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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Approximate

dictionary with letter A

Approximate (adj): close to the actual, but not completely accurate or exact.

Pet peeve. Please forgive me. Example:

“How many people were at the concert?” I ask.

“Approximately 47,” he replies.

Yes, it bothers me when people say they’re going to approximate a number and then give me a specific one. You can feel free to say “I would approximate between 45 and 50,” but 47 is what I would call a hard count.

Also pet peeve, case in point:

“What time will you be there?”

“I would approximate 7:15ish, but it could be later.”

Now I’m confused. First of all, I don’t know what “ish” is doing on the end of any word. 7:15 comes around once a night, and all of its neighbors have names, which are not associated with it. For instance, 7:16 is different.

I know this is silly, which may be the definition of a “pet peeve. (All pets are silly in their own way. Anybody who thinks a hamster or a fish gives a crap about them should spend a day or two in the loony bin. So when my peeve is my pet, I feed it, hold it, pet it, put it back in its cage and hope it does not poop all over everything.)

I do try to be patient with people. I realize they don’t share my predilections.

I also try to understand some of their pet peeves, though honestly, their particular renditions always seem, to me, to be pet rocks.

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Announce

dictionary with letter A

Announce: (v) to make a public and typical formal declaration

I attended a wedding.

It was a festive affair, as they often are. I don’t know of anything quite like marriage, which gains such optimism and steam during the reception, only to be regaled as nearly hopeless by the time the guests reach the parking lot.

But I digress.

At this wedding, there was a flurry of toasts given to the bride and groom. In the midst of these salutes, one young gentleman stood to his feet, lifting his glass to the recently betrothed, and said, “I want to announce that I got a job on Thursday that pays 47K a year, which is a step up for me.”

There was a pause. You could sense the reasoning in the entire room.

  • Yes, this is obviously an unnecessary announcement for this moment.
  • Yes, it reeks a bit of selfishness.
  • Of course, it will keep some awkwardness in the air, until we are well into the cake-cutting ceremony.

At length, someone trickled off a limp representation of applause, duplicated by those souls most forbearing.

Our announcer was completely satisfied, smiled at the entire room, tipped his glass and drank it down.

Now, I was intrigued. I watched him for the next ten minutes as he beamed to those around him his glee over his recent acquisition, hoping to receive adulation, only being compensated with nervous nods.

Announcements are nice. Three things are important for them, though:

1. They should be on point, and not obtuse.

2. They should benefit the common good of the hearers available.

3. They should be doused in humility and a bit of reluctance, so there’s more joy coming from others than hemorrhaging off the speaker’s ego.

To conclude my story, I will tell you that the person who followed our bizarre announcer with the next toast was careful to elongate it with sufficient focus and praise back onto the blissful duo.

It’s the beauty of life.

For every fool who poops in the middle of the road, God seems to send a patient soul behind him … with a pooper scooper.

.

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Acrid

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acrid: (adj.) an irritatingly strong and unpleasant taste or smell

I guess we universally say something isn’t to our taste, but I’ve never heard anyone say it’s not to their smell.

Am I right?

So is it possible that folks who love jalapenos and maybe will even eat grasshoppers, still universally despise the smell of crap?

For there ARE cultures which devour things that we would never eat, but I’ve never seen any place in the world where certain odors are tolerated.

(Well, take that back. There is the Midwest, where people drive into their small towns and seem to accept the air of cow manure permeating the surroundings. But even there, if you look deeply into their eyes, most of them seem to reflect a wish that the cows would poop elsewhere…)

And there ARE certain things we will tolerate and eat and not call them “acrid” because we’re trying to impress. For instance, I have never been a drinker of alcohol. Yet if I’m in Wisconsin and someone offers me a beer they’ve made in their basement (which, by the way, SHOULD be frightening enough) I feel compelled to take a drink and somehow or another come up with an approving phrase about the liqueur. They usually know very quickly that I don’t know what I’m talking about, but ignore that in deference to my politeness.

I remember the first time I was out on a date with a girl, very early in my years, and I realized that she was willing to kiss me–repeatedly.  But in the process of receiving THAT very pleasant experience, I had to reconnoiter her breath, which was a bit … acrid.

I was torn. Two sensations tugging at my soul–the pleasure of appreciating a woman’s lips and a revulsion in my gut which was suggesting we move further away from the attacking stench.

It is amazing what we will accept if we feel the results are to our benefit.

I was watching a show last night on TV. Young women were trying to lose weight by drinking green, slimy slushes to trim off the pounds. What struck me was that these lovely ladies will probably not want to drink this concoction the rest of their lives, and that we as a human race, have not found a way to produce good-tasting food that doesn’t kill us.

  • Why can’t we have peanut butter that’s low in calories?
  • Why not a beef steak that has the nutrition of broccoli?

This might be more beneficial than curing cancer. But we’re going to continue to eat and smell acrid things and pretend they’re good for us, knowing that in a moment of slight weakness, we will run away.

Acrid is NOT in the eye, the taste buds, nor the nose of the beholder. It’s pretty universal.

I guess it’s just the common conclusion to almost everything.

Some people just lie better.