Confusion

Congenial: (adj) a pleasant personality

If you will allow me to advance this theory–human virtue rarely travels alone.

This is what often perplexes those who are trying to improve their image.

For instance, someone says you are not kind enough, so you attempt to “go out and be kind”–only to return by mid-day, spitting, cussing and swearing never again to pursue such a farce.

The reason for the failure is that kindness does not work by itself. Kindness needs to team up with a couple of other contributors. Those two friends are patiencefunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
and joy.

Otherwise, you will find yourself being kind to the unkind, and rather than patiently waiting for your overtures to pay off with the next traveler, you will give up, not allowing your joy to give you the strength to be kind again.

Congenial is an idea, but not really one that is easily put into practice. We often regret being gentle when others respond in a gruff manner.

If you truly want to achieve the attribute of congeniality, then it is necessary to link your kindness with some enduring patience, knowing that the joy that will come through the victory will propel you on to a lifestyle of openness.

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Claim

Claim: (v) to state or assert that something is the case

I often find myself caught between the emphasis in our society on speaking up for oneself and the wisdom of the ages, which quietly screams, “Shut the hell up.”

I sometimes tremble when I hear people make claims. I especially find it curious when men or women insist they are great lovers. Oh my
God–that’s one that is proven out fairly easily, and can certainly leave you with your pants down.

Why do we need to claim? Maybe Yoda was right. “No try. Just do.”

But for some reason, the braggadocio that precedes our efforts makes us feel reassured. Maybe it’s because we know that when the game is over and the score is tallied, we’re going to lose, so we might as well have some pre-game appreciation.

I don’t know.

But most of the claims human beings make are altered by circumstance, lack of talent, nerves, superior fire-power or just dumb luck. For after all, time and chance happens to each of us.

Recently I was asked at a party, “What is it you do?”

I piped back, “Are you asking what I claim to do? Or what actually gets done?”

They looked at me with a hint of a smile, but perplexed. After all, I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do–tout the bloated extent of my capabilities.

For what would happen if we claimed less, and then, on rare occasions, ended up doing more? Isn’t that the true definition of a genius? Someone who scores higher than expected. Someone who exceeds expectation. Or someone who fills a need that seemed unfillable.

I don’t claim much.

Maybe my best claim is that I don’t have really anything to claim.

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Cable

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Cable: (n) an insulated wire

Life is very reassuring if you’re not stubborn. You’ll find out very quickly that answers are not evasive, just require a moment of patience.

The first time I rented a home and decided to sign up for cable television, I was in awe of the whole process. When the cable man came–three days after his promised arrival–and brought all the boxes, all the instructions and all the drills to do his work, it had the feeling of God arriving to create the universe.

I was infatuated.

I was over-complimentary.

I was perplexed.

I listened carefully and then took notes to make sure that when the magic man departed my home, I would be able to access the universe of channels on my own.

But when he left, it suddenly stopped working.

I tried to remember what he had done, fooled around with it a little, but quickly became convinced that I was a four-year-old in a hospital operating room.

As time passed I became more and more enraged that this mysterious system I had ordered was failing to meet my entertainment needs. So I called the local cable operator and they immediately sent someone over. Two days later.

By that time I had built up a good head of steam and was prepared to ram my emotional freight train into the hapless technician. I ferociously explained how they had cheated me and how they had wasted my time. The young man was rather nice.

He asked me a simple question. “Did you move the TV after the guy left?”

Actually, yes. It was a little distant from the wall, and I had pushed it back. I retorted, “What?? I’m not allowed to move my TV?”

“Sure,” the repairman replied calmly. “But when you did, you knocked the cable loose.”

He reached down and with too much ease, restored my world of wonder.

I was embarrassed. I tried to duplicate in apologies what I had spewed forth in fury.

The repairman smiled and said to me, “Just remember–it usually isn’t something difficult. Just a loose cable.”

 

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Anything

dictionary with letter A

Anything: (pron) used to refer to a thing, no matter what

If you’ve ever parented teenagers, this response is probably one of your pet peeves.

If you ask them a question of any sort, they will either ignore you or reply, “I guess anything’s OK.”

I grew weary of this.

So one night when I asked my teenage sons what they wanted to have for dinner, and they replied, “anything,” I complied.

I went out to a neighbor’s trash can and pulled out the cast-aside leftovers of their previous lunch–some half-eaten sandwiches already drawing the interest of a couple of ants, the skeleton of a fish, and believe it or not, some broken pieces of pumpkin shell.

I found two bottles of partially consumed Coca-Cola, put it all on a platter, set plates, silverware and called them to dinner.

At first they were in such a state of oblivion that they didn’t recognize the placement set before them as being basically inedible, but perched in their chairs and reached for their cell phones.

So adding to the comedy of the moment, I asked one of them to offer grace. It was at this point that the child felt the need to look at the food, in order to determine the length and intensity of the prayer. Amazingly, he did not gaze at me in horror, but rather, looked at the spread before him, perplexed, shook his heads, and began to pray:

“Thanks for the food and the hands that prepared it, and for this day. In Jesus name, amen.”

Finishing the prayer, they both stared at the food–or shall I say, the “remains of the day”–and then looked at me quizzically, asking, “What is it?”

I smiled, grabbed my fork and spoon and touted, “It’s anything. Dig in.”

 

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Access Road

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Access road: (n) a road giving access to a place or to another road.

About ten years ago I purchased a home perched on top of a hill.

It was very beautiful–but quite difficult to climb when it was time to settle in for the night. It was more suited for a mountain goat than an out-of-shape Pillsbury dough-boy such as myself.

So almost immediately I noticed that there was a space between the tree and the bushes in the front yard where my car could fit through, propelling me up the grade to the front door of the house, where I could walk in like a normal person. Understand–there was no actual driveway there, and I’m sure when the next-door-neighbors saw that I was driving across the front lawn to acquire entrance to my home, and were a bit perplexed, if not amused.

But I didn’t care.  I required access so I made a road.

As I travel, I often find an exit on the freeway preceded by a series of tire tracks, where someone has discovered that it was unnecessary to go all the way to the exit, because a quicker journey could be made across the median to the awaiting highway. They had created their own access road.

We have access roads for everything. In a sense, we even have access roads in life for the truth. If we can find a better exit from our dilemma other a total revelation of the facts, we will certainly hasten to escape the main drag and scurry off to safety.

So I’m not quite sure what access roads possess in the way of righteousness. They are more or less short cuts that human beings take to get from one place to another, often with little regard for maps and signs.

To try to eliminate them totally, or legislate them out of existence, would prove to be unfruitful.

Yet to believe that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line that I create may be the definition of pride and presumption.