dictionary with letter A

Armada: (n) a fleet of warships.

Certainly when I see the word “armada,” my mind immediately pops off to think of the Spanish one.

The Spanish Armada was dubbed the greatest naval force that ever existed on Planet Earth. Because of that it was deemed invincible.

Matter of fact, the English, the French and even the pirates would avoid interfacing with this formidable fleet out of fear of being decimated by the sheer, brute force of its power.

But the Spanish Armada learned a valuable lesson, which is transferable into our times. Once you develop a reputation, you have two choices:

1. You can continue to work on getting better, using only your own standards as the criteria for excellence rather than comparing yourself to the surrounding, meager competition; or

2. You can continue to promote and advertise your status as supreme, hoping there will be no challenges to your claims,continuing to be all-powerful via publicity.

Can you guess which one is popular in the human race?

So while the Spanish Armada promoted itself, striking fear in the hearts of lesser navigators, the English, under the command of Sir Francis Drake, decided to improve its own boats–and eventually defeated them.

It’s not just that pride goes before a fall–it’s more that pride is the stumbling block that trips us up in our inadequacy, producing the tumble.


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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —¬† J.R. Practix


Adirondack Chair

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adirondack chair: (n.) an outdoor wooden armchair constructed of wide slats. The seat typically slants downward toward the sloping back.

If anyone asks you, Panama City Beach is very sunny in the first two weeks of March, but icy cold if you decide to sit anywhere near the ocean. (Just a little travel tip from the well-seasoned vagabond.)

The reason I can share this is that I rented a cottage near the Gulf one year, to spend a few days writing on my first novel. It sounded so romantic and exciting, with a bit of wild abandon thrown in for good measure.

This was before computers and word processors were portable and could be taken out into a thatched-hut cabana for creative purposes, so I was using an old manual Royal typewriter. The little machine was quite quirky, having a nasty disposition which caused it to occasionally refuse to register the “e” key. I didn’t care. I was a writer–and I was near the beach, transforming my thoughts into storyline.

Three things immediately came to the forefront:

1. Manual typewriters were invented in hell, to the devil’s glee–especially when you’re sitting out in a cabana with the cold wind blowing through, icing your fingertips. Now, I might agree that a certain amount of pain is necessary to stoke the furnace of composition, but I draw the line at frostbite.

2. The second problem was that my cottage was much warmer than my workplace, so my mind kept floating back to the grocery provisions stocked in my refrigerator, the television set sitting idly by, awaiting my return, and the room heater that took away the chill and made me toasty. So to keep from going back to being the non-creative lump considering the virtues of daytime TV, I would frequently step out of my cabana into the sunshine and perch myself to thaw out in one of those Adirondack chairs which peppered the surrounding sand. Thus, my third problem.

3. The first time I sat in the chair I was fine, because I didn’t allow myself to get comfortable. But the second time, the sun was so warm and glowing that I leaned back into the chair, sliding into that slope described in the definition, and I dozed off. When I awoke, I tried to rise to my feet to go back to my writing, and I realized that my posterior region seemed to be a perfect fit into the slat at the bottom of the back of the chair. I had wedged myself there–seemingly, permanently.

I and the chair were one.

At first I laughed, thinking that if I just wiggled or squirmed, I would be able to free myself. But no. In a matter of moments, terror gripped my soul. Try as I may, I was unable to unplug myself from the chair. Should I scream for help, only to be emotionally damaged for the rest of my life if someone actually had to uncork me? Should I stay there, hoping that after a few days, weight loss would trim my backside?

For some reason, it occurred to me to do the twist. Remember that dance? You wiggle your hips back and forth like working a hula hoop. It took about fifteen minutes, but finally my left cheek freed itself, and then, by brute force, I was able to rise to my feet.

I have never sat in one of those chairs again.

I’m sure for normal people, who do not have a rear end that parks quite so well, they are absolutely comfortable and adorable.

For me, they are ... the quicksand of furniture.