Costume

Costume: (n) a style of dress, including accessories and hairdos, especially that peculiar to a nation, region, group, or historical period.

If all the world is a play and all of us humans are actors on the stage, who’s in charge of the costuming?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Are we all wearing costumes continually?

I came to write my blogs today. I’m wearing a pair of underwear, slippers and a golf shirt. It is what I refer to as my “blog costume.” Once adorned in this particular frock and frill, I am fully aware that I should not take myself terribly seriously. I should relax, be as realistic as possible, and certainly never lie.

Yet I’m not comfortable wearing this to the grocery store or even family functions. For them I require another costume.

Since I’m getting older, which began shortly after my birth, I want to dress for the grocery store with a certain contemporary appearance that lets people know that I’m not stuck in a decade which is tucked away in the history books. Of course, there’s a danger of dressing too young for myself, and looking like a wannabe millennial instead of an aging “Woodstocker.”

Then there are family gatherings. I realize they want me to play the function of “dad and grandpa.” What costume does one don for such an occasion? It has to be friendly, generous and have a certain amount of gravitas, so if one of the children is in need of counsel, the duds will match the words.

Are we all wearing costumes?

Can you really be a rock band if all you wear is blue jeans and t-shirts? Isn’t there a danger that it looks like you’re playing one set at the club and heading off to do a shift at the warehouse?

I guess we need to look the part.

To do that—to play our part—even to remain in character at times—we require costumes.

We know this is true, because when someone is out of costume, the reporters show up to do a story. When President Obama wore something other than a dark suit, for the next two days it was the conversation on the 24-hour news cycle.

“What was he doing wearing a light-colored suit? Are we a banana republic? What’s next? Flip-flops?”

I guess Bill Shakespeare was right—the world is a stage. Unfortunately, we spend much more time worrying about our make-up and our costumes than we do learning our lines.


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Comport

Comport: (v) to conduct oneself; behave.

In an attempt to avoid being considered assholes, we have gradually deteriorated the quality of character in almost every profession in our country.

By no means do I want to come across as a prig, and certainly not self-righteous, but it does occur to me that without some guidelines on howfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C we should comport ourselves–conduct our affairs–in the everyday world, we will start settling for less…until we have none.

For instance:

If you’re going to be a teacher, you should comport yourself by being willing to listen to things that sometimes may seem ridiculous.

If you’re a father, you should choose strength by respecting the equality you have with the women around you.

If you’re a preacher, you should comport yourself by being a student of humility.

If you’re a banker, you should reluctantly refuse loans and joyfully and gratefully accept deposits.

If you’re a politician, you should comport yourself by rejecting the erroneous concept that dishonesty is necessary to propel good ideas.

If you’re a writer, you should be an encourager.

If you’re a musician, you should uplift.

If you’re a laborer, you should believe that your work will endure.

If you are a believer in God, you should make God believable through the life you live.

If you’re an atheist, make sure you bring something to the table of caring humanism.

It is not necessary for us to judge one another.

But it is certainly required that we set standards on how we comport ourselves when we’re given the humbling opportunity of serving others.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Comely

Comely: (adj) typically of a woman) pleasant to look at; attractive.

If you just sit down (or stand, if you like) and think about it, the human race is pretty damn shallow. That’s why you have to be careful, if you’re studying, not to dive in. It’s just not deep enough and you’ll probably end up breaking your neck.

There are basically three things overall that make a woman comely: face, breasts and smell.

Also there are three things that allegedly make a man equally as comely: hair, muscles and confidence.

Now, you can see immediately that after the initial admiration, appreciation and enjoyment of a pretty face, a nice rack of boobs and an adequate sniff, it still comes down to dinner and conversation.

If that is awkward, “comely” quickly becomes “go-ly.”

And if the woman is sitting with a man who has thick hair, muscles and tons of stories to confirm why he is confident of his superiority, after indulging in the
pleasures of his particular prowess for a brief season, she basically ends up with a cab driver who can’t carry his share of dialogue.

For you see, there is what makes us come, and then there is what makes us stay.

And although I must admit, it is delightful to be comely, what you want is to develop the character, the humor and the gentleness to make someone want to remain in your presence for more than just overnight.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Character

Character: (n) mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual

There are four stop-offs in life.

Each one is available; each one is real. The type of character we derive is determined by whether we allow ourselves to linger or progress.

First, we’re born.

It comes with a whole package of possibilities, and also genetic guidelines. There are those who go no further. They take what they receive
from their DNA, listen to all training provided, and go through a brief period of rebellion, only to end up greatly resembling those who procreated them.

There’s a second opportunity. It’s called being born again.

Although the term has been limited to a Christian religious experience, it is available to all souls who are weary of the confinement of their childhood.

Some people stop at being born again. They end up with their homespun philosophy and a few extra ideas they add onto their train of thought.

But character does not form from being born or born again. Character begins to take shape when we’re born through pain.

Pain is that status that surrounds us whenever pleasure decides to go away. It reminds us of our weaknesses, it taunts us with our failures, and it takes all of our chromosomal lacking and brings it to the forefront. It is here that we decide to be something instead of letting the circumstances determine what we’re going to be.

Noble souls reach this point and begin to forge a personal definition all their own. They become valuable to the human tribe because they are contributors instead of detractors.

But the final stage is to be born universal.

This is when all name tags, cultures, prejudices and limitations of gender are set aside in favor of the simplicity of enjoying the next person we meet.

This station in life is not only color-blind, but also turns a blind eye to any vision that insists on hurting others or painting a dark picture of the life we’ve been given.

Four stations.

Where will we stop off?

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

Below

Below: (prep) at a lower level

Dictionary B

It takes guts.

It probably shouldn’t.

Honesty, by its very definition, should be a statement of the reality that we presently know.

But since reality tends to scare us, we develop stories. We conjure excuses. And we fail to realize that our character–and ultimately, our popularity–is determined by how well we recognize when our efforts are below standard, and admit the shortage instead of denying responsibility.

How wonderful it would be if I could convince myself, and maybe therefore others around me, that the only way to be truly diminished is to insist that I never fall below the best.

  • We all do.
  • We all will.

And we all have an opportunity to be considered valuable by admitting this deficiency instead of covering it up.

It baffles me that I don’t know this. Why I pause before telling the truth of the matter is a great source of mystery to my soul.

Because when I am candid, the world rushes to my side to lift up my spirits and encourage me to do better.

When I lie, I make humanity around me turn into my enemies so they can honor the traditions of candor.

My efforts are often below the quality I am capable of achieving.

I have never improved my status … by lying about it. 

Donate Button

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

 

Amnio

dictionary with letter A

Amnio: (n) informal term for amniocentesis.

Needled.

Are you familiar with that word? It refers to being chided, bugged and criticized.

I guess we want to do it to babies while they’re still in Mama’s sack. “Let’s stick our needle in there and see what you are. Discover what you’re made of. ”

Are you weak? Sickly? Disabled? Fat? Gay?

We’re not even going to give you a chance to have the benefit of overcoming or changing your circumstance. We’re gonna “needle” you.

It is the abiding misconception that if we can just make better physical specimens we will have a better world. Do away with different; eliminate weaker. And then we all will be strong.

God damn us if we are just so stupid that we don’t understand what makes human beings strong!

We become exemplary as a species when we learn to accept the different, undergird the weak and even admit there are those who are stronger, who can teach us to expand.

In a world of sameness, we invite even more nasty pickiness, because the differences will be smaller–to match our character.

Let’s stop “needling” each other.

Let’s start by leaving babies alone.

 

Donate Button

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

Aesthetics

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAesthetics: (plural n.) a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art.

I will never forget attending my first film festival.

I had written two movies which had been honored for consideration. I arrived at the event thinking I would be sitting around, munching on bagels and cream cheese, drinking coffee and discussing the soul of my flicks. I thought we would get into plot lines, character evolution and maybe even get a little emotional over the impact of the material.

Imagine my dismay when the dialogue among the filmmakers turned to the aesthetics of camera angles, lighting and focus. Yes, the focus of the entire three days of celebrating film was what we saw through the lens instead of what we felt in our hearts.

It left me cold.

It left me hungry for an appreciation of emotion over the general worship of decor.

I am often uncomfortable living in a society which turns the Academy Awards into a fashion show instead of a study of theatrical application. We seem to be more concerned about how our lives are furnished than with furnishing the next generation with a vivid description of our lives.

I know aesthetics can be meaningful–maybe even deep. But the greatest moments I’ve ever shared were heart-felt, usually in a simple environment with people I loved, who were undistracted and unwilling to do anything but drink in the moment.

May we always be cognizant of the beauty, the quality and the expansion of our efforts, and may we never forget that what truly lasts … is what comes from the heart.

Accident

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accident: (n) an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.

All four of my naturally born sons and three young men who I adopted and took into my home … were accidents.

At least, that’s the word I normally use, although when I look at the definition I find that I have been misstating the facts. These seven children were certainly not unfortunate. They also gave me no damage or injury, ide from a few nights of raised blood pressure over unkempt rooms and notorious behavior.

But they WERE accidents. I didn’t plan them. Some people take great pride in the fact that they plotted families, insisting that wanting to have a child is much more noble than acquiring one in the heat of passion, without awareness.

But I think the word “accident” is very important–because how we respond to accidents, or events beyond our expectation and control–really determines the depth of our character and in many cases, the extent of our success.

I learned a long time ago that life is not impressed with my plans nor intimidated by my energetic motivations. Life has its own agenda and pushes that forward to find out if anybody can survive the mold on their daily bread. Some people just do better with mold. Flemming, for instance, found a way to turn it into penicillin. I, myself, will not throw away a slice of bread because it has mold on it. I just cut away the green. (Yuk, right?)

But using that mind set, I have learned to take the good with the bad and salvage from it something worthy of proceeding.

I would not remind my children that they were accidents–but I’ve never lied to them, either. My first son was conceived on the grass next to a horse pasture after my senior prom. That has a certain amount of charm, doesn’t it? The exact locations of the other accidental impregnations are not clear to me–I’m sure none are quite as dramatic as the “horsing around” in the grass.

But none of them were planned. And the three young men who came into my house in later years, absorbed and adopted as sons, were just as bewildered by their presence in my home as I was in taking on my second batch of human cookie dough. Accidents are a good thing … IF we change the definition from “occasions of injury” to “our new reality.” The longer we resist change, the more devastating it seems. The sooner we realize that what has happened to us is not an accident, but a by-product of a whole collage of circumstances, the better off we become.

  • No one was ever cured of cancer by denying it.
  • No one ever became a great artist by refusing to paint.
  • And no one ever moves forward until they stop looking at what has happened to them as a turn for the worse.

I had seven accidents in my life which are all now fine, grown young men. That’s pretty good.

Maybe that’s what the insurance companies mean by “accident forgiveness.”