Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee: (n) a great ape

“Keeping an open mind so I can claim to have one…”

Yes, that’s me.

I don’t think I’m alone. It seems, in our generation, that being decried for having a closed mind is the worst insult we could sling at someone.
We all pretend that we are very willing to learn new things as we strategically place ourselves smack in the middle of repetition.

Being a person of faith, I got tired of those who are not bent in that persuasion, accusing me of being ignorant because of my insistence on valuing creation instead of adhering to evolution. Actually, I agree with evolution–up to a point.

And that point is the chimpanzee.

The chimpanzee is supposed to be our closest cousin, or some sort of relative. So one day I decided to go to the zoo, observe the chimpanzee, and discover what similarities I had with this non-kissing-cousin. I stayed for a full hour–matter of fact, I stayed so long that I think the little monkey became paranoid.

The chimpanzee seemed to have a great preoccupation with its own penis. It frequently reached down to pull on it, as if releasing it from some sort of prison.

The creature also favored scratching its ass, made unintelligible sounds, and hopped around from place to place with no real destination.

It became aggravated when someone took its food or threatened to occupy its space.

It seemed to glare a lot. (It could have been gas.)

It wasn’t particularly friendly. Of course, that could have been due to the fact that it was in a zoo instead of out on the Serengeti.

It didn’t like its fellow-monkeys, and appeared to be a little chippy, looking for a reason to argue.

It was obviously selfish.

It stopped from time to time–appearing to preen. (At least that’s the way I would describe the self-stroking.)

It was very preoccupied, and most of the time, seemed bored.

I realized I was wrong.

It is very human.

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Bored

Bored: (adj) feeling weary because one is unoccupied

With those who have communion wine running through their veins, I would probably get in trouble for suggesting that there are parts of the writ of Holy Dictionary BScripture which could certainly use a good edit.

As a writer, I edit myself all the time. Matter of fact, if somebody pulled out an article I wrote seven years ago, it’s possible that I might need to apologize.

So as I look down the list of the Seven Deadly Sins (which I shall not mention due to space and out of fear of immediately falling under conviction) there is one obvious absence, which should either be inserted to replace one of the existing choices–or maybe as just a header, to describe what causes all seven.

Bored.

When we are bored we are capable of everything from stumbling to atrocity.

I do not know where we got the idea that life was hatched in the mind of the Creator with the intention of constantly entertaining us, but part of maturity is certainly realizing the importance and inevitability of “down time.”

For instance, nothing is more annoying than a seven-year-old child telling you that he’s bored–especially if you’ve just returned from the park, a movie and Baskin Robbins.

The need to be entertained is what motivates both sluggard and murderer.

I always feel I have achieved the best of humanity–and made the Good Book sensible–when I finish my day without ever feeling bored.

 

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Again

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Again: (adv) another time; once more

It’s all about french fries.

For a very brief season, french fries lost their appeal–they became an afterthought: “Would you like fries with that?”

Having already selected my sandwich of choice and determined my milkshake preference, I had french fries thrust upon me by my server, giving me the sensation that they were trapped in the back, toasted brown, desperately lonely. Matter of fact, in that era, not much care was put into them.

They began to taste like fried sticks.

So you had to decide if you were gonna have french fries AGAIN.

You see, the trouble with the word “again” is that it threatens to become repetitive, bringing sameness to our lives, which causes us to become bored, robbing us of entertainment.

Thus french fries.

Matter of fact, I am not sure they could have survived this season of doldrums if someone had not come along to smear them with cheese, bacon, jalapenos, and I don’t know…maybe even whipped cream. Then french fries gained interest because they brought along friends and a fresh outlook. They were welcome–even flirting with the possibility of bumping the main course.

It’s not that there’s anything WRONG with “again,” but normally when we use the word, our voices trail off into the great pit of despair:

  • “I have to go to school … again.”
  • “It’s Sunday morning church … again.”
  • “I’ve been married for thirty years. I guess it’s time to kiss my wife … again.”

If we don’t do something to spice up the side dishes of our lives with innovation and flavor, having something “again” will never be pleasant. It will become the kind of march to blandness that convinces us that we’ve been cheated rather than blessed.

I’m going to write my essay again …but I’m going to make it cheesy and spicy.

Acclivity

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acclivity: (n) an upward slope.

I suppose you could have a long debate over the issue of whether life is downhill, even-footed, or a climb.

Candidly, there have been times when I have felt noble to suffer the slings and arrows of misfortune, believing myself to be on a holy quest–uphill–for the common good. Yet too often, in the end I discovered that I put myself through some unnecessary puncture wounds for very little payoff.

Likewise, I have run away from the acclivity and have searched out a path that tilted downwards, only to discover that it was an access road to an unforseen hell.

Yet at the same time, walking straight ahead on a plain path often brings bland results, with no challenges, improvements or subtleties to discuss over dinner with your equally bored family.

So what IS the case? Are we supposed to be looking for the acclivities, approaching them as slopes to climb “because they’re there?” Or are we smarter if we lower our blood pressure points and seek an easy path?

Here’s what I have found: Find important things to do and never question if they’re difficult OR easy. Just confirm that they’re important. If they happen to be easy, allow yourself some style points and creativity in embellishing your results, to get extra credit. If they end up being hard, then take a few extra minutes of planning to simplify the process down to its rudimentary necessities and try to make it fun.

But if you find yourself walking straight ahead, repeating the same things over and over again, be very frightened. That is the broad way of destruction, which is always crowded with mediocrity, boredom and bickering.

Human beings don’t die from a challenge. Most human beings don’t croak because they have rested up. Human beings are much more likely to deteriorate because difficulty is avoided at all costs.

So am I looking for an acclivity? No. But if it’s important, I’m not afraid of it and certainly have talents which enable me to make it enjoyable.

It’s not so much the style of the path as it is making sure that the path has great style.

Aboard

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Aboard:  1. prep. on or into (a ship, aircraft, train or other vehicle) 2. adv. onto a horse: with Miguel aboard, the race was won. 3. into an organization or team: coming aboard as IBM‘s new CFO.

Considering I was twelve years old, the prospect of going on a boat trip with my best friend’s dad on a lake was nearly mind-numbing–exhilarating to the point of having every one of my pores pop forth with liquid joy. It sounded so cool.

My friend’s dad owned a cabin cruiser–one of those ships that have a place where you can go down below, open up a small refrigerator to get a snack, lounge on the bed or watch television. It was crazy.

The night before our sea voyage, I couldn’t sleep. Arriving at the dock, I danced around with my friend like a little girl discovering that a new Barbie was about to be released into the toy market.

We climbed onto the boat, pushed off from shore, and motored our way out into the middle of the lake, where engines were turned off, fishing lines dropped into the water–and we waited. And we waited.

Did I mention we waited?

What I soon discovered was that the thrill of a boat trip is in planning it, getting out  to the water and eventually coming back in. Because once you’re aboard a ship, there is nothing around you except water.

I discovered you can only go downstairs so many times before your friend’s father will complain about you emptying the fridge. I also soon realized that trying to take a nap on the bed while the boat was rocking back and forth was the best way to become seasick. We were only on our little excursion for about two hours but it seemed like one hundred and fifty-three.

I learned something that day. You must be careful about what you get aboard, because there may not be an immediate escape. And if it’s a cabin cruiser in the middle of Hoover Lake, you might find that being aboard really makes you a bored.