Cushy

Cushy: (adj) involving little effort for ample reward

If you keep insisting that you have “nothing against hard work,” someone will eventually make you do it.

Hard work, that is.

I don’t know where we got the idea that sweating, struggling, grunting, groaning, bitching and moaning are the virtuous parts of adult life—signs that we are truly getting something done.

Without shame—minus guilt—jubilantly, I proclaim to you that I will always seek the cushy path.

I don’t care if you think that makes me lazy or if you feel me less trustworthy because I will not trudge along with the weary.

I have worked for many years to be speedy, efficient and good at what I do in my particular lane on the human highway. So when the need for other labor comes up, I can reach in my pocket and pull out good, cold, hard cash to give to someone who is willing to do the jobs that I am not.

I never plan on mowing a lawn again. You can explain to me that it’s good exercise, or there’s a sense of satisfaction when you complete the ordeal. I am ecstatic for you.

But somewhere there’s a young man who wants to go to college who can use my cash for his adventure—and all he has to do is trim my green.

I understand there may be some merit in knowing how to change your oil, fix your toilet or go into the wilderness and live off the land for three days.

But I do believe if I dug up my ancestors and they were suddenly given body and breath, they would tell me, “If you don’t have to dig, plant, hoe and harvest…go for it.”

I will never bitch to you.

I will never complain.

Because I will sit over here, really cushy, admiring you as you struggle.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creator

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creator: (n) a person or thing that creates.

The top four things, in order, that wear out my soul in order, beginning with Number Four:

  1. Serious discussions that end up with people pouting.
  2. Feeling sorry for myself because I’m stuck in traffic.
  3. My own intolerance showing up, exposing me for the fallible son-of-a-bitch I sometimes am.

And now, Number One:

Incessant barking, preaching, complaining, questioning and postulating on the subject of God.

Is there a Creator?

Let me be blunt—I only have one reason that I want a Creator. It’s because it makes me feel more valuable.

Without a Creator, I have to envision that I am a stop on the evolutionary chain, somewhere between protoplasm and infinity.

Yuk. I don’t want to feel that way.

It makes the other three things I mentioned even more aggravating. Traffic seems more congested, my intolerance tends to have some deeper meaning, and for some unrealistic reason, getting serious about ludicrous matters makes me feel grown-up.

I need a Creator because I need to feel created, so that I will want to be creative.

Did you get that?

Creator, created, creative.

When I don’t feel created, I have no desire whatsoever to change my circumstance when bitching about it seems to adequately fill the time.

I do not find that believing in a Creator makes people better, and that disbelieving makes them worse. But sometimes, cuddling up to the idea that we are purposely constructed by a divine order does make the journey seem a little sweeter.

Otherwise, we begin to look around the room, the nation and the world, rolling our eyes, thinking internally: Hell, is that all there is?

 

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Coax

Coax: (v) to persuade

I finally had enough children that I became a fairly decent father. Therefore I’m not responsible for the initial flops.

All kidding aside, one of the mistakes of all parents is investing too much time into the well-being and involvement of the child.

For me, this realization happened at the swimming pool. My first son, two years of age, came down in his cute little swim trunks. I could hardly wait to get him into the water and see him splash around–a vision I had perceived in a dream the night before.

But instead of jumping into the water or into my arms, he stood at a distance, critically, like an old maid viewing a Playboy magazine for the first time.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I made promises. (I’m talking about Baskin Robbins promises. In other words, the big scoops.)

He was unimpressed.

Matter of fact, he was quite enamored that he had gained my full attention over such a small thing. So in his toddler mind, he was dangling me over the abyss of an emotional cliff, giggling over my slipping grasp.

I hated myself.

He never did get into the pool. I must have asked him a thousand times, and I’m not exaggerating for the purpose of literature.

But by the time I got to the second, third and fourth kid, I realized that the key to engaging your children in good things is to always act like you just don’t give a damn.

I did not invite them into the pool. Matter of fact, I passed along the impression that they were “too small to swim.”

I jumped, threw balls in the air, and in no time at all, each of them came over to the edge, bouncing up and down, waving arms and saying, “Daddy, let me come in!”

I elongated the process (so there wouldn’t be any bitching about the temperature of the water). So when they got in, it was an honor.

Children are manipulative. They are not angels from heaven, unless you’re talking about the fallen variety, hanging out with Lucifer at the clubhouse.

Children were meant to come along with us, not us with them.

I have stopped all coaxing. I don’t coax anyone.

You can watch what I do, listen to what I believe or follow me around to see how hypocritical I am. Then decide for yourself.

I, for one, do not have time to talk people into pursuing good crap.

 

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Cheat

Cheat: (v) to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage

Some people compare the human brain to a computer.

There may be truth to that–though the brain is capable of much more reasoning and processing.

But one of the similarities that would hold true is that the brain does maintain a browser. It has a listing of most recent files, frequently viewed files, and even files we think we’ve deleted.

Every once in a while, they’ll just pop up and remind us that the mind doesn’t always find ways to be kind.

It’s a little piece of nastiness.

So it runs a tally.

How many murders have we watched in television and movies over the past six months?

How many shows on the beauty of Antarctica and gorgeous flower displays from India?

How many scenes of pornography and the abuse of the female body have crossed our eyes in comparision to the downloads we have perused of mothers loving their children and women conquering prejudice, to be successful in business?

Because our browser is filled with corruption, we cheat.

  • We cheat on our taxes.
  • We cheat on our lovers.
  • We cheat ourselves out of blessing because cursing is so easily available.
  • We cheat our children out of intimacy in favor of a quick trip to the amusement park.
  • We cheat our talent out of the privilege of being used in a creative way while constantly bitching about the limitations of our job.

We cheat.

And then, fearing that we will be revealed as cheaters, we develop a honeycomb of intertwined lies, which now buzz from our lips with far too much glib precision.

Where will our cheating take us?

Well, we certainly don’t think anybody is going to be better than us, so it turns us into suspicious, angry and vindictive neighbors.

We cheat.

Mostly, we cheat ourselves.

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Chain Smoke

Chain smoke: (v) to smoke continually, especially by lighting a new cigarette from the butt of the last one smoked

I never saw my dad smoke a chain. Yet this is what my nine-year-old mind tried to envision when my mother yelled at him and told him he
was nothing but a “damn chain smoker.”

I was aware that my father smoked cigarettes. Actually, he rolled his own. I think he saw it in a movie Western and thought it was cool, manly, and decided to take it up as a practice.

So he bought the tobacco, the papers and pretended he was the Marlboro Man.

He smoked continually. After the passing of time, he mainly smoked so he could keep from coughing. Yes–the absence of the smoke filling his lungs was such a shock to his system that he desperately needed to inhale the tobacco to make him feel normal again. For every morning in our home began with a coughing fit, lasting about twenty minutes.

I knew it was over when the smell of cigarette came floating through the house and I arose from my bed, and walked to stare at myself in the bathroom mirror, around the little speckles of my papa’s spittle.

I was the son of a smoker who decided never to smoke.

I was the son of a mother who spent a lot of time bitching, only driving her husband to more rolling and lighting.

 

Smoking is a vice.

Chain smoking is committing suicide–one drag at a time.

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Burnish

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Burnish: (v) to polish something by rubbing.

An important exercise:

Add up all the hours you and I have spent complaining, resisting, avoiding or diminishing the need to improve something. Now compare that to the number of hours it would have taken to do the job.

Every single time, the amount of energy expended in bitching exceeds the required minutes necessary to burnish up the situations in our lives.

Case in point: when I was much younger and rented an apartment, my parents gave me a beat-up coffee table. It was light brown wood, so every little scrape, nick and stain was very noticeable. Bluntly, I did not care. I was a punk.

One day a girlfriend of mine came in and told me that if I took some furniture polish to the table, it would look a hundred percent better. I nodded my head, simulating interest, but inwardly dismissed all her claims. She made the point three more times before she finally walked in, polish and cloth in hand, and quickly–no more than five minutes–transformed that piece of worn down trash into a burnished surface.

It was so shiny that I could actually look down and see my face.

I didn’t know whether to be grateful or angry over her interference. Before I could decide which profile to select, she gave me a quick hug and said, “You’re a man. You’re often too dumb to do what’s necessary.”

She left the room.

My problem was not being a man. My difficulty was that I did not believe I was worthy of a polished table, so I decided to leave it as ugly and unkempt as I felt myself.

 

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Bucolic

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Bucolic: (adj) referring to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.

When my assistant spoke the word–“bucolic”–I said, “I’ve heard that before.”

I had no idea what it meant.

I’m careful not to use words that I’ve suddenly discovered, thinking it will make me appear intelligent Dictionary Band well-versed in the vernacular.

So when she looked up “bucolic” and read the definition, a thought immediately came to my mind. It’s kind of a strange one.

The thought was, we are never totally happy where we are.

If we’re sitting out in the middle of a beautiful pasture filled with trees and flowers on a springtime day, the notion will suddenly present itself: “This would be perfect if I just had a Big Mac and a Coke.”

Then we may find ourselves stuck in a traffic jam, sucking in the fumes of oil and gasoline, wishing for the bucolic surroundings of a robin in the forest, flying toward its nest.

Strangely, we find both positions to be acceptable. After all, dissatisfaction might be considered one of the top four “normal” conditions of humankind.

Yet somewhere inside us is a desire to be content with what we have.

Because when I’ve allowed contentment to rattle around my belfry, it has rung the bells of appreciation.

It may sound sappy to be happy with what’s crappy.

But when I am, I’m more pleasant to be around.

I know that no one likes my bitching–not even me–but I follow it like a monk in a monastery.

I’m hoping that when I finish this life I will be remembered for the kind words I conjured in the midst of turmoil … instead of the turmoil I decided to conjure in the midst of kindness.

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Bed

Bed: (n) a piece of furniture for sleep or restDictionary B

As an itinerant so-and-so with an inkling to go-go, I do not have the opportunity of referring to the word “bed” by prefacing it with “my.” In the course of a normal month, I will stay in motels and sleep in as many as ten beds.

They make a difference.

In the motel industry, they fall into three major categories–and that’s without considering the Goldilocks Syndrome of “too soft, too hard and just right.”

  • Some are too low.
  • Some are just tall enough but are lumpy.
  • And some are way too high.

I do not like to get up out of a bed like I’m sleeping in the wilderness on an air mattress.

I am also not favorable to locating the correct mountaintop or valley within the landscape of the mattress, where I might be able to settle my bones, free of ache.

And finally, I also do not like to fall out of bed from a dizzying height.

Yet it is amazing how well we can adjust to circumstances if we avoid the craggy chasm of bitching and climb the exhilarating mountain of good cheer.

After all, if I get a good bed, it is temporary.

But also, if I get a bad one … the road calls.

 

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Basic

Basic: (adj) forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental.Dictionary B

Occasionally I make the brave journey onto the Web to look at what people are saying, thinking and doing.

I discovered an interesting trend.

We have become a nation which is obsessed with complicating and bitching. Sometimes we blend the two.

We bitch about how complicated things are, or we go into complicated explanations about the source of our bad attitude and bitching.

I saw a blog advertising an article entitled, “28 Ways to Make Your Life Better.”

28??

If someone gave you a recipe and told you there were 28 ingredients, would you prepare it?

Thus the popularity of hot dogs: put dogs in sauce pan with water, turn on heat, boil on high for three minutes, take off the stove, bon appetit!

Perhaps we’re just afraid of going back to the basics.

  • Do people think it makes them look shallow or stupid?
  • Do we fear we will be perceived as old-fashioned?

But since I fear that complexity will make me look like a simpleton, and simplicity has the potential of graduating me to genius, let me tell you the three basics of life that will get you through almost every situation. (I must apologize–there are not 28.)

But here we go:

  1. Try to be nice to people. And if you can’t, leave the room.
  2. Don’t lead with bragging. Humbly lead with your talent, taking a lower seat so that people can call you up to a higher place.
  3. Don’t buy, eat or pursue anything just because it’s popular. Stand back for a moment, wait, and see if it explodes, gives indigestion or suddenly plummets in following.

Basic.

It’s not called “basic” because it’s less–it’s called “basic” because it’s been around for a long time, and has proven its quality to be more.

 

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Available

Available: (adj) able to be used or obtained

There are a few great principles that just make life work better.dictionary with letter A

Fortunately for us mortals, they are simple.

  • Our attempts to complicate them do not actually improve their quality.
  • Our instinct to ignore them does not negate them.
  • Our decision to embrace them brings a sense of true joy to our hearts which greatly increases our power to endure.

One of these primary precepts is this: happiness is when we begin to believe that what is available to us is our blessing.

Just imagine how content we could become if we thought a box of macaroni, eight slices of cheese and a can of tuna were the makings of a meal instead of symbols of our poverty. Tuna and macaroni and cheese. It is edible, you know. And if we access the spice rack, we might just be able to turn it into a delicacy.

I am only miserable in my life when I convince myself that I am cheated by what is available.

I become giddy with my journey when I take what’s available and turn it into the “Magical Mystery Tour.”

So what is the trick? Here’s what I choose to believe:

What’s the harm in using what’s available until something better comes along? Who knows? What is available may be enough.

And if not, I would rather fill my time being inventive with my resources … instead of bitching about them. 

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