dictionary with letter A

Ap·point (v): to assign a job or role to someone.

Everyone has stood emotionally naked in a gymnasium and endured the indignity, nervous energy and frantic, sweaty sensation of choosing up sides. It is such a ridiculous practice, pursued by adults so that they are not forced to appoint people to teams, perhaps in doing so, creating greater balance.

And it does generate a natural inclination for those who are selected early on in the process as being preferable, to cheat and lie in order to maintain the status of their prowess.

We just love to vote in this country.

  • We can’t sit and enjoy music. We have to pit singers against each other.
  • We can’t even allow a chef to make a meal on television without having a food fight.
  • And we certainly manufacture awards for our children, to extol their macaroni and glue picture.

Although we insist that “all men are created equal,” we privately want to be supreme.

This is why I sometimes believe it would be better to appoint a President. Maybe we would consider things like qualifications, intelligence, resolve and willingness to work with others in the process instead of just how well he fills out a suit or can devise a cute tweet.

I often wonder if I would be further along if I campaigned instead of just created.

What if I promoted myself more than projecting my ideas?

What if I insisted on being given place instead of taking the place I’ve been given, and become insistent on great notions?

I don’t trust the vote. It is debilitated by human preference, the presence of ego and the chicanery of tricksters.

The very best jobs I have seen accomplished happened when people with a mature outlook on life admitted their weaknesses and appointed the right person to the right job.

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dictionary with letter A

Amputate: (v): to cut off a limb, typically by surgical operation.

I have eight toes.

I started out with ten–a full complement. But when I got an infection in the big toe on my left foot and it spread to the next toe and threatened to become equally as evangelistic to all the surrounding little piggies, it became necessary for the doctor to come in and snatch two of ’em.

I was not favorable to this.

Even though the infection was threatening to go into gangrene, I had grown fond of having ten toes and considered it to be beneath me, as an intelligent individual, to trim down to eight.

It was explained to me that I didn’t really need ten toes–a similar conversation that young mothers have with their homely daughters when trying to point out the positive aspects of being plain.

I knew I didn’t need ten toes. (Well, I didn’t know, but I assumed that my feet would still work with eight.)

It’s just that I didn’t want to be weird.

I didn’t want to be that guy who was physically debilitated or weakened, making him seem a bit pitiful instead of powerful.

It’s not that a lot of people see your toes. Matter of fact, there are only certain occasions when such a revealing is even plausible.

But I saw–and my opinion matters to me.

But when it came down to a choice between dying or losing my two toes, I chose to bid farewell and bon voyage to the fellas.

It reminds me of an idea put forth in the Good Book: “If your right hand offends you, cut it off.” For it’s better to make it to heaven without a hand than to show up someplace else with a diseased appendage.


Of course, there are spiritual applications across the board–but I think one of the signs of maturity is knowing when to give up on things that are not working and cut them away before they taint and destroy everything else.

It’s never easy. After all, we grow accustomed to the face of our circumstance.

But as I sit here today–with eight toes–writing to you, I realize that it does not make a lot of difference.

Because even with eight … you can still keep your toes in the water.


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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgoraphobia: (n) extreme or irrational fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public places.

I think I have claustrophobia.

I didn’t used to–even though the brief time that I played football, I didn’t particularly care for pileups, where people would be on top of me.

But agoraphobia‘s different. Within the spectrum of being frightened of experiencing a lack of room and oxygen is also a fear of people. Matter of fact, we start it pretty young, don’t we?

  • We tell our children not to talk to strangers.
  • Within the first few years of their lives, we cloister them in an atmosphere with no more than five to seven people, making a trip to the grocery store seem like a perilous journey through the jungle.
  • We coddle our offspring and project our apprehension into them upon entering school–so much so that many of them do not recover from their agonizing trepidation of interacting with people their own age. They can become misfits.

I guess what concerns me is that a little bit of agoraphobia is inhabiting everybody in this country. Statistics tell me that about 34% of the people who walk down the street holding a phone are pretending they have a phone call, so as to not have to interact with others.

Not only is it annoying to text when other people are around, but it may leave you totally debilitated and vacant of the desire to be close.

I admit, it can be frightening to make eye contact with other humans, but the absence of that gesture of openness neither alleviates danger nor promotes congeniality.

There are probably people who suffer from this condition, but I do think we are changing the definition of the word “fellowship” in our society. It is now a keystroke on Facebook, with twenty-four characters expressing how handsome we think some child is or how pretty a new little dress may be. In fact, my oldest son told me that Facebook is the new church of America. He said it with certainty and a bit of resignation.

If it’s a church, I’m curious about where God is, where love is, where hope is and where faith can grow. Because to merely admire someone’s new bowling ball is not to strike up a new friendship.

I know I’ve veered off the subject a bit, and perhaps the condition of “agoraphobia” is a worthy topic for a writer and thinker much brighter than myself.

But I do believe we can avoid becoming frightened of each other by choice. To do so, we will have to come away from our computer screens, our smart phones and actually look into each other’s eyes again … and risk what we see.