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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Chintzy

Chintzy: (adj) cheap and of poor quality.

It’s no accident that “save a buck” rhymes with “bad luck.”

There certainly is validity to the proverb which warns, “Let the buyer beware,” but there is greater value in this euphemism: “Let the buyer
BE aware.”

Sometimes money does buy quality.

Sometimes trying to get a deal ends up with very little appeal.

Sometimes the effort and time you put into trying to save a dime costs you twenty dollars in exhaustion.

Sometimes you go ahead and pay for what you want because you want it–even though you know in two weeks it’ll be on sale.

Sometimes you have to realize that squeezing a dollar doesn’t really work that well–because the ink’s dry.

Sometimes being thrifty is a synonym for being chintzy.

And the best way to make a million dollars in the United States–if you have no conscience about how you do it–is to offer an inferior product at a lower price, with no guarantee.

That way, you can make all your profit margin, and even though people are very angry, you can calm your hurt feelings on the way to the bank.

Let the buyer BE aware.

It’s fine to look for a good deal–seeking one out is often merely uprooting the selfish rodents and the cheating cockroaches from the wall.

 

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Bias

Bias: (n) prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group

Dictionary B

“Choose up sides.”

It happens early in our training, especially in elementary school.

Two captains are picked, which already establishes a bias toward a pair of students who are certainly preferred.

It is up to these two students to hand select their favorite individuals in a sequence which communicates to the entire room the new social order for the second-grade cult.

It may seem harmless–and especially seems to be free of guile for those who are selected early or who happen to be the captains.

But if you’ve ever been the last one selected, you are fully aware that bias leaves a lasting mark which is difficult to erase with the pencils provided during your years of education.

In many ways, the bias toward race begins on the playground.

We start off with only one race–that being “let’s go fast.” But as we describe to our teachers and families our newfound friends, we are suddenly discouraged from playing with them because somehow or another they are “different.”

Reinforcing this training is the notion that “girls are different from boys.”

“Smart people are different from less smart people.”

And the word different has two definitions:

  • If the difference is mine, it is better.
  • If the difference is yours, it is inferior.

It is impossible to celebrate cultures without promoting bias.

Yet we continue to do so, having children don sombreros on Cinco de Mayo, thinking that we are being multi-cultural–and also limiting the scope of a whole group of people to “a funny hat.”

Insanity is when we believe we solve a problem by creating a bigger one.

And bias is always the contention that the best way to understand people … is to punctuate their differences.

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Beggar

Dictionary B

Beggar: (n) a person, typically a homeless one, who lives by asking for money or food.

I was always curious what was meant by the word “chooser.”

You know–the classic closer on the phrase, “beggars can’t be…” culminating with the object, “…choosers.”

So much is made of choice.

We extol it as a symbol of our control, prowess and independence. But an amazing percentage of the events that transpire in our lives provide us no opportunity to choose, and often make us look like beggars.

People diagnosed with cancer have certainly not been given a chance to select a disease, and suddenly find themselves beggars to the doctor–and if they happen to be individuals of faith, on their knees, begging the heavens.

I guess we’re afraid of the word beggar, because no one wants to be beggarly. As Webster has proven in the definition provided for us today, we relegate being a beggar to the bedraggled homeless element in our society, who should be grateful for our pocket change, while no real change is ever offered to them.

Are they just destined to be poor?

I don’t think anyone is a beggar unless we treat him like a beggar.

If you have a five-year-old child and you take him to the store, and you haven’t provided a plan to give him a treat, you will end up with a little beggar on your hands.

If you’re a well-employed, successful individual who wants to purchase a house, but find yourself a few points deficient in your credit score, you may very well turn into a beggar in front of your loan officer.

So perhaps a beggar is not a position, but rather, a judgment we lay on each other when we want to feel superior and make another feel inferior.

For instance, my children will still come to me, asking for money. I have a choice. I can roll my eyes and be disgusted that they have the audacity to request finance from me, or I can make sure to remove all the elements of “beggar” from their consciousness, and let them know how delighted I am to be of assistance.

Last week I gave five dollars to a gentleman sitting alongside the road. Feeling he had a role to play, he began to grovel and feign tears in an attempt to prove to me that I was his superior and he, the dependent.

I refused to be part of the play.

I told him it was my blessing–that I hoped that in some small way he would be able to use it to brighten his day.

I took the “beggar” out of the definition … and gave him the chance to just be a man who I was able to assist.

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Archer

dictionary with letter A

Archer: (n) a person who shoots with a bow and arrows, especially at a target for sport.

When I was growing up, the pursuit of sports in my home was very seasonal–not in the sense of baseball in the summer and football in the fall, but rather, attention span.

My father and brothers developed interests in activities, and always would find a “good deal” on equipment relating to this endeavor, which they would purchase, only to discover that the materials were inferior, which made it impossible to adequately perform the task.

  • We bought a canoe that leaked.
  • We had some water skis that were cracked and fell apart the first time someone got on them in the water.
  • We had a basketball hoop that was supposed to be easy to set up in your driveway which never got higher than four feet.

Likewise, while watching Robin Hood one day on the television set, my older brother wanted to purchase a bow and arrows. My father thought it was “a champion idea.”

So with no understanding whatsoever of archery, they set out to the local hardware store, where the proprietor sold them one of his old bows and six arrows for “a really good deal.”

Without exaggerating, I will tell you that it took them two weeks to learn how to string the bow. The amount of energy it took to bend the bow for stringing nearly crippled their comprehension. The power required to pull the bow back, to shoot the arrow even two feet, was also extraordinarily daunting.

But after a couple of months, they convinced themselves they were experts on the subject and took me out to the woods to try my hand at shooting at a target.

I hated it immediately.

It took too much energy to pull the string, and because the bow was bent from the numerous attempts to manipulate it to our will, the arrows flew crooked, more resembling boomerangs.

After about the sixth attempt, they were ready to have a competition, to see who could hit the target the most often.

My dad stood ten feet to the side, away from the target, so he could give instruction to my brother and myself to make the competition more interesting.

I pulled back the bow and was ready to shoot it when my dad piped up and said, “No, Jonathan! Use more of your thumb!”

Not understanding what he said, I turned towards him in order to be respectful to his instruction, and as I did I slipped and released the arrow, which flew through the air, knocking his hat off.

It was William Tell without the apple.

My dad never said anything about it, but we quickly packed up the gear and it was stored from that point on, in the garage … next to the half-water ski.

 

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Antecedent

dictionary with letter A

Antecedent: (n) A thing or event that existed or logically precedes another.

I, for one, am personally enraged over the comment.

“All’s fair in love and war.”

I don’t know who had the audacity to throw love and war into the same mix and assume that they are achieved through similar motivations.

There is an antecedent to love, and certainly a different one to war. The two are not the same. And one would have to be extraordinarily cynical to believe that they are triggered by similar emotions.

Matter of fact, if you can find the antecedent, you can pretty well guarantee love, or at least something that is a delightful replica.

And if you insist on the antecedent for war, grab your helmet and grenades.

I believe the antecedent for love is contentment.

I’ve never seen two people who allow the seeds of discontentment to take root who can maintain their affection, but instead, become picky and fussy with one another.

What is contentment? Contentment is a decision to find our joy and peace of mind working with what we’ve got instead of complaining about what we lack.

The antecedent for war is jealousy.

It manifests itself sometimes as greed. Other times it parades around as ambition. But somehow or another we convince ourselves that what other people possess was misappropriated and needs to be taken away from them by force and placed into our stockpile.

What is jealousy? It is a lack of contentment because we’ve convinced ourselves that in some way we’ve been cheated or that someone we considered to be our inferior has risen to the occasion to be our equal.

As you can see, love and war have no similarity with each other whatsoever. Matter of fact, love would find it difficult to spew hundreds of bullets into the night air against unseen faces which just happen to be wearing unacceptable uniforms.

“All is not fair in love and war.”

Love doesn’t look for fairness. It works towards compatibility.

Of course, war is never fair. It’s the illusion of superiority… which always makes us look puny.

 

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Alienate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alienate:(v) cause someone to feel isolated or estranged: e.g. an urban environment that would alienate its inhabitants

Some words are symbiotic twins. (Are the words “symbiotic” and “twins” redundant? I’ll have to look that up.) Anyway, they work together to create a good or to create the potential for evil.

You will never need to alienate another human being as long as you’re willing to confront the mediocre in your life.

For instance, if you run across people who are better than you at some task, rather than trying to attack their acumen, you evolve and learn from them. If you accept the mediocre in your life, it becomes necessary to foster a disgruntled attitude and discover something unseemly about your competition.

All prejudice is grounded in a sense of mediocrity. I will tell you, if the white people in the South prior to the Civil War had raised offspring who could work the fields, toiling with the same diligence as the Africans, they wouldn’t have felt the need to alienate the hostages as inferior, but instead, would have joined them, shoulder to shoulder, pursuing their cotton-picking minds.

I know when I start becoming critical of others, it is a warning sign that I’ve accepted mediocre behavior, and because some strangers have dared to be superior to me, I begin to find fault and separate them from my field of play and stable of friends.

We do it in politics. We certainly do it in religion. We do it in corporations, by trying to spread rumors about another company’s hiring practices instead of allowing for the product itself to find place in the market.

Mediocre and alienate are twins.

If you are alienating somebody from your life right now, it’s because you’ve accepted some sort of mediocre attitude as normal. And if you’re mediocre, you will eventually need to alienate people who dare to excel.

It’s why in the United States it is more popular to talk about our uniqueness than it is to review our plans and critique our progress. When the stats and facts about our world placement in education, health care and even personal relationships is measured against other countries, we are not always found at the top. So this demands that we alienate. Some of our favorite terms:

  • third world
  • backward
  • non-Democratic
  • and ignorant

Great people don’t have to criticize anyone. They just evolve towards the new understanding instead of staying entrenched in tradition.

When you get rid of mediocre, you no longer feel the need to alienate other people. When you’re alienating people, it’s always a sign of some mediocre part of you trying to justify … blah.