Correctional Facility

Correctional facility: (n) a prison, especially for long-term confinement.

I think it’s safe to say that a plurality, if not a majority, of people think about prisons just about as much as they do the city dump or changing the batteries in their smoke detectors.

It’s not that we’re uncaring. It’s just that sometimes we are at such a loss as to know what to do that rather than taunting ourselves with the frustration of considering something, we pretend it vanished into thin air. (Kind of like when you pick your nose and pull one of those crusty funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
things out and rub it between your fingers until there’s no further evidence…)

Early on in my career in music and the arts, our musical group was invited to come and perform at the State Prison. I was traveling with two girls, and most folks thought it was a very bad idea for us to go to such a dangerous and potentially violent arena.

But if you think about it, as long as you’re not sleeping in, a prison is one of the safest places on earth. Everyone is restrained, threatened and guarded. (Perhaps we should consider this profile for Washington, D. C.  I digress.)

We did not take the gig because we wanted to bring hope or good cheer to the prisoners. No—it was because we were just starting out, and anyone who wanted us to play was our next best opportunity. (After all, you get tired of performing at nursing homes or church pot luck dinners.)

We arrived at the prison and discovered that the entire population was not invited to the concert. Matter of fact, only 150 inmates would be present—these being members of a Bible study held twice a week in the rec hall.

Well, I was young and impetuous, so I objected. I said that if I’d wanted to come and play my music for a bunch of Christians, I could have gone down to the Baptist Church, which “may or may not have just as many felons.”

Both the warden and chaplain were patient with me. They realized that I was immature and did not understand that I was carrying along with me two delicious “human treats,” which these men had not partaken of in some time.

They explained that even though they could protect the girls in our group from attack, they certainly could not shelter them from the trauma of being accosted with foul language.

I grumbled.

Well, we did our first show in front of the Bible Club, and it went so well that the warden asked me if we would do another show in front of about 200 of the inmates who were presently on “good behavior status.”

I immediately agreed.

Boy—did I learn a lesson. If those 200 prisoners were the “good behavior boys,” I shudder to think what would have happened if they had released the lions on us young Christians.

It was loud, overbearing, and it was difficult to get the inmates quiet enough to listen to the music—and only when the beat reached a certain level of intensity did they clap their hands and participate in the event.

Afterwards I felt humbled. I told the warden and the chaplain that I was sorry for being such a jerk.

They corrected me. The warden said, “Don’t you ever give up on the idea of trying to help someone—especially if it looks hopeless.”

I nearly cried.

Even though there’s a reason they call them correctional facilities—because most of the time, correction is the name of the game instead of rehabilitation—it is not our right to ever give up on those that God decided to create in His image.


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

Coquette

Coquette: (n) a woman who flirts lightheartedly with men 

Jill liked men.

Or was it that Jill liked to flirt?

Perhaps Jill liked romance.

But Jill was one of those human beings–who happened to be female—who really embraced the notion of being desired, and raising the lust levels of all the men in the room.

I remember when I first met her, we were on our way to a business meeting and I noticed that a lot of guys waved at her from a distance or stopped to chat for a moment as we eased our way down the road. I thought to myself, Gee, whiz. I’m working with somebody who’s very popular, and that might come in handy funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
later if we need contacts.

What I soon discovered was that Jill was coquettish—or a coquette. She was one of those individuals who loved to be pursued and who pursued to be loved—and was even willing, as I found out later, to follow through on many an offer. I suppose jealous females or very religious people would have horrible names for her, like “whore,” but that’s because we still live in a Victorian age when attractive fellows who yearn for physical contact are called “ladies’ men,” and women who chase the same activities are called “sluts.”

It is not only unfair—it is a misrepresentation of facts. Because Jill was a delightful girl who was even a person of faith.

She just had a much broader definition for “love thy neighbor.”


Donate Button


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Competition

Competition: (n) the activity or condition of competing.

“There is no competition between us,” she said with a smile.

And then we sat around the room trying to answer Jeopardy! questions. As the moments passed, the intensity of her responses increased, with evidence of a bit of froth at her mouth.

Of course–we’re all in competition.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

If we’re not competing for money, we’re competing for parking spaces.

As children we compete for the affection of our parents.

Sometimes we even stand in line at the grocery store and check to see if our tally is more impressive than the person before us.

Life may not be a competition, but in the process of living it, we develop a strong need to compete.

Some people call it greed or avarice.

Others deem it motivation.

I think it’s just quicker to call it human.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Browbeat

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Browbeat: (v) to intimidate someone, typically into doing something, with stern or abusive words.

I need an answer.

Better phrased, perhaps a definition.Dictionary B

I want to live a life where I freely and honestly input those around me, even if it’s not the common grind or goes against the flow.

I don’t need to be right. But I do need to make sure I speak–so I can tell myself that I’m participating.

Here’s the problem: one man’s “counsel” is another man’s “browbeating.”

In other words, some people can listen to my opinions, take them into consideration, use the more valuable parts and be appreciative for the encounter. But there are other folks who thrive on the elixir of confirmation and encouragement and consider any contrary view to be a personal attack.

And it doesn’t do any good to say “it’s their problem.”

Because in the long run, how we treat people is not based on our intention, but is solely determined by their reaction.

We may not like that, but it isn’t up to us to decide for another human how they should invest our pearls of wisdom.

What is browbeating?

I think I’ve finally come up with a conclusion:

Browbeating may very well be bringing up the same subject that was discussed earlier with greater intensity, because it wasn’t applied after the first conversation.

I don’t like that rendition, but it is a way to keep my opinions viable … but also extracted when they cease to be of any consequence.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Aquiline

dictionary with letter A

Aquiline: (adj) like an eagle, esp. referring to the nose. EX: “hooked like an eagle’s beak.”

It arrives at about age twelve, and hopefully, by the grace of God, disappears on one’s eighteenth birthday. Honestly, it will not disappear if we allow its friends to come and shack up.

“It” is insecurity.

When I was twelve years old, I was convinced of the following:

I believed my nose was aquiline because my dad was German and had a hooked nose. I failed to realize that my mother’s genes were also in there, so my hook was not as pronounced. (I once referred to my nose as a “hooker” until my Aunt Minnie explained that the term was inappropriate.)

I also believed that my lips were very large and that I possibly was the love child of my mother with a black man. (There was no basis for this since there were no black people within thirty miles of our community. But I chose to believe my mother had made some sort of journey.)

I also thought my eyes were crooked, and began to tilt my head to the left to compensate for the poor horizon of my peepers.

Keeping up this craziness was the notion that my B were “pinned to my head,” which I assumed was the sign of some sort of mental retardation.

Moving along, I totally was possessed with the frustration that I had horribly chubby cheeks, so I tried to elongate my face by holding my mouth in the shape of a small “O” all the time.

This insecurity is present in all adolescents, and is only dangerous if it’s allowed to link up with intensity, culminating in a bit of insanity, which in adulthood can lead to plastic surgery, therapy sessions and late-night heart-wrenching honesty with your mate, drenched in tears.

I know we think the answer to this question is to convince people that “we are all beautiful just the way we are.”

But since none of us really believe that deep in our hearts, wouldn’t it be more logical for us to come to the conclusion that we’re all ugly in our own way?

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Aptitude

dictionary with letter A

Aptitude (n): 1. an ability to do something 2. suitability or fitness

For a myriad of reasons, I barely made it through the 1980s with my being intact, primarily because of my complete disdain and obvious aversion to personality tests and aptitude quizzes.

It was all the rage in that era and still persists today in pockets promoting superficial psycho-babble.

The notion of taking responsibility for one’s life or learning a craft seems so arduous to the average person that they would like to believe they were born with certain abilities, rarities and anointings so as to take all of the mystery and work out of their personal journey.

Parents, aunts, uncles and grandma and grandpa all encourage this by noting everything from the timber of our early babble, to the length, height or breadth of body parts, to place a mission upon us before we’ve even learned how to stop messing our pants.

Certainly everyone wants us to fall into a personality type, where we can hide behind the pluses and minuses of that particular idea to explain our behavior.

But even though these testers will insist that you can be docile, quiet, introverted and silent, they sometimes fail to remind you that it is the world around us that requires we step out of our shadow and into the light.

Yes, perhaps intimidated folks can be given a name, but it is the gregarious ones who will be given the position. One would think it’s a plot, to keep part of the population oppressed in order to supply fodder for the more menial tasks, if one was of a nind to believe in conspiracy theories.

What I think is that we are too grounded in a Calvinistic, pre-destined American thinking that wants the whole plan laid out in front of us by the time we’re three years old, to ever instruct the general populace in matters of manners, intensity, perseverance and expansion.

I can tell you of a certainty that I had no aptitude for anything but eating. Yet there isn’t a doctor alive who will let me believe “I was born” with the aptitude to be fat. Isn’t that interesting?

Apparently some characteristics are inserted at birth and others become bad habits.

So what I choose to believe is that I have nothing but an aptitude for laziness and if I pursue that, I will end up poor and alone. Therefore I choose to overcome my aptitude … and study the present pursuit that rings my bell.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Anathema

dictionary with letter A

Anathema: (n) something or someone which one vehemently dislikes.

I wonder if that’s what’s necessary? I mean, I’m curious if there is a requirement for a certain amount of vehemence, anger, intensity and frustration to well up in the human soul before we actually decide to change anything.

Let’s take the old-fashioned word repentance.

It’s not old-fashioned because it’s out-dated. but like many valuable words, it’s lost some of the frequency of use because it’s not quite as pleasant to current thinking.

But I’m not sure repentance is possible until we become totally disgusted with where we are. In other words:

  • Will racism ever leave our world until it becomes anathema to our lives and even our breathing?
  • Can I lose weight without, in some way, shape or form, despising my way, shape and form?
  • Do we ever become free of our addictions until we nearly literally vomit them from our existence?

Are there really only two gears in the human vehicle–drive and reverse?

I don’t know.

But without anger and protests, most wars tend to go on indefinitely. Without some teaching of abstinence, promiscuity, disease and unwanted pregnancy begin to creep into society.

And without constantly reminding ourselves of our ancestors owning people as slaves, we just might forget to think about how we’re enslaving people today.

What is an anathema?

It is whatever we decide to do that takes away the power of other folks to do what they decide.

Yes, I guess that’s worth a few minutes … of uncomfortable reflection.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix