Cafeteria: (n) a dining establishment in which customers serve themselves

My mother wouldn’t let me. (There are innumerable possibilities to go along with that statement.)

But in this case, it was eating in the cafeteria at school. Growing up, we lived so close to all of my schools that she insisted I come home
for lunch. So as is often the case in childhood, what you are forbidden to have becomes the source of your lust.

As I prepared to walk home to my house to eat my meager sandwich and soup, I would see all my friends on their way to the cafeteria to enjoy a mutual feast–and I assumed, great frivolity.

I felt cheated. I felt like an alien. I felt I had been presented a privilege which offered no visible benefit.

Then, one week my mother was going to be away helping out her sister, who was ill. She didn’t think it was right for me to come home without her there, so she gave me 75 cents a day, to eat in the cafeteria.

My joy knew no bounds. I was bouncing off the walls in anticipation. My friends squinted at me, confused about why I was so enthralled with eating at the common trough. They tried to explain to me that it was really pretty bad, and that I would be greatly disappointed.

But as I shuffled through the line, watching how my friends conducted themselves while conversing with the old women in hair nets who were dipping out the provision, I immediately noticed two obvious problems. All the food looked a little bit gray, and there wasn’t much of it.

For the first couple of days I pretended to enjoy the cuisine, but by the time Day Three came around, I found myself yearning for my fried bologna sandwich and tomato soup (with a few crackers.)

I made it through the fifth day, and when my mother returned on the weekend, she asked me if I would like to continue to eat in the cafeteria. I think she thought it was a pretty good deal–especially since she wouldn’t have to play cook and waitress for me at lunch time.

Inexplicably, I broke out in tears and was very embarrassed, but sobbed, “No, I wanna come home…”

It was pathetic.

But it was better than eating over-cooked macaroni, processed cheese and room temperature fruit cocktail.



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Bind: (v) to tie or fasten something tightly.

Dictionary B

No one particularly cares for restrictions.

In other words, “you can do this but you can’t do that.”

It was the first error in judgment by the Creator when He offered diversity to Adam and Eve, but restricted them from one particular activity, which immediately caused them to lust to acquire it.

We don’t like no.

I suppose we could analyze that or call it rebellion.

Or we could intelligently surmise that human beings need a measure of rope, even if it does threaten to hang them.

Terms like:

  • A binding agreement.
  • Bind us together.
  • All bound up.

They make us squeamish, nervous and overly curious about the mystery of the hidden tease.

I will grant you that a certain amount of rules and regulations are necessary to maintain decency and order, keeping us from anarchy.

But whenever possible, people should be granted the freedom to err without condemnation, and to repent minus interference.

It’s not easy to achieve.

But I’ve always found that the organizations, churches, political parties and families which have the most binding rules also have the most disguised iniquity.

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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Absorb: (v.) 1. take in or soak up energy or a liquid or other substance by chemical or physical action, typically gradually 2. engross the attention of someone: the work absorbed him.

You do realize–there is no prize given to those like myself, who are very successful at absorbing calories. It is a prejudicial situation.

If I absorb knowledge, I am praised. If I absorb iniquity, I am rebuked. If I absorb water, I am bloated. If I absorb the right amount of fluid, I am hydrated.

How do we know exactly how much to absorb before we are saturated, which brings us right back to saturated fats, which, by the way, we are not supposed to absorb.

When we are little tykes we are forbidden from watching certain television shows because we will absorb them into our minds, which are compared to sponges. Why would we think little ones contain spungier brains than older folks? Especially since those with greater years seem to do more damage than the playground crowd?

So what should I absorb?

I read a book once which said that things which are good, pure, praiseworthy–that these are things to absorb and think on. But if you spend your entire life trying to be a “do-gooder,” there are those around you who will find that obnoxious, pious or even boring.

So how much of “bad” can I absorb for the purpose of entertainment or acceptance in my society, before I begin to sprout some of the darkness myself? Because after a while, when you absorb something, it leaks out somewhere,  right?

You do get around people who insist they can tolerate much more absorption. Like a high toleration for pain, for instance.  I have to admit, though, that I find ita bit useless to be proud of achieving high standards of long-suffering.

What should we absorb without becoming contrary to those who walk around us, who for one reason or another, need to put up with our attitudes and lifestyles?

  • How much of social change can we absorb before we totally sacrifice everything we truly believe to be of pristine value?
  • What can we absorb of spirituality without flirting with the tendency to be religious?
  • How much language from the common culture can we absorb before we are judged by our words–prior to ever having the chance to establish our talents?

Absorbing is tricky business. It’s why I would not like to come back to earth as a sponge. Even though I don’t particularly hold to any ideas of reincarnation, returning to the planet as a sponge would put me at the bidding of people who want to clean up messes–and because I’m an absorber, I can’t exactly complain about what fills me up.

I guess I’d like to maintain the right to be a little fussy about what I absorb. I don’t want to be behind the times, but I don’t want the times to get behind me and shove me into decisions that truly are not of my making. Does that make sense?

It’s not that I want to drag my feet–it’s just that I would like a little time to put on my own shoes … if we’re going to walk a new path.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAbaya: (n.) a full-length, sleeveless outer garment worn by Arabs.

One of the true signs of prejudice is our incessant belief that our particular selection of wardrobe is fashionable, while all other garments range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

If I was born in an Arab land, I might wear one of those sleeveless tunics. I think what would bother me most about the abaya is that I would have to go through a season of lifting weights to make sure that my biceps looked muscular instead of flabby. Of course, in the process of lifting weights, I might get other parts of my body to become equally as fit and trim. At that point, I would certainly not want to hide these muscular abs under a loose-fitting tunic. So I probably would come up with some silly rendition of the abaya–where there would be a hole cut in the center to exposed my flourishing six-pack. This would, of course, evoke scrutiny and possible criticism from other abaya wearers, who would find it completely inappropriate to ruin the fashion statement by showing off skin.

I would recoil from their criticism and stop wearing my abaya, which would make me feel alienated from society and soon I would stop my exercise regimen, begin to overeat, develop heart disease, and one day be waddling through the market to purchase chocolate-covered dates and fall over dead from a heart attack.

As you can see, an abaya is not for me.

I just want to make sure that I don’t criticize a Middle-Eastern “look” just because I find it questionable.

This may be the best road to peace–if for one week each culture that was ready to go to war just simply had to wear the clothing of the opposing culture, perhaps enough sympathy could be mustered that we would be forced to the peace table.

The nice thing about an abaya is that you could put on ten pounds and no one would ever know–as long as those “chubbies” didn’t show up around your jowls. Then you would have to wear an abaya with a turtleneck, which would probably also be considered inappropriate–even though I’m not sure the goats in the herd care one way or another.