Coin

Coin: (n) a flat, typically round piece of metal with an official stamp, used as money.

Can I tell you when I fell in love with me?

I had flirted with myself for years. But always, at the last moment, I pulled away from true affection for my being because I saw ugliness beneath the surface.

Living so close to me, it often made things tense.

Yes, it was necessary for me to love myself–but it had to be legitimate. It had to be real. It couldn’t be some clever concept pulled from a book by an author promoting self-esteem.

But one night it was put into motion. I had been working on the concept of generosity. I was trying to learn to give a damn about those around me who were socially, emotionally and financially damned.

I had made strides.

Back to my story. I was sitting in my chair, and noticed that a young lady, who had come to dinner, was cleaning off the nearby table, and had taken a dime, a nickel and two pennies that she saw lying next to a glass and threw them in the trash.

She discarded the coins.

I perfectly understood her action–seventeen cents seemed insignificant. She had no available pockets. And holding the coins in her hand while trying to grasp glasses might result in an embarrassing accident.

As soon as she walked away, I retrieved the seventeen cents, ran out to my kitchen, found an old pickle jar and threw the coins inside.

I set the jar on my counter, and I challenged my friends to bring all the change they had that might be tossed aside, and put it in my jar.

Every forty days I took the jar down to the local market and poured it into the coin machine. I was always astounded when I walked away with fifty dollars or more each and every time.

I had fifty dollars to give away to someone in need.

Fifty dollars to buy groceries for a family.

Fifty dollars for the guy on the street who made a sign from a piece of cardboard about his destitution.

And it all came from tossed-away coins.

So let me coin a phrase:

Don’t give up on coins. It may take a while, but they quickly change into dollars which can help those who just never have quite enough.

 

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Cockroach

Cockroach: (n) a beetlelike insect with long antennae and legs, feeding by scavenging

If you wish to impress someone, tell him or her that you’re planning on preparing and serving lobster for dinner.

If for some reason, you are in need of getting rid of an old friend, or just want to keep someone out of your hair, tell him or her you have to get home to set roach traps.

Cockroaches are not just bugs.

They aren’t merely creatures crawling on the Earth, sharing space with us during our sojourn.

There are many annoying things about them. Actually, they hit on ALL the frustration buttons available, sending human beings into a tizzy.

  1. They have been around longer than we have, and according to scientific projections, will be sweeping up after we leave.
  2. They have no standards whatsoever for the joints they frequent, so they carry disease and gunk with them everywhere they go.
  3. They are sneaky, but once they have proof that you’re incapable of destroying them, they’re very willing to crawl into your living room while you’re binge-watching your favorite show and peer at you, mocking you, with full confidence in their little tiny grubby hearts that you will not get up and squash them.
  4. They multiply very quickly and their children seem more obedient to their cause then our own.
  5. And of course, they’re a symbol and stigma of poverty, and perhaps the definition for having a filthy house.

This just pisses us off. Cockroaches don’t care.

They can be exterminated, but not terminated.

They can be discouraged, but not overtaken.

And they can be insulted, and roll right back over to crawl around with their nasty, hairy legs–through all of our things.

I don’t like cockroaches.

I don’t think cockroaches like me.

I’ve had cockroaches.

I fear that cockroaches have had me.

I don’t think we’ll ever work out a deal.

But I hope that someday, when they inherit the Earth, there will be some creature to come along that gives them the creeps.

 

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Clinic

Clinic: (n) a hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment

Old Marion Webster always tends to leave out a detail or two in presenting definitions.

Clinics are not only places where people go to get medical assistance, but often find themselves frequenting due to poverty.

I’ve been to a clinic. It wasn’t because I doing research for one of my essays. No–I was busted.

Broke. Without bucks. Dollarless.

I found the experience to be humiliating–not because I thought I was better than all the other clientele. It was humiliating by design.

All the furniture was old, scarred, some pieces broken. The magazines were dated at least four years earlier, and had articles which had already proven to be incorrect. The candy machine was empty except for peanuts and Cheese-it crackers. The Coke machine was out of order and the coffee maker had a crack in it, so they could only make one cup at a time.

The nurses were volunteers who attempted to be cheery, but still conveyed a sense of yearning to get over their stint quickly and return to their normal lives.

The people around me were sick–some very sick. It made them look and act dreary.

I sat there and thought to myself, how easy it would be for people of substance and finance to just donate new magazines.

How about that church down the road which recently bought new furniture for their parlor–giving that old plush couch and chairs to this clinic so people would feel just a bit more comfortable as they sat for hours, waiting for a three-minute visit?

Would it kill the vendors to make sure that the candy machine was adequately stocked, and price it just a bit more reasonably for those who have to search longer for quarters?

How about giving them a new coffee pot, or taking up a donation to make the Cokes reappear?

I wasn’t angry over the indifference–just perplexed by the ignorance.

Now that prosperity has crept my way, I have a little extra money every once in a while that might seem like a gold mine for a clinic.

Maybe just buying flowers for the attendants to wear every day. Or if you worry that the patients might be allergic, purchase more colorful scrubs.

For some reason or another, rich people do not feel it’s enough to insult the less fortunate with mere poverty. They want to make sure the experience leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

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Chronic

Chronic: (adj) (of a problem) long-lasting and difficult to eradicate.

There are several maturity banners that are displayed on our human journey. These are truths which are not always comfortable, but if denied, can put us in a chronic state of misery.

For instance:

  1. Nobody is going to do what you want them to do.

People imitate, they steal, they deny that they got what they have from you–but no one wants to admit that they are not autonomous and require assistance..

  1. The fewer categories you put people in, the better off you are.

When you start delineating by culture, color, sexual orientation and even gender, you get yourself in a horrible, tangled mess of misconceptions.

  1. And a third one is the realization that sometimes the solution is more painful than the problem.

Although we extol the value of solving dilemmas, we can often end up in more red tape, difficulty, struggle and misunderstanding than if we just learn to adjust our temperament and approach to the problem.

For instance, it is rather doubtful that poverty will go away. The more we complain about it and compare our levels of indifference, the less people get fed.

Go someplace where they offer two sandwiches for a decent price. Buy two. Eat one yourself and give one to a hungry person on the street.

You didn’t solve the problem–but you also didn’t trap yourself in a chronic search for an unattainable solution.

 

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Breach

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Breach: (n) an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct

A great book once alleged that there’s a power in “repairing the breach”–finding that break in etiquette or sensibility that can be covered with a multitude of grace.Dictionary B

It is a noble notion.

The difficulty with the mission is that people will often argue with you about whether there’s a breach in the first place. After all, a common conversation with fifty Americans will render much different responses:

  • Is there racism?
  • Is chauvinism a problem?
  • Should poverty be addressed or should we just try to motivate people to work harder?
  • Is there a God or are we on our own?
  • Are people of different lifestyles entitled to their rights?
  • Should we judge people by the color of their skin?
  • Should we question religions?
  • Is it possible that some people are just better than others?
  • Do the heavens have a “chosen people?”

If we cannot agree that there’s a breach, then the repairing will be considered foolish or intrusive.

What can we agree on about our pain before we seek a relief?

It is not so much that our problems are complicated–it’s more that they’re denied.

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Bottom Line

Bottom line: (n) the final total of a financial document

If you’re not willing to flirt with some poverty, you’ll never make out rich.Dictionary B

It’s true.

There is such a thing as “safe money,” which remains the same because it is a salary given to you to procure your services by someone who owns a company–who is risking that paying you will end up paying him or her more.

If I had trusted the bottom line in my life, I would not have done ninety percent of the things I pursued. And even if fifty percent of those ended up either failing or having mediocre results, I still have a tremendous compilation of miracles, experiences, friends, creations and adventures to tout because I took a chance … on good things.

 

 

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Borrow

Borrow: (v) to take and use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it.

I have an inkling that determining whether people are getting older can be evaluated by judging the shows they watch on television.Dictionary B

For instance, when I was younger I would never have watched “Wheel of Fortune.” And even though I would not call myself an avid viewer now, it is occasionally on in the background while I do other things.

Likewise, I would have made fun of myself for watching the judge shows like “People’s Court.”

I bring this up because on these court TV shows, each case finishes up with an interview in the outside hall, where the announcer asks the litigants what they learned from the experience. Universally, the eternal truth that falls from their lips is, “Don’t trust anybody.”

Benjamin Franklin intoned, in his pseudo-intellectual way, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be.”

It is a wonderful philosophy–if you are never in need.

But since my life has been bespeckled with all varieties of poverty and prosperity, I can appreciate the fact that every once in a while … you are one cup of milk and one bowl of cereal short of breakfast.

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