Dammed

Dammed: (adj) restricted

 The directions were simple, clear and accurate.

A friend of mine invited me to join him for lunch at the cafeteria of the prison where he was employed as a chaplain.

This particular penal institution had a back gate where the employees entered, with an electric fence which was turned on during the day and also at night, after the employees had already arrived or departed.

I was coming at a time when the fence was normally turned on, so my friend told me he would make sure it was disengaged for my entrance at 11:15 A. M.

The explanation seemed simple enough, the plan sound.

But when I parked my car and headed toward the gate, it occurred to me that if my buddy happened to forget to turn off the fence—maybe because he got involved in a conversation or was just absent-minded—I might be walking up to a barrier that could hurt me.

Yes, the obstacle before me could leave me dammed. By that I mean, blocking my way to where I wanted to go.

Still, I had an instinct to just trust Reverend Ted. Yet that optimism quickly dissipated when all the rest of the inclinations from my body screamed out in disapproval.

What if honest Reverend Ted, on this day, was somehow or another transformed into Dopey Ted?

So for nearly five minutes I just stood and stared at the fence, trying to discern if it was “lit up.”

There was no obvious answer.

Thinking it might be wise to touch it with something other than my hand, I reached down in a clump of grass nearby, pulled up a stick and nervously threw it toward the fence. It hit and bounced off without any buzzes, whistles or sparks.

Temporarily reassured, I stepped forward to enter, when memories of my chemistry class reminded me that wood, as you find in a tree limb, is not a good conductor of electricity.

Matter of fact, “wood” would be classified as wouldn’t.

So I looked around for something else to use to bolster my confidence that my friend had actually turned off the fence.

I came up with nothing—except my car keys.

Now once again, my chemistry training kicked in and reminded me that car keys are metal and would certainly let me know if there was an electrical current running through the obstacle that dammed me.

Unfortunately, unless I planned on standing back five feet and throwing them at the fence, I would be in danger if I was holding them when I did my test.

Of course, throwing them was ridiculous.

But not so ridiculous that I didn’t end up trying it.

So standing about seven feet away, I threw my metal keys and metal key ring at the fence. Unfortunately, they were small enough that they passed through the hole of the chain links and fell on the other side.

Just then, my friend walked hurriedly toward the scene, staring down at my keys, now at his feet.

“What in the hell are you doing?” he asked.

I paused.

Should I tell him the truth?

Should I share my apprehension, if not complete doubt, over his memory?

But before I even knew what I was saying, and certainly never consulting my better senses, I responded, “Sorry, man. I tripped and my keys fell out of my hand into the air.”

He frowned and stared at me like I was a crazy man he had once had as a friend.

He picked up my keys, walked over to the gate and opened it. I quickly scooted forward and scurried through the opening.

“You’re so weird,” he said.

I had no reason to disagree with him.

It seemed a very appropriate, metered assessment of what he had just experienced.

Chuck

Chuck: (informal) another name for Charles

I guess his real name was Charles, but by the time he matriculated in my direction, he was “Chuck.”

He liked music and I played music, and I offered some opportunities to gig–which in the world of the common street musician, translates as
gold.

He had a heart for people, a love for God and a thirst for music.

I liked Chuck.

He was just about the age of my two oldest sons, so they befriended him, started a band together and played a lot of different music–covers and even some of my original tunes.

He was always around, but it was pleasant. There are people who are sometimes around, unpleasantly. Not Chuck. He was helpful, he was kind, but he was burdened by internal demons which seemed unlikely for him to possess, but certainly did possess him.

But he talked about it. He was worried about it. He wanted to be different than he was.

This is the only redeemable part of humanity–when we realize who we are and instead of making excuses for it, we make a plan to improve it.

After a while Chuck floated off, got married and had a beautiful little daughter.

I do see him from time to time. It is amazing how we are able to restore the exact same creative chemistry from when we plodded together for a season.

But I guess friendship never dies–it just sits around, patiently waiting for the day it will once again be uncorked and celebrated.

 

 

Donate Button

Chemistry

Chemistry: (n) the complex emotional or psychological interaction between two people.

Who would ever have expected that hydrogen and oxygen could blend together to make water?

Of course, hydrogen has to bring twice as much of itself to the mixture to make it work. It is H2O.

Yet the two separated do not resemble the combined.

It’s a great principle of relationship. As long as two parties insist on maintaining their integrity without any merger of purposes, then
nothing really ever happens. In this day and age, we’ve become obsessed with individual achievement, therefore limiting the possibility of mutual effort.

And sometimes, just as with water, somebody has to give twice as much to make it work. But the end result is something valuable–something commonly put into practice.

What is the chemistry of spirituality? Is it God reaching for man, humans reaching for God, or humans reaching for one another and therefore finding God?

What is the chemistry of politics? Is it the power of the vote choosing excellent candidates who enact great ideas, or might it be the great ideas determining what candidates receive the votes? Or has it become the candidates telling everyone how to vote while setting aside great ideas?

What is the chemistry of education? Is it teaching facts, hoping that those who hear them will turn them into action? Or is it displaying action and stepping back to study the facts?

Just as in chemistry, if the unit of oxygen decides to try to be equal to the two units of hydrogen, then you have H2O2–which is hydrogen peroxide, which is not recommended for drinking.

Donate Button

Chandler

Chandler: (n) a dealer in supplies and equipment for ships and boats.

Looking back, I realize my oldest brother was a chandler. He was only in his twenties when he decided to open a marina. He sold boats, fixed boats, tied boats, and also sold boating equipment.

I remember as a young man, being very impressed, surprised and intimidated by his success. (My greatest success at that time was getting two A’s in a row in
chemistry–neither of which I deserved.)

My oldest brother was a chandler. I do not know if he loved boats or not. I don’t recall him talking incessantly about watercraft. He did like to fish.

But what prompted him to take the big leap of faith in his youthful years, to establish such a business for the folks who wanted to sail the waters of Hoover Lake, near Columbus, Ohio? (We called it a lake–actually, it was a reservoir.)

My brother ran his business for several years, and then a bigshot came to town with more boats, more equipment, more floor space, more advertising, and more of whatever more will buy. My brother could not keep up. He lost his business.

He was a determined man of discipline and taut feelings. If he was truly devastated, he never let anyone know–at least, not me.

But he never quite found anything to replace his marina. Perhaps it was a chandler he was intended to be–and by intended, I mean desired. Once that was gone, he found himself selecting from Column B.

Yes, perhaps that’s where we all lose our zest for life–wearily thumbing through Column B to try to find something that comes anywhere close to what we once had in Column A.

Yet it feels good, now that my brother has passed on, to write this small article and tout him as the chandler he was.

I think he would like that.

 

 

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

 

Aphrodisiac

dictionary with letter A

Aphrodisiac : (n.) a food, drink or drug that arouses sexual desire.

Her name was Carol Ann. She was a cheerleader.

I was sixteen years old and always got a stirring in my Southern Hemisphere every time she walked by. Embarrassing as it may sound, it occasionally led to an eruption.

I was a teenager. I required no aphrodisiac. (Matter of fact, every year when the Sears catalogue arrived in our mailbox, I stole it, took it into my room and stared at the pictures of the models in their bras until pleasure had its way.)

That’s why, when I read our word today, I had to smile. An aphrodisiac is an additive which is necessary for those who have already lost the urge to participate in the game of love but still want to believe they are playing at mid-season strength.

It’s astounding to me the amount of sexual energy that overwhelms the human body between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five, when, for some societal determination, we are supposed to be more interested in taking chemistry instead of making chemistry.

By the time you are allowed to participate in the carnal cravings, the interest has already begun to wane a bit–thus the introduction of aphrodisiacs.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t know what stimulates true sexual passion. It really isn’t pornography, nor is it celibacy, just as being drowned doesn’t teach you to enjoy swimming and living in the desert doesn’t provide the correct environment for learning the back stroke.

There are three great aphrodisiacs in the human experience once you pass the age of thinking that every pencil looks like a penis and every marshmallow, a boob.

1. Great, intelligent conversation. There is something that makes us all horny–when we believe that we’re being heard and we become very proud of how well we listen.

2. Food that is prepared by other hands which you were able to pay for while summoning a waitress. Isn’t that a gas?

3. Admiration. Is there anything sexier than having a deep, abiding and lustful appreciation of the person you are about to ravage?

So by the time you need an aphrodisiac instead of just a cheerleader walking by, you must realize that magic potions rarely produce magic. That takes a delicious blending of the concoction of generosity and humor.

 

 

Donate Button

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

Antepartum

dictionary with letter A

Antepartum (adj.): occurring before childbirth.

Pregnancy.

No male of the species should probably ever postulate on this issue, even if stimulated by curiosity to offer insights or opinions on the process by which a female conceives, carries and eventually “unshells” a human being. It is beyond the scope of the average man.

Yet it is a source of fascination.

Having been around numerous pregnant women in my life, I first of all realize that many of them do not like to be referred to as “pregnant.” So the first thing a male should acquire is a Thesaurus, to discover different terms for a woman impregnated. (Once again, another dubious word.)

Truthfully, during that nine-month period of gestation, words and wording become very important. To some degree, true candor must be abandoned in favor of cautionary terminology.

For instance, one should never have an opinion on whether a woman with child looks good. It is a foregone conclusion that they are “blooming, glowing, transcendant” and nearly “immortal.”

So at my own peril, I will be honest about my take on this situation of what is referred to as “antepartum.”

1. It’s too bad that the baby can’t be passed from parent to parent like a basketball.

When one got tired the other could take over for a while. I suppose this might create its own set of discussions, but at least one would not be suffering while the other desperately scrambles to alleviate it.

2. Telling a person that is normally attractive and small that they are still extremely desirable, when they realize by looking in the mirror that they are suddenly humongous, is not very comforting.

I don’t know what the right decision would be in this situation, but it is a fruitless task to try to tell a balloon that it is not blown up.

3. It is ironic that the romance, chemistry and lust that produced the condition suddenly runs away in terror at the conclusion.

“Chicken!” That’s what I yell at the retreating emotions as they scurry away in horror, leaving the pair to wonder if any attraction remains.

4. And finally, because this is going to be a journey, pack a bag and make sure you include lots of money, a first-aid kit, games, trinkets and a list of the reasons why you love her.

it’s not that women are silly. I imagine if men were carrying a child, they would be even more prone to bursts of temporary insanity.

It’s just that the idea of growing something in your body that weighs nearly ten pounds is normally treated with radiation and surgery. In other words, a cancer.

So I think trying to find the balance between honesty and tenderness is the best profile.

But of course, in doing so, wear a helmet and a cup. 

Donate Button

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