Curtsy

Curtsy: (n) a respectful bow made by women and girls

I cannot officially report that the stigma ever went away.

I think it passed after a couple of years—but Glenn certainly carried the sniff of it all through his general education days in our small town.

It all happened quite innocently.

For some reason, our high school decided to have a square dance for homecoming.

One of the teachers, our Spanish instructor, was quite the proponent of square dancing, and apparently made a case to the other teachers—how “cute it would be” for a bunch of high school students to participate in the old form of hoofing.

I remember that learning the square dancing was particularly mind-numbing, partly because it was so abstract to my adolescent mind, and also because I thought it looked like some of the stupidest shit I’d ever seen.

But the worst part was when we took one whole day—yes, an entire school period—to learn how to bow and curtsy.

Because somewhere in the process of doing this ridiculous dance (that should have been killed off with the rest of Dixie) there is a lot of this bowing and curtsying nonsense.

So each one of us had to come forward and show off our best bow, if you were a boy, or best curtsy, if you were a girl.

At first, the reluctance in the room hung like moss from trees.

But when the threat of extending the lesson into yet another day was put forth, we all realized we needed to get through this quickly and efficiently, so we became filled with (fake) enthusiasm, which nearly brought our Spanish teacher/square dance aficionado to tears.

Because we were trying to be exuberant, and even a little madcap, when Glenn took his turn–because the girl in front of him had just curtsied–his brain apparently froze and he did a curtsy also.

The room grew still.

Our teacher/instructor was so offended that Glenn was “mocking” her that he ended up being sent to the principal’s office.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Being teenage boys, we made the assumption that unbeknownst to Glenn, his body was screaming from some homosexual prison to be free.

And in doing the curtsy, he was manifesting his real desire, which was to be a fag. (This was long before “gay.”)

Even as I write this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. But so did everything else I thought when I was fifteen.

Glenn later went out for the football team–probably to prove he was a man.

I think he expressed disdain for girls (like the rest of the macho locker-room gang) just so nobody would think he was “overly sensitive.”

Glenn had to be careful when we showered after gym class—not to cast his eyes in the direction of any fellow. So normally he sat on the bench, quietly dressing and staring into his locker.

This is why I can tell you of a certainty, through this tragic story of Glenn, that the curtsy is mighty dangerous.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cockroach

Cockroach: (n) a beetlelike insect with long antennae and legs, feeding by scavenging

If you wish to impress someone, tell him or her that you’re planning on preparing and serving lobster for dinner.

If for some reason, you are in need of getting rid of an old friend, or just want to keep someone out of your hair, tell him or her you have to get home to set roach traps.

Cockroaches are not just bugs.

They aren’t merely creatures crawling on the Earth, sharing space with us during our sojourn.

There are many annoying things about them. Actually, they hit on ALL the frustration buttons available, sending human beings into a tizzy.

  1. They have been around longer than we have, and according to scientific projections, will be sweeping up after we leave.
  2. They have no standards whatsoever for the joints they frequent, so they carry disease and gunk with them everywhere they go.
  3. They are sneaky, but once they have proof that you’re incapable of destroying them, they’re very willing to crawl into your living room while you’re binge-watching your favorite show and peer at you, mocking you, with full confidence in their little tiny grubby hearts that you will not get up and squash them.
  4. They multiply very quickly and their children seem more obedient to their cause then our own.
  5. And of course, they’re a symbol and stigma of poverty, and perhaps the definition for having a filthy house.

This just pisses us off. Cockroaches don’t care.

They can be exterminated, but not terminated.

They can be discouraged, but not overtaken.

And they can be insulted, and roll right back over to crawl around with their nasty, hairy legs–through all of our things.

I don’t like cockroaches.

I don’t think cockroaches like me.

I’ve had cockroaches.

I fear that cockroaches have had me.

I don’t think we’ll ever work out a deal.

But I hope that someday, when they inherit the Earth, there will be some creature to come along that gives them the creeps.

 

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Bow Tie

Bow tie: (n) a necktie in the form of a bow or a knot with two loops.

I realize it is very intolerant to proclaim something ridiculous, assigning no redeeming qualities to it whatsoever.Dictionary B

Yet we all do it.

And in some cases it is applicable.

If you will allow me a brutish example, I think farting is an absolutely amazing experience, but should never be presented as a community blessing. In other words, it is perfectly all right if people object to farting in public, as long as they don’t insist that farts were meant to stay inside.

Likewise, I am certain there is a place for the bow tie. Matter of fact, we have given it a location of honor for formal events, weddings, and occasions where kings or queens may frequent.

But generally speaking, when in public–just as with the fart–it’s a good idea not to don one of these pieces of neckwear. There is a stigma associated on someone who wears one on a Tuesday afternoon in Schenectady.

I am not going to go into what some of the implications might be, or how this individual might be viewed by the general public, but let us say that it isn’t what you might call a classic turn-on.

For a very brief week or two, I thought bow-ties might be an interesting choice for me, as a fashion statement. But every time I looked in the mirror, the short little bloom around my neck made my fat face appear about three times bigger. I looked like a butcher asking if you wanted to pick up a good deal on cold cuts.

Of course, no one told me. The human race is notorious for informing us how nice we look and then whispering and giggling behind our backs.

Finally, a dear friend of mine, in a moment of clarity and sanity, stepped up and said, “Your bow tie makes you look like you’re wearing a tourniquet that’s swollen your face.”

She was right.

So to all of those who love the bow tie, hat’s off to you.  But for the record, maybe you should consider hats.

 

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Anti-racism

dictionary with letter AAnti-racism: (n) the policy of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance.

It is cruel, insane and useless to walk up to a man having a heart attack, lying on a gurney and proffer, “You shouldn’t have eaten so much bacon.”

Warnings have to come at the right time, or they are either petty bitchiness or meaningless babble.

Anti-racism is similar to this. We all grew up in households where preferences were promoted. So it is ridiculous to think that we’re going to ease our way into a world where color doesn’t matter.

We must stop arresting the neighbors who live next door to the Bodega that was vandalized and start looking for the actual perpetrators.

What causes racism?

1. Too much emphasis on culture.

Matter of fact, I’m not comfortable with any emphasis on culture. When I begin to believe that the Chinese, the Africans, the Jews, the Arabs and the Europeans have different ways of looking at life, I am setting myself up to feel arrogant over my rendition.

2. Take away the stigma of loving who you want to love.

Even though we are willing to accept that the chimpanzee or ape is our ancestor, we are not able to procreate with one. Yet there is no human being of any color or ethnic origin who cannot pair off and make a baby. What a piece of hypocrisy.

Many people would be more willing to accept a gorilla as a neighbor than they are an Hispanic.

3. Be clean.

Start off on the basis that all of us were taught a certain amount of prejudice, which can explode into full-fledged bigotry.

The misconception in America is the belief that we have racism under control because we elected a black President.

First of all, President Obama may not be any more black than I am, since he had a white mother.

Secondly, what we choose to do publicly does not determine our soul. It is the truth that lies on our inward parts–our private notions–which carry the heart of our true beliefs.

When we realize that racism is just another piece of our immature nature which needs to be addressed and abandoned, we will actually go forward.

As the great writer once said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, but now that I’ve become a man, I have put away childish things.”

 

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