Continent

Continent: (n) one of the main landmasses of the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number

It is 25,000 miles around the Earth.

I suppose if you are accustomed to driving four blocks to the grocery store that number seems outrageously large. But when you’re thinking about a home space for nearly eight billion people, that 25,000-mile number suddenly appears limited, if not confining.

Living space within that circumference is seven continents, if you’re willing to let Antarctica slip-slide its way in. Since even polar bears and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
penguins are reluctant to occupy that particular Southern apartment, we’re down to six living areas.

It’s not that much.

It becomes almost comical, and then, if pursued too far, dangerous to eyeball one another as foreigners when we are such closely knit next-door-neighbors.

For instance, Africa can be considered a continent, a home for black people, or one of the six pieces of turf available. Perhaps this is why we’ve become so turfy.

There’s Europe and Asia, which have little evidence of a boundary, but continue as one whopping, huge space, peppered with cultures, when really, we’re all intended to just be the salt of the Earth.

South America is also filled with Americans, even though North America, and especially the United States, insists on claiming the title.

Australia, a country, boasts being a continent, and because they are so willing to share their “shrimp on the barbie,” we see no reason to argue with the congenial folk.

We are all within 25,000 miles of one another—when it’s 238,900 miles to the moon and ninety million to the sun.

And that is all within our solar system—when we exist in a universe that scoffs at being considered a mere billion galaxies.

Perspective.

Since the water is winning the war for Earth, as land becomes a little less every year, maybe it’s time for us to work on “neighborly” instead of weapons.


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Abroad

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.