Comment: (n) a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.

Having abandoned journalism, many forms of etiquette, courtesy and basic grammar, the Internet continues to pass along ideas from people who refuse to accept the fact that others have a creative bend and require consideration.

Somewhere in the past two decades we have lost the true definition of commenting. Let me begin by telling you what it is not.

A comment is not you offering an opinion. In other words, if someone writes an article stating that the President of the United States is a great historical figure filled with virtue, a comment would be on the writer’s approach, delivery, information and process in drawing conclusions. A comment is not jotting down, “Idiot, moron, and son-of-a-bitch” with multiple exclamation points. (A single exclamation point is supposed to express great passion. When I see two, I perceive stupidity.)

Commenting is letting folks know how what they had to share, think, or even a meal you prepared was received. It is not replacing their input with your dogma–feeling as if this resolves the issue for all time.

Often my children recommend a movie to me. If I watch it, I offer the following comment:

“I can see why you liked it. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this movie on the night I watched it, but I did not garner the usual impact or inspiration that I normally enjoy from a flick. It is certainly the kind that I normally do pursue, but this particular one left me cold. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand what the writer and director were trying to communicate.”

This is commenting–a blend of honesty and humility allowing the person who has shared to leave the house without fear of being gunned down by a maniac.

I welcome comments.

I make errors.

But I do not give you permission to ravage my material simply because it busted out the walls of your mental one-room sublet.


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Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adenoids: (n.) a mass of enlarged lymphatic tissue between the back of the nose and the throat, often hindering speaking and breathing in young children.

I was only ten years old so the significance completely evaded me.

Our family physician was named Dr. Livingston. To me it was just another name, not a literary setup, so when Dr. Livingston looked over his silver spectacles and told my mother and father that I needed to have my tonsils removed–otherwise I would have tonsillitis any time it was rumored to be in the area–they agreed.

They were further delighted when he told them that while he was in there yanking out the little boogers, that he might as well take my adenoids, too. It was common at the time. Tonsils were apparently so emotionally linked to adenoids that it was a given in the medical field that if you took one you had better remove the other, too, or fussiness would ensue.

Dr. Livingston? Tonsils and adenoids, I presume?

My father, being raised in a miserly German home, was excited because he felt he was getting two operations for the price of one.

So I was sent to a clinic in the big city twenty miles from our little burg, and was prepped for surgery. This was long before anethesia was perfected. It was actually barely beyond the phase of a shot of whiskey and a punch in the jaw.

What they used to put you under was ether. Now, let me explain what ether smells like. It has a distinctive odor. Imagine if a bottle of alcohol let off a big, stinky fart.

There you go.

So after they had removed my co-dependent organs, I awoke to the smell of this nasty “stinky” in the air, to spend the next hour-and-a-half doing nothing but trying to regurgitate all of my insides for public view.

About two hours later my stomach finally calmed down and they told me I could have some nice, cool Jello. (I had heard rumors that ice cream was the normal gift given to a patient, but apparently I ended up at K-Mart Presbyterian Municipal Hospital, where budget cuts were inserted to extract all pleasures.)

Unfortunately, the flavor they chose for my Jello was cherry.

When my mother and father wanted to go out and catch a bite to eat, they left my older brother in charge. The cherry jello by then had landed in my stomach, was introduced to the raging ether, and was immediately evicted. So when I threw up my cherry jello, my brother was convinced that I was bleeding to death. He ran through the halls screaming for nurses to come and save me.

The comical part (as if it isn’t already) was that it took the nurses at least ten minutes to figure out that what was in my bed pan had the unmistakable fragrance of Kool-aid.

Things went back to normal–if you call being ten years old, in a hospital, losing your tonsils and adenoids, vomiting profusely, with a maniac for a brother, only room for Jello and without the benefit of an ice cream confection … anywhere near normalcy.