Criteria

Criteria: (n) rules or principles for evaluating or testing something.

That’s it.

Call off the dogs, close up the investigation and give all the researchers a lunch break.

We have stumbled upon something.

Perhaps the problem with all of our dealings on Earth is that we have never universally established criteria for what it means to be a human being.

Everybody has their opinion.

There are those who insist we are saints, and certainly those in the clergy who feel it’s necessary to get us to admit that we’re sinners.

Sometimes we make bold statements and talk about human achievement—and follow it up immediately with a sheepish, pouty, “Well, we’re only human.”

Which is it?

Are we dastardly folk who cannot be trusted, who think only of ourselves and lie at the drop of a hat, and therefore need constant supervision in the simplest affairs of our lives?

Or are we truly created in the image of God, therefore capable of great works of art, and deeds of valor and courage?

Since we can’t make up our minds on this particular issue, we use being human as a way of decrying the need for God, but also as an excuse for leaving the toilet seat up all the time.

So I humbly but firmly offer these three criteria for being human:

  1. We don’t have a big brain so we can act stupid. Smarten up and learn something today.
  2. We are remarkably all the same, so stop looking for subtle differences or shades of color.
  3. We can make magnificent things as long as we admit they need to be made and we have not yet achieved all that we must do.

Could we actually agree on these three things?

Could these become the criteria for being human, so when some fall short, they can do a quick repenting job, and when others feel like gods, we can lure them down from Olympus?

Without criteria, we make up excuses right on the spot—like a little kid with chocolate stains on his shirt, who’s trying to decide if it would be better to admit the candy-eating, or insist he pooped himself.

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Crib

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crib: (n) a child’s bed with enclosed sides.

For those aggravated souls who believe that life has no sensibility or purpose, I would have to offer the example of babies.

Just simply consider what it would be like if newborns came out talking.

As horrible as it may be to hear them cry, their needs are so easily achieved that the possibility of going back to sleep actually exists.

On the other hand, if you were walking up to the crib and hearing your new son or daughter explain to you in vivid detail their level of discomfort, along with a lamentation about how little you care because of how long it took for you to get there—well, that would be absolutely insane.

Certainly there would be more crib death.

Fortunately, they learn to poop, eat, crawl, stand, walk—and then talk.

It is so beautiful—because by the time they talk and start becoming demanding, you can look at them and say:

“Go get it yourself.”

 


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Commode

Commode: (n) a concealed chamber pot

Unexpectedly and much to my surprise, during the news cycle recently, “shithole” became a point of discussion.

Even though I find myself to be a person of some insight, and maybe even able to offer a prediction from time to time, “shithole” sideswiped me.

It reminded me of being a young man and having to deal with the subject of the bathroom.

Since most people don’t take baths anymore, and were unwilling to call it the “shower room,” relegating that to sporting facilities, we do need a name for that very important sanctuary for our natural release.

Truthfully, lots of folks are repulsed by the word “toilet.”

“Potty,” aside from being extraordinarily pretentious, also is now tied to a potty-mouth, which means you are susceptible to using all sorts of foul language and profanity.

Yet even though it has become part of the commentating on television, “shithole” is a little strong for me. It’s the kind of thing a bully would say to you when you walked out of the restroom in highschool, to make you feel uncomfortable.

“How’d it go in the shithole?!”

Of course, there is no appropriate response to the question: “The shithole was fine!” Or, “I don’t call it a shithole. I call it a commode.”

No, I have never referred to the porcelain fixture in the water closet as either a loo or a shithole.

I’m actually without terminology.

Sometimes I try variants–to see if there might be a favored word among my friends. But I’m still confused at how to express for a significant part of my journey.

I neither “take a shit,” nor do I “poop.” Nor have I done any “loaf pinching.”

I have referred to it as porcelain, but not a throne.

And of all the terms, “dump,” for me, is the least appealing.

I think the secret code we developed as children still has some universal possibility:

Simply hold up one finger–or two–to announce one’s intention.

 

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Collie

Collie: (n) a sheepdog of a breed originating in Scotland

I was eleven years old before I realized they were not supposed to stink.

I’m talking about dogs.

Up to that point, I knew one dog–and this dog stunk. Ironically, her name was “Queenie.” Any pomp and circumstance associated with that name were purely accidental. She stunk. I could tell very time I drew near.

And near I drew.

Queenie was my Grandpa George’s animal. She was his favorite beast, person and thing.

Queenie felt great security in her job, and so pursued no personal hygiene. Half the day she wandered through the woods, living the life of a wild dog, to come
home to the little A-frame house as night was falling, to spend time with my grandpa.

I had jobs to do with Queenie. I kept praying that my grandpa would get old enough that he would become forgetful, and therefore fail to remember to ask me to do the job.

It was a two-parter.

Because Queenie was a collie, she had long fur which might have been lovely had it not been matted with dirt and grime, and filled with little stickers (which my grandpa referred to as “nettles”).

Grandpa wanted me to sit there during the visit, with Queenie’s snout lying in my lap, stinking up the room, and remove these little thistles from her fur. That was the first part.

The second part was that Queenie was a wild-type dog, and did not know how to get all the poop out of her butt with each bowel movement. So dangling from her backside were little sprinkles of dried turds, which Grandpa allowed me to remove by snipping them off with a small pair of scissors.

I will give Queenie one kudo: she never objected to any of the processes. Matter of fact, it reached a point that whenever I came into the room, she came over and laid her head on my knee, awaiting the treatment.

She smelled like everything bad that no one should ever inhale.

Her nettles always yanked out little pieces of hair, and the clippings from the back end–well, fortunately, time has healed me of the vision (as long as I don’t talk about it).

That is my experience with a collie. So you can see why, under no circumstances whatsoever, could I enjoy watching “Lassie.”

 

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Bug

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Bug: (n) a small insect

Here was the explanation:

“You can always tell a black widow spider by the hourglass on its thorax.”

Please forgive me. There are so many things in that description I don’t understand, while meanwhile the little Dictionary Bbooger is biting and killing me.

I don’t like bugs.

I’m going to go one step further, because apparently I’m in a cranky mood.

I don’t like people who like bugs.

On this given day, I don’t even like bug-eyed people. I don’t think I’m alone–we don’t say somebody “antelopes” us. We say they bug us.

Spiders, bugs, insects or whatever categories they fall into, are all obnoxious. And they seem to warn us with their level of ugliness.

For instance, the common house fly is rather common. I know it spends an awful lot of time down at the poop pile, but other than that–and the fact that it occasionally buzzes me when I’m eating potato salad–it seems pretty harmless.

But then you have hairy spiders, long-legged spiders, insects with multiple numbers of legs–all of them warning you through their peculiarities to stay clear. A cockroach–two words that I never want to see together.

Also, I do not think it is fun to watch somebody handle a tarantula.

So when it comes to bugs, I am feeling my skin crawl even as I write this article.

Matter of fact, for the next hour I will probably assume there’s something creeping up my leg.

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Blunder

Blunder: (n) a stupid or careless mistake.Dictionary B 

The human race is constantly coming up with more gentle terms to cushion the word “failure.”

If we think we have been outstanding, “victory” or “success” seem to cover it well. But when some error occurs, the degree of severity has to be tenderized by the selection of the appropriate word.

Sometimes we’ll start off by saying, “It was a misunderstanding.”

Or “We misspoke.”

Occasionally we work up the courage to pronounce our last effort “a mistake.”

But it’s very unusual for human beings to be so forthcoming as to admit a blunder.

Other words avoided are “fiasco, a big pile of poop, idiotic”… and of course, the more truthful and cleansing pronouncement:

I fucked up.

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Arachnophobia

dictionary with letter A

Arachnophobia: (n) an irrational fear of spiders.

A fear of spiders.

Isn’t that like saying, “people who poop?”

I mean, it’s everybody, right?

You might have two creepy people you’ve met in your life who think spiders are cool, but you would never let them babysit your children, nor would you co-sign a loan so they could buy a really neat video game setup.

I guess the key word here is “irrational.” An irrational fear. When it comes to spiders, what would that be?

Honestly, I do not see parents turning to their children and saying, “Come on, Billy, it’s just a spider. Here’s a little comb. Preen his hairy legs.”

People have all sorts of pets, but no one has a pet spider. Matter of fact, I think having a pet spider might be one of the four profiles of a serial killer.

So what is an irrational fear of spiders?

I suppose if you mistook a box of raisins for spiders that might qualify.

Or if you believed the dried boogers in your nose were spiders and constantly tried to dig them out with Q-tips, I get that.

But other than that, a distaste for spiders is not really a fear, but rather, an intelligent pursuit.

I remember when I was told that you could tell a black widow spider by the hour-glass on its…well, I don’t remember. Was it its backside? Or its underside? Either way, if I have to get that close to be sure, just to have fellowship with a black spider without being prejudiced against it for being a black widow, I will pass.

Then there’s the brown recluse spider, which is brown, and I assume, reclusive. So I imagine if you happen upon one of them, they’d be really pissed off because you found their hiding place and they would spread some poison your way.

I don’t even want to get into tarantulas.

And Grandaddy Longlegs look like they should be in Star Wars.

I don’t like spiders.

If I reach the pearly gates and God finds my bigotry against them to be distasteful and feels I need to spend some time in purgatory for my intolerance, so be it.

Just as long as there are no spiders.

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