Aquamarine

dictionary with letter A

Aquamarine (n): a light bluish-green color.

This may sound very selfish, but one of the fringe benefits of the recent civil rights afforded to the gay community (aside from the fact that we live in a free country and it was basically inevitable once the belly-aching ceased) is that we no longer have to be threatened by other men saying “that’s gay.”

It has become a taboo.

It used to be a perpetual, common horror.

I remember many years ago when leisure suits were both leisurely and in fashion, I found one at a discount store, marked down, which happened to be my size. It was aquamarine.

You see, the problem was that even though it was a much more colorful era, certain hues were still looked upon as being suspect of your sexual orientation. Add to the fact that I was a piano player, and you had the makings of a San Francisco gay parade.

Not only did I get an occasional sneer and sidewise comment, like, “Nice color, big boy,” but I also began to envision that I was being stared at by the entire world, viewed as a “man lover.”

So paranoid was I that I started prancing around like John Wayne and using the deepest timbre my voice could muster. When wearing the aquamarine garment, I was always quick to point out that I was married and had fathered children from my own manly source.

It was crazy.

Finally, even though I loved the outfit, I purposefully “accidentally” forgot it at a motel. (What I mean is, I actually did forget it, but remembered it by the time I got to the elevator and decided not to go back for it.)

So somewhere in Yuma, Arizona, there is a big fat man wearing an aquamarine leisure suit … who obviously has much more confidence than I do.

 

 

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Appeal

dictionary with letter A

Appeal: to be attractive or interesting: activities that appeal to all.

Attractive.

For a moment, let us escape the normal interpretation of being beautiful or handsome. Attractive actually means “to attract.”

Many years ago, I was at a convention and a beauty queen sat down next to me and we started a conversation. She was very relaxed because…well, honestly, I’m not very good-looking. I had no intentions of hitting on her because I was married. I seemed safe.

As she related the story of her life and situation, her eyes filled with tears. At length she said, “Do you know what really pisses me off? I never really know if anybody likes me because all the men want to make love to me.”

I was startled.

Moments earlier, I was convinced that this young girl had everything. She was pretty, slender, poised and obviously a winner. But these physical attributes were so plentiful that she wasn’t really able to attract anything in her direction except male bees trying to invade her hive.

It was disconcerting to her. It was unfulfilling.

I walked away from that discussion with a strange sense of peace. Even though I will never attract anyone solely based upon my visage, I have decided to use my brain, talent and spirit to be the means by which I welcome others into my life.

Attractive does mean “to attract”–and being attractive means that we have a certain amount of appeal.

But wisdom is deciding what we should lead with.

Because what we use to attract others always determines the type of individuals we snag.

 

 

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Apartment

dictionary with letter A

Apartment: (n) a suite of rooms forming one residence typically in a building containing a number of these.

When I run across people who appear to like me as I am today, I am certainly cognizant of the fact that if they had met me decades earlier, they would have disliked me totally.

Now, I don’t mean this to be either critical of my new-found friends or myself. I have taken a journey. Because it is a journey, the road was rarely straight and certainly never free of construction.

To a certain degree I can chronicle my progress and my respectability based on just a simple review of my apartment selections.

Graduating from high school and immediately getting married, I had no money, appreciation of money or desire to make money. I was of the firm conviction that high school should continue and all groceries should be supplied, and preferably, food prepared and set before me. Since I did not go to college, where such an arrangement is possible, everyone in my small town felt that I needed to become “responsible.”

I did not agree.

So my family, in an attempt to get me on the “strait and narrow,” rented an apartment for my new wife and myself, where we could live. It was quite lovely. It sat on the second floor in the middle of town and had several large rooms, which continued to mock us due to our lack of owning furniture.

We were able to stay there exactly forty-five days, since we had no money to pay the next month’s installment of rent.

At this point we were forced to go to a cheaper location, which also ended up having previous tenets. Cockroaches.

We had so many in our apartment that they began to be incestuous, leading to mutations and even the development of an albino clan. After a while, it was the cockroaches that evicted us from our apartment, feeling that we were unsuitable roommates.

At this point some success greeted my creative efforts, and we were able to move into a better apartment, and then a better one still. Finally, on about my fourth excursion into this cave dwelling, I was able to occupy an apartment where I could pay the monthly rent. It was larger, also had a dishwasher, and as far as I was able to tell, had no previous hairy-legged dwellers.

So every time I hear the word “apartment,” both a chill goes down my spine and a giggle in my soul.

For I realize that it is a benchmark of being a citizen in this country. And lo and behold, after awhile, I was deemed worthy of escaping apartments and live in a house.

God bless America, strike up the band, John Phillip Sousa is a great composer … and apple pie is the only dessert for a true American..

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Annul

dictionary with letter A

Annul: (v) to be declared invalid, with no legal existence.

Every time I hear about a marriage being annulled, I don’t know whether to cry or giggle.

I’ve even been told that it can happen as much as a month after the nuptials.

My understanding is that the annulment is possible because the couple has not consummated their commitment.

Isn’t that weird?

I mean, you go through all the courting, awkward dinners, flirtations, proposal, planning, picking invitations, choosing a cake, booking a church, selecting bridesmaids and a best man, speaking the vows, dancing at the reception, and you get in the car, look at one another, and go … “Damn, you’re ugly!”

Or worse yet, they actually do have sexual relations and one or the other is so unimpressed that they decide there is no way they could continue for another week.

“Maybe if we lie about seeing our private parts, we can annul it instead of divorce it…”

What I’m asking, I guess, is, how would you ever recover from this?

For instance, you start dating again, you meet someone you really like and the time comes to become transparent, talking about your past and the relationships that have already transpired. And you have to admit to this new person that you have been married, but it was annulled. Does it not beg the question–why?

And the answer to that question may be too embarrassing to share with anyone, let alone an individual you are trying to woo.

Yes, annulling may be a continual process which annuls everything for the future.

So I guess wisdom is that we should all be careful who we pick to be our mate, because it may be too painful to pursue the game … and end up with “checkmate.”

 

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Amiable

dictionary with letter A

Amiable: (adj) having or displaying a friendly and pleasant manner

My traveling partner and I discuss this all the time.

We’re constantly meeting new people, interacting with service organizations and the general public, creating a face-to-face opportunity and challenge daily.

There is one thing for certain: waiting to decide how you’re going to treat other human beings based upon either your fatigue level or your mood is not only foolish, but dangerous.

I will honestly impart to you that having a profile which you pursue faithfully and remaining “married” to it, as it were, through the good times and bad, and in sickness and health, is not only admirable, but also the only way you can survive the constant flux of society shifting its thinking based on whether we’re going to destroy one another or just manipulate one another.

OUR IDEA

We have come up with a very simple proposal or formula, if you will:

1. Always know what you want. Perhaps the most annoying thing to other human beings is asking them to guess your needs. There is a danger they will misunderstand your goals.

2. Decide what you can live with. We don’t often get exactly what we want. Even though some people think it’s a sin of conscience to have a fall-back position, I contend that when you deal with other humans, to be absent a “Plan B” is to welcome disappointment and strife.

3. Choose a face. You’re not allowed to have two. In our case, it’s a combination of warmth and professionalism. In other words, “I am so glad to meet you, but I’m fully aware of why I’m here and what my job is.”

4. And finally, don’t try to save the world. I have heard that we already have a Savior, and dying on the cross is no longer an expression of love, just over-zealous stupidity.

After all, if Nature, God, parents, employers, employees and the IRS have not changed the person standing in front of you, your best shot will probably fall short also.

Once people let you know that they are not going to be pliable, stop twisting them.

There you go.

Those four things allow Janet and myself to be amiable.

I refuse to do this journey any other way. I just pass it along to you because the advice you will get from others will be some sort of mish-mash of kick-ass or kiss-ass.

Obviously, they both put you in the wrong neighborhood.