Cork

Cork: (n) material used to make stoppers for bottles

Long before there were screw-on caps, people had to figure out a way to keep their wine from spilling. After all, it’s unrealistic to think that the wine bottle will remain upright since we, ourselves, are incapable of the  maneuver.

I don’t know who suggested the cork. But little did they know that centuries later, they would institute a phraseology which encourages funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
control: “Put a cork in it.”

As soon as this genius—whoever he or she was—carved a piece of cork to fit into the top of a bottle and was able to pull it back out, to open the vessel once again, he or she made it clear that if you don’t want to spill the contents, you’ve got to make sure the exit is dammed.

That covers so many subjects I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

For instance, every morning I wake up stuck with how I feel. Sometimes washing up, getting some breakfast or just moving around might improve my energy, but often the contents of my “bottle” is either ready for pouring—or needs corking.

I have to know the difference.

Bluntly, there are times when I am not suitable for human consumption. No matter how many aspirin I take, push-ups I do or cups of coffee I may ingest, what is inside me needs to be corked.

Then there are days when my internal splashings can pour forth like crystal blue water. Those are the occasions when I can pull the cork, and make myself available for the party of humankind.

“Put a cork in it.”

And when you do—be grateful to the person who decided to cease accepting spillage and found a good way to keep it bottled up.


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Compelling

Compelling: (adj) evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.

Before I begin my writing session every morning I like to have a granola bar and a cup of coffee.

I use that as an opening sentence, not because it was valuable to your well-being, but rather, I wanted some clever way to start this essay.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

What I’m about to share is not particularly enlightening nor clever. Turning on the television set for background distraction, I was confronted–no, presented–with four stories. These were the leads for the news on this particular morning’s broadcast:

There was a girl, slightly inebriated, dancing on a boat

A man handed a woman a piece of candy at a funeral

A preacher carelessly brushed his hand up against a famous singer’s breast

And a little boy comically took a mouthful of bitter chocolate powder, and then spit it out

I am not trying to be critical. After all, I watched the stories, and remembered enough to reiterate them to you.

But there was nothing compelling here.

Any attempt on my part to be compelled by these passing fancies would be bizarre.

Do I need compelling challenges in my life?

Considering the fact that I am a human being who thinks returning a shopping cart is an act of charity, I should be looking for possibilities to be motivated to escape my lower monkey, and spend at least a minute or two with my higher angel.

 

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Coffee

Coffee: (n) a drink made from the roasted and ground beanlike seeds of a tropical shrub, served hot or iced.

An ambiguous lover.

That’s what coffee has been to me.

It always reminds me of that one girl I knew, who was a good friend and occasionally made me think that I wanted to make out with her–and I think she probably felt the same way about me–but we never, ever felt it at the same moment. So awkward attempts to be romantic always led us back to long conversations about how we didn’t want to ruin it because our friendship was so special.

That’s the way I feel about coffee.

I have really tried to get into coffee. It seems like something that should work for me. I hang around with people who enjoy it immensely. Part of me would love to love coffee–just to fit in.

But the numerous times I have tried to have relations with the coffee cup have ended up very unsatisfying.

Maybe it’s because I snuck up on it.

A couple of times it seems like it snuck up on me.

Perhaps it revolves around the fact that our love affair is decaffeinated.

I tried it iced, but it just left me cold.

I tried it with cream, without sugar; with both; and even with something they told me to put into it which I could not identify–and did not help.

Officially…I am not a coffee drinker.

I sometimes hold a warm cup of the fluid in my hands in the midst of strangers and adults so as to take my place in the tribe.

But always, by the time they’re ready to have a second cup or top off their first, I have barely taken three uncomfortable sips.

 

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Cavalier

Cavalier: (adj) showing a lack of proper concern; offhand.

If we can laugh at it, we can mock it.

If we can mock it, we can make it seem insignificant.

If we can make it seem insignificant, we can deny its importance.

If we can deny its importance, we can stop doing it.

A nasty little process that’s being practiced every day in the entertainment industry, politics and even religion.

The cavalier approach we take to essential issues is damnable. You cannot take life-giving activities and place them on pedestals and put them in the museum of
“practices of the past” without setting up the destruction of our species.

Every morning I get up and ask myself, “What is important?”

It’s not important that my eggs are over-easy. That’s just nice.

It’s not important that my coffee was made correctly. That would be amazing.

It’s not important that my car did not start. That sets up a possibility for a lasting repair.

It is important that I have enough self-awareness to be aware of the other “selves” I will encounter.

To take the cavalier attitude that certain situations, certain occupations and certain people don’t really matter because they are either impossible to handle or not worth the time is the definition of hell on Earth.

After all, hell is the absence of God.

And God is the presence of “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

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Brunch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brunch: (n) a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch.

I hate brunch.

I always have.

There are foods I enjoy at breakfast, and certainly foods I prefer for lunch–and I never really wanted them to meet each other.Dictionary B

“Soup and sandwich” just doesn’t seem to be compatible with scrambled eggs and bacon.

They were brought together by lazy people who didn’t want to get up for breakfast but felt stupid for eating lunch at three o’clock in the afternoon.

So they made up a meal where they could gorge themselves in one sitting, with foods that were never meant to co-habitate, and therefore justify snoozing.

It also ended up being something that many younger folks did on Sunday instead of going to church, the park or flying a kite with the kids. Add a little champagne, fresh produce and you have a fantasy date for anyone under the age of thirty-five.

I know I sound grumpy.

I’ve always been a little bit dour when confronted with people who insist that they are “not morning folk”–when every job in America begins before nine o’clock.

So, dammit–get used to it.

I will even tolerate folks who say they need coffee before work or insist they’re not quite alive until 10:17 A.M.

But somewhere along the line, we have to stop adjusting all of life to our predilection for sleepiness.

Otherwise, there is a frightening possibility that omelettes will fellowship with chicken salad.

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Biscuit

Biscuit: (n) a small, typically round cake of bread leavened with yeast

There is a certain comfort in self-deception.Dictionary B

Even though lying to oneself seems to be an egregious error, at certain moments in the journey, it can be as comforting as a swallow of chipped ice on a hot day.

For years and years, I insisted that I did not like biscuits. Matter of fact, I was even guilty of planting the notion that bread was distasteful to my “buds.”

But anyone who followed me around or who was acquainted with my eating habits, would find that I was either the biggest, fattest liar who ever lived, or the weakest, dumbest avoider of temptation.

Especially if someone brought biscuits to the table accompanied by sausage gravy, I would “break down” and have one–which soon was edited, in my mind, to be “one plateful.”

Biscuits are good when they’re hot, very similar to coffee…and women.

When they sit too long, they congeal or get hardened (once again, paralleling the afore-mentioned).

  • I know they are high in calories.
  • I know they’re filled with carbs.

But when they arrive at the table hot, it is very difficult to resist them (once again, quite apropos to coffee and women).

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Beetle

Beetle: (n) an insect of an order distinguished by forewingsDictionary B

It’s a language which I have affectionately, but sarcastically, dubbed “Marjorian.”

It was named in honor of a woman I once knew named Marjory.

Marjory had developed a way of speaking in which she would address any problem that ended up falling in her front yard with very gentle language, while summarizing the actions of others she did not like with more sinister terms.

Let me give you an example.

When Marjory’s daughter became pregnant in high school, she insisted they had planned on having the young girl marry her beau, but the pavilion they wanted to use was not available, so normally the pregnancy would have fallen after the marriage, but preceded it only because of a scheduling conflict.

Yet when the young girl next door found herself with an unwanted pregnancy at age seventeen, Marjory whispered to the neighbors that “the lass was a tramp” and that such declining morals were ruining our country.

She spoke Marjorian–a language generous to oneself while condemning to others.

I bring this up because one day I was sitting in Marjory’s home and a bug crawled across the floor. Instinctively I leaped to my feet and crushed it with my foot. I knew the insect to be a roach. When I identified the bug to Marjory, she immediately disagreed and said, “No, no. That’s a beetle.”

Apparently it was completely respectable to have a beetle crawl across your floor but not a roach.

Being in a playful mood, I picked up the remains of the bug and carried it over to Marjory, causing her to launch into a hissy fit.

I put it toward her face, showing her that this bug had no wings, and was therefore not a beetle.

Without missing a beat, Marjory countered by saying that “it was a Japanese beetle. They don’t have wings.”

I immediately realized that Marjory had no idea of the flight habits of the Japanese beetle. But it was not worth arguing about, so I tossed the carcass into the garbage can, finished my conversation and coffee and was on my way.

I have met many people who have their own dialect of “Marjorian” language, but it always amazes me that after all the claims are made, all the exaggerations espoused and all the false belief preached, that somehow or another… the truth still has a way of winning the day.

 

 

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Agitation

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgitation: (n) 1. a state of anxiety or nervous excitement 2. the action of briskly stirring or disturbing something, esp. a liquid

Proximity.

It’s a great word. It means how close I am to something.

Occasionally I become very upset at myself for agitating my own spirit, allowing my being to be disrupted, disoriented, and lending itself to disorganization.

It doesn’t take me long to trace the problem. I put myself in too close proximity to something that should be further away. I even have friends and family who are best suited for spending time at a distance from me and I from them, so as to maintain the mutual love and respect that we both would hate to lose.

Agitation is a proximity problem.

It is difficult for us, as human beings, to sit ourselves down in the middle of our quandary, surrounded by the tension, and still remain rational and capable of solving dilemmas. It is necessary to create distance from anxiety in order to free ourselves from worry.

That’s the truth.

I know some people would disagree, saying it’s idealistic to think we can escape the surrounding “crush of crash” in order to make adequate judgments. But I have never been able to be agitated and be anything but a jerk.

  • I need distance.
  • I need air.
  • I need the ability to turn my back on the oppression, stoop down and “fiddle in the dirt with my finger,” giving my spirit the chance to calm down, and therefore, my mind the opportunity to clear.

If you reach the point of agitation, you’ve already missed your exit off the freeway of frustration.

Pull over. Get off the highway. Don’t try to text, drink your coffee, stare down at your computer and drive your car. It only feeds the agitation.

I do believe that everything in life is a proximity decision. And when we run across something that stymies us, it doesn’t do any good to try to stare it down.

Walk out of the room, buy yourself a minute, regain your soul, escape agitation … and let the better parts of you speak the wisdom that’s available.

Affectionate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Affectionate: (adj.) readily feeling or showing fondness or tenderness: e.g. a happy and affectionate family.

You gotta BE there.

It’s true, you know. There are some things in life that cannot be viewed, read, perused, discussed, debated or downloaded.

Affection is one of them.

In a climate where “lukewarm” has begun to feel “heated,” we lack such closeness and intimacy that it has caused us to become defensive with one another because we privately feel cheated of the tenderness we need to satisfy our souls, yet at the same time we push away personal overtures from those who try to get too close too quickly.

A lady warned me the other day, saying, “Watch out! I’m a hugger.”

I do remember attending a rock concert many years ago where complete strangers–thousands of them–came up to each other, hugging in groups of five and ten without explanation or apology. Yet to promote such an idea in our day and age would be cynically mocked as a “hippie philosophy,” a throw-back to olden times or impractical due to the spread of disease.

This culminated for me when I saw churches offering hand sanitizer to folks after they had the “passing of the peace.” I wish I had a profanity to express how upsetting that is to me. And please, spare me the explanation on why it is needed. I am fed up with the notion of what is needful and anxious for the pursuit of what is helpful.

  • I need affection.
  • I need to be affectionate.

Now, it doesn’t have to always be demonstrative, but it does have to be spontaneous and real. It can be reaching across a table and cutting up the banana of a friend who is making you coffee, or coring an apple for another friend so she doesn’t have to deal with stems and seeds.

When you lose affection in a society, you promote the idea of isolation. Once humans are isolated, there’s only one thing that takes hold–survival.

Is it possible that in the next decade we will begin to treat each other–all the time–like we do when we’re in a traffic jam?

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.