Dasher

Dasher: (n) one of Santa Claus’s reindeer.

What’s the story behind the story?

Maybe that’s something that qualifies you to be a writer—or at least gets you considered:  being inquisitive.

Of course, there is such a thing as being nosy. I guess the difference is whether other people end up being interested in what you’re curious about, or everyone involved just found you intrusive.

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind Dasher and Dancer?

I assume they were related.

  • Two brothers?
  • Two sisters?
  • Brother and sister?

If I were a female reindeer, would I mind being named Dasher? And if I were a male, could I live with Dancer?

I’m guessing two sisters.

And sometime after their birth, Mama Reindeer noticed that one of the little girls was really coordinated and appeared to be a great dancer. It was obvious that this young reindeer had a future.

She could move her paws without pause.

Mama Reindeer (and probably Papa, too) praised her for her ability—which left her sister without a true identity.

Because I am sure that Dancer is not actually the reindeer’s name. Probably Henrietta. Dancer is what she could do and therefore, who she became.

And her sister—shall we guess Beatrice?—did not want them to be known forever as “Beatrice along with Dancer”. You see the problem.

Beatrice tried to be open-minded, kind and unaffected about all the attention that Dancer was getting, but there was no doubt.

She was jealous.

This is the problem with having two daughters and one is able to dance and the other…well, she could probably end up just being a choreographer.

So Mother and Father Reindeer got together and mulled over what they should do. They did not want to take away the name Dancer from their young hoofer, but Beatrice certainly needed a more common name. Something to grab on to. A promotion-handle, as it were.

One day, they were watching their young deer at play and Papa Reindeer said:

“She runs real good.”

“Who?” asked Mama.

“Beatrice,” replied Papa.

Mama Reindeer watched for a spell. She wasn’t positive that her young daughter was actually speedy. But it sure would be convenient to convince her she was.

“I think I’ve got it!” said Papa Reindeer.

“We shall call her Dasher.”

Beatrice immediately loved the name. Fortunately, her sister, Dancer, was not envious. So Dasher and Dancer began their careers—one fast, one coordinated.

It also made for a great pairing, to begin a famous song.

Unfortunately for Dasher and Dancer, the tune ended up being about Rudolph–whose red nose was just too amazing not to advertise.

 

Daddy

Daddy: (n) diminutive of Dad

Approaching my produce man at the grocery store, I asked:

“When is watermelon season?”

Without thinking, he replied, “When the watermelon show up.”

I suppose when you practically live in a grocery store, you judge the seasons by what comes off the back of the truck.

In the midst of being a parent, there is a brief vapor of time when your child recognizes you, proclaims you and refers to you as “Daddy.”

It is such a safe, sweet location that you’re tempted to encourage it to expand its borders to broader vistas.

But you can’t mess with it.

It happens during a child’s perfect age–when “Dada” has been abandoned and right before you become the generic “Dad.”

Just hearing the word lets you know how valuable you are to the child.

It gives you a reassuring hug in your soul that he is not plotting, smoking, drinking and thinking of new ways to download pornography.

For after all, you are “Daddy”—”Dada” who has become so familiar that you have gained shape and presence.

Sometimes the word “Daddy” is followed by the young child climbing up on your lap, and without being prompted, giving you a hug around the neck, which lasts a little bit longer than you thought possible.

The little one calling you Daddy believes you to be a god (or at least, Santa Claus’s right-hand man).

He is astounded at how you leave the house and come back with treasures—toys, pizza rolls and little tiny things you promised you’d get if you had time.

Daddy—a word that brings tears to the eyes of any father who knows that soon his power and authority will be challenged by the revolt of adolescence.

But for now, it’s Daddy.

For now, there’s a desire to be close.

For now, the child believes he has come from you and never wants to leave.

Maybe that’s why the Bible tells us that we should approach God by saying, “Abba, Abba.”

Which, by the way, translated from the Greek, means “Daddy, Daddy.”

 

Crisis or Crises

Crisis or crises: (n) an upheaval or upheavals

Fear.

Calm.

Worry.

Anger.

Belligerence.

Surprise.

Freaked.

Cowardly.

Brave.

Humorous.

Serious.

Cheerful.

Pissed.

Relieved.

Unaware.

These are the reactions human beings select when something happens which they did not want to occur.

A crisis.

I listed the words because some of them will be considered praise-worthy and others, frowned upon as being foolish.

But what really destroys our souls, robs our faith, shatters our hope and shakes the foundation of our love are crises. This is when one unexpected attack is followed by another equally mysterious dilemma.

Now I will tell you, a lot of good folks can survive a crisis, though it may not be the best moment of their lives.

But the crises are what bring us down.

Why? Because deep in our hearts we were trained to believe that when the Christmas tree has no presents underneath, Santa Claus arrives.

If a tooth falls out of our heads, a fairy gives us money.

If we don’t have enough money for college, some family member or friend figures out a way to at least fund our first semester.

And if diagnosed with a fatal disease, Jesus will come and heal us.

Unfortunately, we are in no condition to survive the symmetry of the Earth, which is often invaded by chaos.

Tribulation haunts us. It is upheaval.

So whether it’s a crisis or crises, the only thing that allows us to soar above despair is accepting the fact that these intrusions will certainly come into our lives.

Santa Claus, fairies, rich uncles and even Jesus don’t always arrive on time.

Often the conflict requires us to endure, even to the end, so that we can experience a salvation from the trial.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Clatter

Clatter: (n) a continuous rattling sound

It’s a Christmas thing, isn’t it?

Do we ever use the word “clatter” at any other time than in the recitation of the poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas?”

You know what I mean. When everybody’s gone to bed and Mom and Dad are awakened: “There arose such a clatter.”

As I look at the definition, I realize how disappointed Santa Claus must have been. The North Pole crew certainly practiced this landing thing on roofs, right? And the goal is to get in and out of the house without waking anyone.

So if the poet is correct and Santa and his reindeer raised “a clatter,” some heads must have rolled on December 26th back up there at the North Pole.

For after all, the job is simple–fly straight, land quietly, take off silently.

But if you’re gonna be landing on roofs raising a clatter, all the mystique about your process is soon going to be gone.

That’s about the only time we ever use this word, right?

If somebody walked in a room and said, “Hey! What’s all the clatter?” we’d probably reply, “Listen, Charles Dickens, leave us alone…”

Or if someone was staying at your house and came down for breakfast and spoke up and said, “I hope I didn’t keep anyone awake last night with all my clatter,” honestly, you might think he’s a serial killer.

Clatter??

So I think this word is singularly supported by a poem which proclaims an action which would never have taken place if Santa’s team had rehearsed just a little bit more.

Donate Button

  Announcing Jonathan’s New Podcast

Listen to Stitcher

Bubble

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bubble: (n) used to refer to a fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last.

When my parents told me there was no Santa Claus, the revelation that the rumor had been greatly exaggerated did not totally deflate my young, eleven-year-old soul.

It’s not because I thought it was alright for them to mislead me, and it wasn’t because I found the Nordic purveyor of toys to be Dictionary Bpersonally distasteful.

It’s that nothing really changed.

I was getting toys–and I continued to get toys. The fact that they weren’t coming from the North Pole was somewhat insignificant.

Even if I wanted to be huffy about the “fake news” concerning Mr. Claus, it was difficult for me to make a major case, considering the fact that I still had the presents.

But when I was told that the government of the United States was “for the people, by the people and of the people,” and as an adult I discovered there is much misrepresentation to that assertion–well, it’s a different “checks and balances.”

It will also be much more disappointing if I find out that God was a Holy-Land-Hoax.

In both cases, I can’t live in a bubble or isolate myself and pretend I don’t know.

Because with no government or God, the toys quickly disappear.

The absence of a good government opens the door to all sorts of graft, corruption and scandal.

Likewise, to be minus a deity is a guarantee that my eternal home will be grave circumstances, with my dreams turning to dust.

This is serious stuff, folks.

I can live without Santa Claus.

I cannot prosper if our government is dishonest or if the two-party system is a one-lane road to dissension.

And I certainly don’t want to spend my Earthly life revering a supernatural being who ends up merely the figment of the imagination of Bedouin nomads.

Help.

What can I do to make sure that my leaders–Republican and Democrat–honor the premise of liberty?

And who should I have been if God ends up taking the Santa Claus nose dive?

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Befuddle

Befuddle: (v) to make someone unable to think clearly.Dictionary B

It all boils down to one question:

What do you want?

Do you want to look good or do you want to live with the truth?

They aren’t the same, you know.

The truth does make you free. But if your goal in life is to look good, freedom doesn’t always achieve that purpose. Freedom just makes it possible for you to walk around without guilt.

That’s why the truth befuddles human beings.

We actually see no advantage to telling the truth–because we prefer lying and deceiving our fellow-travelers to telling the truth and sleeping well.

The truth befuddles.

It befuddles politicians because then they’re stuck with their record, which is always a mingling of achievement and carelessness.

It befuddles theologians because the obvious question of “now, how is God different from Santa Claus?” makes them defensive and causes them to fall back into an attack mode of scriptural brattiness.

It befuddles the educational system, because just about the time we are convinced that education has progressed us, new knowledge shows up to confound the wise.

And since we do not want to appear befuddled, we select to become aggressive and childish, protecting our egos at all cost.

Befuddled is the ridiculous idea that we should always be in a position of power. What could be more silly?

Why would we think that any part of creation would have the advantage of understanding all creation?

I never met a dog who was actually aware of my needs.

Why would I think that I, a mere mortal, should not occasionally be befuddled, since I don’t hold the keys to any kingdom … but only find myself stuck in traffic?

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

 

 

 

Average

Average: (adj) mean or median norm, meaning something that represents a middle point.

It caused me to become a better man, dad, writer, musician, driver, shopper, handler of money and general human being.dictionary with letter A

The day I realized that everything in life eventually averages out and lands in the realm of modicum was the time that I finally knew how to set my goals.

Let me give you an example:

When I looked over at the batch of children hatched from my lust and whim, I thought to myself, what do I want these little dudes to be in 25 years?

At first, my list of requests and preferences was too long. And then I came up with three words:

  • Solvent
  • Loving
  • Creative

With that in mind, I developed my parenting approach.

To make sure they were solvent, I never gave them money without giving them work. Why? Because the only ways to get money other than working for it is winning the lottery and stealing. You can see why I chose what I did. They did not always like the work, and their work was usually pretty mediocre. But even an average work ethic pushed them to the front of the class.

To make them loving, I forced them to go see people who were not very lovely–hurting, frustrated, addicted and poverty-stricken. They were somewhat repulsed, but still ended up much more empathetic than some of their friends.

And finally, creative. Every time they wanted me to buy them something, do something for them or get them off the hook for using their talents, I refused and made them produce something with their own hearts and hands, even though I must tell you, the result was often so ugly that I needed to quickly bury it in the back yard.

Still, they knew they were responsible to come to Earth and provide resources instead of just consume them.

Since human beings will generally end up average, it’s a good idea to have a standard. That’s why we keep Santa Claus around–he reminds us of the importance of giving.

And we maintain a belief in God, although we’re not sure…because He encourages us to find our better humanity. 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

*******************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping  & Handling

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

Buy Now Button

 

Ascension

Ascension: (n) the ascent of Christ into heaven on the fortieth day after the Resurrection.dictionary with letter A

As a young father, I remember planning my first trip to take my two little sons, both under five years of age, to the zoo. Nothing went right.

  • I started out with a flat tire.
  • One of the kids woke up with a runny nose and a weepy eye.
  • I had set aside some money for the zoo trip but could only find half of it.
  • And suddenly, nobody wanted to go to the zoo.,

It was at this point that I decided that we were going to go to the zoo, and we were going to have a good time–or die trying.

I pushed through it.

I bring this up in relation to the fact that I must confess to each and every one of you that I do believe in God. Even though I have many friends who would prefer I didn’t or think it’s a sign of my mental or emotional weakness, I decided a long time ago to go with God, and even though my spiritual tires have flattened at times, my children have gotten sick, my prayers were not answered and I’ve ended up with about half the money I needed, I am still on the path to believing.

Some folks stop along the way. They want to believe in the idea of brotherhood, spirituality or kindness, but want to remove a heavenly Father from the masthead of the family business.

Other individuals believe more deeply about God but draw the line at miracles, Satan, heaven, hell and angels.

Some of them believe in Jesus but they don’t believe he rose from the dead, which would make it completely unnecessary for an ascension to heaven.

But here’s my problem: if I drove to the North Pole and found a factory made out of ice and inside was a red velvet suit with white piping, I might have to reconsider my rejection of Santa Claus.

Likewise, I see too much of God’s love, blessing, presence and concern for me to deny it in favor of surrendering to my doubts.

So I guess I’m in this for the long haul.

I guess I will be just as surprised if heaven is really neat as I will be if there is nothing but the grave.

So I have taught myself, in light of this fact, just to enjoy being surprised.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Arctic Circle

dictionary with letter A

Arctic: (adj) of or relating to the regions around the North Pole.

There is a rumor that the polar Arctic ice caps are melting.

I’m rather disappointed with them. Is it too much to ask the ice to remain cold? After all, we’ve given you an entire circle at the top of the world, to perform your job, and now you decide to give up on the idea of being frozen…and melt?

Worse yet, further rumor has it that I’m to blame. You can’t even accept the idea that you maybe got into a heated discussion, which caused your drippage.

No, it’s because I drive a car or have some sort of carbon footprint that somehow or another brings aggravation to your well-being and makes you want to get smaller and dribble down into my circumstance.

This is a further disappointment in my life, which I believed would never happen. There is a long list of them and I shall not go into the number lest I put myself in a bad mood on this particularly delightful day.

But especially since it’s Christmas Eve and Santa Claus is up there somewhere near that Arctic Circle, you would think some of his magic would cause the region to “chill out.”

All my life I have just believed that the North and South Poles would stay cold.

I understand you can’t go up there and sunbathe, but you should be able to don a parka and have Jack Frost nip at your nose as you peer with dreamy eyes at the icy sculptures.

  • Is there nothing sacred?
  • Is there no reason in the midst of the madness?

I would like to see the Arctic stay freezing. I think it will help us have a sense of balance and believe in greater possibilities like faith, hope and love.

So if this means I need to spread the toes on my carbon feet just a little bit less, I’m game–because I want some things in life to be white.

The Arctic Circle and polar bears would be among them.

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Ad man

Words from Dic(tionary)

Ad man (n): a person who works in advertising. It is the classic “love-hate” relationship. Basically, capitalism loves it and humanity despises it.

In our society, we require that products be produced, and once manufactured, they must be marketed in the most competitive way possible. Simultaneously, the nervous, apprehensive and often bored consumer becomes the target for all sorts of chicanery, albeit speckled with a bit of cleverness.

Advertising. It is one of those great annoyances that will not go away, similar to the embarrassment one feels on being a grown-up and needing to put baby powder on a summer heat rash. You wish you didn’t, but you guess you’d better.

How can you advertise something without coming across as the classic over-sales-pitching boob?

I experience it myself. Obviously as I travel on the road, I would like people to participate in my writing, my music, my endeavors and even to purchase some of this stuff so that I can continue to my odyssey and perpetuate my childhood whims.

But how can you be an ad man (or an ad woman, for that matter) without appearing callous to those around you, merely concerned about unloading inventory?

Well, there IS the truth. That means that every once in a while, when making your spiel, you realize that what you have to offer is not a perfect fit for the person in front of you, and you might just gain a soul by backing away and letting them know of your product’s limitations for their need.

This was demonstrated beautifully in the movie, Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street. The Santa Claus character acknowledges that Macy’s does not have a certain toy and recommends other locations for acquiring it. Management was in an uproar … until they realized that it worked.

Yes, I guess that IS the key. If you can tell the truth about your product in an enthusiastic way, and then allow the patron to make his or her own decision on whether it fits in to their requirements without insisting that they are either short-sighted or “don’t yet understand the full range of your offer,” then you can be a decent ad man instead of an obnoxious one.

Advertising. It won’t go away.

Actually, it shouldn’t go away. But what we CAN require is our American right … to hear and decide for ourselves.