Bored

Bored: (adj) feeling weary because one is unoccupied

With those who have communion wine running through their veins, I would probably get in trouble for suggesting that there are parts of the writ of Holy Dictionary BScripture which could certainly use a good edit.

As a writer, I edit myself all the time. Matter of fact, if somebody pulled out an article I wrote seven years ago, it’s possible that I might need to apologize.

So as I look down the list of the Seven Deadly Sins (which I shall not mention due to space and out of fear of immediately falling under conviction) there is one obvious absence, which should either be inserted to replace one of the existing choices–or maybe as just a header, to describe what causes all seven.

Bored.

When we are bored we are capable of everything from stumbling to atrocity.

I do not know where we got the idea that life was hatched in the mind of the Creator with the intention of constantly entertaining us, but part of maturity is certainly realizing the importance and inevitability of “down time.”

For instance, nothing is more annoying than a seven-year-old child telling you that he’s bored–especially if you’ve just returned from the park, a movie and Baskin Robbins.

The need to be entertained is what motivates both sluggard and murderer.

I always feel I have achieved the best of humanity–and made the Good Book sensible–when I finish my day without ever feeling bored.

 

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Bonsai

Bonsai: (n) an ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot

Once upon a time, in a kingdom where bank accounts were not depleted, I had some extra money burning a hole deep in my right pocket of selfishness.Dictionary B

It was scary.

I went over the bills three or four times just to make sure I hadn’t missed something, but at the end of my calculation, I discovered that I was temporarily endowed with abundance.

I wanted to do something lavishly weird–and not just lavish, like buying several cans of whipped cream, but weird. Something that would give others pause, but then they would feel foolish for questioning the wealthy fellow and his eccentric choices.

I hunted, I searched and I found a gentleman who sold bonsai trees.

I knew nothing about them. But I felt like owning one was a symbol of prosperity. So I bought two. Double the potency.

The fellow tried to explain to me the care of these plants and I listened with the attention span of a three-year-old who has to pee but also wants to ride the roller coaster.

When I got home with my bonsai trees, I realized that I had completely forgotten everything he said, and had left the literature behind, trusting my memory.

Then came that great, ridiculous American assertion: how hard can it be?

  • So I watered them
  • I trimmed their little branches (having remembered this being part of the process)
  • And every day when I returned, they looked a little worse

It was like watching your Grandma die of old age. I was concerned but totally helpless.

Then inexplicably, they developed tiny insects which started eating away at the bark.

It took about five weeks, while I heroically tried to give CPR to these dying new friends, but eventually they turned brown–and for some reason, started to stink.

I threw them both into a big garbage bag, took them out to the curb and said good-bye.

I can’t swear to it, but I thought I heard one of them, from within the bag, gasp, “Murderer.”

 

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Beef

Beef: (n) the flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food.Dictionary B

It’s always a battle over three distinctly different approaches:

  • What I know
  • What I think
  • What ends up being true

Actually, most of us don’t know much of anything for certain. What we claim to know is usually an advanced stage of belief. In other words, people will tell you they know there’s a heaven, but that’s because they believe it very strongly.

Knowing is tough. Yet if we act like we don’t know, people accuse us of being dumb. So often, we insist we know without really knowing.

Which brings us to think.

Think is a dangerous combination of prejudice, upbringing and bad experience which we have equated with certainty as being valid. Of course, it can be good experience which leaves us idealistic.

But here’s the kicker: most people blend what they think and what they know and call it truth.

That’s why we fight all the time. Because what you think and know is not what I think and know.

So we have to be extremely humble about what we know, and mighty careful about what we think. Otherwise we will soon miss what ends up being true.

Thus…beef.

From year to year, the opinion on beef has gone from being an excellent source of protein to a murderer of the human heart.

If you bring the subject up, some folks will tell you they’re vegetarians because they want to be healthy, and other folks will never eat a vegetable unless steak has become one.

So once again, we’re stuck on this “think” and “know”–in danger of failing to find out what is true.

Beef is actually no different from prunes. You know the old saying about prunes: Are two enough? Are six too many?

Because if you eat just the right number of prunes, you will have happy times in the bathroom. If you eat too many, you will experience frequent toilet miles.

The same is true with beef.

Eat it every once in a while, and it is an immense builder of protein and strength for your body.

Eat too much beef and it turns into all sorts of heartfelt problems.

So take the time to be careful about what you know. And always be cautious to preface what you think with those glorious words, “In my opinion…”

Because truth eventually stumbles along. And the truth of the matter is, beef is like everything else:

It’s good until it becomes bad.

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Avow

Avow: (v) to assert or confess openly.

They call it allocution.dictionary with letter A

It is the action demanded of a criminal in a court case when a guilty plea has been accepted and it becomes his or her responsibility to admit to all of the facets and details of the crime.

Even though we demand this from the more sinister members of our society, we do not require it of the common man or woman.

The most popular rendition of denying one’s previous deeds is the apology. I think we all would agree that an apology from a murderer in a courtroom would not only be insufficient, but insulting. And the lack of requiring that people avow their involvement–good or bad–in a situation gives enough wiggle room that we are never quite certain of what is true and what is false.

When truth becomes a bouncing ball, it’s not safe for anyone to play.

Very recently, I have become convinced of the intelligence of coming clean. It’s a three-step process:

  1. I come to myself.

I realize I have done or am doing something unfruitful, perhaps even wrong.

  1. I come to the facts.

I decide what would be an accurate assessment of my situation and how to phrase it in such a way that I could unburden my conscience and clarify my need for repentance.

  1. I come to others.

It simply is not enough for us to be aware of our own frailties. We gain power and position when those around us know we can be trusted because they have heard us be honest about uncomfortable matters.

It is certainly much more popular to disavow–to distance oneself from causes or endeavors that have proven to be detrimental. But the ability to avow one’s involvement, positive or negative, is the trigger for our trust of those we love or those we wish to lead us.

 

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Abrogate

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abrogate: (v.) to do away with or repeal a law, right or formal agreement

He came into my room.

“He” was my fourteen-year-old son, who had just been confronted by me for breaking one of the family rules. This was not unusual. Being a teenager, he was more than willing to fulfill his quorum of weekly indiscretions, to face the equivalent provided punishments.

Yet this time was different.

Instead of coming into my room in tears or firing fiery darts of anger from his eyes, he had selected a profile of reasonableness. He gave me the respect I deserved as his father, but at the same time, came prepared with a case to make on his behalf–how the rule he had just broken lacked clarity and necessity.

He was calm. He was asking me in an uncharacteristically gentle way, to abrogate my decision by offering me pointed examples of why this particular precept held dear in the family was not necessarily applicable anymore.

For a fourteen-year-old, he was quite eloquent.

It made me realize that we live in a world where lots of folks think that the power of their principles are best expressed by screaming at the top of their lungs. They contend that their displeasure over some particular practice or law should be enough to change the situation on the spot. They take no consideration for the common good. They are not concerned with equity, and justice takes a back burner to convenience.

But here I was–listening to my fourteen-year-old son expound with both fervency and practicality, a case concerning his innocence–if this qualification for purity were lifted and abandoned.

He was asking me to trust him. He was asking me to believe in him. He was asking me to reconsider my position without trying to make me feel as if I were a dictator, a socialist and a murderer of all teenage rights.

At the end of his discourse, I asked him a couple of questions, and although his responses were not as astute as his original presentation, I still believed he had taken the time to consider his position instead of merely building up a head of steam.

I was impressed. I was so taken by his metamorphosis that I changed the rule. I abrogated it.

There are many things that may need to be abrogated in our society today–arbitrary findings and guidelines that require another “look-see.” But nothing will happen until people of common sense calm their attitudes and present a logical case instead of constantly hammering away with stubbornness and self-righteousness.

It can be done. Outdated concepts can be abrogated in favor of more mature and realistic options.  But yelling and cursing only create a soil for growing the weeds of stupidity.

We need intelligence. It’s the only way to abrogate ignorance.