Buoyant

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Buoyant: (adj) able or apt to stay afloat

I was nearly sixteen years old before I worked up the courage to take my shirt off and slide into a swimming pool with other people my age.

I was fat.

When you’re a teenager and fat, you’re convinced that everything is much more dramatic and even bulbous than it actually may be.

For instance, I was frightened that my lips were too big. Matter of fact, I asked my mother if there were any blacks in our ancestry. There weren’t. For you see, my lips weren’t too big–they only appeared that way when they were placed an inch-and-a-half away from a mirror.

I also thought I might have accidentally inherited women’s breasts. I was sure if I took my shirt off, someone would notice this, or if there was a doctor in the house it could be diagnosed. Of course, nothing was further from the truth. My belly was so big it made my chest look flat. Nevertheless, the notion lived and breathed in my mind.

So when I finally did work up the courage to get into the pool on one summery afternoon, I waded into the deep end, and when I stopped waving my arms, I realized I could stand in the water without having to tread.

I was so damned impressed with myself.

I was buoyant.

The rest of my friends swimming around me were ferociously trying to keep afloat by moving their arms and legs. But not me.

I was so proud of the discovery that I shared it with everybody in the pool. Many people were equally as astounded.

For a brief moment I gained the status of “the man who could float on water.”

I was empowered.

And then one of the adults who was in the pool with us (for some reason feeling the need to be truthful) swam over and explained to me and all my followers that the reason I was able to float in the water without moving my arms was that fat floats–is buoyant–and was lifting me up in the pool and holding me in place.

One of the girls I was desperately trying to impress crinkled her face as if trying to gain greater wisdom.

“So what you’re saying,” she said, “is that he’s like a beach ball–because you can’t drown a beach ball. It keeps popping to the surface.”

The grown-up nodded, feeling he had successfully achieved explaining the premise.

I lost my entourage. No one was impressed anymore.

For after all, how attractive is a human beach ball?

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About

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

About: (prep.) on the subject of; concerning.

Finally–a word I can write about that doesn’t tell me what to write about, but instead, allows me the about on which I wish to write.

Since I was a kid I’ve been given topics. Subjects–things that I’m supposed to think about, do or construct a paragraph to explain. It’s limiting!

But now, today, because of the courtesy of the word “about,” I could write ANYTHING on this paper and make a case that I was merely elaborating on the subject to explain the word “about.”

I feel empowered.

I feel completely in control of my own destiny from an artistic sense–not bound by tradition, complication or compulsion–unless you want to consider the compulsion that I might have–to focus “about” something…

It’s a great question: “What is this about?”

You can answer almost anything, since the person asking obviously has no clue. Your response is as good as any.

Matter of fact, the other day I tried it. Somebody was speaking to a friend in line at a restaurant and said, “What do you think all this debate concerning the budget is about?”

There was a brief pause, wherein I leaped through the silence, into the conversation and replied, “Guilt over genocide of the Indians.”

I then turned my back and resumed a dialogue with a nearby friend.

Neither one of the people who had been engaged in this discussion concerning the budget exactly knew what to do. After all, they didn’t know what it was about, therefore leaving themselves wide open for a tangential interpretation. What I succeeded in doing was stifling their involvement. They changed the subject and moved on.

So, since I could write about anything today, what I’ve decided to discuss…

Wait a second. They’re telling me my time is up. I’ve already used too many words.

Shoot. Another blown opportunity. Well, let me sum it up.

Can anybody explain to me why frog legs which have been fried taste a little bit like mush until you put salt on them, and then all they taste like is salt?

Thank you for your time.