Brotherhood

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Brotherhood: (n) a community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade

She crinkled her twenty-four-year-old nose, frowning, and said to me, “I don’t know about that. It was before I was born.”Dictionary B

Somewhere along the line, people have decided to trace the history of our race beginning with the date of their birth. Nothing before–or, I assume, after–really matters at all.

So in the process of pursuing this arrogant practice, we discarded a lot of powerful ideas.

One of them is the concept of brotherhood.

When I was a boy, there were many songs that talked about brotherhood, the human family and the common spirit of mankind.

They have disappeared.

Matter of fact, if you sang one of these songs, people would think it was maudlin.

Because in the process of establishing individuality, we have eliminated similarity. Also, while trying to convince ourselves that we are unique “snowflakes,” we have allowed an avalanche to sweep away much of our commonality.

We’ve replaced the entire Earth tribe with allegiance to our own domestic family. We are convinced that if we love our kin, we need do nothing more–even though a great teacher once warned us that if we only love those who love us, we’re stinking slobs.

What am I looking for?

Reasons to love everyone I meet.

If I don’t, I will eventually notice that their particular birth certificate frees me of the responsibility to give a shit.

 

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Bib

Bib: (n) a piece of cloth or plastic fastened around a person’s neck to keep their clothes clean while eating.

Dictionary B

It is impossible to escape ridiculous.

Stop trying.

The only factor even in consideration is whether you’re going to be ridiculous by choice or ridiculous by accident.

Some people prefer being ridiculous by accident. Then they can pull up lame and be the victim of circumstance.

I would always rather be ridiculous by choice. Let me give you an example.

Many years ago, I was invited to be the guest speaker at a banquet. I had just purchased a lovely white suit. Well, actually, at the time I thought it was lovely, but now it would be overstated and draw too much attention.

Yet on this occasion I wore this new suit.

When I arrived for the meal, I discovered that the menu was spaghetti and meatballs.

I am not embarrassed to tell you that it is difficult for me, for some reason or another, to take a sip of water without spilling a drop or two on my front.

It is not an issue of dexterity, but rather, the distance that must be covered and possibly, some of my nervous energy due to memories of previous spillage.

So even though as the guest speaker, I was sitting at the front table, I found a huge dish towel from the kitchen and wrapped it around my neck, hanging down the front of my white suit, to counteract what I was sure would be an avalanche of drippings from my spoon and fork.

I made me a bib.

The towel was ugly. It apparently had been owned by a child and had the picture of a bear eating a bowl of porridge.

I looked ridiculous.

But I smiled through the whole dinner, knowing I had made a good choice.

Especially when I looked down and saw my new little bear friend … completely covered in spaghetti sauce.

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Avalanche

Avalanche: (n) a mass of snow, ice, and rocks falling rapidly down a mountainside.dictionary with letter A

Every once in a while, I catch myself thinking about it: preferable ways to die. Or maybe better stated, worst ways to die. Since I’ve never died before, all of this is mere casual speculation.

I guess I’ve had a couple of near-death experiences, but never where my heart stopped, though I can relate times when it seemed like I was brain-dead.

But I certainly would not like to be buried under an avalanche, even though a lot of people actually do survive the process.

I don’t like the sensation of feeling crowded or smothered.

As a kid when I played football, it really bothered me to get to the bottom of a pile-up. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think and I wanted to scream.

Matter of fact, one time in the midst of a celebration after a game, all the guys ended up jumping on top of each other and I was on the bottom and became so frantic that I physically threw all of them to the side, scaring the hell out of most of the team because I was screaming and ranting.

Whenever I find myself in close quarters or have something laying on top of my chest, I have to go inside myself and speak to my raging bull to keep from flailing at the air and spewing obscenities.

If I suddenly found myself covered by snow and there was still enough air to breathe, well…I don’t know.

I’m just afraid that I would strike out at the surrounding frozen environment…in a losing effort.

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Alimentary

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alimentary Canal: (n) the entire passage along which food passes through the body, including esophagus, stomach and intestines.

So much like life.

That which kisses the lips and titillates the taste buds, slides easily down the throat, gains acid in the stomach, is transformed into waste and often ends up looking like crap.

It is difficult for me, as a fat person, to focus on the more negative–and may I say, final–prospects of overeating.

I am completely engrossed in the licking of my lips and the taste buds, and even somewhat intrigued by the swallowing–but avoid the repercussions of digestion, fat accumulation and expulsion.

The alimentary canal is certainly a slippery slope, as it were: everything is heading downhill.

Some people might consider this negative.

Yet maybe it’s a step of maturity–learning to release smaller snowballs at the top of the mountain so as not to create an avalanche.

 

Adjure

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adjure (v): to urge or request someone solemnly to do something. e.g. I adjure you to tell the truth.

I have been part of discussions that started out in a desperate attempt to remain civil, often by using fancier language and cautious terminology. I’ve even heard people who were trying to convince me of the error of my ways tell me that they “adjure me” to consider another option.

The end result, in my experience, to those ventures in civility are that they eventually break down and people start slinging their hash instead of sipping their wine and nibbling their cheese.

Now, I DO understand the importance of humane treatment and respectful dialogue. But if you put a cork in a bottle and the pressure builds up, the cork can explode, impaling a near-by victim.

We have to be careful when we go into a situation with great feelings of animosity and bruised emotions, that we don’t merely put off the avalanche of misgivings by trying to build a safety net.

This actually makes things worse. Let me tell you what turns a simple conversation into a heated discussion and ultimately causes it to degrade into a nasty argument.

1. Unrealistic expectation. If people are mad, they’re mad. Setting rules for the dialogue only makes them madder.

2. When we try to hide our true sensations behind words like “adjure,” we end up coming across as condescending. (“Well, I guess I didn’t expect you to understand, given your situation.”) Condescension is what changes a normal conversation into a heated discussion.

3. Abandoning the subject. Once we feel someone has been condescending to us, the leap to rampaging usually occurs when we completely abandon the present subject, to attack the other individual personally. It can be bringing up the past, pointing out a foible that you’ve never mentioned before, or just attributing to the partner in conversation a series of assertions that he or she deems to be lies.

So how can we resolve a conflict without becoming either “hoity-toity” or turning the situation into an episode of The Fight Club?

My suggestion is this: don’t let moments pass.

If something occurs to you NOW, say it. By the time you share it later, it is completely blown out of proportion. Also, in the first fruits of frustration, we are more pliable about being wrong than we are when our hurts and pains have fermented in our brains.

Always keep in mind that big, unusual words–terminology grabbed to express supremacy–are usually received as an attack on the intelligence of the hearer.

You don’t have to agree with that, but I think when you let the sun set on your anger, you always wake up in the morning … certain that you’re right.