Darker

Darker: (adj) having less light

Let us take a moment to consider, or even analyze, the law of attraction. It works on a simple premise: whatever attracts is pursued to gain the interest which brings, through the majority, that which rules.

For instance, I realize that the writers of the Declaration of Independence, the framers of the Constitution, the authors of the Bible, and those who penned music or dreamed about the ideals of a novel…

Well, you know who I’m talking about. People who were trying to be entertaining and inspiring, while lacing it with a bit of the eternal.

These pioneers are often shocked that their message is trimmed down to the darker portions.

I would assume if you went through the Constitution, that most of the precepts were meant to be positive, granting justice and opportunity for all.

But what fun is that?

Likewise, how enduring would the Bible be if it only talked about “loving your neighbor as yourself” instead of isolating off the reasons for damnation?

One year I bought a plastic bowling set for my son on his eighth birthday. I envisioned the children at his party setting up the pins and rolling the plastic ball, keeping score and competing with one another.

Yet when I walked in a half hour later, I found them all, each one with pin in hand, hitting one another. Occasionally, one of them would toss the black ball at a friend, just to vary the pain.

It isn’t that they didn’t understand.

All of them had seen people bowl.

It’s just that the pins made excellent weapons—and since they were plastic, the children could pull up short of lethal without being severely punished by their parents.

It takes a lot of initiative and determination to bring out the better parts of any idea. For it seems the inclination of the human race is to take something that was meant for good and find the darker twist.

I’ll tell you of a certainty—if we had used the deep fryer for French fries, fish, chicken and onion rings, the delicious coating would have been permissible and probably wouldn’t kill us.

But we found the darker side and decided that if fish was good fried, why not chocolate cake?

 

Apostrophe

dictionary with letter A

Apostrophe (n.): a punctuation mark (‘) used to indicate either possession or the omission of letters or numbers.

It is a very good question. Are shortcuts in life an expression of laziness, or a desire to simplify before we end up being conquered?

Because honestly, I have taken some shortcuts which certainly ended up at dead ends, and have often found myself taking the long way home, only to be mocked by those who use a better GPS.

You see, the apostrophe already had a job. It was being used to prove that we own something. It was a clerical title-deed, to be presented to the reader, to establish the authenticity of our rights.

But them someone said, “There ought to be another job for this little marking. After all, the formal nature of using words like ‘is’ and ‘are’ over and over again is extremely tedious. So maybe if we leave out one of the letters, and stick in the apostrophe, which is already hanging around, we could come across as more relaxed, if not hip.”

I don’t know if someone experimented with this once in writing a document, or even when it started. For instance, I don’t see any apostrophes in the Declaration of Independence. It remains rather “verbal.”

Yet as a writer, I am often encouraged to shorten words with apostrophes so as not to appear to be a stick in the mud. Why is that?

(Or perhaps better phrased, why’s that?)

I think we do a disservice to ourselves when we merely accept the radical concepts of the previous generation as common doings in our own time simply because they survived the rigors of scrutiny.

So for me, there are occasions when I think clarity demands the addition of the full use of the little verbs … instead of sticking in a comma dangling in midair.

 

Donate Button

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

Anthony, Susan B.

dictionary with letter A

Anthony, Susan B. : U.S. social reformer and leader of the woman suffragette movement.

It puts a chill down my spine.

Often I just think about who I would be, what I would do and where I would place myself in the thinking of a particular era, when some miscarriage of justice was all the rage.

Would I have had the courage to sign the Declaration of Independence, or would I be a loyal Tory to King George?

Would I have treated the Native Americans with respect, honoring their lands, or just rolled over the prairie in my Conestoga wagon, assuming that God was my co-pilot?

What would have been my stance on slavery?

And certainly, as I read the name Susan B. Anthony, I am curious if I would have seen the wisdom, practicality and right for women to be participating citizens with the vote, or if my fear of rocking the boat would have caused me to surrender to the social doldrums.

I think about it a lot, because other things come up every day which are the fresh, new subject lines for the story of history–whether it’s abortion, nation building, gay rights, legalized marijuana, immigration or any number of conflicts which “boil, boil, toil and trouble” in our society.

  • Where are the parallels?
  • Where are the similarities?
  • Where are the differences?

Because even though some causes appear to have a righteous basis, like Prohibition, when they’re placed within the context of a democratic society, they end up being miserable failures.

Would I have marched with Ms. Anthony to lobby for women to have their natural authority to cast a ballot?

I like to think about this.

I don’t ever want to become comfortable in my beliefs and convictions simply because they have paid rent inside of me for a long time. I am prepared to evict all tenets which fail to prove their solvency.

Would I fight for women? The only way to be sure of that is to place myself on the battlefield today, as my sisters continue to struggle to gain equal footing in a society which is much too dominated by macho ruffians. 

Donate Button

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

ADD

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

ADD: (abbr.) attention deficit disorder

Ironically, I was thinking about writing an essay on how Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Declaration of Independence, was considered by many of his cohorts–those gentlemen we call “the forefathers”–to be a rather obnoxious sort because he was always bouncing from one idea to another, proposing several different drafts and considering every paragraph and line in his document, like some sort of nervous kid on a sugar high.

Oops. There he is again.

The fly.

He got let into the room yesterday. I HATE a fly in my room. Do you know why? They lie in some corner, dormant, until, in some fit of gregarious insect joviality, they join you for dinner, watching TV or sipping your coffee.

I want to kill the fly. Is that wrong?

Speaking of Thomas Jefferson, he had a tendency to question the silliest little words, wondering if they would be understandable to future generations, and what that generation would consider to be freedom and their concept of the Revolution.

Do you like that song by the Beatles? I’m talking about the song, Revolution.

Do you know what I once did? I was doing a television show and wanted to include the song, but every time I tried to edit the song in, it was distorted. So I bought myself a mixer to try to remove the distortion, and then someone pointed out to me that the first part of the song commences with a distorted guitar.

Which brings me back to Thomas Jefferson. I think he finally realized there’s no such thing as a perfect document, and the Declaration of Independence would have to be interpreted by future generations based upon our evolution in democracy.

Do you really think we came from monkeys? I was thinking about evolution. We’ve never really found the missing link, have we? I have met some folks worthy of study, but even they would not be conclusive to such a claim.

It’s not that I would mind being a monkey, it’s just that cooking with only bananas would get very old–let’s say, lose its “a-peel.”

Even though I suppose you could use plantains. Do you like them? Plantains? Do I really want a non-sweet banana? Do I need a potato substitute? Have potatoes failed me?

I like Mr. Potato Head. I was one of those weird kids who used to put the ear in the nose and the nose on the mouth…and then I would present it to people, thinking it was funny, and they just thought it was weird.

Yes, it was weird that Thomas Jefferson fussed so much about the Declaration of Independence.

Do you think maybe he had ADD?

 

Abridge

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abridge: (v.): 1. to shorten (a book, movie, text or speech) without losing the sense. 2. curtail: Even the right to free speech can be abridged.

This happened to me several months ago.

I realized that my essays, speeches, and even books were getting too long. They needed to be abridged. But you see, the only problem with making something shorter is that the evidence of truth is often hidden in the longer discourse.

But our entire world is abridged, via texting, tweeting and even an instinct to summarize deep concepts into brief sound bytes. So I was thinking about famous thoughts or virtues that were once spoken in some length that now would be abridged in our society for the sake of convenience and ease of comprehension:

The Sermon on the Mount — It probably would be summarized via a tweet, to four words: Be good to people. Much would be lost in the translation,k but the tweeter would certainly insist that the summary was sufficient and specifics, unnecessary.

The Gettysburg Address: “Lots of dead people. Let’s honor them.” Even though Abraham Lincoln thought he WAS being brief, his words would still not fit into a tweet.

The Declaration of Independence: “We’re all the same, so chill out.” Thomas Jefferson’s eloquence might be lost in this rendition, but you cannot really tweet multi-syllabic words without abbreviating them anyway.

And of course, there’s The Bible, which would basically be tweeted out: “There is a God. Act accordingly.”

Even though I see the value of an occasional Reader’s Digest abridging of certain aspects of human communication, there are thoughts that require the beauty of language and the interlacing of the fabric of phrases.

So brevity is the soul of wit–but sometimes being witty is not nearly as pretty.