Arithmetic

dictionary with letter A

Arithmetic: (n) the branch of mathematics dealing with the manipulation and properties of numbers.

Arithmetic is definitely one of them.

It is one of the four basic skills required to maintain an adult life without constantly looking inept.

I wish I had known that when I was in high school. But fortunately, I did learn enough addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to handle my finance and everyday activities without always requiring a calculator in my hand, with numbers too tiny to punch.

Would you be curious about the other three?

Number 2. Reading.

Yes, often people ask us to read aloud–and if we stumble over words or are too slow, it is immediately surmised that we are mentally challenged.

3. Writing. Although grammar can be a naughty mistress or a nagging wife, there are certain qualifications necessary to be part of the human family. One should know that “you are,” as a contraction, is spelled y-o-u’r-e, not y-o-u-r.

If you are not familiar with several of these common mishaps-in-print, you will be laughed at by the snobs and bewilder the kinder folk.

4. Can you make a two-minute speech on your feet without spending 72 seconds of it explaining why you’re not good at it? We are a gregarious race, and demand that those around us have the ability to articulate their feelings without having too many a-a-h-s, umms, or … what was I saying?

Arithmetic is very important. Without it, things just don’t add up.

 

 

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Apt

dictionary with letter A

Apt (adj): 1. appropriate under the circumstances 2. a tendency to do something.

At the risk of coming off like a Gloomy Gus or Grumpy Grady, I will tell you that I yearn for a simpler time when people’s functions, goals and even occupations led you to believe that certain attributes or virtues just might be included.

Yes, I think that a grocer should be apt to courtesy and warmth, and gregarious. I really don’t want him or her thinking about their stock portfolio, but instead, greatly concerned about the freshness of my tomatoes.

I think a politician should be apt to be nearly boring, insisting on discussing the issues pertinent to the constituency, instead of overly zealous about hand-pumping, baby-kissing and making deals with lobbyists.

It would be wonderful if ministers were pre-disposed to practice what they preach instead of merely preaching what they practice, hoping that somewhere along the line “it’ll all work out.”

I think musicians should be thrilled that someone wants to pay them a dollar to do what they love instead of finding ways to act like the craft of making music is deadly and painful.

I am apt to be a writer from time to time–and I certainly do not want to bore you with my process, nor lead you to believe that my writer’s block lands on me, crushing my bones.

Finding peace with oneself is a two-fold process:

  1. Discover something you like to do.
  2. Keep liking it.

If we actually did this in our country … we just might be apt to succeed. 

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Aloof

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Aloof: (adj.) not friendly or forthcoming

Stupidity always attempts to be clever, but lacks either the pedigree or the intelligence to pull off the act.

Aren’t you glad? Otherwise, stupid ideas could slide into place under the guise of being cool and wise, and overtake our better sensibilities.

But be careful–stupidity will try.

That’s the case with the word “aloof.” Whenever I hear the word used, it is generally preceded by an additional word: remaining.

Yes, the advice you often receive is to “remain aloof.”

You see the trick? Stupidity is trying to step in and convince us that our best profile as human beings is to act like we don’t care–and on top of that, to select that posture as often as feasible.

Here’s the truth: human beings are not naturally aloof. We are taught to do that. We are practically browbeaten into being suspicious, worried and frantic.

Naturally, we are gregarious.

After all, there are only two kinds of kids on the playground: those who are feverishly playing, and those who feverishly want to play. There are no children who want to “remain aloof.”

“Aloof” is the ridiculous contention that by standing in the shadows or perching ourselves on the bench, we will be able to criticize the other players in life simply because we are better than they are–and after all, we didn’t even participate.

Aloof comes in many forms:

  • “Doing your own thing”
  • “I was just being myself”
  • “Our group has more opportunities”
  • “We don’t agree with those folks”
  • “They don’t seem to like us, so we ignore them”

But I will tell you–“aloof” is always the fire-starter for all bigotry. It tells us that we have the right to separate ourselves off from all the other human tribes and offer our opinion … without giving our support.