Coax

Coax: (v) to persuade

I finally had enough children that I became a fairly decent father. Therefore I’m not responsible for the initial flops.

All kidding aside, one of the mistakes of all parents is investing too much time into the well-being and involvement of the child.

For me, this realization happened at the swimming pool. My first son, two years of age, came down in his cute little swim trunks. I could hardly wait to get him into the water and see him splash around–a vision I had perceived in a dream the night before.

But instead of jumping into the water or into my arms, he stood at a distance, critically, like an old maid viewing a Playboy magazine for the first time.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I made promises. (I’m talking about Baskin Robbins promises. In other words, the big scoops.)

He was unimpressed.

Matter of fact, he was quite enamored that he had gained my full attention over such a small thing. So in his toddler mind, he was dangling me over the abyss of an emotional cliff, giggling over my slipping grasp.

I hated myself.

He never did get into the pool. I must have asked him a thousand times, and I’m not exaggerating for the purpose of literature.

But by the time I got to the second, third and fourth kid, I realized that the key to engaging your children in good things is to always act like you just don’t give a damn.

I did not invite them into the pool. Matter of fact, I passed along the impression that they were “too small to swim.”

I jumped, threw balls in the air, and in no time at all, each of them came over to the edge, bouncing up and down, waving arms and saying, “Daddy, let me come in!”

I elongated the process (so there wouldn’t be any bitching about the temperature of the water). So when they got in, it was an honor.

Children are manipulative. They are not angels from heaven, unless you’re talking about the fallen variety, hanging out with Lucifer at the clubhouse.

Children were meant to come along with us, not us with them.

I have stopped all coaxing. I don’t coax anyone.

You can watch what I do, listen to what I believe or follow me around to see how hypocritical I am. Then decide for yourself.

I, for one, do not have time to talk people into pursuing good crap.

 

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Claptrap

Claptrap: (n) absurd or nonsensical talk or ideas.

“Come, let us reason together.”

If we’re going to accept the idea that politicians lie, how will we know when they’re telling the truth?

If women want to be equal but still think it’s “kind of cool” when guys open doors for them, how will they ever gain equal footing?

Our generation is filled with the claptrap of contradictions. We want to insist that we’re not bigoted as we awkwardly use a phrase like “African American.”

We want to appear intelligent as we negate the value of studying history to learn what to avoid in our past.

We think if we say something stupid enough times, it becomes smart. Silliness is silliness, whether it’s promoted or not.

There is a lot of claptrap–a lot of concession that things are rotten but perhaps they’re meant to be that way.

There is angst in our souls because we are weary of hypocrisy, yet unwilling to cease being hypocritical.

Claptrap is when we speak things that seem to be popular in the moment even though in our hearts they ring untrue.

It fills the air with fake helium, causing all of us to talk funny.

We are a country which has accepted claptrap as being inevitable instead of squinting at it and offering a quizzical, “Pardon me??”

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Blouse

Blouse: (n) a woman’s loose upper garment resembling a shirt

Dictionary B

“Change the language and you can change the world.”

With a few exceptions, I totally believe this.

I’ve tried to put this into practice in my life by being equally complimentary to both men and women. It might sound strange, but normally, our species does not do that.

Two guys meeting to go out to a ballgame don’t usually comment on each other’s outfits. Even if we think a friend is wearing a great-looking jersey, we button our lips for fear of coming across gay.

But if they run across a woman they think is fairly attractive, they just might compliment her on what she’s wearing so as to communicate that they think she is sexually viable and place themselves for consideration.

This is perhaps one of the greatest proofs of chauvinism–“just part of the jungle game.”

Do I think it’s dangerous?

Do I think it’s hypocritical?

What I think is that I choose not to participate.

If my buddy has a nice haircut and doesn’t smell like crap, I will probably go ahead and tell him. If he thinks I’m a homosexual for doing so, I just figure the problem is not mine, but his.

And if I see a woman dressed in a stunning blouse, I will tell her how attractive I think it is, without staring at her breasts while doing so. I also will not stand around and wait for her to compliment me in turn.

A blouse is a blouse is a blouse.

It is a female shirt.

As a shirt, it carries no sexuality and truthfully, is androgynous–open to commentary.

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Beat-up

Beat-up: (adj) a thing worn out by overuse; in a state of disrepair.Dictionary B

I found myself sharing a message that didn’t match my lifestyle.

I was moved to proclaim the idea “Life With Style” while I, myself, was somewhat impoverished.

It introduced the possibility of hypocrisy.

In an attempt to advertise my slogan, “Life With Style,” I had purchased magnetic signs, which I placed on the side of my old, beat-up car, towing a trailer which short months earlier had been rotting in a corn field.

It was what I could legitimately afford, and I did my best to bolster it with repair and frequent cleanings, but to the average onlooker who saw my vehicle and trailer pass by, the advertisement, “Life With Style,” was an enigma, if not a farce.

I became convicted that I was misrepresenting my own cause with my beat-up situation, bannered by such a positive, exuberant concept.

Because let’s be honest–we’re human.We can’t envision a life with style without a decent paint job. Life doesn’t have style unless we are visually passable.

So I learned that you can call people hypocritical, judgmental or mean-spirited for the conclusions they draw upon eyeballing your circumstance, or you can realize that since they are susceptible to hypocrisy, judgmentalism and a mean-spirited nature, it might be a good idea to give them as little evidence as possible … for a case against you.

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Banish

Banish (v): to send someone away from a country or place as an official punishment.Dictionary B

All through my teenage years, I used my arrogance as a means of establishing dominance. And of course, dominance seemed to grant me justification for my arrogance.

I was convinced I was valuable.

I was energized by my obvious ability, and I had no comprehension of anyone disagreeing with my self-assessment.

All the time, I was quietly making enemies.

These enemies were silent out of fear of my intense attitude mingled with some respect for my accomplishments.

  • They were waiting.
  • They were biding their time, looking for me to fall.
  • And I did.

In my era, I committed the worst possible breach of local protocol–I got my girlfriend pregnant in a time when young people were not supposed to have any awareness of their genitalia.

On top of that, I was a good church-going boy who now was the father of a baby out of wedlock.

I needed wisdom.

I needed mercy.

I needed to know what the hell to do next.

But since I had never expressed vulnerability, no one allowed me the courtesy of being wounded. They took all of the pent-up anger and frustration over my self-righteousness, and banished me and my girlfriend to an island by ourselves, where we were viewed as outcasts and a disgrace to the populace.

Now, I’m sure my reflections may seem overwrought, and the testimony of others who lived through the era might render a different tale.

But banishment is not the reality of the action. Instead, it is the sensation of the loneliness.

And I was lonely–so lonely that I considered aborting the very child that made my union with this dear woman viable.

I didn’t.

I survived the banishment and I guess my village got over all of my hypocritical indiscretion.

Life went on.

The amazing thing is that I have found myself many times possessing the same seat of judgment, with the ability to levy punishment against others and banish them from my sight.

I cannot tell you that my record is spotless and that I’ve always been a just judge.

But thank God, often the memory of being solitary and confined to my own iniquity and mistakes has caused me to extend tenderness … instead of shoving the problem-makers away.

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Annunciate

dictionary with letter A

Annuciate: (v) to announce something.

“Hear ye, hear ye!” the town crier squalled at the top of his lungs.

To annunciate.

Yet I believe the definition has evolved over the years, has it not? It is no longer about making an announcement, but rather, the idea that to annunciate is to speak clearly.

Maybe this change was necessary because over the years misunderstanding has tainted the original proclamation.

We must realize that clarity is just as important as purity. There are many people who feel they can annunciate great truth from holy books, but because they do it with a hypocritical accent or a vicious tone, the words never quite land on the human heart with comprehension.

I’ve heard individuals suggest that somebody speaks “with a nasal tone.” Actually the nose is a great reverberator, and when used, generates clearness of speech rather than inhibiting it.

Sometimes people fail to annunciate because they don’t want their meaning to be grasped. Ambiguity is a great advantage to those who have decided to be chicken-shit.

Case in point: politics always looks for sentences that can have double or even triple interpretations so as to protect the politician from defining a position.

Yet sooner or later, those who announce with purpose and represent their cause precisely are the ones who advance the human race in the direction of unity.

For after all, once you proclaim “liberty and justice for all” it is difficult to tolerate segregation and inequity.

And when you’ve stood in a pulpit and spoken “God is love” and the words ring out like a bell in the heart of mankind, it is nearly impossible to transform that thought into a vengeful and hateful Being who wishes to destroy portions of His creation because of their status.

To annunciate: to announce, unafraid to articulate … knowing that the truth that makes us free must be spoken faithfully.

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Analgesic

dictionary with letter A

Analgesic: (n) a drug which acts to relieve pain.

Quite honestly, I have a cave man’s philosophy concerning pain and pleasure.

“Pleasure. Much good.”

“Pain. Me no like.”

Although I do try to move away from this darkened cave of understanding, sometimes I feel silly being philosophical about a pain I can only discuss intelligently when it is not inflicting me.

Yes, it seems noble to put forth the theory that pain assists us in our journey to greater understanding of ourselves, both physically and spiritually, but since I believe in reaching for an analgesic whenever pain even peeks over the horizon, I do feel a little bit hypocritical trying to turn Socratic when discussing it in the abstract.

Here’s the truth. Pain means there’s something wrong.

Even in the case of childbirth, the baby is trying to make it clear that further occupancy is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the reverse is not true. Not all pleasure lends itself to improvement.There is pleasure that is so temporary and brings such lasting pain that it is well worth avoiding the temporary jolt of satisfaction.

So is life about:

  • avoiding pain?
  • learning from pain?
  • healing pain?
  • or defining pain?

I don’t have the foggiest idea.

But I feel no shame in reaching for my favorite off-brand analgesic any time one of these aching situations pops into my life.

If pain is a teacher … it probably needs to find a better approach.

 

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