Armchair

dictionary with letter A

Armchair: 1. (n) a comfortable chair, typically upholstered, with side supports for a person’s arms. 2. (adj) lacking or not involving practical or direct experience of a particular subject or activity.

There should never be more pundits than participants.

There. I have established a new rule.

Like most rules, it will be ignored in favor of some sort of haphazard pursuit of unbridled freedom.

Yet we have too many people with too many opinions who have too little talent to participate in the matters that are too important.

Last night as I watched the National Championship for college football, I was astounded at how many different people they had conglomerated to voice their opinions on the activities of these barely post-adolescent young men, who have been pushed to the forefront as superior athletes.

Some of these “armchair quarterbacks,” as we often call them, are actually former players. But they all seem to forget a very important fact. Even though I didn’t play football very long, I will tell you something which is never brought up by those in armchairs, be it about sports, politics or life in general:

It happens too fast.

If you expect your training or your brain to be able to come up with some magnificent way to handle the task in front of you, you will be confounded, stumble and make mistakes.

Just as a politician who wants to seek counsel with many people before making a decision always ends up piping in a little too late, any football player who believes he will have time in the middle of the game to access the resources of his brain and come up with the perfect solution for the situation, is going to end up looking foolish and inept.

Life really works with the conjoining of two magnificently unpredictable units: instinct and luck.

And the only way to be successful is to put yourself into enough uncomfortable situations that your instincts begin to turn you in the right direction, and then realize that the choices you make will still require some luck in order to be fruitful.

I got tickled after the game last night when they asked a player what he was thinking “right before he threw that pass.”

The young man crinkled his brow as if he didn’t understand the question, but politely replied, “Well, it was just a play and I played it through.”

Exactly.

America sometimes seems obsessed with the notion that we can educate ourselves into a better world.

Pundits love to discuss, from their armchairs of comfort, how somebody should have done something completely different in a given situation. But the best we can really do in life is to stop being afraid of difficulty.

For it grants us the instinct to know what to do at the right moment, and then step back…and pray we get lucky.

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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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Apple-pie order

dictionary with letter A

Ap·ple-pie or·der (n): perfect order or neatness.

When I read today’s definition, I realized I had no recollection or information on this terminology, and since I am a writer on the Internet, I am fully qualified to expound on it in great detail.

For I will tell you–I like the phrase “apple-pie order,” and I realize that it is never used in our generation simply because we find that a certain amount of disarray is necessary to convey our individuality.

If you want to lose friends and not influence people, just suggest they initiate organization. It is the classic definition of “buzz kill.”

Because even though people cannot argue with your assertion that a certain amount of prioritizing is essential, they feel very American and freedom-minded by continuing their chaos in bliss.

What is the apple-pie order of life? Does it vary from one situation to another? Or has the evolution of the human experience shown us exactly how we work best?

I think that we, as human beings, are heart, soul, mind and body creatures.

When we make our decisions based on our bodies, we normally end up in some derivation of excess or hedonism.

If we decide our life goal based on what we think, we borrow too much from our training and parents’ philosophy and never gain our own sense of purpose.

Even those who feel they’re very spiritual by promoting prayer and God-seeking in the forefront tend to sprout too much piety and not enough practicality.

So we must begin with the heart. If we don’t deal with our feelings and rectify them with reality, they will hang around and kick us in the butt if we turn our backs.

So I think the apple-pie order when attempting to place things in a realistic framework is to start out with:

  1. What do I feel about this?
  2. Is there abiding knowledge or wisdom on the issue?
  3. Can I think of a way to take what I’ve just discovered about my feelings and universal truth and come up with a great idea?
  4. Can I motivate this old bod that I’ve carried around and encourage it to perform the functions that make me appear adept instead of inept?

So it turns out that the apple-pie order is so much like the dessert itself: it works better if you take some time to seek out an a la mode.

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Amateur

dictionary with letter A

Amateur: (n) a person who engages in a pursuit on an unpaid basis.

It’s a pretty good definition that Webster came up with.

Yet I can tell you that in my lifetime, I have performed my share of professional service to neither acclaim or remuneration.

Yes, there’s another aspect of being amateur. It’s pretty simple: a true professional is in search of his or her weaknesses, to perfect them in order to avoid both critique and lack. An amateur, on the other hand, is in search of praise in order to acquire grace for a multitude of weaknesses, pretending they don’t exist.

This is why amateurs get worse with rehearsal and professionals get better. For after all, to continue to practice is an admission that things need to improve–and if you’re unwilling to admit your mistakes, then such a maneuver seems meaningless, and perhaps mean-spirited.

For instance, I wish we did have professional politicians–for actually, the little boogers are all amateurs.

A professional would understand that a certain amount of resolve is necessary to pave the way for the ultimate discussion which will lend itself to a treaty designed to progress the cause, to avoid looking inept.

Amateur politicians come in believing they are perfect in their present condition, needing no improvement, and only manifest resolve with no understanding of the divine need for agreement.

The end result is that we have a very amateur country with amateur participants, amateur results and therefore we receive the due payment for an amateur.

What do I work on in order to be professional?

  1. I compare myself with people who are better than I am, and work to imitate their excellence.
  2. I never settle for good when great still looms in the distance.
  3. I alleviate criticism by doing my own evaluation, which is much more intense than that of my audience.
  4. I keep a sense of good cheer about transition. It is not only inevitable, but also necessary.

I will agree with Webster that normally when you have enough passion to get better at what you do, it makes people believe you’re worthy of payment.

But to get there, you have to be an amateur without dough, still doing a great show.

Aficionado

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Aficionado: (n.) a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject or past-time

I am almost certain that these two particular words NEVER, or perhaps better stated, RARELY, work together.

I am talking about knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

In my life I have encountered people who were knowledgeable, but the information they attained through schooling or experience had disembowled their enthusiasm.

Likewise, I have been in the company of those ablaze with enthusiasm, only to discover that their limited scope of comprehension had cursed the project to the great pit of ignorance.

Yes, it is a rarity to discover a human being who is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic, therefore fulfilling Webster’s definition of aficionado.

It is perhaps one of my primary goals in life–to learn the inner workings of my craft without becoming jaded, cynical or bored.

  • For I will tell you, the worst person in the world to teach you about the Constitution, government and the great American dream is a politician.
  • I have never found ministers to be a tremendous source for bolstering one’s faith through their personal testimony.
  • I certainly would not want to discuss lifelong love and fidelity with a prostitute.
  • In turn, becoming excited about the wonderful choices available in a restaurant is not always accomplished by talking to the chef or the owner.
  • And needless to even say, having an inspiring dialogue about the glory of music is doomed to failure if you are going to chat with the first violinist of a symphony.

My goal? To learn to do what I do better–while still maintaining a childlike heart, as if it were the first day on the job.

People often ask me  if I get tired, sharing the same stories and songs. You can sense that part of them WANTS me to be burned out. But there is a little boy or girl inside, who instead wants to leap for joy if I am still thrilled to be on my playground. So it is always my magnificent pleasure to inform them that each song I sing and each word I speak surprises me every night with new significance.

I would love to be knowledgeable. Just not snarly.

I desire to be enthusiastic. Could I do that without being inept?

“Aficionado” should be the goal of everyone who wants to see the world get better.

To do that, we have to learn the truth and allow it to set us free … instead of making us depressed.