Brio

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Brio: (n) vigor or vivacity of style or performance.

In writing this daily essay, I dictate my sentiments to a typist. Her name is Janet.

When we came across the word “brio” today, she exclaimed with great enthusiasm, “We should use that one!”Dictionary B

Feelings like that do pass through my mind from time to time. In doing a series of storylines about the words of the dictionary, one would assume that I am increasing my vocabulary and am starting an orphanage for wayward words.

What I mean is that once I’ve uncovered these abandoned “children of the lexicon,” I embrace them to my heart, include them in my everyday life and speak them forth to grant them renewed purpose.

No way.

Any time you have to explain the word you’re using, you are talking down to the people around you and signaling to them that you are a first-class fruitcake.

So even though my typist is very excited about “brio,” I shall never use this word again.

I will leave it in the wilderness of forsaken consonants and vowels which long ago fell together to form words which now only evoke confusion or displeasure.

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Bellow

Bellow: (v) to emit a deep loud roar, typically in pain or anger.

Dictionary B

I do not really want to hear what you have to say about how you hear what I have to say.

That’s the truth.

All my ways seem right to me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do them because then I would have to admit I was wrong. That also can be very painful.

But somewhere along this journey we call life, we have to realize that we are not alone and our opinions not only fail to be superior, but in many cases, are insignificant.

I may have a conversation with my children, my friends or my partners in business and feel that I have a completely rational tone, filled with reasonable proposals. Yet if I asked them what they are hearing, they will explain that they feel intimidated, criticized and even might perceive my approach to be “bellowing.”

In response to their accusations, I bellow, “I am not bellowing!”

I’m not so sure what ultimate maturity is supposed to look like. I’m not positive that I understand all aspects of human relationships, or even could write a decent pamphlet on the subject.

But I know this:

If another human being tells me that they hear me bellowing at them, attacking them or expressing displeasure in their direction, the only way to ever maintain that friendship is to listen to what they are proposing … and at least consider that the volume coming back my way is much less than what they’re hearing.

 

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Antelope

dictionary with letter A

Antelope: (n) a swift-running deerlike ruminant with smooth hair and upward pointing horns, native to Africa and Asia.

Another childhood myth, shattered before my eyes: I now realize the improbability of deer and antelope playing together.

I’ve sung the song. I’ve not only sung the song, I have intoned it with complete confidence.

Home, home on the range

Where the deer and the antelope play

And now, unless this “home on the range” is somewhere in the Serengeti, and some deer got transferred there, the likelihood of such a playtime is miniscule.

Why do they do that to us? Why isn’t there a disclaimer at the beginning of this song that says, “Locales for creatures are greatly exaggerated.”

Did they think that “where the deer and the buffalo play” would have been out of the question?

And just for the record, I’m not so sure antelope would want to play with deer. I think with the presence of those little horns on the top, the antelope would feel superior and would think they were slumming it by playing with the deer clan.

Of course, maybe there is no bigotry in the animal kingdom. Basically they don’t shun one another. If there’s some form of displeasure, they usually just eat each other.

Maybe that’s what we should do. Rather than telling prejudiced jokes, we should just turn cannibal and be more obvious. Of course, I jest.

Similar to the dude who wrote Home on the Range.

 

 

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Anesthesia

dictionary with letter A

Anesthesia: (n.) drugs or gases designed to create insensitivity to pain prior to surgical procedure.

It occurred to me while standing in the breakfast aisle at the local supermarket.

In previous years, I complained about going shopping and having rude little children point, giggle and laugh at me simply because I was a fat man.

On this day, what crossed my mind, standing next to the Honey Nut Cheerios, was that I couldn’t remember the last time that I had such a confrontation with a little one in the marketplace. I wondered if it was because our children had gained a new sensitivity and had ceased to mock unusual people.

Without being too cynical, I seriously doubt that. There is certainly as much prejudice around today as in any other time.

So it baffled me a little bit.

But then I realized–the secret to this absence of ridicule did not lie in the children, but rather in me.

  • I had stopped looking for the pain.
  • I had ceased to probe the room for disapproval or listen for the slightest chuckle.
  • I had learned to go about my business.
  • I had accepted the great anesthesia of confidence and peace of mind, to free me from the need to be pricked and probed until I screamed out in displeasure.

Maybe the kids are still laughing. But I am dull to their critique.

Maybe when I come zooming by, they poke each other, point and giggle at me. But I am already gone.

The glory of anesthesia is that necessary surgery can be done to our bodies without us fighting the treatment.

May God give me the anesthesia of soul satisfaction so the surgery that He needs to continue to do to my heart … will be painless and profitable.

 

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Afro

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Afro: (n) a hairstyle with very tight curls that sticks out all around the head, like the natural hair of some black people

James was black.

Nothing truly significant can be ascertained without this fact. I do not bring this up because his skin color made him superior OR inferior to anyone else. It just gave him different hair.

James worked for me for a while–matter of fact, lived in my house. It was a rather communal setup, so we shared food, toothpaste, and even hair products.

James was very gentlemanly. It was several weeks of quiet displeasure on his part before I noticed his disgruntled spirit.

I was a bit perturbed so I asked what the problem was. His response was standard.  “Nothing.”

Of course, he knew that his “nothing” was really NOT nothing, and he hoped that I would pursue his “nothing” by trying to find something out. So I did.

“No, no,” I continued. “What’s up?”

After a few more overtures of encouragement, he released his burden. He explained that his hair was not like my hair, and that my “white people” shampoo and conditioner was killing his follicles. I produced a quizzical look, as paler brothers often do.

He asked me to feel his hair–and I discovered it was rather bristly and dry. He explained in vivid detail that his afro, which was very fashionable for the time, needed to be conditioned with the kinds of oil that I would probably find to be greasy, but his hair found necessary.

I think he thought I would be critical, since the idea of purchasing additional products would be expensive, but stepping out of my Anglo-Saxon world and putting down my mace and Viking horns, I agreed. Matter of fact, he took me with him to the store to purchase his items, and even though they tallied up to quite a sum, they made James happy. They also gave a tremendous shine and bounce to his afro.

I learned a lot that day. Even though afros are not as prevalent as they were when James and I were working together, I understood–and I understand now–that what’s good for one person’s do is a don’t for others.