Brag

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Brag: (n) a boastful statement

“If you don’t toot your own horn, it won’t get tooted.”

This statement is often said in public, and even though most of us are uncomfortable with the “brassiness” of it, we usually let it go by without contradiction.Dictionary B

Actually, I toot my horn so others will tell me how good it is. I require that confirmation.

Does this make me needy? It certainly makes me aware that my own sense of appreciation of my ability has limited quality to my soul.

It’s risky.

Since everybody is tooting their own horn, will they have time to stop and enjoy my melody?

Will I be left in obscurity?

Will I be ignored in favor of other horns which blare louder?

Perhaps. But the problem with bragging is that eventually circumstances arise which demand that we back up what we have claimed. Our reputation is whether or not we can confirm our bragging. If we can’t fulfill what we claimed, we will be deemed liars.

Jesus told a wonderful parable about arriving at a banquet and making a decision not to sit at the head table.

Yes–even if you think you’re worthy of it–even if you were invited to sit there–don’t. Seat yourself with the other guests until your host notices you perched below, and in front of all the attendees, calls you up to a place of honor.

Yes, I like that.

I can avoid bragging by doing amazing work and being discovered by those who are looking for such excellence, who call me up…and blow my horn for me.

 

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Besmirch

Besmirch: (v) to damage the reputation of someone or something in the opinion of others.

Dictionary B

I don’t often take the liberty of addressing contemporary issues in these essays, but I am greatly troubled by the way our society is handling a particular human being.

Yes, I may be the singular person in America who feels sorry for Donald Trump. He possibly is the only truly innocent person in this whole cavalcade of ridiculous parading around, while turning our Democratic system into a clown act gigging at a whore house.

After all, Donald Trump has always made it clear who he is.

One can watch three episodes of The Apprentice and understand the man. He has two personas: an entertainer who acts as a salesman, or a salesman who greatly enjoys entertaining. Therefore he has dual goals:

  1.  To garner emotion from you
  2. To get you to buy something.

Unfortunately, he has tapped a bitter well in the American culture which spews poison. Once he realized there was a great flow from this poisonous digging, he pursued it–being the salesman that he is. The fact that we are unable to cap it is our problem, not his.

Of all the candidates running for President, Donald Trump is the most transparent.

The problem lies in our own secret rooms, where we still maintain a vigil of prejudice, but try to act embarrassed because this New York billionaire thespian acts it out for us.

So be careful when besmirching the reputation of this awkward soul.

He is what he is, and by the way … that’s all that he is.

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Armada

dictionary with letter A

Armada: (n) a fleet of warships.

Certainly when I see the word “armada,” my mind immediately pops off to think of the Spanish one.

The Spanish Armada was dubbed the greatest naval force that ever existed on Planet Earth. Because of that it was deemed invincible.

Matter of fact, the English, the French and even the pirates would avoid interfacing with this formidable fleet out of fear of being decimated by the sheer, brute force of its power.

But the Spanish Armada learned a valuable lesson, which is transferable into our times. Once you develop a reputation, you have two choices:

1. You can continue to work on getting better, using only your own standards as the criteria for excellence rather than comparing yourself to the surrounding, meager competition; or

2. You can continue to promote and advertise your status as supreme, hoping there will be no challenges to your claims,continuing to be all-powerful via publicity.

Can you guess which one is popular in the human race?

So while the Spanish Armada promoted itself, striking fear in the hearts of lesser navigators, the English, under the command of Sir Francis Drake, decided to improve its own boats–and eventually defeated them.

It’s not just that pride goes before a fall–it’s more that pride is the stumbling block that trips us up in our inadequacy, producing the tumble.

 

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Antagonism

dictionary with letter A

Antagonism: (n.) active hostility or opposition.

We just can’t make up our minds.

Are human beings supposed to be angry or are we supposed to quell our feelings, disguising them as mellow cooperation?

We are confused.

Sometimes we criticize ourselves for having any temper whatsoever, while simultaneously applauding heroes in movies who take vengeance on their enemies.

Which one is it?

Honestly, the only way to deal with antagonism is to never allow it to get that far.

How does it digress? When we refuse to admit that we’re pissed off.

By the time we finish struggling over the validity of our feelings we are so exasperated, exhausted and infuriated that we pop off with something we shouldn’t say or do something beyond the pale.

If true spirituality were correctly imparted to believers, we would comprehend that the key to controlling our anger is releasing it in tiny doses as it rises to the surface.

As the Good Book tells us, we should not let the sun set on our anger. We should be angry and sin not. For after all, what generates sin is violence.

And the Good Book also tells us that we should never allow ourselves to ignore our apprehensions to the point that we start calling people names and destroying their reputation.

Antagonism is a social disease created by a civilized society caught between the reality of human frustration and the aspiration to keep peace and quiet.

As long as people shall dwell together, there will be conflict.

Having a healthy debate or even a livid argument is preferable to shooting a missile up someone’s backside.

 

 

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Anachronism

dictionary with letter A

Anachronism: (n) a thing that belongs in another period than the present, usually referring to old-fashioned.

One of the more rib-tickling moments in my recent life was when I overheard two seven-year-old kids discussing how Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners used to have better cheese–when they were younger.

It was both endearing and enlightening.

It made me realize that it is possible at any age to reflect back on a previous time, which you have convinced yourself contained more promise, power or purpose.

It got me thinking.

What are anachronisms? What makes something old-fashioned? Just because some individual promoting an agenda wants to claim that a particular attribute is old-fashioned doesn’t make it so, Joe.

Because the things I find to be anachronistic are the causes put forth in our society which have historically proven to be errant or stupid:

1. Drug addiction.

We may want to debate whether drugs should be a crime or a freedom, but it doesn’t change the fact that any time you suck in smoke, swallow a pill or ingest a fluid to change your mood, you’re admitting that you, personally, do not have the ability to be happy without props.

2. Cultural appreciation.

I know some people think it’s important for black children to learn black culture, Chinese children their particular rendition and Hispanic offspring to pay their respects to Cinco de Mayo, but candidly, it’s just another subtle form of racism. It’s a way of distinguishing differences in the human race which only pull us apart instead of joining us together.

3. An aversion to manners.

Yes, there are folks who insist that being a lady or a gentleman–courteous–is too up-tight or phony. What is phony is thinking that you can treat people like crap and not end up being considered a turd yourself.

4. And finally (at least for this list), there is an ongoing belief that there is a battle between God and science.

Matter of fact, we’re choosing up sides again.

If we really believe there’s a God, then His creation certainly instituted scientific fact and Earth’s physics. If there is no God, then we’d better cuddle up to science, because it’s our only chance.

So since I believe in both, I consider it intelligent to keep them friendly.

  • An anachronism is something from the past that we cling to.
  • Tradition is a practice that we continue because of reputation.

But wisdom is an anachronism that needs to become a tradition because it offers human beings a chance to overcome our jungle … and plant a new garden.

 

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Aloud

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Aloud: (adv.) audibly, not silently

Seems like a simple enough word. But really, it may be at the center of true maturity and sanity.

When should we be silent? And when should we speak out–aloud?

There’s a standing joke in the human race: “Did I actually say that out loud?”

Especially with so many people finding themselves needing to apologize for things they have shared in a moment of candor, which they desperately regret as they are threatened with the loss of their occupation or reputation.

What should be aloud? What should be shouted from the housetop, whispered in the bedroom, or swallowed along with our pride?

Honestly, I’m working on that, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. If it’s the truth and it makes people stronger, go aloud.

You notice, I didn’t just say “the truth.” There are truths that the world is not ready to hear just yet.

2. If it pops into your mind and encourages someone, even if it seems silly, go aloud.

There is no such thing as a foolish sentiment. There is such a thing as regretting not sharing.

3. If it can be spoken aloud, challenged and you as a person can grow through the experience with new knowledge, then by all means do so.

But remember, when you go aloud, be prepared to be silenced by wisdom.

4. If it’s going to save somebody from disaster, take the chance and go aloud.

I do not think it’s polite to remain silent when someone’s about to fall off the cliff, just so you won’t startle their sensibility.

Yes, it’s an art form–when to be silent and when to go aloud.

But you can certainly be noisier if you have a spirit …  which can be quieted by reason.