Bumptious

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bumptious: (adj) self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree.

It’s a beautiful, bright red fedora with a feather in the band.

One of my sons bought it for me and I wear it every once in a while. It’s a moody thing–because my children refer to it as “my pimp brim.”

So when I feel pimpy, virile, naughty, rambunctious and just overall powerful, I don my pimp lid.

Now you may think it would look ridiculous on a person who’s a little older, but it really doesn’t come to play unless I look in the mirror.

I have found that to be true with lots of things. Sometimes I can even pretend that I’m thirty years old if there’s no reflecting glass nearby. My brain has no problem conjuring the image of my arrogant, overly confident former self.

So anyway, I slip on this particular hat as a way of spitting in the eye of the witch of birthdays, and cursing the demon of achy joints.

It is my bumptious attempt to remain viable in the world that annoyingly continues to ask me if I would like to take advantage of “the senior discount.”

 

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Bronze

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bronze: (v) to make a person or part of the body suntanned.

I’ve often missed out on conventional wisdom because I could not afford to go to the convention.

So I frequently found myself going against the common thread of understanding and sewing up my own solutions.Dictionary B

On one such occasion, I scheduled our music group to perform in Miami, Florida, in the month of July.

Nobody does that.

Miami becomes a glowing hot rock, to be avoided by any living creature which does not wish to swelter. But our group wasn’t that popular–we were certainly never going to be able to be in Miami in January.

So we went in July.

It was very reasonably priced (since nobody was there) and really no hotter than the rest of the country, which was also experiencing summer.

But my achievement during those two weeks was something I had never experienced before and haven’t since. For you see, I worked up the courage to put on a pair of shorts, go shirtless, and walk around the beach until my skin turned bronze.

God, I loved it.

At night, I stood in front of the mirror and stared at my brown hide, realizing that I had never before enjoyed my body–because it was the color of pewter.

I was bronzed.

I wasn’t intimidated to step along the sidewalks near the ocean in my cutoff blue jeans and just act like I was one of the locals.

In the midst of those two weeks, a friend of mine debuted her new book and invited me to come to Nashville, Tennessee, for the signing. When I arrived I was the talk of the town.

“Where’d you get that tan?”

“Must be nice to lay on the beach all day long…”

Never in my life had I felt physically valuable to the world around me.

  • Spiritually–yes.
  • Emotionally–certainly.
  • Creatively–I hope so.

But for the first time, my “bronze” covered up some of my obesity, puffiness and, shall we say, “whitey-white-white.”

Now, I know you’re not supposed to get too much sun. I know there’s a danger of cancer.

But I am so grateful that on at least one occasion in my life, I got to walk around, for a little while… as a bronze Greek god.

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Beefcake

Beefcake: (n) an attractive man with well-developed muscles.Dictionary B

On those rare occasions when I find myself naked, I always avert my eyes from looking in the mirror.

Matter of fact, I’m a little reluctant to share that thought, because there are individuals who would consider my decision to not view my body as a negative or a sign of insecurity.

Honestly, I just find it smart.

There are only two things that can happen when you look in the mirror: some form of disgust, or an intruding pride.

In both cases, there is little benefit.

If I think I’m ugly, confirming that by my reflection is not helpful to the self-confidence required for me to survive a normal day.

Then again, if I peer into the mirror and believe myself to be beautiful–a beefcake–then an obnoxious pride will make me ill-suited to interact with those who may not completely agree with my assessment.

I also have known many women over the years, and will tell you that they are the most gentle, forgiving and open-minded beings on Earth concerning the physical weaknesses of the men who have come into their space. I suppose there are ladies who want to peer at men’s bodies with a lascivious leer, but women often close their eyes, allowing their imaginations to fill in the blanks to stimulate adequate lust for a great sexual encounter.

I am not a beefcake.

I am not willing to do what is necessary to become a beefcake.

So I am looking for friends and women … who have a sweet tooth for a cream puff.

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Battered

Battered: (adj) injured by repeated blows or punishment.Dictionary B

Not all blemishes are pimples–but all blemishes may end up being called pimples and must suffer the accusation.

It is the nature of the human race to try to simplify things down to smaller categories. It is actually one of our more endearing qualities, because when we complicate matters, we become a living comedy of fleshy error.

Such it is with the word “battered,”

I have always had great respect for human beings, but I have occasionally looked into the mirror of humanity and seen my blemishes next to those who have pimples.

In other words–without further twisting this little parable–I have watched and even counseled people who have battered other souls, and realized that some of the symptoms of their actions live inside of me, and have even sprouted from my tongue.

I can try to rationalize it; I can insist that I am so adorable, generally speaking, that I am exempt.

I can shout from the housetops that I respect women, but as long as there is one nasty chauvinist remark lingering in my brain, I must be aware that I have too much in common with the batterer.

I do not think we succeed by comparing ourselves favorably to others.

I think our true power is when we find the first seedlings of a crop of sin inside ourselves.

  • I have been rude.
  • I have been overbearing.
  • I have interrupted.
  • I have been sarcastic.
  • I have been dismissive.
  • And even though I have not raised my hand and struck another traveler in anger, I have used my wit and words to bruise.

Eliminating all domestic violence will not protect women until the men who would never be violent discover the ways that they still batter.

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Bald

Bald (adj): having a scalp wholly or partly lacking hair.Dictionary B

I am bald.

People often contradict this statement, telling me that I still have some hair on the sidelines of my playing field, but the landing strip has been completely cleared.

The top of my head is free of hairy situations.

I fought it for a long time–because it starts pretty early. Matter of fact, if you are destined to be bald, you may notice it in your teen years, when finishing a shower and combing out your hair.

Too much of it is ending up on your brush.

Also, there is the frightening revelation, through the well-placed mirror, of having to admit that the back forty of the scalp has started failing to yield crops.

So I intelligently took my early twenties to grow long hair, nearly to my shoulders, to celebrate this brief juncture of time when my virility could be expressed by the efforts of my follicles.

It was great fun.

Matter of fact, I continued to sport this bushiness until the dissipation of northern foliage on my dome began to make me look like Benjamin Franklin. After a while, it just gets silly.

Now I realize that the best way to handle baldness is to be bald. I even understand why some guys who are suffering under the condition just go ahead and shave their heads.

Because it is true in life that we gain wisdom by picking our fights. And honestly, demanding your hair to remain or placing fake hair in its stead is just not victorious.

Yes… most guys get a “Dear John Letter” from their lovely locks.

 

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Aren’t

dictionary with letter A

Aren’t: (contraction) are not.

Tricky business, this game of words.

One wise men said by them we are justified, or on occasion, condemned.

Aren’t is one of those words which has caused more trouble than we can imagine. It is the favorite contraction, and verb, of prejudice and bigotry. For after all, it has no personal application. I can’t turn to you and say, “I aren’t.”

The word is only applied to others, to limit their capabilities:

  • You aren’t pretty.
  • They aren’t talented.
  • We aren’t as dumb as they are.

It is a word without a mirror, peering at other planet-dwellers with a jaundiced eye and dipping into the well of our experience to determine their value.

It is always ambiguous and never leads to a sense of understanding. Even when we say something like, “They aren’t coming to the party,” hanging in the air is a sense of uncertainty about the reason for their absence.

Beware of words that are geared to attack others and have no function in revealing oneself.

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Accolade

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accolade: (n) an award or privilege granted as a special honor or as an acknowledgment of merit

Famous accolades or prizes you wish could be awarded to you:

1. Your wife does not chase you out of the kitchen because she’s afraid you’ll blow up the blender.

2. Your husband comes home early from a night of being out with the guys to be with you, because he’s bored with their conversation.

3. Your boss asks your opinion and actually makes eye contact while you offer a suggestion.

4. The lovely young girl in the men’s section of the department store guesses your size, and it’s too small.

5. Your teenage son or daughter is not embarrassed to introduce you to his or her friends.

6. Your teenage son or daughter has a teacher who doesn’t giggle when he or she meets you.

7.  Your minister actually preaches less the Sunday following your comment on a lengthy sermon.

8.  Your banker smiles at you when you walk in the door instead of turning and darting into his office.

9. The guy in the meat department at the grocery store saves some “good steaks” for you because you’re such a good customer, while simultaneously frightening you with stories of what they’ve done to the “other meat.”

10.  You look in the mirror and it’s not as bad as you thought.

11.  It is as bad as you thought but the steam from the shower keeps you from looking in the mirror.

12.  Your dog leaps in the air when you walk in the room, and even pees himself at the notion of being in your presence.

13.  Your cat, who refuses to recognize that you exist, disappears one night without a trace. (Investigation still in progress . . .)

14. You finished your first tweet … and someone tweeted back.

15. You took your car to the dealership and found out that there was really nothing wrong with it, and even though they spent twenty minutes looking at it, they didn’t charge you because you are such a good customer.

16.  You arrive at Kentucky Fried Chicken just as they’re about to close, and they ask you if you’d like all the leftover pieces they were going to throw away–free of charge.

17.  The person you love thinks you’re loveable and sexy.

18. It’s a beautiful, sunshiny day, and you’ve found a radio station that plays music instead of just hits.

19. You die and arrive at the pearly gates and discover that Cloud 9 is available.

20. You have found new accolades that start your motor and keep you going, even though to some people, they appear to be insignificant.

Remember–an accolade is not something that the world considers to be worthy of consideration. An accolade is what YOU consider worthy of joyful appreciation … while you’re living in this world.