Collapse

Collapse: (v) to fall down or in; give way.

Some folks think it’s hilarious when a big man like me sits down in a chair and it collapses. It’s why I have to judge furniture much too harshly–“spaciously” profiling it.

Yet it has taught me a lesson–to pay careful attention to ideas that keep popping up, which certainly will not withstand the weight of
human involvement. After all, human interaction comes in three forms:

  • Support
  • Criticism
  • Attack

Every idea has to be able to survive all three things, or it will collapse.

I often feel that way about politics. It collapses under the pressure of being questioned and challenged–dare I say, attacked?

Entertainment and entertainers are certainly way too fragile, and hide behind their make-up.

And religion collapses like a cheap lawn chair the minute real human conflict comes sitting.

What makes me collapse?

What makes me give in?

Where are my weaknesses?

What warning should you receive about my possibility for folding up?

All things human have to survive support, criticism and attack.

And truthfully, whenever I can’t, I need to get the hell out of the way and make room for better ideas.

If we were raising a generation of young souls prepared to withstand such scrutiny, maybe our future would be brighter. Perhaps it’s where we should begin.

If we could take every child born on Earth under the age of twelve, and teach him or her how to support, withstand an attack, and keep perspective during criticism, we might secure another hundred generations of human beings.

 

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Beanbag

Beanbag: (n) a large cushion, typically filled with polystyrene beads, used as a seat.Dictionary B

The beanbag chair is the “government cheese” of furniture.

It’s too bad.

Beanbags come in a variety of colors. Matter of fact, they even have quite a choice of stylings.

Yet the best way to communicate to people around you that you’re only moving into the apartment temporarily, to soon be evicted, is to sling a bunch of beanbag chairs around your living room.

Some of them are very comfortable–that is, if you decide to situate yourself in them and not attempt extraction. At almost any age, getting out of a beanbag becomes a purposeful action. Yes, it is a campaign which you approach with great sobriety.

That’s why beanbags are considered the seating choice of the unemployed. It’s not that these people are unmotivated–just uncertain as to whether they can actually get up from where they’ve placed themselves.

I’ve had some great conversations sitting on beanbags. Many years ago, during the coffee-house era, it was the preferred perch. But honestly, no one who has money, ilk, conceit, preference or even a conscious awareness of decor will ever purposely select a beanbag to include in the layout of a favored room.

So if you are deciding on your stock portfolio, I could not recommend investing in beanbags.

That is, unless the next President of the United States helps to make us all very, very poor again. 

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Aquarium

dictionary with letter A

Aquarium (n): a transparent container of water in which fish and other water creatures and plants are kept.

Sometimes I look back at the hiccups in my life and giggle over my choices, predilections and the fads that permeated my consciousness temporarily, only to fall to the wayside as a new idea punctured my awareness.

About fifteen years ago I decided I wanted an aquarium. I think I saw one in a movie, thought it was cool and believed it would be a conversation piece for individuals who came into my home and seemed incapable of speech.

I did what I usually did–researched the subject just enough to make me totally unqualified.

Unqualified, but verbose.

So I bought the tank, filled it with water, got the pellets, put in the little furniture, rocks and stuff to go along with it, and bought myself some fish.

Let me tell you–I selected my fish based upon what looked pretty and interesting. The proprietor of the pet shop, in great generosity, donated five gold fish, which looked rather bland and unappealing.

I threw all the fish together with no concern for cultural integrity.

In two or three days I noticed that my gold-fish were gone. I looked for them in the bottom of the tank, planning to retrieve them for a decent burial, but no luck. I looked along the sides, but not there either.

So I called my pet shop owner and he explained to me that those pretty fish I bought were…well, shall we say, cannibals.

They ate the gold-fish.

I asked him why he didn’t tell me that in the store and he gave that lame response often provided by shopkeepers.

“I thought you knew.”

So you see, much like my gold-fish, my interest in aquariums was short-lived. But it gave me pause for thought.

In the aquarium kingdom–and I assume paralleling into the human–the pretty and interesting fish always eat the dull and boring ones.

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Apartment

dictionary with letter A

Apartment: (n) a suite of rooms forming one residence typically in a building containing a number of these.

When I run across people who appear to like me as I am today, I am certainly cognizant of the fact that if they had met me decades earlier, they would have disliked me totally.

Now, I don’t mean this to be either critical of my new-found friends or myself. I have taken a journey. Because it is a journey, the road was rarely straight and certainly never free of construction.

To a certain degree I can chronicle my progress and my respectability based on just a simple review of my apartment selections.

Graduating from high school and immediately getting married, I had no money, appreciation of money or desire to make money. I was of the firm conviction that high school should continue and all groceries should be supplied, and preferably, food prepared and set before me. Since I did not go to college, where such an arrangement is possible, everyone in my small town felt that I needed to become “responsible.”

I did not agree.

So my family, in an attempt to get me on the “strait and narrow,” rented an apartment for my new wife and myself, where we could live. It was quite lovely. It sat on the second floor in the middle of town and had several large rooms, which continued to mock us due to our lack of owning furniture.

We were able to stay there exactly forty-five days, since we had no money to pay the next month’s installment of rent.

At this point we were forced to go to a cheaper location, which also ended up having previous tenets. Cockroaches.

We had so many in our apartment that they began to be incestuous, leading to mutations and even the development of an albino clan. After a while, it was the cockroaches that evicted us from our apartment, feeling that we were unsuitable roommates.

At this point some success greeted my creative efforts, and we were able to move into a better apartment, and then a better one still. Finally, on about my fourth excursion into this cave dwelling, I was able to occupy an apartment where I could pay the monthly rent. It was larger, also had a dishwasher, and as far as I was able to tell, had no previous hairy-legged dwellers.

So every time I hear the word “apartment,” both a chill goes down my spine and a giggle in my soul.

For I realize that it is a benchmark of being a citizen in this country. And lo and behold, after awhile, I was deemed worthy of escaping apartments and live in a house.

God bless America, strike up the band, John Phillip Sousa is a great composer … and apple pie is the only dessert for a true American..

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Afterlife

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAfterlife: (prep) 1. life after death 2. later life e.g. they spent most of their afterlife trying to forget the fire.

There is a certain presumption to the idea of heaven which often makes me uncomfortable. It’s this notorious notion that we can live a meager existence, fraught with fault, indecision and selfishness, and because God in heaven has granted us salvation, we will suddenly be translated into eternal, enlightened creatures.

I always wonder what people would think if heaven ended up just being their life–except maybe moving it to Hawaii. In other words, just a little better surroundings, but you bring your furniture.

What if heaven is not a relief of our pain, but instead, an individualized celebration of our discoveries on Earth? What if the misery we have claimed as our own is not alleviated, but instead, continued–just surrounded by hula girls and beaches?

Would the change in surroundings be enough to make us enjoy our choices better?

It’s confounding–because everything on earth works with a delicate balance of effort, patience and grace.

  • Effort in the sense that I actually show up and do my best
  • Patience because good things sometimes take a while
  • And grace because God, in His mercy, grants it to those who are truly humble

How can there be an afterlife if there wasn’t first a life?

If we offer a meager resume to the heavenly corporation, why do we think we are up for a promotion?

Well, you can believe what you want to believe. I think there’s a four-step process to making a life which would make any kind of afterlife absolutely delectable:

  1. Find what you can do.
  2. Do it well.
  3. Get better
  4. Help somebody.

This is the life I choose–and if I were asked to continue it in another place … I would be overjoyed to do so.

 

Adirondack Chair

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adirondack chair: (n.) an outdoor wooden armchair constructed of wide slats. The seat typically slants downward toward the sloping back.

If anyone asks you, Panama City Beach is very sunny in the first two weeks of March, but icy cold if you decide to sit anywhere near the ocean. (Just a little travel tip from the well-seasoned vagabond.)

The reason I can share this is that I rented a cottage near the Gulf one year, to spend a few days writing on my first novel. It sounded so romantic and exciting, with a bit of wild abandon thrown in for good measure.

This was before computers and word processors were portable and could be taken out into a thatched-hut cabana for creative purposes, so I was using an old manual Royal typewriter. The little machine was quite quirky, having a nasty disposition which caused it to occasionally refuse to register the “e” key. I didn’t care. I was a writer–and I was near the beach, transforming my thoughts into storyline.

Three things immediately came to the forefront:

1. Manual typewriters were invented in hell, to the devil’s glee–especially when you’re sitting out in a cabana with the cold wind blowing through, icing your fingertips. Now, I might agree that a certain amount of pain is necessary to stoke the furnace of composition, but I draw the line at frostbite.

2. The second problem was that my cottage was much warmer than my workplace, so my mind kept floating back to the grocery provisions stocked in my refrigerator, the television set sitting idly by, awaiting my return, and the room heater that took away the chill and made me toasty. So to keep from going back to being the non-creative lump considering the virtues of daytime TV, I would frequently step out of my cabana into the sunshine and perch myself to thaw out in one of those Adirondack chairs which peppered the surrounding sand. Thus, my third problem.

3. The first time I sat in the chair I was fine, because I didn’t allow myself to get comfortable. But the second time, the sun was so warm and glowing that I leaned back into the chair, sliding into that slope described in the definition, and I dozed off. When I awoke, I tried to rise to my feet to go back to my writing, and I realized that my posterior region seemed to be a perfect fit into the slat at the bottom of the back of the chair. I had wedged myself there–seemingly, permanently.

I and the chair were one.

At first I laughed, thinking that if I just wiggled or squirmed, I would be able to free myself. But no. In a matter of moments, terror gripped my soul. Try as I may, I was unable to unplug myself from the chair. Should I scream for help, only to be emotionally damaged for the rest of my life if someone actually had to uncork me? Should I stay there, hoping that after a few days, weight loss would trim my backside?

For some reason, it occurred to me to do the twist. Remember that dance? You wiggle your hips back and forth like working a hula hoop. It took about fifteen minutes, but finally my left cheek freed itself, and then, by brute force, I was able to rise to my feet.

I have never sat in one of those chairs again.

I’m sure for normal people, who do not have a rear end that parks quite so well, they are absolutely comfortable and adorable.

For me, they are ... the quicksand of furniture.

Abed

by J. R. Practixdictionary with letter A

Abed:  adv. in bed

Every once in a while I give it the good ole’ college try. Usually it happens when I’ve had a particularly busy day. I ease myself under the covers, making a promise to the surrounding furniture in the room that I have no intention of emerging from this sleep chamber for several days, if not weeks.

It doesn’t make any difference. I always wake up the next morning around six o’clock and have a growing sense of worthlessness from hugging my pillow instead of pursuing the day. It’s not that I am especially energetic or have a massive work ethic. It’s just that I’ve never been an excellent “lie-abed.”

Candidly, it was possibly one of my greatest difficulties in being a parent to adolescents. It was always beyond my comprehension how folks in their teens, who possessed such immense nervous energy just hours before, twitching, leaping about or shaking their leg like a flea-ridden dog as they watched television, could become comatose and unable revive the next morning– passing over the glory of breakfast and early morning television, not to mention the rising of the sun, to finally trip down the stairs at the noon hour, barely able to audibly inquire what might be available to eat.

I don’t often share this with people because there’s a certain self-righteousness about getting up early in the morning that I find distasteful. I don’t do it because I want to go out and talk with the birds like St. Francis of Assisi. Nor is there seed to plant in the back forty with my Amish brothers and sisters.

It’s just me.

There are only two things to do in bed, and once you complete one and the other’s not available, well … it makes me fidgety.

So, to all people who ARE lie-abeds, I tell you that I am not judgmental whatsoever. Actually, I come just short of admiration for your ability to doze back off instead of staring at the ceiling, wondering about the asbestos content in the tiles.

No, you will not often find me abed. But you’ll probably outlive me, too.

Isn’t it funny that we humans are so intent on getting our sack time that we refer to death as “the eternal sleep?”