Bully

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Bully: (n) a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Shakespeare was convinced that all the world’s a stage, and each one of us are actors performing a part.

It’s an interesting theory–but actually, all the world is an improvisational troupe with seven members–but only four usually show up. So rather than having a role, you end up making up what’s going to happen next, and also filling in for those who fail to appear.

That’s more accurate.

So the truth of the matter is, sometimes we may accidentally, or even purposely, find ourselves in the position of being a bully.

Was the United States a bully when it went into Vietnam? By the definition afforded us by Webster, we were certainly trying to take over a weaker people. Yes, control a debilitated nation.

Is it bullying when we ask people to motivate folks to do their best?

Does a football coach bully a player who’s not playing up to his ability by temporarily humiliating him in front of the team?

If you’re going to make a practice of finding the faults of others and pointing them out to produce ridicule, then I think you’re officially a bully.

But if you occasionally find yourself needing to motivate a friend by challenging him or her by pointing out laziness and lack of will, then you’re probably not a bully. You may be doing the work of the angels.

Over half of the things I’ve learned about life and how to treat other people were acquired in school as a child by interacting on the playground.

  • I suppose it could be said I was bullied to catch a ball.
  • I was bullied into playing two-square, even though I was told it was a girl’s game.
  • I was bullied into running faster so the hit I made during baseball could be a double instead of just a single.

It doesn’t mean there weren’t bullies on the playground, who did nothing but find the weaker brothers and sisters and humiliate them for no reason at all.

But if I had the ability to do better and was challenged to do it, that’s not bullying. That’s friendship.

If it’s out of my control–like having a fat belly or stubby legs–then that’s downright mean.

 

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Bizarre

Bizarre: (adj) very strange or unusual

Dictionary B

The pursuit of normal has grown to abnormal proportions.

It is more than a mindset–it is a deep, ingrained fear that the slightest step from the prepared pathway will bring ridicule or destruction.

This has brought our society to an unnecessary impasse. We’ve divided into two unseemly camps–unseemly in the sense that neither gathering has acquired the high road.

There are those who believe that anything that cannot be lifted up in righteous glory from the King James Version needs to be extracted from our country, out of a fear of heavenly judgment.

Then there are those who are so uncertain where to place the lines that they’ve removed all the grid and assumed that everything is all right as long as it makes someone happy.

So we have no definition for right and wrong, just a judgment of what is wrong and a free pass on what is right.

What is bizarre?

I think anything that kills human beings is bizarre.

I would venture to say that stealing our life force and joy is also bizarre.

And certainly, it is bizarre when we set about to destroy ourselves or other people through gossip and vapid hatred.

If we could determine what is truly bizarre and agree upon the parameters, we could begin to progress and surprise ourselves at how happy we actually can be.

But until then, there will be two camps warmed by two very different fires.

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Benchmark

Benchmark: (n) a standard against which things may be compared or assessed

Dictionary B

At the risk of barking out some dogmatic standards, I shall attempt to offer some concerns.

As I view the climate of politics, religion and entertainment, which are meant to be foundations in our American society, I realize that the benchmark for each one of these offerings has shifted over the years, unconsciously accepted by the masses.

Religion should have only one function: to teach us to love each other.

Anything else ranges from superfluous to dangerous. Nowadays we ask religion to afford us a heritage, a style, a uniqueness, or even a guarantee of eternal life.

The benchmark we have set for religion is careless.

On the other hand, the only benchmark for politics is honesty.

Without it, we fail to recognize what the true problems are, and therefore we end up working on the insignificant and overlooking the necessary.

Nowadays, politics is the symbol of deception, dissension, gridlock and even a certain amount of ridicule.

We’ve lost our benchmark on politics.

And finally, entertainment should have the benchmark of entertaining us, but also enlightening us.

Without these stipulations, entertainment starts to be sensationalistic, desiring a plumper and plumper bottom line.

When we lose our benchmarks, we start to stray, which makes us appear lost ... even as we insist we are following the cultural GPS.

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Anesthesia

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Anesthesia: (n.) drugs or gases designed to create insensitivity to pain prior to surgical procedure.

It occurred to me while standing in the breakfast aisle at the local supermarket.

In previous years, I complained about going shopping and having rude little children point, giggle and laugh at me simply because I was a fat man.

On this day, what crossed my mind, standing next to the Honey Nut Cheerios, was that I couldn’t remember the last time that I had such a confrontation with a little one in the marketplace. I wondered if it was because our children had gained a new sensitivity and had ceased to mock unusual people.

Without being too cynical, I seriously doubt that. There is certainly as much prejudice around today as in any other time.

So it baffled me a little bit.

But then I realized–the secret to this absence of ridicule did not lie in the children, but rather in me.

  • I had stopped looking for the pain.
  • I had ceased to probe the room for disapproval or listen for the slightest chuckle.
  • I had learned to go about my business.
  • I had accepted the great anesthesia of confidence and peace of mind, to free me from the need to be pricked and probed until I screamed out in displeasure.

Maybe the kids are still laughing. But I am dull to their critique.

Maybe when I come zooming by, they poke each other, point and giggle at me. But I am already gone.

The glory of anesthesia is that necessary surgery can be done to our bodies without us fighting the treatment.

May God give me the anesthesia of soul satisfaction so the surgery that He needs to continue to do to my heart … will be painless and profitable.

 

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Alda, Alan

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alda,  Alan (1936 – ): U.S. actor, director and writer, he won five Emmys for his role as Hawkeye Pierce on the television series M.A.S.H. (1972-83). His movies include Same Time Next Year, California Suite, The Seduction of Joe Tynan and Everyone Says I Love You.

I tried last week.

I attempted to watch an episode of M.A.S.H., which had its heyday in the 1970’s.

It was entertaining. But with the presence of never-ending one-liners, plays-on-words and physical comedy culminating in someone falling into mud, I was quickly aware that the gods of comedy had departed from this Olympus to different mountaintops of humor.

It was weird. I used to love the show. I especially enjoyed Alan Alda as Hawkeye. But now it seems kind of old–almost like Catskills comedy translated to a war zone with occasional serious overtones.

There are exceptions. Certainly the final episode, when the cast members go their separate ways, is a classic for all time; or the entrance of Radar into the operating room to announce the death of the commanding officer. Stunning.

And I’m sure if you talked to Mr. Alda, he would agree that although he is still quite proud of the work, he is not afraid to move on to other possibilities and new horizons.

Matter of fact, of late I have seen him in more dramas than comedies. Maybe a wise choice, Alan: because the kind of comedy that is prevalent today demands more ridicule, embarrassment and mocking than setting up a punch line.