a very unpleasant vision … of family dinner.