Commercialize

Commercialize: (v) to manage or exploit in a way designed to make a profit.

The Erickson Bread Company is coming out with a new product.

It doesn’t seem unique–it’s a tasty wheat bread fortified with vitamins that has the softness and flavor of white bread.

Everyone at the company and in the board room is ecstatic. They feel they have a good loaf which could quickly be considered great if it were advertised correctly.

A debate rages.

In order to present their creation to the public, they feel they need to find the best way to commercialize it–and by commercialize they mean the most favorable and common vehicle to convey typical life being joyously invaded by the new Erickson bread.

It is concluded that it would be ridiculous to show a family sitting around the dinner table enjoying one another’s company, commenting on the bread.

Old-fashioned.

Out of step with the times.

They also rejected the notion of a man wearing a hard hat, seemingly oblivious to the lunch he’s about to eat until he bites into the sandwich and smiles at the tasty bread.

Too much emphasis on a male figure–and who really wears hard hats anymore?

So it is decided that the best way to commercialize the bread is to have an energetic young mother standing at the kitchen counter making sandwiches for her young son and little daughter, who are completely preoccupied staring at computer screen and phone individually. The mother asks them to taste the bread. Without looking up, they nibble a corner–and suddenly their eyes look away from the screens and move to their mother, still with dead stares, and say, “Umm. That’s not bad.”

The commercial ends with the announcer saying: “Erickson’s new wheat bread–claimed by children who are obsessed by the Internet as ‘Umm. Not bad.'”

Commercialize: a decision to give in to the situation of our time, representing ideas in a fashion which may only be applicable for a few months.

Unfortunately, not everything we do in life can be commercialized.

Amen.

 

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Cheat

Cheat: (v) to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage

Some people compare the human brain to a computer.

There may be truth to that–though the brain is capable of much more reasoning and processing.

But one of the similarities that would hold true is that the brain does maintain a browser. It has a listing of most recent files, frequently viewed files, and even files we think we’ve deleted.

Every once in a while, they’ll just pop up and remind us that the mind doesn’t always find ways to be kind.

It’s a little piece of nastiness.

So it runs a tally.

How many murders have we watched in television and movies over the past six months?

How many shows on the beauty of Antarctica and gorgeous flower displays from India?

How many scenes of pornography and the abuse of the female body have crossed our eyes in comparision to the downloads we have perused of mothers loving their children and women conquering prejudice, to be successful in business?

Because our browser is filled with corruption, we cheat.

  • We cheat on our taxes.
  • We cheat on our lovers.
  • We cheat ourselves out of blessing because cursing is so easily available.
  • We cheat our children out of intimacy in favor of a quick trip to the amusement park.
  • We cheat our talent out of the privilege of being used in a creative way while constantly bitching about the limitations of our job.

We cheat.

And then, fearing that we will be revealed as cheaters, we develop a honeycomb of intertwined lies, which now buzz from our lips with far too much glib precision.

Where will our cheating take us?

Well, we certainly don’t think anybody is going to be better than us, so it turns us into suspicious, angry and vindictive neighbors.

We cheat.

Mostly, we cheat ourselves.

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Bamboozle

Bamboozle: (v) to fool or cheat someone.Dictionary B

Just as there should not be a question mark at the end of the word “love,” there cannot be any elastic inserted into “truth.”

It is hard for me to understand that.

Being a member of the human race living in the 21st Century, I am accustomed to measuring out what other folks tell me, attempting to determine how much of it is the truth, and how much is a fairy tale.

Yet I am still at the mercy of my own promo talk. What is promo talk? It consists of the little lies we insert into stories, or the padding we add to our resume to bamboozle our listeners into thinking that we are more than we actually are.

It is so commonplace that it is budgeted into the bottom line of everyone’s blubbery personal assessment.

We just assume that people are going to give us misinformation.

Now, misinformation used to be called exaggeration, and many centuries ago, exaggeration was deemed to be lying.

But with the introduction of politicians, entertainers, preachers and people trying to lose weight, we have become a nation of bamboozlers.

So each week I try to take on one little piece of promo talk which has become a part of my ongoing story, and delete it, like it’s a useless icon on my computer, that should be carried over to my trash can.

What does this do for me?

It eliminates a piece of crap. I am no longer responsible for the stinky.

Yes, it is so much easier to tell the truth. Then you don’t have to explain.

And it is so much better to stand on what you really are instead of trying to bamboozle your way into a position … where you more than likely will fall on your face. 

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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.

Actuary

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

 

Actuary: (n.) a person who compiles and analyzes statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and  premiums.

It looked like it was gonna be fun.

It was put out by one of those famous insurance companies as a kind of test balloon to help people understand their situation with life insurance, and also their own personal well-being and health. It was a quiz with twenty-five questions which you were supposed to answer truthfully, and after you submitted your answers, they would send you, within a very short time via email, the proposed date of your death, based on the information you provided.

It was probably quite ridiculous, but still seemed like a good way to kill an hour while I was waiting for the next piece of excitement to leap into my life. So I started answering the questions, being painfully honest, and within about fifteen minutes, I completed the quiz.

I followed the instructions carefully, submitted my conclusions, and about thirty minutes later, I received an automated-response email from the website, with my day and year of death.

Now, when I finished the test, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But what came back to me was a real surprise. Dare I say—a shocker?Because according to the results of my quiz and the actuary tables of this particular insurance company, I had been dead already for two years, three months and four days.

Thinking there had been some sort of error made in the transfer of material, I persisted by filling out the quiz one more time—with a little less candor. But this time I was nervous and hovered around my computer, waiting for the ding to ring my ongoing faith in some sort of longevity.

True to form, half an hour later, there was my response.

I had acquired five extra months through my lying.

This was several years ago. So I don’t put much faith in actuary tables or predictions on human lifespan. I guess it works this way: you keep taking deep breaths and moving forward until you’re not able to breathe anymore. At that point you will get the actual day and time of your death.

So in closing, I would not recommend that you take one of these tests unless you want to insert the data of an Olympic athlete.

For me, I will just wait and see if my eyes open in the morning, smile if they do—and realize that I cheated the computer out of one more day.

Acme

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acme: (n.) the point at which something or someone is best, perfect or most successful: e.g., physics is the acme of scientific knowledge.

NOW it’s even funnier.

As I reflect back on the Road Runner and Coyote cartoon, understanding the definition of “acme,” the little dramas portrayed onscreen between these two adversaries gain a new hilarity.

If you remember, the coyote was continually ordering some product to destroy the road runner and it  always arrived from the Acme Company. NOW I realize that Acme means the best. Top of the game. Highest quality.

Of course, the irony here is that these contraptions which the coyote used inevitably failed, backfired, and usually ended up squashing HIM into the ground.

Nevertheless, they were often quite intricate and cleverly devised, which is a lifelong warning to all of us–that putting ingenious products into the hands of imbeciles not only makes us question whether the invention was quite as clever as we thought, but also opens the door to these innovations striking back to bite us in the ass.

So it gave me pause for thought. Maybe my computer is REALLY perfect–just being operated by a hairless monkey.