Chopper: (n) a helicopter.

Knowing that my brain, like most human brains, has selective memory, and that triggers installed for certain sounds, words, or even smells, I can tell you of a truth that the word “chopper”–and the vision of one–for me conjures memories of Vietnam.

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I came of age during the height of the conflict, came upon my eighteenth birthday and was eligible for the draft. Helicopters were prevalent in the nightly news, and made me think about that horrible war.

Today I call it horrible. When I was a teenager, I lived in a community that actually had its own chapter of the John Birch Society, and the violence in Southeast Asia was extolled as patriotic–our best avenue for stopping the spread of Communism.

So for me, it’s a chain of mental commands:

Chopper makes me think about Vietnam.

Vietnam makes me think about the protests.

The protests make me think about rock and roll.

Rock and roll conjures images of Woodstock.

Woodstock reminds me that I was living in a provincial village and was too frightened to go to the festival.

And being too frightened to go–as a young man, I was also always arguing with my family over a half-inch of hair over my ears, trying to rebel by listening to The Monkees.

I was no hero.

But as history moves forward, we realize that unfortunately there were no heroes during that era.

The government was corrupt, the hippies were imbalanced, the Vietnamese were crazed, violent and suicidal, the draft dodgers were relegated to the status of cowards as they drove their Volkswagen vans to Canada, and the soldiers who did go to war bled in a jungle that no one even cares one bamboo shoot about today.

So I guess when I see the word “chopper,” I think of lost causes, and I am alerted to spy them–and call them out before they generate guilt, graft … and graves.

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Changeover: (n) a change from one system or situation to another.

Once again, the system we have precariously referred to as democracy has created a changeover from one leader to another.

It happens every four to eight years, but each time it does, there are those among us who foretell of great evil and damnation because a
certain individual is occupying The Chair.

I have all sorts of chairs in my house. They’ve been occupied by a great variety of humans–and also creatures. But the truth of the matter is, the chair still maintains its quality and dignity.

We have selected a form of government that revels in the ridiculous notion of changeover. Businesses do not do this–they search and search until they find a good CEO and they keep that individual in the position until he or she dies or retires.

But not America.

We feel that a “musical chairs” approach to governing will grant us freedom from fascism. It might be true if those who were knocking over other people to get into the chair did not have a bit of fascism in themselves.

So when Eisenhower became President everyone was sure that as a general, he would try to take over the government with the military.

John Kennedy was going to let the Pope rule the country.

Lyndon Johnson would turn the United States over to the control of angry Negroes.

Richard Nixon was determined to bomb Southeast Asia into oblivion.

Jimmy Carter was so peaceful that he would lead us into war.

Ronald Reagan might tax America into poverty with his “trickle-down economics.”

George Bush, Sr., could cripple us with wars in the Middle East.

Bill Clinton was going to legalize every vice in America and have our children offered marijuana cookies in the cafeteria.

George Bush, Jr., would try to finish his Daddy’s war until he bankrupted the country.

Barack Obama–turn the nation over to African-Americans, while white people would be killed in the streets by the anti-Christ.

And now, folks claim that Donald Trump is going to lead us to the brink of destruction and thermonuclear war.

It’s just a changeover, folks.

As always, it is ugly, perhaps foolish and filled with mishaps.

But because we have taught ourselves in this republic to be more critical than helpful, it is virtually impossible for any one human being to devastate the glory of our freedom and the power of our principles.


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