City: (n) a large town.

The fear of the unknown is the beginning of bigotry. (I just came up with that. What do you think??)

This was clearly expressed to me growing up as a boy. (I started out as a lad and decided to stick with it.)

I lived in a Village of 1,500 people. This is the crowd size for a medium-famous rock band.

It’s small enough that you can eyeball everybody, size them up and make ridiculously quick decisions on who they are and who they aren’t. It’s not so much that everybody knows everybody–it’s the fact that nobody really knows anybody, but because we’re so close together, we draw conclusions anyway.

You had to drive ten miles to get to the Town. We hated them. They were our arch-rivals–because they had about 25,000 people. They beat our high school teams in every sport, and we were convinced they were all brats, strutting around their houses smirking at each other and sneering at our little Village.

Sometimes the boys from our Village would go down to the Dairy Queen and pick fights with the Town guys. We always lost. But at least we tried, right?

Now–another twelve miles from the Town was the City. Even though the Village was only twenty miles away, the City was the “Dark Side of the Moon.”

There were only certain reasons to go there.

Movies. There was only one theater in the Town, and it usually just showed Disney flicks. If you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to the City, which meant you had to listen to a fifteen-minute lecture from your mom and dad about the dangers lurking in the metropolis, which had several hundred thousand folks.

They also had restaurants instead of “Mom and Pop food.” When I went to the City, I always thought I was going to be robbed, raped or killed–maybe all three.

As a youngster, it caused me to believe that the smaller things are, the more pure they stay–that it was impossible to live in the Town and do good works, and certainly beyond imagination to dwell in the City and find favor with God.

The fear of big things caused the young people of our Village to pick up on the vices of the City without ever receiving the benefits of culture, convenience and camaraderie.

It took me years to overcome the little box that lived in my head, which was supposed to contain everything I needed–yes, a long time to go into the City, bringing what I had learned in the Town, while maintaining the heart and soul of my Village.


Donate Button




Chrysalis: (n) a preparatory or transitional state.

The main reason I don’t want to come out of my cocoon is that I don’t think I’ll end up being a pretty butterfly.

Wouldn’t that be horrible–to spend your life cramped into a tiny space, gouging your ego and leaving you feeling inadequate, only to burst
forth from your chrysalis and be either ugly or a gooey, incomplete mess?

I’ve wondered throughout my life if it’s more important to know what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. You see, there are many things I believe I’m prepared for, and then, even the hint of opportunity can surprise me, leaving me clumsy.

That’s why sometimes I giggle when our culture encourages us in the buffoonery of expressing verbal confidence, when we actually have no idea if we can pull something off or not.

Is it wrong to want a couple more days, weeks or months in the chrysalis before sticking a wing out and find out if we can fly?

Or is it just part of the process–that we get dumped out of our cocoon, and whatever we are is what we are?

Maybe we should have asked for a guarantee before entering our chrysalis: “This metamorphosis guarantees you one beautiful butterfly body…”

But in the world of nature, there are very few guarantees–just possibilities–usually afforded at the most inopportune time.


Donate Button


Chronic: (adj) (of a problem) long-lasting and difficult to eradicate.

There are several maturity banners that are displayed on our human journey. These are truths which are not always comfortable, but if denied, can put us in a chronic state of misery.

For instance:

  1. Nobody is going to do what you want them to do.

People imitate, they steal, they deny that they got what they have from you–but no one wants to admit that they are not autonomous and require assistance..

  1. The fewer categories you put people in, the better off you are.

When you start delineating by culture, color, sexual orientation and even gender, you get yourself in a horrible, tangled mess of misconceptions.

  1. And a third one is the realization that sometimes the solution is more painful than the problem.

Although we extol the value of solving dilemmas, we can often end up in more red tape, difficulty, struggle and misunderstanding than if we just learn to adjust our temperament and approach to the problem.

For instance, it is rather doubtful that poverty will go away. The more we complain about it and compare our levels of indifference, the less people get fed.

Go someplace where they offer two sandwiches for a decent price. Buy two. Eat one yourself and give one to a hungry person on the street.

You didn’t solve the problem–but you also didn’t trap yourself in a chronic search for an unattainable solution.


Donate Button


Chasm: (n) a deep fissure in the earth, rock, or another surface

The three-step process is as follows:

  1. It’s a problem.
  2. It seems unfixable.
  3. Therefore it’s normal.

This is the present way our society handles difficulties. In doing this, we’ve opened the door of our home to many a stray racoon, thinking the creature is not that
different from our domesticated pets. When the racoon ends up being wild, untamed and unwilling to accept human domination of the household, we have to make a decision.

Do we shoo it out the door? Do we kill it? Or do we find a way to live in the home with a racoon, pretending we’re equals?

I know it sounds silly. Thus the point.

Nearly fifty years ago, our country was concerned about a generation gap–a chasm that existed between parents and teenagers, causing conflict and a lack of communication.

Move ahead fifty years and the same chasm still exists. We have just decided it’s normal. In deciding it’s normal, the racoon of rebellion wanders the hallways, throwing its attitude and therefore dominating the climate of our American Dream.

We defend the racoon by saying it has a right to free speech.

Or to own a gun.

Or to be anything it wants to be.

Or to interfere in the lives of others as long as it doesn’t totally destroy.

We’re afraid of chasms, but instead of admitting there’s a gap in understanding, we pretend it’s a cultural difference, an ethnic preference, a doctrinal dispute or a political stumping point.

Somewhere along the line we will have to agree on the three things that will allow the human race to survive:

  • Creativity
  • Tolerance
  • A challenge

We will have to stop being afraid of the chasm, and instead, be prepared to make some giant leaps for mankind.



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





Cabaret: (n) a nightclub or restaurant where entertainment is performed.

Even though life is not a cabaret, it also is not a church service.

It’s not a funeral.

It’s not a long wait at the DMV.

It’s not sitting in a doctor’s office.

It is not watching a second television show because you have nothing else to do.

It is not reading a book and thinking it’s just as good as traveling.

It is not a night out with the boys or one out with the girls.

It is not a political party.

It is not intolerance.

It is not going to your job and being miserable.

It is not going to your job and offering a lackluster performance.

It is not favoring your culture over another.

It is not thinking that you’re better than other people.

It is not owning anything (but a winning smile).

It is not selfishness.

It is not well-advertised bigotry.

It is not…

Well, I could go on. Let me change my original thought:

Life is a cabaret.

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





Bye: (n) the transfer of a competitor directly to the next round of a competition in the absence of an assigned opponent

I’m going to take a bye on some things:

  • False praise
  • Political arrogance
  • Religious inflexibility
  • Self-pity
  • Pseudo-intellectualism
  • Pop atheism
  • Self-satisfaction
  • Culture pursuit
  • Racial pride
  • Nationalism
  • Stinginess
  • Gender bashing
  • Nosiness
  • Conservative
  • Liberal
  • Fantasy
  • Destiny
  • Self-gratification
  • Critique
  • Meditation
  • Maturity
  • Selfishness
  • Selfies
  • Self-righteousness
  • Self-almost-anything

I’m taking a bye.



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





Bunting: (n) patriotic and festive decorations made from cloth or paper, usually in the form of draperies,

I was only eighteen years old, and I drove to Columbus, Ohio, to see President Nixon. He was passing through town.

I wasn’t a particularly political teen, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity–to see a President of the United States. It also gave me a chance to get off school so I decided to go.

The atmosphere was festive. They had a band from some high school, a female singer to do the national anthem, and hundreds and hundreds of feet of bunting–red, white and blue as far as the eye could see, draped over everything in sight.

From a distance it was very impressive. But being the curious type, I inched my way forward.

As I got closer, I realized that since it was a hot day, the band members had unlatched the top buttons of their uniforms and unfastened their hats, losing some of the magnificence of the visual.

So I moved a little closer.

In no time at all, I wiggled my way within twenty-five feet of the girl in the prom dress and the tiara, who was about to sing the national anthem. She was dripping with sweat–I assume from a combination of heat and nerves. She didn’t look nearly as lovely.

Somehow or another, perhaps because of my honest-looking face, they let me get all the way up to the stage, standing two feet away from the colorful bunting. I inspected it carefully and saw that it was held on by staples, scotch tape and was wrinkled in many places due to being put up in haste. It was not very attractive.

The backstage area, where the President was to come through to give his speech, smelled like sweat with a hint of alcohol. And because there were two or three dogs wagging their tails nearby, there was a whiff of the woof.

I thought to myself, the closer I got to the experience, the less impressive it was. I registered that deep in my soul.

For perhaps the whole secret to our journey on Earth is realizing that the closer people get to us, the more real and genuine it should be.

The bunting was put up in minutes to last for a few hours, to be ripped down and thrown away.

It is frighteningly symbolistic of our political system, and the way we sometimes regard the important values of our culture.


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