Borrow

Borrow: (v) to take and use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it.

I have an inkling that determining whether people are getting older can be evaluated by judging the shows they watch on television.Dictionary B

For instance, when I was younger I would never have watched “Wheel of Fortune.” And even though I would not call myself an avid viewer now, it is occasionally on in the background while I do other things.

Likewise, I would have made fun of myself for watching the judge shows like “People’s Court.”

I bring this up because on these court TV shows, each case finishes up with an interview in the outside hall, where the announcer asks the litigants what they learned from the experience. Universally, the eternal truth that falls from their lips is, “Don’t trust anybody.”

Benjamin Franklin intoned, in his pseudo-intellectual way, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be.”

It is a wonderful philosophy–if you are never in need.

But since my life has been bespeckled with all varieties of poverty and prosperity, I can appreciate the fact that every once in a while … you are one cup of milk and one bowl of cereal short of breakfast.

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Bald

Bald (adj): having a scalp wholly or partly lacking hair.Dictionary B

I am bald.

People often contradict this statement, telling me that I still have some hair on the sidelines of my playing field, but the landing strip has been completely cleared.

The top of my head is free of hairy situations.

I fought it for a long time–because it starts pretty early. Matter of fact, if you are destined to be bald, you may notice it in your teen years, when finishing a shower and combing out your hair.

Too much of it is ending up on your brush.

Also, there is the frightening revelation, through the well-placed mirror, of having to admit that the back forty of the scalp has started failing to yield crops.

So I intelligently took my early twenties to grow long hair, nearly to my shoulders, to celebrate this brief juncture of time when my virility could be expressed by the efforts of my follicles.

It was great fun.

Matter of fact, I continued to sport this bushiness until the dissipation of northern foliage on my dome began to make me look like Benjamin Franklin. After a while, it just gets silly.

Now I realize that the best way to handle baldness is to be bald. I even understand why some guys who are suffering under the condition just go ahead and shave their heads.

Because it is true in life that we gain wisdom by picking our fights. And honestly, demanding your hair to remain or placing fake hair in its stead is just not victorious.

Yes… most guys get a “Dear John Letter” from their lovely locks.

 

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Apostle

dictionary with letter A

Apostle: (n.) 1. each of the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ. 2. an enthusiastic supporter of an idea or cause.

Titles are what non-talented people cling to in order to avoid being evaluated on the quality of their work.

You can tell exactly how useless these assigned names are by how popular they are in our present-day society, which seems to be stuck in the muck of ego, unable to maneuver in any direction.

I, too, am often asked to produce my running list of titles. These are supposed to be words that inform the hearer that I am worthy of being listened to and that I have jumped through enough hoops to be part of the circus.

I’ve even had people correct me when I’ve addressed them by their first name, to inform me that their title must be included–otherwise they have a sense of what we might call “nomenclature nakedness.”

So instead of granting people dignity and appreciation for their deeds, we bequeath them with titles.

And this is why the original apostles nearly suffocated the message of Jesus of Nazareth–because they spent most of their time sitting around discussing who was greater and who Jesus liked better. In the process they began to kiss up to the very same individuals who originally had crucified their Master.

Fortunately for us, they stopped being apostles and turned back into rag-tag fanatics.

Because I will tell you of a certainty, King George III was not impressed that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of electricity or had constructed a stove. He considered him a rebel and a rapscallion and was prepared to hang him.

And the American history books can be grateful that Mr. Franklin did not take offense, but agreed to don the role of rebel so that we might be free.

Titles frighten me. They assume that their mere inclusion should produce respect.

What should give us our respect is whether we follow through on what we say is truly important.

 

 

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Adams (John)

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adams, John (1735-1826): the 2nd President of the U.S. from 1797-1801. A Massachusetts Federalist, he was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774-78 and helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He negotiated the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution in 1783.

John Adams was a wild card.

Wild cards are fun. Wild cards are specific units from a deck which can be anything we need them to be in order to complete a winning hand.

In an era which included the very secular Benjamin Franklin, along with the religious and often belligerent Patrick Henry, who were crashing together to attempt a common purpose, there was a need for a wild card who could converse, argue, fuss and negotiate with both parties freely and act as a wild card for independence.

Thus, John Adams.

It is rather doubtful that the anti-slave members of the Continental Congress and the Virginia slave owners could ever have gotten together had it not been for Mr. Adams:

He made them talk instead of just stomp out of the room in anger.

He provided a reason for a stuffy Puritan from Massachusetts to at least attempt to understand a tobacco-growing country boy from North Carolina.

He made freedom the issue instead of bogging us down in continual useless conversations over preferences.

Into every generation a John Adams must be birthed. Otherwise the extremes stand at a distance and hurl rocks at one another.

Behold: the problem we see in our political system today.

We have plenty of Benjamin Franklins in our Democratic Party and an abundance of Patrick Henrys in the Republicans and Tea Parties, who are both adept at spitting across the creek at each other, finding no common canoe or even a bridge where ideas could cross back and forth.

We need a John Adams. John Adams wasn’t flamboyant or even interesting. He had a calming effect. He found a way to argue without frustration, disagree minus splitting apart, and eventually found a way to come to terms without sacrificing principles.

Although he had deep convictions, he also had a political savvy which permitted him to be a buffer between those who eat Quaker Oats and them that prefer grits.

Never forget the value of a John Adams to our Declaration of Independence.

He found a way to be friends with Thomas Jefferson even when they were bitter political enemies.

We probably do not need to be on the hunt for a better leader for our country, or even for Congress to have more acceptable members. Our generation requires a John Adams–or a plethora of them–to come in and find the means for discussion … instead of the elements of argument.

Absentee Ballot

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Absentee ballot: n.  a ballot completed and typically mailed in advance of an election by a voter who is unable to be present at the polls.

I was just a little kid. (Little kid–that may be a bit of redundancy, except truthfully, I wasn’t really little.)

My parents were staunch Republicans. Every election season, they would brag about walking into the booth and voting a “straight Republican ticket.” Since they were my parents, I assumed that was another piece of nobility to be revered, and only later discovered that it was a proclamation of a bit of preconceived ignorance.

Matter of fact, that particular mindset is so prevalent in our society today that the action of voting may be all absentee–not just ballots sent in from some far-away land by traveling citizens.

No, it appears to me that at times all the American people are absentee during their balloting.

  • They seem to be absentee of allowing their minds to be changed by reason, and instead wave the flag over their particular party of choice.
  • There seems to be an absentee nature in understand the expansive needs of a multi-cultural America, which is mushrooming much faster than its willingness to contemplate.
  • There seems to be an absentee of respect given between candidates campaigning for the same office–a disrespect for the ability of the other person to have gotten that far in the process.
  • There seems to be an absentee of understanding that merely possessing a morality of your own choice does not make it superior to another person’s interpretation.
  • And certainly we are absentee of following through on a conclusion to our political theories, determining whether they actually produce a government “of the people, for the people and by the

people.”

Even though I think voting can be a very good thing, I find it neither regal, virtuous or heavenly when it can be so easily “bedeviled” by stubborn loyalty instead of common sense.
Perhaps THAT’S the problem in America. Like my mother and father so many years ago, all the votes being cast seem to be absentee of the deliberation necessary to honor the traditions that have made this country rich with potential.

For let us be frank. The greatest leaders in our history–George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and any others you might conjure in your mind–if deposited into our time, would all be completely uncomfortable associating themselves with either political party.

Because change is not a party.

It is often a lonely trip in the middle of the night to the local convenience store to pay too much for supplies, desperately needed.