Bottle

Bottle: (n) a container with a narrow neck, used for storing drinks or other liquids.

Kids like money.Dictionary B

I suppose you can try to change that.  Good luck.

Actually, the best you can do–so as not to become a personal ATM for your offspring–is to instruct them on various methods they can use to earn small sums of cash.

When my seven-year-old son came to me complaining that he didn’t have funds to buy a toy, I suggested that he go out and collect bottles. This was a time when such an adventure was plausible, and paid off with two cents per container.

He became extraordinarily industrious. In no time at all, he had collected 268 bottles. He was so proud.

So I drove him down to the local grocery store, which had promised to pay the deposit, and let him go in with a  cart, completely packed to the brim.

He was gone a long time. I almost decided to go in and check up on him, but felt he might consider that interfering.

He finally returned to the car with a little money in his hand and tears in his eyes. He didn’t say a word. So I finally asked him why he was so upset.

He shared that the store manager told him that today they would only give one penny for each bottle. He didn’t want to argue with a grown-up, so he accepted his half payment.

We just sat there for a moment in silence. Finally I asked him, “So what do you feel about that?”

The tears avalanched down his cheeks.

“I think it stinks,” he said.

I explained to him that since he felt that way, he should probably go in and make a stand. He nervously agreed.

Being a proud father, I couldn’t miss this. I made sure he didn’t see me sneak in behind him, but I was bound and determined to catch the discussion.

My little fellow was very respectful, but he challenged the manager and said that he had worked very hard to collect the bottles because he had been promised two cents.

Amazingly, the manager decided to stonewall. But as my boy made his case, a few customers came around, listening in on the exchange. One of them took my son’s side, and before you knew it, there were four or five people frowning at the store manager.

He realized he was going to lose more business than the $2.68 he was withholding. So he reached into the drawer, handed the money to my son and told him to be about his business.

I quickly scurried to the car to be there before he arrived. When he opened the door, he had a big, beaming smile.

He learned to stand up for himself–even though there was the risk that nothing would change. The truth of the matter is, if you’re being cheated by a penny on your bottles, you’d better pipe up.

Because bottling up your feelings can leave some nasty deposits.

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Border

Border: (n) the edge or boundary of something

Is the purpose of a border to separate us from the people we hate?Dictionary B

Or maybe we don’t hate them–maybe we have convinced ourselves that they’re just so “different” that they need to be on the other side of something.

And then if that line doesn’t work, we can place guards to protect our border from aliens invading us.

But what if the guards aren’t efficient enough? We’ll need some sort of fence. After all, you know the old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

But what if the more athletic adversaries learn how to jump our fences? We will certainly need a wall.

But God knows they are industrious enough in their thinking to fly airplanes over our walls and land on our turf. So we will certainly need to stop them at the airports and determine whether they are one of us, look like one of us, and will fit in with the rest of us.

This is going to take a tremendous staff of well-trained individuals who are able to identify the non-us.

And how limited should we make that vision?

Should it be based upon personality, color, attitude?

And we certainly can’t forget religion. We don’t want infidels coming in to infiltrate our spiritual utopia.

It seems that in no time at all we will need more people keeping other people out in order for us to enjoy being who we are.

And then comes the final fear:

What if the people already here are just very good at hiding their predilections of being foreigners?

 

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Bear

Bear: (n) a heavy wild animal with thick fur and sharp claws which has many varietiesDictionary B

Is the key in knowing what, and then when, or is it more accurate to pursue when, while acquiring what?

Please pardon the philosophical approach.

Is when more important than what, or does what take primary position over when?

Let’s study the bear.

Because even though this creature is known as a lumbering mammoth of fur and flesh with a ravenous appetite, which can be quite dangerous if aggravated, it does spend much of its time sleeping in a cave.

The bear has simply discovered when to be industrious and what to do. The bear has also learned when to be lazy, and what is the best slumber.

I think we are either lazy when we need to be industrious, or industrious when it might be better for us to lay back and hibernate.

Think of it from the bear’s perspective:

  • Spring and summer come along, which have pleasant weather, lots of fish to eat and picnic baskets to poach.
  • Then there’s winter. Even though you have a coat, why use it?

So crawling into a cave, relaxing, realizing that most things are not blooming and that picnic baskets have been put into the closet for better days, you choose to survive this down period by resting instead of fretting.

It’s very ingenious.

It’s probably why the bear has survived the post-dinosaur era until now, with very little sign of disappearing.

So I guess to capsulize this into an easily remembered slogan:

Learn from the bear … and don’t do what you can’t bear.

 

 

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Anthill

dictionary with letter A

Anthill (n.): a moundlike nest built by ants.

In the literary world, ants are always portrayed as industrious do-gooders. They’re also priggish in the sense that when characterized by poets, they are shown to be a bit snobbish about their craft, talent and provision.

I’ve even heard public speakers suggest that a factory or a particular group of working individuals were humming along at such an efficient pace that they “resembled an anthill.”

Yet having looked at an anthill myself and watched ants at work, I would like to make two subjective points that are contrary to the common promotional representation:

1. Can there be anything uglier than an anthill?

A vision in beige, heaped up in no particular style, constructed for the sole purpose of creating a catacombs of work environment for its enslaved occupants. At least when you look at a bird’s nest, it’s formed with all sorts of remnants of this and that and has some individuality. An anthill looks like the desert got the mumps.

2. I personally have watched ants go by me–busying themselves and oblivious to the world around them–and I have noted that there is no good cheer in the little crawlers.

Even though I am a great admirer of efficiency and work ethic, when you remove joy from the experience of human discovery, you end up acting…well, like an ant, wishing you could say “uncle.”

No wonder they occasionally rebel and slip away from the hive to raid picnics. (There are even a few radicals who decide to start their own business of rubber-tree plant removal.)

But most toe the line in their blah surroundings, pushing tiny morsels into the hill in order to eat, dry their sweat and go back out to find more scraps.

So I don’t think it’s a compliment for people to tell me I work like an ant. Because if you’re going to climb mountains … you’re going to have to get out of your anthill.

 

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Afternoon

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAfternoon: (n) the time from noon or lunchtime to evening.

Here’s a secret: life is about uncovering your delusions and quietly correcting them before they smack you in the face.

All of us are delusional.

The difference between success and failure is whether you acknowledge your delusion, hunt down these little pieces of silliness in your soul and extract them before they diminish your true opportunities.

Let us deal with the delusion of afternoon.”

An interesting quandary: lots of people hate the morning, insisting they aren’t “morning people,” and also would not consider doing anything in the evening, since it’s their “free time.” So they put tremendous pressure on the afternoon, when they have the least  amount of energy and possibilities, and the fewest contacts with people who are awake and ready to indulge in commerce.

Can there be a worse time to do business than from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.? Successful people already started the ball rolling in the morning, and those who love the evening hours approach the afternoon as if it WERE morning.

You find yourself in a no man’s land.

Now, you can feel free to disagree with this assessment, and some of you probably will. But here’s what I have found to be intelligent: whether you like it or not, the morning is when things happen. If you get over the delusion that you cannot function in those early, waking hours, you can learn to take your day on and use the afternoon in a more Mexican light.

Use it for a siesta.

Since most people slow down after lunch because of high blood sugar and general fatigue, as much as you can, try to bring less importance to the afternoon and more value to it as personal time.

For instance, I take a nap.

Having risen early in the morning to write, do commerce and take care of personal affairs, after lunch I allow myself the great delight of snuggling and snoozing. When I arise in the late afternoon, I am ready for a second bout with the day, usually involving more time with friends and family.

If you live for the night you will become a vampire and suck out your own blood.

But if you live for the afternoon, you will wonder why there isn’t much business or activity going on.

If you live for the morning, you will overcome your fear of scrambled eggs and find that there are many other people, industrious in nature and wise in discovery … who will meet you there.