Ceiling

Ceiling: (n) the upper interior surface of a room

I offer no criticism nor judgment to those who pursue owning their own domicile where they can roam the halls as Lord or Lady of the
Manor. For about eleven years, I did it myself.

I was intrigued. I was told by those who owned homes that it was ridiculous to pay rent and have no revenue being laid up for the future.

I bought into it.

For a while it went along real well. I especially was fascinated with adding small improvements that would show my flair and style.

And then the house turned against me. It felt very personal.

I do not know what I did to offend my four walls and a roof, but one after another, grievances, complaints and near-disaster lined up to offer a rebellious tantrum.

One night it all came to a head as I was sitting in my bedroom and the ceiling began to leak.

No–that word is too passive. It actually poured water down on me and the floor below.

It didn’t stop. There was no explanation. And I will always remember my first inclination:

“Damn, somebody outghta DO something about this.”

It took me a moment, but I did eventually realize that “somebody,” in this case, was me.

The explanation for my outpouring was pretty simple. The hot water heater had exploded, pouring out all of its contents–ruining carpets, warping floors and making the house smell like a high school locker room.

After eleven years, I got rid of my home. I will never own another one.

I do not begrudge those who disagree with my assessment, but for me, when the ceiling begins to pour forth water, I want to call a landlord instead of tapping my own resources.

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Beyond

Beyond: (prep) to the further side of.

Dictionary B

I find myself taking some time off from touring to visit family.

I am told that this is meant to be a pleasant excursion, and there are pleasurable interludes within the available experience.

But I think America’s obsession with family is a ploy to avoid dealing with the world as our brothers and sisters, attempting to limit life to a much smaller Christmas list.

When I arrived in town, I curtailed my expectation–knowing that my children are all grown, have lives of their own, and are not constantly wondering what I might be feeling or thinking about any given situation.

I used to be Lord of the Manor, and now I am basically the gardener.

It’s not really a demotion–just an honorary position given to the retiring parent who is still permitted to be the groundskeeper.

So I’ve spent the week thinking about the word “beyond.”

  • What is beyond my scope?
  • What is beyond my ability?
  • What is beyond my interest?
  • What is beyond my business?

It is a fascinating series of questions which avail me of great understanding–as long as I don’t accidentally become too introspective or trip over my pouty lip.

The best thing to do as you get older is focus on your own life and let your children do the same. Every once in a while, they’ll pull out a photo album, remember a former time, become nostalgic and call you on the phone.

The key is to make sure you’re available.

Beyond that is beyond reason.

 

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Attire

Attire: (n) clothes, especially fine or formal ones.dictionary with letter A

I’ve only owned one house in my life.

It was a big one. The master bedroom had a huge walk-in closet.

Caught up in the vanity of the moment, I felt it was my duty to fill this enclosure with various costumes, clothing choices and attire which I could walk in and choose from daily as “lord of my manor.”

So I purchased garments, and some were given to me as gifts.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that each and every week, I was only wearing about three or four different outfits–repeatedly. The rest of the clothes were dangling from hangers like ugly gargoyles on a medieval castle.

They were fixtures. Matter of fact, some of them collected dust.

In the midst of this comedy of collection, I had a realization.

My mind went back twenty years earlier, when I found myself doing a gig in a small Kentucky town. (I was so grateful for the opportunity to share my talents and to have anyone listen to me that I chose to ignore the fact that the community had fewer than 500 people, and that the building’s foundation was crumbling.)

Arriving at this latest opportunity, I realized I only had two outfits from which to choose. One of them was a powder blue leisure suit which I had worn too often and was certainly a bit grimy. The other outfit was clean, but because I didn’t have a belt, the pants kept sliding down, threatening to disappear, producing disgrace.

So torn between my attire, I first put on the pants without a belt, only to discover that it was very annoying to keep pulling them up. So right before the show began, I slid into a back room and put on my somewhat filthy, powder-blue leisure suit.

In that moment I made a decision about my attire:

Always better to be a little soiled than “unfoiled.”

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Apparition

dictionary with letter A

Apparition (n.) a remarkable thing that makes a sudden appearance, especially a ghost.

I believe in ghosts.

Not the cloudy, smoky spirits of souls who have gone on to their reward or retribution. I’m talking about the ghosts of bad ideas, inclinations and fallacies that possessed our world in the past, and now have come to haunt us in the present.

  • Sometimes I just wish we could come up with new bad ideas.
  • Sometimes I just wish there was something new.

But instead we have the poltergeist of previous ridiculous concepts rising up from the grave, where we thought we buried it, only to spook us once again.

We don’t have new scandals. We have the spirit of Richard Nixon and Watergate infesting the present bodies of our politicians, making them do the same stupid mistakes he tried to pull off, which ended up with his destruction.

We don’t have music born of the spirituality and emotions of our own generation, but rather, grave-robbers who go and dig up the tunes of those who are now decomposing.

We are continually vexed by the apparitions of past failures or the ongoing celebration of victories, where the band has already played and marched away.

We spend too much time celebrating the past, forgetting the prejudice, disease and dumbness that prevailed.

I believe in ghosts because we refuse to inter the past.

So we just keep living this stuff over and over again … like a bunch of tales from the crypt.

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Apparent

dictionary with letter A

Apparent (adj.)1. clearly seen or understood; obvious. 2. seeming real, but not necessarily so.

All of our eyeballs have been blurred, leaving our vision tainted.

Perhaps it was the disappointment brought on by the tension of adolescence, or some hidden prejudice inserted into our thinking by well-meaning parents.

It might have been high expectation which was dashed and brought crashing to the earth by the flak of reality.

Somewhere along the line we began looking at the world through clouded lenses of bigoted conclusions.

Therefore what is apparent to one person is not equally as apparent to another. Matter of fact, we’ve developed a whole philosophical approach to the issue, insisting that we’re all quite different, and in our difference we find our “special purpose.”

Yet it doesn’t occur to us that if we all have different views of what is necessary, beautiful and spiritual, we’re more likely to collide into each other in the dark than to embrace each other in the light.

I do think it’s important that we come to some common ground on what is apparent, and even if we don’t completely understand it, submit to the wisdom of some very essential precepts:

1. We are not here alone.

In other words, we cannot live our lives as if there are no other human beings, and trying to pursue our goals without a belief in a Creator can be more frustrating than enriching.

2. The truth will make you free.

Lying is a detour which takes you through town, past the beautiful houses, but always ends up at the city dump. No one ever gets away with lying–and truthfully, the longer the deceit is disguised, the worse the retribution.

3. Miracles are God’s business, but talent is mine.

There is no replacement for ability applied with hard work. Those who peddle shortcuts, easy diet plans and get-rich schemes may be the closest thing we will ever see to flesh-and-blood satans.

There are things which are apparent. If we agree, we can begin to pull together instead of pushing and shoving each other. But to get this done, we must stop believing that the Earth is a series of human islands instead of a continent of brothers and sisters.

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Apparel

dictionary with letter A

Apparel: (n) clothing

For most of my life, I have been a vagabond traveler with a bit of gypsy in my soul, who mustered just enough air of sophistication to avoid being deemed “Bohemian.”

But for a very brief season, I bought a piece of land and became “Lord of the Manor,” which along with its title, warranted the purchasing of garments to hang in a closet, since it was available for walking in.

I was a little shocked at how quickly I accumulated apparel. A shopping trip here, a gift there, a sale when someone was convinced I couldn’t live without some sweater handed over to me as a surprise…

It all eventually filled my closet with more turtlenecks than prayer.

And with it came shoes.

In my early years, I had one pair of shoes to my name and when they began to wear out, it would take me several weeks to conclude that they were no longer foot-worthy and needed replaced. But at one point, I think I had almost twenty pairs in my hideaway.

So here’s what I discovered about an abundance of apparel: for most of my garments, it was a very lonely life. Matter of fact, it’s a wonder that some of them didn’t “suit me” for non-support. (I apologize for that one. Sometimes I can’t resist.)

After all was said and done, it boiled down to about four outfits that I universally wore from week to week, and a few extra pieces thrown on as occasional accessories.

I truly learned the importance of the adage, “Take no thought for what ye shall wear.”

Because all a closetful of apparel did for me was make me feel guilty about ignoring my threads.

 

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