Compatible: (adj) two things able to exist or occur together without conflict.

I sat patiently listening to the young psychologist try to explain to those who had gathered for what had turned into a boring lecture about what it truly means to “be compatible.”

He was well-studied (which always guarantees a certain amount of error).

He said, “It is important for a couple to find the things they share in common and to celebrate their differences.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I don’t know whether I was the only one in the room who thought, “Oh, my God, kill me before I ever have to be in that discussion.”

But the tepid response he received and the lack of questions let me know that the audience had moved far beyond this young man’s learning–into the actual world of doing.

Having a relationship with anyone or anything is certainly about being compatible. But it is foolish to over-complicate the scenario.

Simply stated.. do your plugs fit?

If it’s a romantic situation, it will be necessary to find out if you like each other’s lips, each other’s hands, each other’s genitals, each other’s odors, each other’s habits and each other’s…others.

There will be adjustments. After all, as in the case of plugs, two identical plugs do not hook up. They require different ends to their means.

So sexually, a woman does not have to be a dynamo, nor does a man need the largest penis in the Sahara Desert. They just have to find out how their plugs hook up and work on adaptors.

Likewise, how do your plugs hook up on finance? She spends, he’s thrifty. That is completely compatible as long as she has money that is hers and he doesn’t lament how she uses it.

How do your plugs hook up about raising kids? She’s a strong disciplinarian, he’s a wimp. So when there are wimpy issues, let him head the class. When the little turds need stronger language, let Mama do the job.

Over-complicating human relationships always makes us believe that we’re incompatible.

“Black people can’t be around white people. White people like organ music and black people like tambourines.” It is possible to play the tambourine with an organ, and it’s also historical to rock your organ out a little bit.

Compatible is not difficult: check your plugs. Wiggle them around. Find a way to make them fit.

Nothing on Earth is really natural–everything requires a bit of work.

Otherwise, we all would be perniciously lazy.


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Botany: (n) the scientific study of plants

“Old Lady Martinson.”Dictionary B

That’s what we called her because we were young, cruel and indifferent to the feelings of anyone who wouldn’t giggle at our silly jokes.

I knew her because she occasionally hired young boys to do chores, offering a quarter for what we deemed was worth a dollar.

She had lots of cats. You didn’t need to see the cats to know this. It just required you being “nosy.”

The smell was horrible.

She was also rather odd (which, as I look back at it, I am not so sure is true, considering that when you’re in your early teens, “odd” is anything that doesn’t fit into your two-square-inch box of understanding).

But I do have one solid memory–she loved to lecture about botany.

She told me she used to teach it in college. To prove her point, she constantly talked to the plant life in her large, unkempt, stale-smelling house.

One day she took me on a tour of her various vines, plants and ferns. As she pointed out each one, she offered a greeting, uttered a name and mustered a bit of encouragement.

She spoke to them.

I was spooked–I thought she was going to have a spasm or attack me with a butcher knife like I had seen in one old movie.

She didn’t.

But it was when she introduced me to her African violets and began to sing to them in mumbo-jumbo that I realized it was time to go.

I think plants are wonderful.

I think we should study them.

I think they are essential to life on Planet Earth.

But I also think we should not “chat them up.”

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dictionary with letter A

Anteroom (n.): an antechamber, usually serving as a waiting room.

Of course, we never call it an anteroom.

But I’ve had my fair share of being in waiting rooms. I think most of us have. Three occasions pop into my mind immediately.

When I was seven years old, my parents found a dentist about ten miles from our town who stubbornly refused to join the modern world of pain-free tooth care, and insisted that all of the chemicals and medicines that were injected into young children to relieve the discomfort of repairing teeth were going to cause a generation of sterile adults.

Of course, he had no basis for the theory, but my parents thought he was a pioneer and a patriot so they decided to use him as our family dentist.

I have two startling memories of this experience.

Number one was sitting in the anteroom, waiting my turn, hearing the moans and groans of other children subjected to the Neanderthal treatment.

Additionally was enduring both the lecture and the pain of having my teeth drilled by a gentleman who was certainly soon to be declared a medical dinosaur.

The second waiting room experience that pops to mind was when I was a mere nineteen-year-old, waiting for the birth of my first son. Having no idea of the process, and being surrounded in the waiting room by veterans of the procedure, I remember fidgeting until I forced myself to need to pee, and therefore being out of the room when the doctor came in to tell me of the birth of my child.

The third and final memory is a rather unpleasant one of being in the Emergency Room of a hospital in Mobile, Alabama, waiting to hear the status of my son who had been hit and run by a car. Being raised in the Midwest, I was filled with optimism, believing that the medical field would be able to put my little Humpty Dumpty back together again.

That night, over and over again, I was given bad news, each time deepening in darkness. Matter of fact I was so inundated with dreary reports that I nearly ran from the room, screaming, to escape the mania.

So when I think about waiting rooms, I realize that they are a perpetual paradox. First you have “waiting”–not the best profile for any human being. And then, you have a room, which normally has four walls, increasing claustrophobia and fear.

I certainly hope there’s no waiting room in heaven.

Don’t you?


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Action Figure

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Action figure: (n.) a doll representing a person or fictional character known for vigorous action, such as a soldier or superhero. The figure is typically posable, with jointed limbs.

I think one of the most creative cartoons ever devised was Transformers.

These were robots that could morph into other objects, weapons, or even flying machines to fight their enemies. Not only was it represented well in animation, but they actually came up with action figure toys which were equally as entertaining for the young set–or even those a little older and graying, like me.

One Christmas, one of my sons asked for Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime was the ultimate Transformer–the good guy of all good guys. His enemy was Megatron.

Of course, that particular Christmas I could not locate Optimus Prime anywhere–but was able to easily find Megatron, who ironically, was quite marked down.

Megatron was cool, but was also the bad bot. I did not want to pass on the impression to my eight-year-old that I was purchasing the “Dark Lord of the Transformers,” perhaps inkling to him that evil had the power to triumph over good.

So I decided to order Optimus Prime and put a certificate under the tree, explaining that the present would arrive at a later date and hoping that would be sufficient to create some sort of enthusiasm.

Little did I know that a family friend, who thought he was being a magnificent unseen uncle, purchased Megatron on sale and gave it to my son. So what I feared came to be: my son had all of his little Transformers who were nice fellows, but no match for the massive and sinister Megatron.

I tried to get him enthusiastic about the upcoming arrival of Optimus Prime, but he was just TOO thrilled with his new bad boy of rock and roll.

I was worried.

I know it sounds silly–but as I listened to him playing through the door on Christmas Day, I sensed there was a battle going on in his soul–good versus evil.

Finally I decided to go in a talk to him about his present collection of action figures. I found him deeply engrossed in a skirmish. So I sat down for five minutes and explained to him that even though Megatron was big and strong, that he was not to be honored just because it SEEMED like he had more power than all the good transformers.

My son listened carefully, even though he occasionally was distracted and gazed over at his new, shiny toy. After my lecture, I asked him if he understood and “would he please explain it back to me.”

He patted me on the leg and said, “Daddy, don’t worry. You see, here’s what I’ve figured out. Megatron is strong, but when all the good transformers work together as a team, they can beat him–because then they’re stronger.”

At this point, he turned and ran away for his next in-house Armageddon. I sat for a moment and just shook my head. How did this little boy come up with such a profound statement? And why is it that we grown, intelligent, well-educated people can’t figure that one out for ourselves?

Yes, if all the good guys would just get together, evil wouldn’t have a chance … in hell.