Deal With

Deal with: (v) to take action regarding a person or situation

If you will permit me, I shall refer to this as the “Brock principle.”

When I was in high school, we had a fellow in our class named Brock.

Brock was annoying.

No one wanted him around.

Yet at the same time, there wasn’t one of us that wished to come off as “the bully”—to chase him from our presence. So often, we kept Brock around so long that we ended up being crude, if not rude in our comments, requiring his exit.

You couldn’t win with Brock:

  • If you ignored him, you felt like a big, fat, stupid bigot.
  • If you accepted him, you felt like a big, fat, stupid idiot.
  • If you tried to tolerate him, you just felt big, fat and stupid.

I feel much the same way about arrogance.

Unlike Brock, arrogance will try to change its name to get into your life, your party or your fellowship.

Sometimes it arrives under the name “confidence.”

Other times, “knowledgeable.”

And on occasion, even “considerate to a fault.”

But it cannot hide.

Arrogance is the human emotion coming from other people that we have absolutely no capacity to deal with, because our own arrogance becomes jealous, throws a tantrum and runs out of the room.

Dark Continent

Dark continent: (n) reference to Africa

Although it’s never really organized, there is a definite attempt to rally for the victim—or make numerous excuses for the bully.

Both positions suffer from a weakness.

The bully and all his advocates appear defensive.

And the victim, trying to come across sympathetic, is often anemic—maybe even a little suspect.

Maintaining the insanity of racism requires a verbose bully and a wounded victim.

And may I say, as long as this profile is bolstered, the roles continue—bully and victim.

For perhaps two hundred years, Africa was referred to as the “Dark Continent.”

It was a conversational way of allowing the ignorance of our society, permitting them a tenuous explanation for egregious actions.

After all, the word “Dark” is simply a more clinical phrasing of “black.”

And adding “Continent” clarified that it was not part of Western expansion by the European explorers.

Merely consider how the slave traders were comforted, easing their conscience concerning stealing human beings by gently reminding one and all that these pieces of property had been poached from a Dark Continent.

Hell, they might even have done them a favor—escaping the treachery of their own surroundings.

We must remember that racism never really goes away.

It just changes its lingo and softens its rationalization.

 

Czar

Czar: (n) the former emperor of Russia

I keep anticipating an outbreak of acne.

I haven’t heard Russia discussed this much since I was thirteen years of age, with oily skin.

I know that everything that comes around goes around, to reappear not that much different than it was on opening night.

For the life of me, I do not understand why Russia is regaining such interest, except for the fact that they willed themselves back into prominence.

When you live in a world where a threat has more thrust than a gift, you have to be careful not to be drawn away by false advertising–Chicken Little reprising his role as the proclaimer of falling skies.

At one time, Russia had a czar.

More or less, their rendition of a monarch. Tired of monarchy, they overthrew the czar and instituted communism.

Communism lasted from 1918 until just around 1989—seventy-one years.

During those seven decades, wars were prevalent, poverty was the normal status of the Russian citizen and those who objected to government programs were toted away to Siberia, never to be heard from again.

It was a continual Reign of Terror—from Lenin to Stalin to Khrushchev—until Gorbachev grew weary of leading an impoverished nation—only rich in nuclear weapons.

So from 1989 to approximately 2014, the Russians did their best impersonation of democracy, adding their personal touches of felony murder, graft, money laundering and drug smuggling.

Now, sporting a whole new tyrannical leader named Putin, they are beginning to believe they should be back in the game again. (Back, back, back in the USSR…)

For some reason, the United States has chosen to take them seriously instead of mocking their ever-lengthening bread lines.

Sometimes the best cure is to refuse medication to the dying patient.

There is no Russia without the United States.

If the United States were suddenly eliminated, Russia would not be able to springboard off our country’s prominence and spit in the eye of our more powerful nation.

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to handle a bully is not to stand toe-to-toe, giving him credence and making him believe that he is worthy of attention.

Sometimes the best way to handle a bully is to run away with all your friends—leaving him all alone to complain about his isolation.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cure

Cure: (n) a method or course of treatment, as for disease

“I’m not sick.”

This is what I used to tell my mother on the days I wanted to go to school, go out and play or pursue some activity which was being halted because of “under the weather.”

Then there were the days I said, “I am sick.” I was trying to avoid a test, a bully or was too lazy to get out of my bed.

It carries over.

If everybody who was sick sought treatment, more people would get well. And if all the people who are truly well would cease to be paranoid hypochondriacs, we would probably spend a whole lot less money on medical treatment in America.

How do you know you need a cure?

When can you confirm there’s some sort of difficulty, impediment or disease which is keeping you from your best?

The problem with the medical field is the same situation presented by the political arena and also carries through into religious circles.

Cures are developed which are advertised and aren’t necessarily suited to the afflictions.

Politicians try to convince everybody that the economy, terrorism or health care are our three greatest issues. Are they? Will they bring a cure to our ills? Or is the dilemma actually that we still want to kick the shit out of each other?

In medicine, they get so excited about certain advancements and cures that they try to use them as a panacea for all conditions, while the conditions that really beset us—obesity, drug addiction and lack of physical activity—continue to hang around, making us sicker and sicker every day.

And in religion, a savior is offered who doesn’t seem to bring any more insight, wisdom or opportunity our way once we’ve been baptized and born again in our further confusion.

What is the cure?

Three steps:

  1. Ease the symptoms. Make people more comfortable.
  1. Find out where it hurts.
  2. Treat as lightly as possible. Don’t assume it’s a flesh-eating bacteria.

That seems to be the best cure. It’s one that people will tolerate.

Even though we’re all dying and will ultimately end in the grave—as dust and ash—we don’t need to do it every day.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cinder

Cinder: (n) a small piece of partly burned coal or wood that has stopped giving off flames

I really did not want to complain, even though I was quite capable of doing so.

After all, I was just a kid. If you tell a kid he’s complaining, he’ll explain that you never listen to him, and he’s “sharing his feelings” as you snuff them.

Here’s my story:

One day at church camp one of the more energetic counselors decided we should take a hike through the woods. He had sought out a trail and measured it at 1.2
miles. His contention was that “anybody should be able to do that.”

I apparently had not joined the “anybody family”–not even related. I had chubby legs that moved slower, reluctant to leave space between my sole and the ground.

On top of that, we could not have been more than twenty yards into the trip when my right foot started to hurt. I apparently was grimacing in some pain, because the zealous counselor came back and told me I needed to step up the pace–otherwise there was a danger the other kids would start making fun of me, and even though he would hate for me to be bullied, he did not know what would happen once the lights went out in the cabins.

Not knowing what that meant but sufficiently alarmed, I soldiered on. Every step hurt.

When we finally arrived at camp after the 1.2 miles, I had broken out in a sweat, was ready to pee my pants and fell to the ground like a sack of rotten potatoes.

I reached down, took off my sneaker (which is what we called them back then) and a tiny pebble-like substance fell out of my shoe. Apparently the night before, when we were sitting around the campfire and I removed my shoes to warm my feet by the flames, I had acquired a cinder in my footwear.

I had walked 1.2 miles on that cinder, leaving a sore spot which upon further inspection, was bleeding.

I did not try to make anyone feel bad, but the counselor did that all on his own.

All I remember is that I was required to put my foot up on a pillow during Vespers and the counselor, who was dwelling in a wilderness of guilt, toasted all my marshmallows and brought them to me. (He got a little grumpy when I complained they were not cooked all the way through, but got over it.)

Even today I have to remind myself that people who have a crooked walk, or have difficulty being what I would consider “righteous,” may be overcoming cinders of burnt-out experiences that I can’t even imagine.

 

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Bully

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bully: (n) a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Shakespeare was convinced that all the world’s a stage, and each one of us are actors performing a part.

It’s an interesting theory–but actually, all the world is an improvisational troupe with seven members–but only four usually show up. So rather than having a role, you end up making up what’s going to happen next, and also filling in for those who fail to appear.

That’s more accurate.

So the truth of the matter is, sometimes we may accidentally, or even purposely, find ourselves in the position of being a bully.

Was the United States a bully when it went into Vietnam? By the definition afforded us by Webster, we were certainly trying to take over a weaker people. Yes, control a debilitated nation.

Is it bullying when we ask people to motivate folks to do their best?

Does a football coach bully a player who’s not playing up to his ability by temporarily humiliating him in front of the team?

If you’re going to make a practice of finding the faults of others and pointing them out to produce ridicule, then I think you’re officially a bully.

But if you occasionally find yourself needing to motivate a friend by challenging him or her by pointing out laziness and lack of will, then you’re probably not a bully. You may be doing the work of the angels.

Over half of the things I’ve learned about life and how to treat other people were acquired in school as a child by interacting on the playground.

  • I suppose it could be said I was bullied to catch a ball.
  • I was bullied into playing two-square, even though I was told it was a girl’s game.
  • I was bullied into running faster so the hit I made during baseball could be a double instead of just a single.

It doesn’t mean there weren’t bullies on the playground, who did nothing but find the weaker brothers and sisters and humiliate them for no reason at all.

But if I had the ability to do better and was challenged to do it, that’s not bullying. That’s friendship.

If it’s out of my control–like having a fat belly or stubby legs–then that’s downright mean.

 

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Black and White

Black and white: (adj) clearly defined opposing principles or issues.

Dictionary B

You can always stimulate a debate by posing the question of whether there actually are things that are black and white–in other words, ideas which are either solely good or massively evil.

The general consensus of our present society is that such defined positions do not really exist, but rather, mingle into shades of gray.

But I contend there is one–yes, one–white, pure notion: Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

Sometimes we think we can compromise that particular pearl of great price.

  • Matter of fact, a politician will say that if an opponent hits him, he must hit back.
  • A school counselor suggests that the only way to defeat a bully is to figuratively hit him or her in the nose.

We have decided it is unnatural to turn the other cheek for fear of sporting double bruises.

So we’ve created a dreary gray. The Golden Rule has no chance to shine.

So are there black and white issues?

I think there is only one white issue: no one is better than anyone else.

And when you deny that, you darken the skies of mankind’s future.

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Bedwetting

Bedwetting: (n) involuntary urination during sleep.Dictionary B

Let me see.

We have Traffic Court. It is used very effectively for handling traffic cases.

Then there’s Divorce Court–for those who want to split the sheets in a legal way.

Family Court, which is more or less an oxymoron, since usually those who attend are having great difficulty being a family.

We have the Court of Appeals, which is obviously desperate for attention.

Yet over the years, we have gradually eroded the power and importance of the “Kid Court.”

This is the jurisdiction and judgments levied by children upon each other, creating the natural peer pressure which promotes general civility.

Let’s make something clear: refusing to pee in your bed is not a natural conclusion.

We are born urinating everywhere. We don’t care–take the diaper off too quickly and the baby will do it right in your face.

So somewhere along the line, we develop an aversion to the idea of peeing ourselves.

This has to come through some sort of instruction or protocol which forces us to fall in line and urinate in porcelain instead of linen.

I contend that every time we try to find a reason for bedwetting–other than the fact that the kid has not yet figured out to get up from a sleepy condition and void–we become overwrought, over-analytical and refuse to let “Kid Court” take care of the matter.

I occasionally peed the bed until the time I went to kindergarten. I thought everybody did.

So one day at recess, when someone complimented my pants, I explained that they were my second choice, since I had pissed on the others.

There was a silence that fell over the crowd that day near the merry-go-round. All my fellow students stared at me in disbelief. They had already made the journey away from bedwetting.

They did not bully me.

They did not ridicule me.

But it was made clear that until I learned how to use my “pee-pee’er” at the right time, I could not be “one of the gang.”

It put a crease in my brain so deep that it remains to this day.

I will tell you that nothing my mother or father could have said would have been more effective than the reaction of my chums, who found my conduct to be Neanderthal.

Taking away all peer pressure, which allows for kids to work out many foibles and weird inclinations, is a huge mistake. The best thing we can do is stand back and monitor it–and pull them apart just short of bloody noses.

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