Belong

Belong: (v) to fit in a specified place or environment.

Dictionary B

Shortly after my arrival, I was told that I belonged to a family.

I was also informed that this collection of people was supposed to be supreme in my mind, and I should defer to them in all cases.

It didn’t take long before I was required to belong to a school.

  • We had a mascot.
  • We had teams.
  • We had jerseys.
  • Our school was better than your school. At least, purported.

I also belonged to a church. It was not the only church in town, but in many ways, I was instructed that it was the only church in town. To belong to this institution, I had to believe in their ideas, doctrines which granted them a sense of importance, uniqueness and preference.

My genealogy told me that I was of German descent. So apparently, I belonged in the white race, the offspring of Germanic tribes. That seemed to carry some significance which I never totally fathomed.

I met a woman. Actually, I met several women. But I had to pick one so we could belong together. Picking more than one was considered scandalous.

I graduated from school and was told I needed to belong to a corporation and have a job. I found that limiting and tried to launch out on my own, only to be scolded for failing to belong to the good working folk of America.

It did not take long to realize that other people belonged to different things than I belonged to, and because of that, it would be impossible for us to achieve high levels of interaction or fellowship.

It seemed to me that belonging was just a well-organized way of clumping–and once clumped, a certain amount of defensiveness was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of our particular heap.

I grew weary of such foolishness.

I belong to the human race.

That’s it.

I am not in the mood to join any other faction. 

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

 

Alphabet

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alphabet: (n) a set of letters or symbols in a fixed order, used to represent the basic sounds of a language

Sometimes I understand a concept and can even put into the works a plan of action, but become completely baffled during implementation.

Do you do that too?

Such was the case with a cereal called “Alphabets.”

As a kid, when I watched the commercial on television I saw children much like myself (except made more gaunt due to Hollywood’s requirements) sitting at a breakfast table, taking their little pieces of cereal and laying letters out on the table in front of them to make words.

It was perfect.

It was like going to school, feeling a sense of accomplishment upon completing an assignment–but then being able to eat it.

I was so impressed with what I saw during this advertisement that I begged my mother to buy me a box of Alphabets so that I, too, could sit in my nook and build my own personal dictionary made out of overly sweetened cereal product.

The only trouble was that every letter I pulled out seemed to be either an X or an O. Apparently the manufacturer found it easier to make those particular letters, so the box was not adequately stocked with all twenty-six representations used to form the English language.

They failed to share this in the commercial.

So by the end of breakfast I had dumped the entire box of cereal on the table in the quest of forming language, only to have my mother walk in and think that I was goofing around instead of pursuing the Rosetta Stone.

I can tell you of a certainty–there are absolutely no P’s, R’s or T’s in a box of Alphabets. I think I found two A’s, one E and four U’s.

I was vowelless.

So what I came up with were a bunch of Eastern-European-style words, a table covered with cereal and the dust that accompanies it, and an angry mother, who swore never to buy me another box of Alphabets.

The next week I found myself back to eating oatmeal, which, by the way, doesn’t evoke any other words than Y-U-C-K.

 

Alarm

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alarm: (n) 1. an anxious awareness of danger 2. the sound or warning of imminent danger

Do they still call it a fire drill?

I’m not sure.

When I was a kid, about every six or seven weeks, the school bell rang uncontrollably, and we were told to rise from our seats, get into single file and march out of the building into the awaiting parking lot in anticipation of what could have been a fire breaking out.

Of course, we all knew it was just a drill. A practice, if you will. But it was still a bit alarming to hear the bell, and delightful to be able to escape the world of desks, pens, paper and droning “teacher voices,” to go outside for a few minutes with your friends.

Of course, in the adult world, they had plans set in place to rectify that potential for pleasure.

You had to remain silent.

This was the same thing you were cautioned to do when standing in line for the cafeteria, gathering for an assembly or even finding your path to the bathroom.

Silence.

I realize now that we were never in danger of fire. And I’m not being critical of the craft of preparation. I understand it thoroughly and agree with the premise.

But the alarming part of the process of leaving our school, considering the potential for a blazing inferno, was actually the fact that we were taught to be non-social.

  • Couldn’t talk in class.
  • Couldn’t talk in the cafeteria.
  • And couldn’t talk on the way to the fire drill.

And then we wonder why human beings grow up sheltered, protected, suspicious and just downright cranky. After all, we’re not about to let our offspring chum with one another when we were forbidden to do so.

Yes, I would say the most alarming thing about hearing the alarm bell tell us to go to a fire drill, considering the alarming possibility of a burning school, was the fact that we weren’t allowed to be human and interactive.

I guess that’s true all over the world. I’m sure Chinese people discourage chattiness in their children just like Americans quell such outbursts. But I wonder if we lose something by being too alarmed.

Don’t we sacrifice the child-like instinct to enjoy ourselves, believe for the best and want to whisper interesting things to our neighbor?

 

Again

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Again: (adv) another time; once more

It’s all about french fries.

For a very brief season, french fries lost their appeal–they became an afterthought: “Would you like fries with that?”

Having already selected my sandwich of choice and determined my milkshake preference, I had french fries thrust upon me by my server, giving me the sensation that they were trapped in the back, toasted brown, desperately lonely. Matter of fact, in that era, not much care was put into them.

They began to taste like fried sticks.

So you had to decide if you were gonna have french fries AGAIN.

You see, the trouble with the word “again” is that it threatens to become repetitive, bringing sameness to our lives, which causes us to become bored, robbing us of entertainment.

Thus french fries.

Matter of fact, I am not sure they could have survived this season of doldrums if someone had not come along to smear them with cheese, bacon, jalapenos, and I don’t know…maybe even whipped cream. Then french fries gained interest because they brought along friends and a fresh outlook. They were welcome–even flirting with the possibility of bumping the main course.

It’s not that there’s anything WRONG with “again,” but normally when we use the word, our voices trail off into the great pit of despair:

  • “I have to go to school … again.”
  • “It’s Sunday morning church … again.”
  • “I’ve been married for thirty years. I guess it’s time to kiss my wife … again.”

If we don’t do something to spice up the side dishes of our lives with innovation and flavor, having something “again” will never be pleasant. It will become the kind of march to blandness that convinces us that we’ve been cheated rather than blessed.

I’m going to write my essay again …but I’m going to make it cheesy and spicy.