Convivial

Convivial: (adj) friendly and agreeable

It becomes obvious to me why some words are foreign to my ear, or for some reason, have ceased to be popular. After all, when would the word “convivial” actually come up in our present-day society?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I suppose if we found ourselves at a particularly exciting party, and inebriation was only making people silly, a wordsmith might offer “convivial” to describe the event.

Yet to live a life where you are pursuing a convivial attitude might cause the large majority of fellow-travelers to be suspicious, if not angry, over your lack of awareness about how miserable everything truly is.

I have often wondered what I would have done if I were on the deck of the Titanic the night it struck the iceberg, and it became obvious that in a short time I would be floating in the water, an iceberg myself.

Would I turn religious?

Would I pray, scream to the heavens?

Would I get angry and push people around because I wanted to be the last one in line to croak?

Would I crawl into a lifeboat and pretend I was “Mrs. Something-or-Other?”

Would I grab my banjo and join the band in playing, “Nearer My God to Thee?”

Since I assume the galley would be deserted, would I go down and hit the pastry tray, knowing it wouldn’t make any difference anymore?

Or would I look around into the frightened, horrified and distraught faces of my cohorts and try to make our last moments convivial?


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Challenge

Challenge: (n) something that puts us to a test

Things that challenge me often make others snicker.

Perhaps they try to be open-minded and kind, but they find my challenges to be silly. Not wanting to be left out of the game, I turn around and find their challenges equally as dopey.

When I was five years old, the biggest challenge in my life was swallowing pills. I could not do it. Everybody thought I was mentally
retarded. (That was back when you could use that term.)

Each person I knew tried to teach me how to swallow pills, and always started out with a grin of hope and ended with a grimace of despair. I think I was fifteen years old before I conquered pill-popping.

Now, when I was fifteen, my biggest challenge was to do a forward roll in high school. My body did not want to roll over the top of its head to end up flopping on its ass. (Imagine that.)

Once again, many people tried and many people failed.

I’ve always had the challenge of losing weight. So I take the precaution–when I get that sideways glance from people obviously expressing disapproval over my magnitude–to explain to them that I am in the middle of a diet.

It makes them feel good and sometimes I actually believe it myself.

 

 

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Bouncer

Bouncer: (n) a person employed by a nightclub or similar establishment to prevent troublemakers from entering

Big Mike.Dictionary B

That really was his name.

I know it sounds kind of silly, but if you’re going to be a bouncer in a club, your tag should have a certain amount of intimidation. In other words, if the owner was dealing with a problem, asking “Lawrence” to come and help would not be nearly as frightening.

I got to know Big Mike a little bit. He was a nice guy. I suppose he might even fall into the category of “sensitive.”

But whenever the proprietor of the institution called his name, Mike suddenly turned into an attack dog. It was almost like watching the transformation of the Incredible Hulk (except he never tore his shirt.) His face became stern, furrowing his eyebrows. He lost all the joy in his eyes as he rapped his knuckles on the table and stomped off to deal with some ne’er-do-well.

At first I found it funny. Then I realized Mike was playing a dangerous game.

Because the truth is, a prize fighter can’t go into a bar without all the drunken patrons thinking they can take him on. And Big Mike was going to eventually run across someone who felt it was his duty to clean his clock–leaving him unable to tell time.

It gave me pause.

How often am I tempted to muster a nasty disposition to warn people of my superiority and prowess, setting myself up to be brought down by the thunder of a greater storm?

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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?

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Before

Before: (prep) during the period of time preceding a particular event, date, or time.Dictionary B

It was a sentimental period in my life, which because of hindsight, I can now refer to as “silly.” I don’t know why it came upon me.

Maybe it was nostalgia.

Maybe it was listening to too much classic rock and roll music.

But for a few weeks, I had a yearning to return to my little hometown and walk the streets, to see if I still fit in.

It became an obsession.

Maybe it was because I was so dissatisfied with my “after” that I wanted to regain my “before.” I’m not sure.

But nothing fit.

When I returned to the place of my birth, I found that the location had evolved and become something quite different–without my permission.

Nobody knew who I was. Old places that once held deep significance to me were now abandoned or turned into a Dairy Queen.

I was lost.

All I wanted was to go back to where I was before, while simultaneously bringing the financial security and prowess of what I had become.

  • Before no longer existed.
  • The present was not friendly.
  • So the future held no hope.

My hometown was no longer my home, nor was it just a little town. It was a burgeoning bedroom community of a metroplex twenty miles to the south, which was gradually swallowing it whole.

I felt empty.

But I realized that emptiness was necessary… in order to rid my soul of all the childish ideas which needed to scamper away to make room for the man.

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Bawdy

Bawdy: (adj) dealing with sexual matters in a comical way; humorously indecent.Dictionary B

Somewhere between porn and Puritan lies perfectly hilarious.

I have never been interested in pornography, and honestly, even less drawn to the life of the pilgrim.

Human sexuality is comical. Actually, it’s downright silly.

Even though some people videotape themselves having sexual intercourse, most of us would run away from such a viewing in a combination of embarrassment and horror.

Why? Because for those brief moments when we’re seeking pleasure, we also tend to reject all forms of pride and civilization.

Who cares?

All I know is that when we trivialize sexuality and make it merely a physical act, it normally develops tinges of violence.

When we say it is sacred and must be blessed by God’s presence, we repress our sexual instincts and invite perversion to create a playground in our being.

I am often bawdy.

Raising a bunch of sons, I joked with them and made it clear that sex was not a taboo subject, nor was it hatched in the heavens, surrounded by prayers.

It is one of the most important balances we can achieve: to land our understanding of human sexuality somewhere between monkey and angel.

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Apprehension

dictionary with letter A

Ap·pre·hen·sion (n): 1. anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

A pall in the room.

This is what I created the other night when I casually mentioned that I was diabetic.

Some faces reflected horror; others, pity. But the general disposition of those gathered was that they would have to sit back and listen to a litany of my sad tale or a description of my medications and treatment.

I surprised them because I just don’t do that.

But rather than appreciating the fact that I did not bore them with the elements of my constitution, they looked on me with a bit of dismay. I think they found be blithe.

Yes, if any word has been thrown my way as an insult, it would be blithe and all of its friendly synonyms.

  • “Silly.”
  • “Not careful enough.”
  • “Short-sighted.”
  • “Immature.”
  • “Naive.”
  • “Overly optimistic.”
  • Or even occasionally, “Ignorant.”

But I do not find blithe to be the absence of awareness, but rather, the negating of apprehension.

Case in point: when my doctor told me I had diabetes, I deadpanned in his direction: “Well, now I know what’s gonna kill me.”

He paused, looking into my eyes to see if I was serious, and when I twinkled his way, he laughed. He also spent the next two hours explaining the rigors of my situation and the care I needed to give myself.

I don’t mind giving myself attention–as long as it’s half of what I give to others.

Apprehension has never made my journey sweeter or improved my situation. Matter of fact, it tends to do the opposite.

So if I were to be accused of anything, and I certainly will be, “blithe” would be my preference.

Because the power of living a life which “takes no thought” for certain matters is the realization that my thinking does not always produce positive energy and often fails to even release the serotonin that could make my thinking better.

Do I have apprehensions? Yes.

But I would consider them to be pesky mice in my house … instead of pet hamsters in cages.

 

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