Charlatan

Charlatan: (n) a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud.

Even though I don’t believe there’s any secret to life–otherwise God would be a nasty uncle playing a game of hide and seek so He can take a nap–I do believe there are markers along the way, telling us how to make this passage of Earth-Time much more plausible.

One of those gems is to make sure you never critique anyone unless you’ve already scoured yourself to uncover the same condition.

If you call somebody a fake, you’d better make sure you’re not faking something yourself.

If you refer to somebody as a liar, you might want to precede that with an honesty session and unburden yourself of all your half-truths.

And if you claim that someone is a charlatan, you should be fully aware that the false claims you place on your qualifications–the additional bullet points you may slip into a resume–might equally define you as being a charlatan also.

Here’s a powerful message: take aim at yourself first, and then see if you can help somebody else.

Dirty people with dirty hands who come across other dirty people and try to help them end up just transferring much of their dirt onto the person in need.

God forgive generations of ministers, politicians, businessmen, counselors, teachers and even parents who voraciously took on the job of correcting…except where it came to straightening their own path.

 

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Belief

Belief: (n) an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

Dictionary B

“Stacks.”

It is a word connoting an accumulation of stuff.

It’s supposed to be impressive. Why? There is a lot of it and it appears well-organized.

The problem with “stacks” is that anything beneath the top page is buried in some form of obscurity. Unless you patiently sift through the material, you will never exactly know what is eighteen inches below or fifteen inches above.

I used to have a bunch of belief.

I stacked it all up and called it my faith.

I took my faith and proclaimed it my religion.

And my religion became my calling card–to quickly explain to others where I stacked up in the rank and file of humanity.

But I rarely used my beliefs because they were encumbered, one upon another, offering very little freedom of expression.

Belief should never be an encyclopedia of recited ideals.

It is better served as a one-page resume which quickly tells those who are considering our acquaintance how valuable we find our lives to be–the experience which has enhanced our journey … and expresses our willingness to work for the better of the company.

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Aria

dictionary with letter A

Aria: (n) a long, unaccompanied solo for voice, typically in an opera or oratorio.

If human beings were not so pretentious, we would almost be fun. At least it would be closer.

Over the years, I have sung a song or two. Actually I’ve done much more than that–I’ve recorded, written songs and performed on stages all over the United States.

And after the show, folks will come up to talk to me, wanting to make some sort of personal connection.

Some people are just genuine and pour out their hearts with the present words that are floating around inside their minds. They are delightful.

Others feel the need to prove their intelligence and acumen by making a more specific statement, which is usually geared more to promoting their own resume than encouraging my soul. Two categories for these:

  1. “You sound like…”
  2. And “I can tell by your voice that you’ve been professionally trained…”

Concerning the latter, it is an amazing fact that although most people don’t like opera or favor operatic singing, they still use that particular style as a measuring stick for vocal quality. (It is similar to hating Chevys but making your Ford feel bad by constantly talking about the other product.)

I don’t know why we think that opera singers are better at their craft than some guy with a guitar in a coffee shop, intoning his anthem–but we do.

It really isn’t an appreciation for the aria or the performer, but rather, letting everyone in the room know that we are aware of this medium and to a certain degree, can even pronounce the unusual names associated with it.

This is why I got tickled when Pavarotti got a cold and couldn’t sing.

It was so human.

And then, another time, he had voice strain and had to cancel his promised aria.

When you remove all the fictitious ideas from the human race, you end up with a much smaller pile of knowledge.

But it actually all ends up being true.

 

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Adept

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adept: (adj.) very skilled or proficient at something: e.g. he is adept at cutting through red tape; an adept negotiator.

Beware of titles that require follow-up.

I often come across individuals who want to quantify my abilities or value by assessing names or positions to my talents. We all are tempted at times to tout our value by putting some sort of signature on it, which is supposed to communicate our qualification or aptitude.

  • Lieutenant
  • President
  • Senator
  • Manager
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Principal
  • Reverend
  • Husband
  • Wife

Well, the list goes on and on–an unending collage of words that are supposed to scream out our uniqueness, so people will give us respect in the foreground before they check too much into our background.

Matter of fact, without these accolades, we sometimes feel that we’re just human beings, God forbid. But when we insist on such bravado in front of others, we take away the element of surprise, which allows people to surmise our lack of worth based upon our appearance, only to be proven wrong by the tally at the end of our endeavors.

Sometimes I don’t even like it when people ask for a resume. I always hated it in a job interview when the question was posed, “Tell me a little about yourself.” An impossible inquiry. If you stumble or act humble, people will say you lack confidence. If you go on and on about your personal achievements, you certainly will flirt with arrogance.

Yet for some reason the human race is convinced that carrying our “blue ribbons” to the starting line is confirmation that we will win the race.

The beauty of life is also the most frightening part. For after all, what I did yesterday is worth very little if I plan on screwing up this morning–and calling me by some regal proclamation only increases the pressure or takes away any praise I might achieve by exceeding expectation.

Am I adept at things? Probably. But I will never tell you.

  • Tell someone you’re adept at writing and they’ll critique your paragraphs.
  • Adept at love-making? God help you.
  • Adept at comedy? Be prepared for the audience to stare at you, waiting for the funny.
  • Adept at parenting? Watch your neighbors scrutinize your children very carefully.

“Adept” is one of those American words we use to attempt to impress before we actually perform. Sometimes it’s just better to shut up, do the best you can and surprise everybody when you actually have … some game.

 

 

Accredited

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accredited: (adj.) of a person, organization or course of study officially recognized or authorized: e.g. an accredited chiropractic school.

I often chuckle when people ask for a resume. Have you ever thought about it?

A resume is a statement of what you’ve already done–which reeks of “has-been.” Or it insists on what you desire to do, which sniffs of being  a “wannabe.” But it certainly proclaims that you’re not doing much right now. Otherwise why would you be looking for a job?

A resume is humbling–but it is where people expect us to pull out all the information that is accredited:  all the schools we attended which have the seal of approval; all the companies we’ve worked for which have some sort of visual recognition to the reader, and all the skills that fall within the spectrum of society’s present favorites and understanding.

I don’t have a college education. Due to a mixture of ignorance on birth control and persistence to honor the pregnancy of my girlfriend, I found myself launched into adulthood right out of high school, trying to acquire my pedigree in the dog-eat-dog world. Once I decided I was not going to cannibalize by eating my fellow-dogs, I lengthened my journey toward success.

Yes, sometimes there are short-cuts, but they take you through the woods where you generally run into the Big Bad Wolf.

So I tried to work on ME. I gave myself two great gifts. Here they are:

1. Don’t assume you’re good enough. There are always new ways to try new things to tap new talents to create new possibilities.

2. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Such comparisons always lead to judgment, criticism and self-delusion.

Once I started working on myself and stopped critiquing others, I got better. In the process of getting better I also got older.

It’s amazing. Some people don’t even CARE if you’ve been to college once you cross your thirtieth birthday. By the time you’re forty, they don’t even ask, unless they’re nerds.

What they want is what every human being wants: “Excuse me. Do you have anything in your knapsack that will make my journey easier?”

So I try to always bring along a provision to cover my needs and a little extra for those who forgot to pack for a rough hike. It gives me a sensation of being “accredited.” My fellow travelers look at me and say, “Thank you for taking on the burden of caring for yourself–and for giving enough of a damn to bring an extra portion for us.”

I have nothing against formal education. But the thing about “formal” is that eventually the prom is over. You need to slip on work clothes instead of long dresses and tuxedos.Pomp and Circumstance stops and the new song is Whistle While You Work.”

It’s what really makes us accredited. It’s what makes a resume leap off the paper and appear to be filmed in 3-D.

So get your education–and with all your “getting” of knowledge, acquire some wisdom. And with that wisdom, have the generosity to pull your load.

And bring along an extra sandwich for a stranger.