Another

dictionary with letter A

Another: (adj & pron) a word used to denote an additional person or thing

I have just learned to go with it.

People often ask me how I’m able to write a column every day on the Internet. They think it’s impressive.

For me, impressive is someone digging a ditch on a ninety-five-degree day, or my food server remembering my exact order, complete with a side of horseradish.

But the reason I can write is because I don’t fight the first sensation that comes to me and try to improve on it too much. Most of the people I know who are writers fail at the task because they’re waiting for another idea.

They become too critical of their first instinct or try to complicate it or embellish it too much and lose the beauty of what I refer to as “slapping your face” inspiration.

Two immediate examples came to my mind when I read the word “another.” Both of them are comical in nature because they show how ridiculous we become when we are either too analytical or feel too entitled.

There is a story in the Good Book about the character John the Baptist sending his friends to ask Jesus the question, “Are you the one or should we look for another?”

It’s pretty funny. After all, there weren’t a lot of people doing miracles and railing against the religious system, while preaching a universal message of love.

But Jesus didn’t fuss. He just went out and did a good day’s business. Then he told the messengers to go back and report to John what they had seen. He left it to John to decide for himself if there was another.

On the other hand, there is the advice you get from people, usually older adults, when you’re a teenager, about romance, after your girlfriend breaks up with you.

“There are a lot of fish in the sea,” they proclaim.

You see, that’s fine if one fish is as good as another, but if you were thinking about getting a bowl and having a fish of your choice to be your lifelong pet, then some specific attributes would be required. (There’s a reason they call them “gold-fish.”)

Human beings are not like buses. You can’t miss the opportunity to love one and think another one is going to be coming around the corner real soon.

“Another” is a dangerous word. If we use it too often, we begin to believe that we are merely consumers who are being wooed by God and our fellow-humans with their wares.

If you ignore blessing too often and miss out on the moving of the Spirit … you might find yourself stuck with something much less satisfying than what was originally offered.

 

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Adage

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adage: (n) a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth: e.g. the old adage is “out of sight, out of mind.

Perhaps a better adage would be, “If you’re out of your mind, we’d like you to be out of sight.

Of course, that’s not really an adage, is it? Just a piece of wisdom.

When I think of adage, I always think of “the boy who cried wolf.”

I remember hearing the story as a young fellow and it put a chill down my spine. I’m not sure why–maybe because it combined a boy, a wolf, and due to the boy’s lies and deceit, he ends up being chomped by the creature.

But today I am wondering if the adage ever prevented me from deceiving. It certainly didn’t stop me from embellishing. And God knows, it did nothing to inhibit my spoofing.

I guess I just think that if an adage doesn’t scare some sense into you, it’s just a story that no one would make into a movie because … you couldn’t get the funding.

Don’t get me wrong–I like adages. I wish that parables and cautionary tales still had the impact they once did. Or maybe they never did, but we all needed some tiny piece of ourselves to pass along, so we told these little fables to create connection. I’m not sure.

But the essence of “the boy who cried wolf” was that if you continue to try to get attention by lying to people about the seriousness of your condition, when your peril does arrive, people will be less likely to believe you and come to your aid.

Obviously, this particular adage has not yet landed in the spectrum of the thinking of the average politician. Newscasters would never be able to put together thirty minutes of copy if they weren’t trying to alarm us into believing that the wolf is at the door.

And what preacher would be able to hold the attention of a congregation without the flames of some hellfire and the sniff of some brimstone?

But human beings are a pretty intelligent lot. We are more intrigued with taking things to the limit than we are with limiting how we take things. So I think we can continue to tell “adages,” but whether they will be applied into everyday life is rather doubtful.

It’s not that we insist on suffering the slings and arrows of our own stupidity, it’s just that often stupidity seems very intelligent to us, and we fail to notice that the slings and arrows … are already shot in our direction.

Actual

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

 

Actual: (adj.) existing in fact, typically contrasted with what was expected: e.g. the estimate was much less than the actual cost.

 We were unmerciful.

A friend and I were listening to my wife talk on the phone as she was explaining her intentions. We began to count on our fingers the number of times she said, “actually.”

It was a giggle fest.

I think we ticked her off a bit. As we all know, it’s difficult enough to communicate your ideas without having to contend with receiving a grade card.

I sensed her frustration. She was desperately trying to explain to the person on the other end of the phone that her words were factual. In a day and age when lying is the national pastime and a series of reality shows are some of the most unrealistic situations available, we find ourselves feeling the need to corral the truth into an area where we can “pony up” our ideas, punctuating them by pledging their accuracy.

I do it sometimes by inserting the word “honestly.” I so want people to understand that I’m sincere that I feel the need to have my words notarized by some stamp of authenticity.

Maybe that’s the whole point of our journey. Perhaps we’re trying to get to the juncture that what is “actual” doesn’t frighten us anymore, we don’t need to embellish on it, and therefore don’t need to keep insisting it’s true.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t it be terrific if we took seven days of our lives—oh, forget that. Let’s try for one.

Yes, a single twenty-four-hour period where we attempt to present the actual. Let the chips fall where they may. Let the criticism come in if it’s needful. And let the praise for truthfulness be our reward.

Maybe I should practice. Here I go. What is my actual today?

  • I feel ok, but I’m not walking very well.
  • I am a blessed man in the fact that I get to write to you every day via this medium.
  • But who knows how many people read it? So keep a lid on my vanity.
  • As far as being a father, I have successfully raised a nice little peck of children, providing a bushel of love, but the harvest will be up to them.
  • I wouldn’t call myself a great husband. Maybe it’s because no one ever explained the job very well. Matter of fact, we spend our entire adolescence around people of the same sex, when the rest of our lives will be primarily spent with someone of the opposite.
  • I still have prejudice, I’ve just decided to stop being fussy about it or follow through on its insistence.
  • I like to laugh much more than cry, but in the process of laughing I do discover things that are worthy of my tears.
  • I find that the more I deal with my actual feelings, the purer my heart becomes and the more optimistic I become about life.

So even though we had a little bit of a cruel streak when we laughed at my wife about her overuse of the word “actually,” all of us could benefit from just ceasing to be afraid of what truly is and realize that the only way to change it is to start out … with the truth.

 

Abecedarian

by J. R. Practixdictionary with letter A

Abecedarian:  adj. (1) arranged alphabetically (2) rudimentary, elementary: abecedarian technology (3) n. a person who is just learning, a novice

I never end up looking dumb unless I insist that I’m not dumb when I really am dumb and therefore, in conclusion, am proclaimed to be … well, dumb.

I wish I could learn this for all time. I still have this great desire to embellish, puff up my credentials and overstate my qualities. I guess I’m afraid that if I don’t toot my own horn, nothing horny will ever occur, so to speak.

When I was younger and flirting, I sometimes made the mistake of postulating on my prowess and then later found out, when someone took me up on my offer, that all of my claims were easily disproven in reality. Very embarrassing.

Yes, it is very important to be an abecedarian in the realm of sexuality. In no other category of life do false promises come to light quite as quickly as with that particular maneuver–followed in a close second by education.

I assume we are all occasionally tempted to make our menial qualifications of learning appear to be more “Ivy League.” But with the availability of the Internet, Google search and the suspicion of the general populace, one’s academic history can be acquired with too much ease to ever graduate yourself to a false state.

And then there’s abilities. I can always tell when someone has no talent. They talk to you about how much talent they have. Actually, that’s the beauty of talent–you don’t have to talk, advertise, promote or print a brochure. You can just punch a button inside your soul–and do it.

So I’m glad there’s a name for the profile of appearing to be a novice in life as a protection against the dangers of exaggeration. Let me just simplify things and say I am an abecedarian. And then maybe human beings–and God, in His infinite mercy–will grant me some much-needed slack.