Dacron

Dacron: (n) a brand of polyester textile fiber that is wrinkle-resistant and strong.

Many years ago, deeply embedded in the cultural tributaries of the American social superhighway, I traveled the land as a young man with long hair, great passion and questionable decision-making capabilities.

My entire wardrobe was Dacron polyester.

The fabric was magical.

Although a case can be made that it looks rather cheap, it refuses to wrinkle. Matter of fact, one of the tests I had for choosing a stage garment was wadding it up in my hands and throwing it on the floor. Then I picked it up to see if I could find any flaws.

Dacron was divine for traveling.

You could take it off after a show, let it fall to the ground, step on it four or five times during the night, kick it to the corner in disgust—but still, in the morning, it would come back to you, submissively unmarred.

There is one thing you had to be careful with, and that was temperature. Keeping my clothes in the back of a hot van in August, at times an odor wafted to the front, which fell somewhere between platypus poop and mustard gas. (I’m guessing.)

It was just the natural “sweating” of the Dacron fabric (which, of course, really isn’t cloth at all, but a series of chemicals mingled together to somehow or another explode into a fabric shape).

Without Dacron, we would never have had the leisure suit.

Without Dacron, we would never have had poofy bell bottoms.

And without Dacron, we would never have had the disco era, complete with its wild coloration and flashy, over-sized clothing. (A argument could be made that our country might have survived the absence of that particular era. I will remain neutral.)

Yet if there is a lawsuit pending to isolate those souls who wore their fair share of Dacron polyester, I am guilty.

But wrinkle-free.

 

Cycle

Cycle: (n) any long period of years; age. 

I am not sure if I am offering an observation or a musing.

Just so you’ll know the difference—at least in my mind—an observation is something that has occurred enough times that it causes me to believe there is a trend.

A musing is an action which may have only happened once but foretells a cycle of change.

All that being said (and offering way too much information) I want to put forth the observation (or the musing) that even though we contend that “everything old is new again,” I have begun to notice that fads and tendencies may return, but seem to possess less vigorous authenticity.

In this way, I think the human race is threatening its own demise.

It is not because we fall into repetition, but rather, because each generation loses a degree of passion in chasing the possibility.

I see people wearing bell-bottoms and tie-dye shirts much like the apparel of my friends from my comin’-up years. But rather than holding up signs against war or speaking up for love and peace, they are staring at their phones, perusing a fresh vein of distraction.

When I was a young human, we recycled jazz and blues into rock and roll—but the steaminess, pain and earthy quality of the Bayou and the Delta were translated into “Hang On, Sloopy.”

I think, in our pursuit of originality without duplication of our parents, we must keep a pulse on our hearts, to ensure that we are a purposed people instead of mud-puddles reflecting a murky past.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cuyahoga Falls

Cuyahoga Falls: (n) a city in Northeast Ohio, near Akron

 The reason essays are often long is because the author feels compelled to place the reader in the exact moment and space of a given time.

Suffice it to say, today I am talking about a season in our history when boys were dying in Vietnam, hippies were walking the streets and young lads and lasses from the Midwest were desperately trying to be neither.

I grew up in Ohio.

Ohio insists it’s a single state, but anyone who lives there knows differently.

If you lived in Columbus, you might as well be from Iowa, or any other Midwest hold-out to social progress.

If you lived in Cincinnati, you were more like Dixie, with grits in your teeth.

And to the far north was Cleveland, which desperately tried to imitate New York City, complete with crime and a filthy Lake Erie to mirror the polluted Hudson.

I lived right in the center.

No, it’s true. My hometown was exactly ten miles from the geographical center of Ohio. That in itself should have afforded me great honor, but I was stuck, like everyone else, trying to prove myself and do the best with the talent shoveled in my direction.

Mine was music.

But my music was not quite suited to the genre that was rattling and reeling in the time capsule of hippies and soldiers.

So one day, I wiggled my way into scheduling a coffee house in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio—very near Akron. I didn’t know much about the place and they didn’t know much about me.

So my little band, excited about actually going somewhere to play a road gig, dressed up.

For the guys, that was pants and a long-sleeved shirt with a tie.

And for the ladies—well, they basically wore their prom dresses.

We arrived at the coffee house, which was called Avalon, and everybody there was in bell-bottom blue jeans, t-shirts, with long hair and sneers.

It was a long night.

Every song we tried was met with chuckles and everything we said was ignored, as they turned to one another and carried on conversations.

I became angry, mainly because I was young, foolish and felt it was my right to be offended.

I told them they were a bunch of snobs. I also told them they didn’t have the wardrobe for it.

This was my first and only laugh of the night.

The proprietor of the coffeehouse stood to his feet and said, “Be cool, fool. You just don’t fit in here.”

He was right—while simultaneously being wrong.

Because if we’re waiting for everyone to mature or expand to be welcomed into our little utopia, we’ve missed the whole point of having one.

A utopia is meant to be a place where anyone is welcome without fear.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crackle

Crackle: (v) to make slight, sudden, sharp noises, rapidly repeated

Long, long ago, when rock and roll was a baby boom and bellbottoms were considered normal wear, there was a cereal named Rice Krispies which lacked an identity. After all, it was just puffy rice, which, when sitting in a bowl of milk for more than twenty-eight seconds, turned into slush.

Something needed to be done.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

A young executive at the Kellogg’s Corporation noticed that when milk was first spilled onto the cereal, it made slight sounds, as the fluid gradually smothered the rice particles and drowned them, leaving them lifeless.

He believed he heard snap—and saw one of the rice particles leap from the bowl momentarily, giving the appearance of pop.

So he went to the ad executives and explained that the product could be marketed by referring to it as the “snap-pop cereal.”

The room frowned. What did “snap-pop” mean? How could this be personified? Who was going to eat a cereal that was going to snap at you, or pop off its opinion? The whole thing seemed doomed, until one young, female intern said, “They just need a third friend.”

This time the room scowled. No one had suggested there was a “they” involved, and certainly had not intimated that a friendship had been formed. Yet the man who had the original idea for “snap and pop” was so desperate to salvage his ego that he grabbed onto the notion and started looking for a third “sounder” to complete his trio.

The first ten ideas were horrible.

Snap, bubble and pop.

Snap, drip and pop.

Snap, sizzle and pop.

Snap, sneeze and pop.

Snap, whisper and pop.

Snap, clap and pop.

Snap, moan and pop.

Snap, giggle and pop.

Snap, wink and pop.

Snap, argue and pop.

Each possibility seemed to have the fragrance of failure.

Going home at the end of the day, the young executive was explaining his dilemma with the Rice Krispies to his family over dinner.

He was deflated.

He was discouraged.

He was ready to give up on the whole campaign.

Then his four-year-old daughter, who had opted not to eat liver and onions, but instead had grabbed a bowl of Rice Krispies, leaned her ear down to listen, and said, “Daddy? I hear a crackle.

The man nearly fainted. He had no idea his little daughter was even listening to the conversation, and he certainly was unaware that she knew the word “crackle.”

Or perhaps it was Divine Revelation, brought to him from the Mount of Advertising.

He didn’t care.

He took it to work the next day and the rest is cereal promotion history.

It became “Snap, Crackle and Pop.”

It was a Rice Krispies treat.

W-a-i-t…

 Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Button

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Button: (n) a small disk sewn onto a garment for closure

When I was younger, I asked my wife to sew me a pair of pants.

I did so because the slacks that were able to cover my blubbery frame were ugly and made me look like I was always on my way to a construction site.

So she bought the cloth and laid out the pattern so I could have a pair of bell-bottom trousers. She was ready to put a zipper in when I stopped her.

I said, “No. I want buttons on the front.”

She gave me a little frown, but then she smiled, apparently catching a vision for my cavalier choice.

I put on the pants. They were kind of tight. But I was able to button them up and I headed off to a local coffeehouse where I planned on doing some singing.

Before I went over to the piano, I decided to perch on a stool to chat with the audience. When I did so, two of the buttons on my pants popped off with such ferocity that they flew into the audience, striking a couple of unsuspecting maidens, causing them to shriek.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I possess a good comeback for almost every situation.

But on this occasion, I did not know what to communicate about my flying buttons.

 

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix