Cocoon

Cocoon: (v) to protect and surround.

I sometimes giggle when I read an article, and I can immediately tell that the writer has taken ten minutes to look up the subject on Wikipedia and throw in some smart words, so it appears to be a “learned” piece, laced with technological terms.

Today I refrained from doing that.

I think the most interesting thing about each and every one of us is our experience mingled with our ignorance. As long as we know we’re ignorant on certain subjects, it has a certain amount of charm to it.

For instance, I have seen a caterpillar. I have beheld a butterfly. And I know that the stage in between is referred to as a cocoon.

I have had a cocoon pointed out to me, but it was needful because it was so non-descript that I would never have noticed it. After all, there might be a danger in having a bright purple cocoon, lest someone think it’s a beautiful rock, and takes it home, eliminating the possibility for a butterfly.

Whether you believe in God or Nature, you must admit that one of these two, or both of them, are pretty damn smart.

I certainly think it would behoove the human race, instead of sewing wings onto caterpillars, to take some time to cocoon our efforts, our motivations, our desires, our wishes, and our insecurities, so that we can mature into butterflies, instead of pretending we can soar.

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Cliché

Cliché : (n) a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.

Because I write an essay or two or more every day, I’ve learned to avoid clichés. fiancé

I can say “a penny saved is a penny burned.” That’s making fun of a cliché. But to insist that it’s “earned” makes my penning arcane. (similar to using the word “arcane.”)

Yet there are things that have been proclaimed to be clichés which have recently been abandoned by our culture, and need to be returned quickly–before we come apart at the seams.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Just because it’s been presented for centuries does not mean it has lost the gold in its rule. Simply spoken, the absence of such a cliché is the presence of Earthly mayhem.

How about another one?

“You get more flies with honey than vinegar.”

Have we begun to believe that how we react, think and speak is insignificant? Are we asking the human race that surrounds us to tolerate our mood swings under the guise that if they don’t, they are intolerant? I think there’s a power to being kind. Do you?

“To he who much is given, much is expected.”

Might seem like a cliché–especially since it’s become popular to insist that each of us pull our own load, simulating some sort of unnatural evenness. There are two reasons people don’t have money:

  1. They are poor.
  2. They use money poorly.

It is ludicrous to think they will rise to the occasion and suddenly become prudent with finance. These poor will be with us always and we should do for them what we can–especially if we find that we have a knack of drawing in the bucks.

Yes, there are many clichés that should not be ignored or set aside simply because of their birth date.

They are just old and wizened–not dead and in need of burial.

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Clever

Clever: (adj) quick to understand

I have always contended that the best way to be clever (quick to understand) is to make sure you’re slow to tout your intelligence.

I don’t know why people work so hard to establish that they are smart when being knowledgeable just plays out.

So, avoid making claims in the chill of the moment, which melt in the heat of the day.

I don’t exactly know how to be clever. I get accused of it all the time, and I’ve even had people ask me what the secret is to cleverness. The only response I can give them is, “For God’s sakes–don’t try.

After all, there is nothing that is less clever than trying to be clever.

It’s awkward.

It’s dopey.

It’s like taking a selfie and pointing out to people how cute you are.

It usually fails miserably, especially when you have to explain your cleverness because it has overshot the comprehension of your audience.

I think clever and cleverness is like dew: get there early, make sure you’re frosty and find a nice spot to let the cool that surrounds you “dew” its stuff.

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Charming

Charming: (adj) pleasant or attractive.

Mr. Webster, please make up your mind.

Is it pleasant, or attractive? Truthfully, the two rarely run races together.

Those who are attractive don’t necessarily feel the need to be pleasant. The absence of pimples and the presence of dimples grants them
license to be just as snooty as they deem necessary.

And those who are not attractive often don the apparel of “pleasant,” to clothe themselves in a righteousness that should be suitable for the runway of life.

So which is it?

I suppose there might be a tiny handful of humans who are attractive and pleasant–which enables them to go into a bar and get a date without buying her a drink.

So I disagree that charming has anything to do with pleasant or attractive. Charming is just damn smart. It’s the realization that not everyone will find you attractive, no matter how much you primp, and being pleasant may be suspicious rather than advantageous.

My definition for charming is finding a way to be sensitive to the moment.

Weep with those who are weeping, rejoice with those who are rejoicing. And stop thinking that God has voted you to be in charge of all moods.

If you are able to sensitize yourself to the situations around you, granting a bit of grace to the emotions that crop up, you will bear fruit in the human family.

 

 

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Brevity

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Brevity: (n) shortness of time.

Brevity is not only the soul of wit, it is also the heart of smart.Dictionary B

It is very important that all the sons and daughters of Earth learn at an early age about the dangers of boredom and how little attention span most people can offer.

When I first started traveling, I assumed that my presentations could last an hour-and-a-half. Even though I was careful to keep things interesting, and even surprising, I quickly discovered that with distraction and a bladder, the human being has limited tolerance for sitting patiently and “receiving.”

Matter of fact, I am frightened to the core of coming across repetitive. I look for any sign that I’ve lost the attention of nearby hearers.

I have even stopped in the middle of a sentence–and no one noticed.

I had to giggle inside, realizing that several paragraphs earlier they had obviously bailed out of the conversation (probably without a parachute).

Are there guidelines to help us avoid being overly talkative?

Here’s a clue: tell a part of the story. Leave it dangling on a cliff. See if anybody demands you continue.

Then create another cliffhanger–always providing an open door for the listener to be satisfied … and move on.

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Brain

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brain: (n) intellectual capacity

A friend of mine bought a German shepherd. He did so as a means of protecting his house.

He named the dog Rugby.Dictionary B

Rugby was probably one of the sweetest animals I’ve ever encountered in my life. I was absolutely enthralled with the kindness of this creature, but certainly convinced that Rugby was incapable of guarding anything. He was even patient with the four-year-old child who lived in the house, who was enamored with the animal’s nose, and continually tried to pluck it from his face.

I laughed at my friend when he insisted that Rugby was a replacement for a burglar alarm.

Then one day we went off on a brief shopping trip. As we returned, pulling into the driveway, we heard barking and growling. It sounded very aggressive–frightening to the ears.

Stepping into the house, we discovered a terrified gentleman penned in the corner, held prisoner by a very intimidating Rugby.

Apparently the man had decided to come into the house to steal some items to sell at the pawn shop–only to discover that the house was well protected by a deceptively dutiful German shepherd.

The man begged to have the dog called off.

As soon as my friend called the police, he motioned to Rugby to come to his side, and the family pet returned–with a wagging tail and a panting tongue.

You may ask me what this story has to do with the brain. Here it is:

The brain is like Rugby.

It doesn’t have any natural inclinations of its own, but only brings forth its training when the situation arises.

  • If you think being smart makes you generous, you are sadly mistaken.
  • If you believe that a formal education causes you to be ingenious, you will be disappointed.

A brain is merely a “thing” until something breaks in, and it does what it was trained to do.

 

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“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

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Axle

Axle: (n) a rod or spindle (either fixed or rotating) passing through the center of a wheel or group of wheels.dictionary with letter A

If I weren’t stupid, I would have no stories to tell. Smart people have a list of accomplishments instead of tales of mayhem.

I was a mere 24 years old and driving along in an airport limousine that looked like it should have been used in a 1940 Clark Gable movie. It had six seats in it, dual air conditioning units, and even had a metal cage in the rear to protect the luggage.

It was the most unpredictable vehicle I have ever driven.

First and foremost, you could not drive over 55 miles per hour because of some sort of “governor” they had placed on the engine.

But I was grateful to have it so that my singing group could travel across the country and annoy people with our increasing prowess.

One night as we were leaving Jacksonville, Florida, we noticed that the back passenger-side wheel was wobbling a bit. These are things a normal adult would be concerned about, but not a 24-year-old vagabond.

To counteract the wobbly wheel, I tried to drive faster. Suddenly I looked in my rear-view mirror and noticed that the back of the limousine was lighting up.

This seemed unusual.

So I pulled over and discovered that the rear of the vehicle was on fire.

I did have enough mechanical understanding to recognize that this fire was very near the gas tank, so I got the members of the group out, and we ran about a hundred yards away and watched it burn.

I thought about doing something brave, like taking off my shirt and beating out the flames, or trying to acquire some water from a nearby ditch to extinguish the blaze–but I didn’t.

We watched it like it was the latest release from Hollywood.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “The axle of my limousine is on fire…”

This was the end of my reasoning.

Fortunately for us, a truck driver arrived with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames as we gradually, but bravely, inched forward.

He was also kind enough to take his “breaker-breaker” radio and get us a tow truck.

The whole back axle was destroyed.

I guess someone felt sorry for us, and the man who worked on the vehicle replaced the whole axle, put on a new tire and only charged us $150. We even found a family to stay with while it was being repaired.

It was a remarkable event.

But still, every time I hear the word “axle,” I have the instinct to run like a little schoolgirl.

 

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