Commemorate

Commemorate: (v) to recall and show respect for someone or something

Mediocre is always so busy dragging down excellence that it doesn’t have the time to lift up inferior.

Because of this, mediocre keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the sag of inferiority, desperately trying to change the rules of operation and the requirements for the rewards provided.

We have a system of entertainment and information that streams in our country, which feels the need to commemorate events by finding the heroes, the standouts and those who fared well, interview them, extol them and then, within short weeks, dig up dirt on them to prove there was really nothing exceptional about them in the first place.

Why? Because without this kind of reporting, Ma and Pa Kettle, sitting at home, start getting depressed–thinking less of themselves because they don’t measure up.

After all, the problem of going to a nude beach is that you’re fully aware that everyone is stuck with an eyeful of you.

How do we commemorate the attributes, the virtues, the kindness and the intelligence that sets the human race on fire with an explosion of knowledge and unveiling of great cures and advances?

Well, we certainly can’t do it if we spend all of our time mocking initiative and making it seem that those who portray a classy morality are really just stuck in the past.

These are the three great things we should commemorate if we expect to shine:

  1. Empathy

Any time someone feels for someone else, it is miraculous.

  1. Research

Stop settling for the status quo, and find a better way to accomplish things.

  1. Humility

The only way to achieve the first two is to be humble enough to know when you’ve made a mistake so you can change it quickly and improve your cause.

May we step out of our doldrums of self-satisfaction and begin to commemorate–and therefore imitate–those who are actually doing matters better than us?

 

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Baseball

Baseball: (n) a ball game played between two teams of nine on a field with a diamond-shaped circuit of four basesDictionary B

From my youth, baseball was pitched my way but I never caught on.

I don’t know exactly why.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever watched an entire baseball game on TV, and the two times I attended a game at a park, I survived it by consuming enormous amounts of hot dogs.

So when I read the word today, I thought to myself, what is it I don’t like about baseball?

Before I answer, please understand that my conclusions are arbitrary and certainly cemented in a tomb of my own misunderstanding. Nevertheless:

1. It’s slow.

By the time the follow-up play responds to the previous action, I have forgotten what has been accomplished.

2. It’s a team sport.

Even though we extol team sports, I think we actually enjoy competitions that have fewer participants and more heroes.

3. It demands proficiency in a variety of activities.

It is difficult to praise singular action. In other words, you have to catch, throw, hit, run, slide and steal. Any one of these should be enough.

4. There is so much space between actions that it should be filled in with background movie music.

Maybe the tunes could even be complementary and generate excitement in the performance.

5. And finally, I didn’t do it very well.

 

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Atrocious

Atrocious: (adj) horrifyingly wicked or of a very poor quality dictionary with letter A

There are two words that should be used sparingly: atrocious and what I consider to be its opposite–glorious.

There aren’t many things in life that are atrocious, and equally true, a limited amount of glorious.

If I were to speak anything into a microphone that would announce a truth to the whole world, it would simply be, “Calm down.”

It’s never as bad as you make it, nor as good as you fake it.

So I will list for you today the 5 things I think are atrocious. I welcome you to disagree with me, hoping that in the process you will be able to discover what is wickedly horrible.

My 5 atrocious things:

  1. The seeming total loss of common courtesy.
  2. The creation of heroes whom we later decide to destroy.
  3. Insisting that politics is doomed to be unethical.
  4. Religion with no heart.
  5. People who give up too easily.

There you go. If you combine those 5 things together, I believe you will end up with the aching boredom which permeates our society, often creating a frustrating void.

These are atrocious–at least to me. What do you think? Do you have a list?

Maybe someday I will get to “G” in the dictionary and I can give you my “glorious” list.

But probably not in this lifetime.

 

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Anti-hero

dictionary with letter A

Anti-hero (n): a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.

Is it an oxymoron or just redundant?

For after all, there are no true heroes who fit the criteria we normally assess to such an honor.

  • All heroes come from nowhere just in the nick of time.
  • They cannot be manufactured–though we have hammered away.
  • They cannot be educated, though classes continue to be held.
  • They cannot be ordained, though religious institutions anoint at will.
  • And they are not born heroes.

One of the greatest misconceptions in our culture is the notion that people are born any particular way. We are all birthed with the need to be born again–emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically–or else to be cast in the role of being mere understudies of our parents’ stage work.

No one would expect a scrawny attorney from Illinois to be the central figure for the emancipation of the black race and the maintaining of the union of our country.

No one could ever have anticipated that a young man who struggled with math would later convince us that E does equal MC squared.

Could anyone have foreseen that a gentleman of great promise who was struck with polio and was confined to a wheelchair would be elected president four times, guiding us through a national depression and a world war?

Looking at a string of poets, musicians, authors, statesmen, inventors and liberators, there is not one of them who was naturally inclined to greatness.

It is those we preen to be heroes who disappoint us and those who we have cursed to obscurity who end up astounding us.

After all, could anyone have thought that a refugee to Egypt, who grew up in a village of less than five hundred people, the son of a carpenter, would be proclaimed the light of the world?

 

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Antagonism

dictionary with letter A

Antagonism: (n.) active hostility or opposition.

We just can’t make up our minds.

Are human beings supposed to be angry or are we supposed to quell our feelings, disguising them as mellow cooperation?

We are confused.

Sometimes we criticize ourselves for having any temper whatsoever, while simultaneously applauding heroes in movies who take vengeance on their enemies.

Which one is it?

Honestly, the only way to deal with antagonism is to never allow it to get that far.

How does it digress? When we refuse to admit that we’re pissed off.

By the time we finish struggling over the validity of our feelings we are so exasperated, exhausted and infuriated that we pop off with something we shouldn’t say or do something beyond the pale.

If true spirituality were correctly imparted to believers, we would comprehend that the key to controlling our anger is releasing it in tiny doses as it rises to the surface.

As the Good Book tells us, we should not let the sun set on our anger. We should be angry and sin not. For after all, what generates sin is violence.

And the Good Book also tells us that we should never allow ourselves to ignore our apprehensions to the point that we start calling people names and destroying their reputation.

Antagonism is a social disease created by a civilized society caught between the reality of human frustration and the aspiration to keep peace and quiet.

As long as people shall dwell together, there will be conflict.

Having a healthy debate or even a livid argument is preferable to shooting a missile up someone’s backside.

 

 

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Ambiguity

dictionary with letter A

Ambiguity: (n) uncertainty or inexactness of meaning in language

Shouldn’t that be the United States of Ambiguity?

It is now a national pastime–maybe better phrased, our universal slogan. In the pursuit of finding safe language that is not offensive to anyone, we have come up with sentences filled with nouns, but absent verbs.

Politicians stand in front of audiences and list all the types of people they want to appeal to, but never come up with an action word to describe what they intend to do for these hordes of admirers.

Churches have fallen back on becoming more traditional and symbolic in their presentation of spirituality, for fear of offending those who want to have religion minus personal intervention.

And entertainment is always consulting focus groups to ensure that the material provided will garner the widest appeal to sell tickets, t-shirts and DVDs.

It’s all very interesting. And it’s all the process of taking political correctness to a new position: emotional stall.

We’re just stalled. We don’t know what to do, so we attempt to accept everything in part, without signing on the dotted line.

So in a world that prides itself on caution, the next heroes and victors will be daredevils.

The genius of the future will be the explorer who is not afraid to have an opinion and see it through to some sort of conclusion.

Ambiguity is ambiguous.

I know that’s not very articulate, but it says it very well, don’t you think? And it is absent the ambiguity of trying to find a way to describe ambiguity without offending anyone, while possibly causing the hearer to express some interest.

Here are three thoughts I share without reservation–or ambiguity:

  1. America is not exceptional in the eyes of God, but has an exceptional opportunity to do something in this day and hour which could ring true for a thousand years to come.
  2. People are not born any specific way–otherwise, God would have favorites and free will would be a joke.
  3. There is no replacement for hard work and taking personal responsibility for your own life.

You can see, these are thoughts that have both nouns and verbs. They contain very little ambiguity, and therefore open the door to discussion, debate … and hopefully some progress.