Barracuda: (n) a large, predatory tropical marine fish with a slender body and large jaws and teeth.Dictionary B

Some things are creepy:

  • Rough toilet paper
  • Bratty babies
  • And big fish with teeth

As intimidated as I may be by a shark, a barracuda is really bone-chilling.

I guess it’s because I like the idea of fish who gum their worms instead of fish who bite my leg.

Matter of fact, I almost refuse to think about it.

If it weren’t for the Wilson sisters and the rock band, Heart, I would never have allowed my brain to think about “barracuda.” And the word only became tolerable as Ann Wilson cooed it out as a seductive come-on in their hit song.

I don’t know why it sounds sexy to me–that a woman would be a barracuda–but I guess there’s just enough perversion within my being that having a lady chomp on me seems erotic.

I know.

I’m crazy.

But I don’t think I’m alone, because they sold … a lot of records. 

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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alley: (n) 1. a narrow passageway between or behind buildings. 2. a long, narrow area in which games such as bowling are played.

Alleys give me the heebie-jeebies.

Even during the daytime, when somebody tells me to go back in the alley to unload or pick something up, I find myself suddenly surrounded by trash cans and stray cats–neither of which I like, by the way.

Maybe it’s the feeling of confinement. I am certainly a little claustrophobic. (You can tell when a writer’s claustrophobic because he hates short sentences and opts for run-ons.)

Seriously, alleys are freaky.

  • Is there any television mystery that does not start with cops discovering a dead body in an alley somewhere?
  • Was anything ever invented in an alley?
  • Did we discover the cure for a disease in an alley?

Matter of fact, it’s difficult to even use the word “alley” without adding the adjective, “back.”

I guess the only interesting thing about an alley is that since you can’t go too far frontwards and backwards, you’re always looking up.

I thought when I went bowling the first time, I could overcome my disdain for alleys by enjoying this fascinating game. But the reason they call it a bowling alley is that there is a narrow passage with danger at the end.

Case in point: my first bowling score was 52, which, as you may know, is very poor. And then I discovered that if I threw the ball down with wild abandon, with a crazy hook, somehow or another it would swing around and hit the head pin. This seemed to work for a couple of tosses, until I began to get a universal split, with two pins on each side, impossible to make.

So I peaked at 165, which is still what I say is my average when people ask me. I feel confident in misleading them because I have no intention of actually proving my prowess in front of them. For it’s been years since I’ve gone bowling.

The whole experience is similar to a back alley. You have the nasty process of sticking your feet in rented shoes that others have worn many times before you, having your inadequacy lit up above your head, as your failure in scoring pins is illuminated for all to see, and knowing that at the end of the experience of being in this alley, you will be humiliated and stripped of all your pride.

So I guess it is fair to say that I don’t like alleys.

(Matter of fact, I’m going to close now . I feel a little cramped and creepy.)



by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acellular: (adj.) not consisting of, divided into or containing cells.

Sometimes it’s just difficult to think about how we’re made.

I mean, I look at my hand and I see a completed, fleshy mechanism. I watch how it works as I wiggle my fingers or grasp onto a bottle of Coke. The gadget just makes sense.

And then you think a little further–down to the individual parts. The fingers, the bones, the connective tissue, the arteries, the skin… and honestly, it gets a little spooky.

Truthfully, even though I know I’m a human being, I don’t like to think of myself as flesh and blood. In a way it grosses me out–that right underneath that magnificent hand that God has given me is all this intricate circuitry and organization which could falter at the least little breakdown.

And that’s just when I think about the fingers and bones. If you allow your brain to start considering that there are cells inside those fingers and bones that are constantly dividing, growing and changing, as other cells die off and flake into oblivion–don’t you think that’s freakazoid?? Especially when they show you the picture of a cell.

Honestly, I rarely make the trip to the cell idea. And on top of that, I am completely incapable of considering molecules and atoms.

But what is really weird is to imagine something that would be constructed that is acellular (even though I would insist that sometimes my phone service seems to abundantly qualify …)

As weird as it is to consider cells constructing something, what is the glue for the clump of life that would be acellular?

I probably would not have made a very good doctor. Looking under the microscope would have given me the creeps. So consider my dilemma today–when I, who is squeamish about cells, is asked to consider acellular.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abalone: n. an edible mollusk of warm seas that has a shallow ear-shaped shell lined with mother-of-pearl and pierced with respiratory holes. Also called EAR SHELL.

He was unnaturally attached to his daughter.

I’m talking about creepy stuff. So much so that he decided to kill her husband so he could have her all to himself. Since the father was a chef and the husband was also one, the weapon of choice was to poison some seafood with chicken salmonella and give it to this hapless young man as a gift to serve in his restaurant.

When the young chef served this particular delicacy, it made everybody sick, creating a secondary motive for someone to kill him other than the father who wanted to be wacky with the daughter. Do you follow?

I bring this up because the seafood selected to poison was abalone.

Now, it is a long drive (or swim, in this case) for me to find a connection to this mollusk, but I also learned, from listening to Goren investigate on Criminal Intent, that abalone is illegal to procure because it’s rare, and therefore extraordinarily forbidden–and for those who actually do acquire it–expensive.

I realize this doesn’t shed a lot of light on the life and times of this most uncommon mollusk, but it does explain why sometimes the only reference we have to certain words and ideas is through our own experience–or lack thereof.

So when I saw “abalone,” it made me think of Goren on Law and Order and the creepy dad who wanted to get too close to his daughter and killed her husband, emulsifying his body and bones in a meat grinder in the kitchen of his restaurant.

I’m sorry. It was the best I could do.