Apropos

dictionary with letter A

Apropos (adj): very appropriate to a particular situation.

Mr.Torrence had an aggravating mannerism which put people off and made them eventually despise him for his short-sightedness.

He was one of my eighth-grade teachers and the faculty advisor for our student council.

Every time we gathered, got into the midst of what we considered to be a fruitful discussion about some things that needed to be changed in the school, or about various projects we wanted to pursue, which seemed to be in line with the wishes of our friends, he would interrupt and say, “That’s not apropos.”

The first couple of times he said the word, we were all chilled to silence, because no one wanted to admit that we were unfamiliar with the idea. But finally, one of the braver members piped up, “What do you mean by apropos?”

He chucked at our ignorance and replied, “It’s off-point.”

Well, I’ve never been one to accept the authority of a figure simply because he’s had more birthdays and wears a tie, so I piped back, “It’s not off-point if we don’t think it’s off-point.”

He furrowed his brow in disapproval and sternly warned, “I am the adult here and I know what’s apropos and what’s not.”

Once again we all cowered in fear.

No one said anything else, and truthfully, our little organization was completely unable to back any idea or complete a project.

I had this abiding belief in my soul that eventually I would get old enough that I would escape the “Mr. Torrences” and be able to make my own decisions. But no matter how many bites of birthday cake I consume, marking the passing of my years, there continue to be these creatures, like Mr. Torrence, who want to decide for everybody else what is apropos.

Some do it claiming a reverence for God or a moral code; others do it because they have an inherent fear of change. And then, a vast majority put forth this profile simply to be controlling assholes.

Our entire country is stymied by a “spirit of apropos.”

We are stalled on the entrance ramp of the highway of life.

We are inundated by individuals who want us all to shiver in silence, never able to build up the speed to enter the stream of traffic.

Throughout the march of humankind, people have tried to chloroform new life by making us all afraid that what we’re about to do is out of line–and certainly not apropos.

Without the souls who are rebellious to the “Mr. Torrences” who come along, we still would be owning slaves, raising cattle, treating women like donkeys…and eating our dinner in the darkness of a cave.

 

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Anti-American

dictionary with letter A

Anti-American (adj): hostile to the interests of the United States; opposed to Americans.

If you will allow me to characterize an entire nation in the context of the growth spurt of an average human being, I would put forth that our country is presently in the midst of a seventeen-year-old, bratty, rebellious snit.

Anyone who’s had children and endured the pangs of adolescence will be familiar with the sneering comment coming from your teenage child: “It’s my life. It’s a free country. And if you love me, you’ll support me in my decisions.”

Honestly, we did not become a great country through finding a contortionist’s trickery to kiss our own ass. Our greatness is punctuated by the times we have discovered the fallacy of our own practices and pursued avenues to build a highway to better understanding.

To arrogantly insist that every suggestion that America might need to make some sort of constructive course correction is an attack against our nation is nothing short of high school insolence.

Here are three things I know about my country, I love about my country, and therefore insist that my country continue:

1. We believe in giving.

The minute we start thinking that we are too generous and therefore should take more, we will become the latest dinosaur.

2. We are a free country and therefore capable of changing our mind to better solutions.

I am sick and tired of having the Constitution presented as a docile, stagnant document. It has so far been amended twenty-seven times, and certainly shall be again.

3. We have stated on paper that we believe “all men are created equal” and that no one is better than anyone else.

Even though we’re catching up with our own high-sounding ideas through a bit of painful implementation, we have taken the bold step of declaring an eternal truth.

As long as these three principles are pursued by my nation, I will applaud and sprout a tear or two when Old Glory comes marching by.

When we retreat from them through cowardice or lethargy, I will be in the front of the protest, demanding we return to our standards … and risk being called anti-American by the lazy and ignorant riff-raff.  

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Ambrosia

dictionary with letter A

Ambrosia: (n) something very pleasing to taste or smell: e.g. the tea was ambrosia.

It was about 750 square feet from kitchen to front door and located directly across from the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio.

It was a Chinese restaurant–the first of its kind in our area, and I was quite uncertain whether to go in and eat, because being raised provincially, I had some sensation that it might be un-American.

But it smelled good and I was a teenager–adventurous and rebellious to the notion that I should forbid my taste buds an opportunity, based upon politics.

I didn’t know what to order, so the dear young girl who waited on me suggested sweet and sour pork. I didn’t ask her to explain what it was, because I didn’t want to come across as if this was the first Chinese restaurant I had ever been in–but when it arrived it was beautiful: fried, golden-brown chunks of juicy pork, covered with a red sauce that was sticky like cake, sweet like candy and just a little bit sour, like lemon. On the side was fried rice, which still contained some of the grease left over from the pork tanned over the flames.

I put a bite in my mouth and I was transported to every religious expression of heaven known to the human thinking.

It was delicious: sweet, sour, some salty from the fried rice, juicy fat from the pork.

There is not and never will be any flavor to surpass it.

I have eaten other foods which I enjoy immensely and which do flirt with competing and jockey for position, but sweet and sour pork at that little store-front across from the Capitol in Columbus, Ohio, is still the ambrosia to my palate.

Of course, over the years I have learned that it’s also an overnight delivery system for death. There isn’t anything in it that’s good for you and everything is a greasy slide to Valhalla (I used the Viking heaven in respect to the pork).

So the truth of the matter is, when we actually find our ambrosia, we must be willing, as mature and healthy adults, to walk away from it and pretend that other foods which are not nearly as lethal are actually as flavorful.

Even though I’m convinced that neither Meryl Streep nor Tom Hanks could pull off such a performance, I will learn my lines and deliver them on cue in the great play … acting the part of a more balanced eater.

Ageless

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Ageless: (adj) never growing or appearing to grow old e.g.: the town retained its ageless charm.

What is ageless?

To me there is one idea that is ageless, accompanied by other things that are spawned because of the value of that golden truth: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Once we decide to call that ageless, we therefore come up with the notion that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

And if THAT’S true, we can relax and stop trying to appear superior to others.

Not needing to be superior to others, we don’t have to evangelize the world with our particular rendition of truth.

Given that extra time free from evangelizing, we can become creative–pursuing art, science and solutions.

With this blessed time provided, we also discover powerful ways to make our lives better and enrich the surrounding atmosphere.

And now that the world is convinced we are out to contribute instead of sucking the life out of everything, nature itself becomes more generous.

Because we’ve honored Mother Nature, Father God feels quite able to embrace us as His children.

No longer orphaned or feeling rebellious to a universe that was once our enemy, we calm down.

As we calm down, we feel less need to compete and more desire to congeal.

As we congeal, race, nationality, religion and physical differences become unimportant–almost comical.

Laughing at ourselves, we welcome a world of joy.

Joy increases our strength.

Stronger, we go out to use our energy to build instead of destroy.

No longer needing to destroy, we start thinking of ways to take the weaker among us and make them valuable.

Because everyone is considered valuable, we find it much easier to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

What is ageless is the power to believe in the idea of equality BEFORE it makes complete sense.

When we do so, some of the wrinkles in our society–and maybe even on our faces–disappear.