Ballboy: (n) a boy who retrieves balls that go out of play during a game such as tennis or baseballDictionary B

I grew up in a village which was about 20 miles from a big city.

Even though we insisted that we were an autonomous population. we privately knew that we had to go 20 miles to actually be entertained or purchase clothes that were not second-hand.

Every once in a while, the big city would invade our little burg with a possibility. This happened when I was ten years old.

The minor league baseball team which headquartered in the big city decided to bless the neighboring burrows with an opportunity–to let one of the favorite sons be a ballboy for one night at the park.

It was a big deal.

You got to go to the game, put on a uniform and run out and chase balls that went awry, or give bats to the superstars.

So they further made a big deal of it by holding an audition to select the ballboy, which drew a crowd of about 45 kids between the ages of ten and twelve.

I was one of them.

Even though I did not like baseball very well, I was fairly athletic and certainly competitive. So at the end of fielding flies, chasing balls, and even some opportunity to use the bat, the committee selected me to be the ball boy for this game.

I had never won anything in my life expect the privilege of being born.

My skin was tingling, my head was swimming and the rest of me just wanted to pee.

So they took me into a room and pulled out the uniform I was to wear for the game and asked me to try it on.

It didn’t fit. Not even close.

I was chubby, which is what my parents called it, and everybody else knew to be fat.

I tried hard to fit into that uniform. I said that by next week I could lose some weight. But reluctantly, they awarded the opportunity to the boy who came in second place. Even though he had less ability, he also had less blubber.

I was shocked.

I was devastated.

And on top of that, I heard a giggle or two from the gallery, causing me to feel humiliation.

Until I sat down and wrote this essay today, I did not realize that I still had remnants of feelings about the injustice. Here’s an idea–one we might want to use in the future, even when electing our leaders:

Let’s find the best person for the job, and then pick the outfit.


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dictionary with letter A

Apprehend (v): 1. to arrest someone for a crime. 2. to understand or perceive: (e.g.) great art invites us to apprehend beauty

Occasionally, the dictionary offers us two definitions of a word, which seem quite unique to one another, if not at odds.

After all, what does being arrested have to do with learning?

Yet in a world where we “Cliff” notes, “Tweet” all thoughts and “abridge” our art into compact units, we must understand that somewhere along the line, the attention span of the average person needs to be stopped, frisked and arrested instead of just providing an “Amber Alert.”

Truthfully, we do have the word “comprehend,” which connotes that a reasonable person can consider an idea to determine if it has personal value.

But there are things in life which are so essential that they require a yea or nay. Yes, there are too many votes being taken in this country for us to move forward to progress our spiritual or human rights.

How do we communicate this?

  • I have rejected preaching because it is pompous.
  • Honestly, teaching takes too much time.
  • “Sharing” is a bit ephemeral for my taste.
  • I believe the only way to truly impact our generation is through illumination. Yes–turn on the damn lights and then explain why you have temporarily blinded the room.

Certain things in our society need to be apprehended quickly–arresting our attention–or the backlash from Mother Nature and Father God will be universal.

1. No one is better than anyone else.

Stop debating it; start believing it.

2. The Earth is the Lord’s but we are the caretakers.

Grab a hoe or a shovel instead of just using resources.

3. The greatest injustice on Earth is the inequity between men and women.

No, it’s not “cute” to fight.

4. We can’t keep killing and still call ourselves civilized.

War is a “grave” possibility.

There you go.

I suppose I could wait around for people to comprehend these ideas and come to some sort of compromise through debate and cajoling, but I do believe these concepts actually need to be apprehended by everyone immediately … to avoid the foolishness and pain that follow folly.


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dictionary with letter A

Anarchy: (n) a state of disorder due to the absence or nonrecognition of authority.

Is there really order if the people or the powers that be in control have created emotional anarchy in those around them?

In other words, if people aren’t discovering freedom or contentment, is there any order? Or is the general disorder of being insensitive to humanity leaving the door open for necessary dissent?

And if that’s too difficult to understand, let me simplify it: if it ain’t workin’, why work it?

A certain amount of anarchy is necessary to create change.

As long as we are satisfied, lining up in straight columns to follow the existing standards, what chance is there for an inkling of insight to wiggle its way into the conversation?

  • Where is there injustice?
  • Where are there platitudes without purpose?
  • Where is there practice without reason?
  • Where do commandments get proclaimed without commanding us to improve our lives?

I think anarchy is one of those words created by people who love to maintain the status quo, making anyone who disagrees look like a renegade.

Actually, there’s no such thing as anarchy. There is legitimate change and illegitimate stupidity.

If we need it, it is not anarchy. If it is counter-productive to the human race, then it’s just dumb.

By this definition I would call myself an anarchist when it comes to organized religion.

I am an anarchist about the two-party system in our country.

I think the electoral college itself is anarchy.

I think the way men and women have allowed themselves to be segregated is anarchy manufactured by religion, politics and entertainment in order to plump up each existing demographic.

George Washington was an anarchist.

Abraham Lincoln certainly promoted anarchy.

Franklin Roosevelt’s work programs, were pure anarchy.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is anarchy born of spirit.

Nothing is going to happen in this country until anarchy has a chance to speak up without being cut off at the legs for being radical.

It’s time to review what we call “holy”… and see if it actually is making people whole.

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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alacrity: (n) brisk and cheerful readiness: e.g. she accepted the invitation with alacrity.

I think the greatest debate in the human family is this: to understand that there is a difference between what we think should be and what we are actually stuck with.

Lots of folks spend a lot of their quality time complaining about the injustice, unfairness and inequity of what has been perpetrated against their circumstances, only to discover that “raging against the machine” does not seem to turn off the engine.

It’s really a simple principle.

If you decide to manufacture good cheer as a reaction to everything that happens in your life, at least you buy time to receive the opportunity to rectify the violation.

Sometimes it seems like Mother Nature and humanity have joined together to piss us off just enough to have us impudently stomp our feet and run from the room without ever contributing our talent or faithfulness. Yes, it is possible to be rendered ineffective, not because we lack ability, but because we cannot maintain stability.

Alacrity–it’s a decision:

  • I would rather be at peace with myself than right.
  • I would rather produce a sense of humor and cheer than be acknowledged.
  • I would rather reflect on better ideas than park my soul in the middle of a busy freeway, inviting others to bang into me.

Is it easy to do? I guarantee you–it is no more difficult than finding yourself fighting with others for the rights to your life, which they have already decided not to grant you.

It’s a great word–because it is the belief that as long as we’re pursuing a sense that is common and a joy that is needful, to fake it is truly to make it.

The play-acting is well worth the effort.


Abrahams, Harold

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abrahams, Harold (Maurice):(1899-1978) English athlete. In 1924 he became the first Englishman to win the 100 meter race in the Olympic games. His story was retold in the movie, Chariots of Fire.

I was traveling in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, when I went out with two friends and saw the movie, Chariots of Fire. Although it was a bit maudlin for my taste, I was still captured by the story and moved by the message–so much so that when I arrived back in my motel room, I slipped on a pair of sandals, and even though it was nearly midnight I went down to the beach by myself, determined to duplicate the running along by the sea I had just witnessed in the flick.

It was a beautiful night–one which the Chamber of Commerce would love to have bottled and sold at orange juice stands as evidence of the beauty of the community. There was a fine mist in the air from the waves hitting the shore, and I was tingling all over with the anticipation of duplicating the emotion of the movie.

I looked off in the distance and set a marker in my mind of where I wanted to end up at the conclusion of my sprint. I was Abrahams. I was the great English racer. Even though I had quite a few more pounds than he did, in that moment, they were shed from my mind by the sheer awesome wonder of being transformed into the realm of Olympic training.

I started to run.

I got about four paces when my sandal stuck in the wet sand. I tripped and fell on my face, burying my nose deep within the beach. Determined, I got up and tried it again. I repeated the same process with great proficiency.

I do not know whether the terrain on Jacksonville Beach is so much different from England, or if it was perhaps because I was not quite as light of feet as Abrahams–but I just I sank deeper into the dampness. Or perhaps running on sand is just the stupidest thing that anybody ever came up with on earth.

But try as I might, I was only able to run about twenty feet before my heart was racing much quicker than my legs. I fell down, exhausted, and stared at the ocean.

I stayed there for a long time–because my legs ached, my knees were sore and my nose was full of algae. Gradually I worked my way to my feet and walked back to my motel room. In the process of that brief stroll, I recreated my story. Upon arriving, I told my traveling companions that I had duplicated the scene from the movie–and had run at least one mile down the beach and back.

Their eyes gleamed with admiration.

I went to sleep that night a liar. But I felt very little shame. After all, Hollywood and movies are just fairy tales. And fairy tales can come true.

It can happen to you.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

About-face: 1. (n.) {chiefly in the military} a turn made so as to face the opposite direction 2.(v.): a command to make an about-face.

I don’t like to be ordered around.

Of course, if you say that out loud, people think you’re too spunky or too touchy. I’m not saying that I WON’T be ordered around. There are people who have the right to do so, and I respect their position.

I guess what I really mean is, I don’t like to be ordered around simply because someone has run out of things to do, so they come up with a new command to bark at me so they will still feel in control.

It reminds me of when I was a kid and would occasionally make the mistake of acting like I was bored. Before I could correct my error, my mother or father would always find something for me to do to fill my time in the most unpleasant way possible–a meaningless chore like cleaning out the attic, which no one ever visited anyway.

I do think there are things in life which demand an about-face. I would hope we would be intelligent enough to figure them out on our own, though, without someone having to scream at us to get our attention.

I think it would be wonderful if the President of the United States made an about-face and quit the Democratic Party, becoming an Independent, to communicate to the nation that he was no longer President of a club, but instead, the leader of all the people.

I would love to see the Catholic Church do an about-face on its traditions, which have generated sub-par human beings who abuse children out of their frustration over the lack in their own lives.

I would love to see the corporations in America do an about-face and realize they will not be able to make lavish profits if they continue to destroy the confidence of the consumer, raping them of money for often-inferior products.

I would like to see the entertainment industry do an about-face and add a little bit of conscience in with the effort to make a dollar at the box-office.

I would like to see the nation make an about-face on the issue of anything that kills people and put our freedom above the Second Amendment.

I would like to see myself do an about-face on believing there is a short list of things that I cannot overcome because I’m either too old or too stubborn.

About-face is a good idea–especially when you’re not waiting for a drill sergeant to give the order.

Yes, I guess I am much more pliable when the commands come from my own heart, through my soul and register in my brain.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abound: (v.) Exist in large numbers or amounts.

I abound in pounds.

That nearly rhymes.

I was trying to think about all the things I abound in. For a brief season in my life, I abounded in money. Without sounding like an absolute nerd or a ditz, I didn’t particularly find the experience to be any different from having just enough money to meet your needs–because unless you plan to do excessive things that you really don’t require, like order in Red Lobster every night to be delivered by a valet service, let’s be honest: clothes are clothes, food is food and a place to sleep is all about your pillow.

The fun I had with money when I abounded in it was giving it away–which is why I no longer abound. Some folks think I should have thought ahead and kept some  money on balance, so that I would always be well-to-do instead of just temporarily well-to-do, and now mere mortal.

But if you remember, in Superman II, Clark Kent was willing to give up all the powers of Krypton to get a peek at Lois Lane‘s byline. So even if you’re a superhero, you might be willing to forfeit your abounding for something more important.

People are always talking about America abounding in wealth, education and freedom. I suppose so–but abounding isn’t nearly as much fun if you can’t share with others. And I never met a selfish person who really thought he or she WAS abounding–even when it was obvious they had much more than they needed.

So what IS abounding?

I guess abounding is the day that you feel comfortable in your own skin, and everything you really need … is inside there.