Border

Border: (n) the edge or boundary of something

Is the purpose of a border to separate us from the people we hate?Dictionary B

Or maybe we don’t hate them–maybe we have convinced ourselves that they’re just so “different” that they need to be on the other side of something.

And then if that line doesn’t work, we can place guards to protect our border from aliens invading us.

But what if the guards aren’t efficient enough? We’ll need some sort of fence. After all, you know the old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

But what if the more athletic adversaries learn how to jump our fences? We will certainly need a wall.

But God knows they are industrious enough in their thinking to fly airplanes over our walls and land on our turf. So we will certainly need to stop them at the airports and determine whether they are one of us, look like one of us, and will fit in with the rest of us.

This is going to take a tremendous staff of well-trained individuals who are able to identify the non-us.

And how limited should we make that vision?

Should it be based upon personality, color, attitude?

And we certainly can’t forget religion. We don’t want infidels coming in to infiltrate our spiritual utopia.

It seems that in no time at all we will need more people keeping other people out in order for us to enjoy being who we are.

And then comes the final fear:

What if the people already here are just very good at hiding their predilections of being foreigners?

 

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Aquarium

dictionary with letter A

Aquarium (n): a transparent container of water in which fish and other water creatures and plants are kept.

Sometimes I look back at the hiccups in my life and giggle over my choices, predilections and the fads that permeated my consciousness temporarily, only to fall to the wayside as a new idea punctured my awareness.

About fifteen years ago I decided I wanted an aquarium. I think I saw one in a movie, thought it was cool and believed it would be a conversation piece for individuals who came into my home and seemed incapable of speech.

I did what I usually did–researched the subject just enough to make me totally unqualified.

Unqualified, but verbose.

So I bought the tank, filled it with water, got the pellets, put in the little furniture, rocks and stuff to go along with it, and bought myself some fish.

Let me tell you–I selected my fish based upon what looked pretty and interesting. The proprietor of the pet shop, in great generosity, donated five gold fish, which looked rather bland and unappealing.

I threw all the fish together with no concern for cultural integrity.

In two or three days I noticed that my gold-fish were gone. I looked for them in the bottom of the tank, planning to retrieve them for a decent burial, but no luck. I looked along the sides, but not there either.

So I called my pet shop owner and he explained to me that those pretty fish I bought were…well, shall we say, cannibals.

They ate the gold-fish.

I asked him why he didn’t tell me that in the store and he gave that lame response often provided by shopkeepers.

“I thought you knew.”

So you see, much like my gold-fish, my interest in aquariums was short-lived. But it gave me pause for thought.

In the aquarium kingdom–and I assume paralleling into the human–the pretty and interesting fish always eat the dull and boring ones.

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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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Abbasid

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAbbasid: (1) adj. of or relating to a dynasty of caliphs who ruled in Baghdad from 750 to 1258.  (2)  n.: a member of this dynasty.

I remember a time when the mention of guns would conjure in my youthful immaturity the concept of cops and robbers. Also, I guess, was a flash or two of soldiers.

It was simpler. As a young kid, I would finish my breakfast hurriedly and head outside on a summer’s day to play all around the neighborhood with my friends, to return for a lunch of a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of yucky tomato soup, to then run out the door again and play and play with wild abandon.

I didn’t have a monitor on me to make sure I wouldn’t be abducted, nor did my mother worry about whether the neighbors were perverts.

Now, you see, some of them WERE. Perverts aren’t new. We didn’t come up with them in the past twenty years. It’s just that perverts were aware that they were odd–and tended to hide their predilections away from the neighborhood.

The reason I bring this up is because when I read the word “Baghdad” in the definition, I thought about how much that word has changed in my mind over the years. When I was a kid, Baghdad was a place in stories where people rode camels and when they got tired of moving so slowly, they leapt upon magic carpets.

It was cool. It was magical.

I didn’t know they were Muslims … because I didn’t know what a Muslim was. I didn’t know they hated America … because why would you hate us when you’ve got TENTS that look small on the outside but when you walk inside, they’re palaces? I didn’t know their women were subjected and mistreated. In the stories, they were all princesses.

Move ahead a little bit and Baghdad turns into kind of a stronghold for some guy named Saddam, who lives next door to another strong-arm dude named the Shah of Iran–but we’re told it’s cool because they’re our allies. This, of course, pleased me. Because they were our friends, we had a lifetime supply of magic carpets available to us.

Then we find out the Shah is a jerk and Saddam is kind of crazy–followed by some of their people abandoning their carpets and jumping into our jets and flying into our big buildings–and those folks from Baghdad suddenly become our enemies. Since then, my public perception of this place has been going constantly downhill.

It’s too bad.

Maybe Baghdad people never WERE Ali Baba, but I’m sure they’re not all Ali Bad-Bad either. I’ll never know, will I? I’ll never get the chance to find out about their caliphs and their Abbasids, because basically they’re our enemies–or is it now our friends? It’s hard to keep up.

There are not a whole lot of things I would like to return to. I certainly think that knowledge has progressed us, holding back the tide of disease and stupidity, but it would be nice to recapture some of the trust and gentleness we felt towards our fellow-man–even those in Baghdad.