Comrade

Comrade: (n) a companion who shares one’s activities

In the English language, many words get tangled up with each other and are perceived to be synonyms when they actually are not at all–and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
when distinction is made, their purpose is more powerful.

May I show you what I mean?

Here are five words that are sheltered under the larger house of “friend”:

  • Teammate
  • Acquaintance
  • Fellow-traveler
  • Family
  • Comrade

In concluding this essay, I will give you definitions for each word so you can distinguish one from the other:

Teammate: someone who is on a team with you, who is focusing on his or her part in the game and demanding that you do the same.

Acquaintance: an individual who exchanges smiles and greetings with you in a casual, pleasant way, because no conflict has challenged the depth of the affection.

Fellow-traveler: the human beings we meet every day who, like us, deserve a seat on the bus and should never be told to go to the rear.

Family: folks you share genetics with, Thanksgiving with, embarrassments with and who also, unfortunately, may be prejudiced one way or another because they know you too well.

Comrade: Of all the patrons lined up at the bar in all the beer joints of the world, this is the person who has decided he or she wants to stand next to you and will fight for the privilege of that proximity.

 

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Chuckle

Chuckle: (n) a quiet or suppressed laugh

He drove me crazy (even though that would not require many miles of journey.)

He was a theater critic who came out to watch my show, and even though I settled my inner being by insisting that I would not glance his
way, my left eyeball seemed to deny the commitment and wander over to view his reaction.

I was hilarious–at least as hilarious as I ever get.

I was on–which is merely the opposite of off.

The audience was with me–though you’re never quite sure how much of it is sympathy.

He just sat there. He didn’t smirk. It was like someone had bet him that he could remain emotionless during the entire affair.

I had never met him before, but I hated him. Not with a ferocious anger, sprouting a rage of violence–just a normal, temporary, human hatred, which could be assuaged merely by the introduction of a simple compliment.

After the show he came backstage to see me. I was surprised. I thought the next thing I would receive from this fellow would be his review, in which he used as many synonyms for “mediocre” as possible.

But turns out he thought I was hilarious.

I had to ask him, “Did you ever laugh?”

He frowned at me as if concerned about how much I might have hurt myself falling off the turnip truck.

“You don’t have to laugh out loud to chuckle inside,” he explained. “I am an internal chuckler, who simultaneously admires the material that amuses me.”

I stared at him, but decided not to pursue the conversation, since at this point, the outcome was in my favor.

But as I considered his insight, I realized that I often watched things on television or at the movies, and would tell people how funny they were–yet I wasn’t really sure my face exuded anything other than a death growl.

All I can say is, you can feel free to chuckle, even if it’s done inside your closet of appreciation.

But thank God–oh, thank God–for those who spill and spew their laughter.

 

 

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Boisterous

Boisterous: (adj) noisy, energetic, and cheerful; rowdy.

Noisy, energetic, cheerful and rowdy.Dictionary B

Those words are NOT synonyms–at least, not in our society.

Noisy: Please be more quiet.

Energetic: Yea, team!

Cheerful: Thank you for being pleasant.

Rowdy: Keep an eye on them–they look like trouble.

See what I mean?

It’s no wonder that upon hearing the word “boisterous,” anyone over the age of thirty immediately conjures negative images. And anyone under thirty pops up snapshots of a beer-bong party.

Unfortunately, because of this transition that occurs at our third decade, overnight we go from being fun-loving bozos to pernicious buzz-killers.

On top of that, we have certain areas where we do not accept boisterous behavior whatsoever–funerals, weddings (except the reception) and of course, church.

A boisterous funeral would be considered campy, but a bit uncouth.

A boisterous wedding would be viewed as an interruption of a sacred impartation.

And a boisterous church service would be translated as a holy-rolling, snake-handling hullabaloo of hillbillies.

Do we need to be boisterous? Are there times when our energy should become rowdy?

There just might be things in life worthy of raising our blood pressure … without getting us angry.

 

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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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Antonym

dictionary with letter A

Antonym: (n) a word opposite in meaning from another. (e.g., bad and good)

What a simplistic example by Webster–bad and good.

I will tell you right now–there are antonyms in our generation that did not exist a hundred years ago, but because of the introduction of the lifestyle of mediocrity, we have gradually eroded certain virtues, causing them to lose their rich soil. Let me give you some examples:

Religious and spiritual.

Although once considered synonyms, they are now on the other side of the room from each other, throwing doctrines. Being religious is pursuing a form of godliness, and being spiritual is finding the power in believing and making it practical.

Shall we try again?

Politician and statesman.

At one time they might have been used in a press release to describe a senator or congressman. But after eight or more years of governmental deadlock, we now realize that a politician is someone who is voted into office and a statesman is an individual who embodies the office.

I guess I have time for one more.

Men and women.

We have convinced ourselves today that they are opposites. It was fully the intention of the Creator to make them synonyms, complementary to one another. But because we find communication so exhausting and understanding passé, we would rather conclude that the two sexes of our species are doomed to derision.

We must be careful about this word, antonym.

For instance, simply calling it a “war on terror” does not keep it from being a war.

And insisting that people are born with certain attributes does not remove the responsibility we all have … to improve and grow out of our crib.

 

 

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Antic

dictionary with letter A

 

Antic: (adj) grotesque or bizarre

What happens when you use two words to define one word and the two words you apply–which were meant to be synonyms–have absolutely nothing to do with each other?

Because bluntly, I would have to admit that there were times in my life when people would characterize my actions as bizarre, but I would never believe them to be grotesque.

To me, grotesque means “ugly” and bizarre means “unusual.”

Unless we’re trapped in some 21st Century contention that if you happen to be a bit less than beautiful, you’re unusual enough to be considered grotesque. Is that the message?

And an antic is not an appearance, it’s an action–and I, for one, can think of at least four antics off the top of my head which were considered bizarre, if not grotesque in their time, but have proven historically to be life-saving:

1. John Brown attacking the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to free the slaves.

If any of us had met John Brown we would have called him grotesque and certainly bizarre, with his zealous appeal against slavery and his antic of attempting the take-over of a government installation with a bunch of church friends.

It wasn’t exactly well-planned, yet the Union soldiers went into battle singing about his antic to inspire them to destroy an antiquated and evil institution of owning human beings.

2. Jesus of Nazareth calling himself the Son of God–or if you want to be really picky, not raising any objection when others did so.

How much guts would it take to have faith in someone you were sitting next to, who had just farted, as he contended that he was possessed of divine inspiration? I don’t know if I could have pulled that off.

Yes, believing in the resurrected Christ is certainly easier than following the unkempt Galilean.

3. Winston Churchill.

When Adolf Hitler had taken over most of Europe and had set his sights on the British Isles, Churchill and a few of his cronies decided to make a last-ditch stand against the tyranny of Berlin. It wasn’t popular and certainly the bombing of Londontown was grotesque and bizarre.

But the action halted the progress of the Third Reich, allowing time for the United States to rally and help chase the bully back into the bunker.

4. And finally, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,. who by the way was raised in an era when Jim Crow was not only tolerated, but was considered to be evidence for how the Old South was resolving the colored/white issue.

What a bizarre notion, to think that people of all colors should be able to ride on a bus together, when in your entire life you had been taught by your elders that separation was inevitable, if not righteous. And how grotesque it was to see little girls blown up in churches because your antics were being objected to by the white plurality.

I think the definition offered by Mr. Webster portrays that antics are displeasing and therefore perhaps should be shoveled away.

Yet without antics, we don’t have any of the practical nuts and bolts that somehow or another, miraculously hold this contraption together. 

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Adapt

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adapt: (v) 1. make something suitable for a new use; modify 2. to become adjusted to new conditions

Some words just are NOT synonyms. Even though we think they are, we need to take another look.

As I studied today’s definition, I realized that for years I have considered the word “adapt” and the word “evolve” to be twins.

Evolve (or evolution, if you will) happens AGAINST my will.

Adapt, on the other hand, is me having the option of getting ahead of the Darwinian curve and being in the front of the line instead of shoved to the back, in danger of falling into the tar pits.

It is a powerful difference.

If I will use my emotional, spiritual, mental and physical capabilities to discern the signs of my times, I can peek ahead to where things are going and prepare myself for the transition instead of being startled by circumstances and forced into submission.

So what is the best way to achieve an “adapting mindset” instead of an “evolutionary profile?”

1. Don’t be stubborn. Being wrong is fun if you catch it instead of your neighbor catching it.

2. For some reason, things don’t stay the same, so look for where the change in life is for the better and get there first.

3. Understand that organizations always maintain tradition, and are forced into evolution instead of willingly marching toward adaptation.

4. Don’t be afraid to be the drummer instead of just a marcher to the drum beat. Some things are obvious. For instance, you can’t live in a free society and tell other folks they can’t be free.

5. And finally, rejoice in the humor that you are not in control, but CAN control your OWN destiny by being flexible instead of being a big old ugly stick-in-the-mud.

I am learning to adapt so I won’t be blown away by the evolution.

It is an exciting choice.

It is the difference.