Coaster

Coaster: (n) a small mat placed under a glass to protect the table underneath.

It’s one of those factors that determines whether you are a bungler or a baron.

There are many.

But when you find yourself with a glass of drink and there is a table in front of you, do you procure a coaster so your condensation does not leave a ring on the table, or do you just put your glass down and later act completely bewildered because your hostess or host was offended by your choice?

It’s where we teeter–all human beings teeter between understanding and arrogance.

Often we understand the purpose for matters, yet in our arrogance, we resist performing the courteous function simply because it seems tedious and makes us appear too subservient.

A long time ago I had to decide whether to be a bungler or become a baron. Would I be willing to learn the things that are important to my brothers and sisters, and simply avoid conflict with their tender conscience by doing them? Or would I stubbornly going to insist that it’s a “goddamn free country,” and proceed to take my pet bull off the leash for the latest visit to the china shop?

Coasters are not effeminate.

Coasters are not irrational.

Coasters may not be necessary–but you won’t know until you don’t use one. So why take the risk, especially on the chance that you might unnecessarily offend a friend?

But stubborn we are–all children of Adam and Eve.

Yet, if you want to get back into the Garden, you need to swallow your pride and discover the location of the forbidden apples.

 

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Boring

Boring: (adj) not interesting; tedious.

I used to be deathly afraid of being boring.Dictionary B

Because of this phobia, I almost accidentally became friends to my children instead of a good parent, denied my faith rather than creating a backbone for my principles, and attempted ridiculous entertainment projects to prove I was youthful and alive.

I don’t know why “boring” scared me so badly–except in our particular American culture, it is the word that ushers in the “last rites” for misunderstood ideas.

In other words, if something is determined to be boring, it is soon abandoned and left to die in the field of forgetfulness.

But then one day it struck me–every great notion and progressive invention in the history of our race was at one time considered boring.

Can you imagine Thomas Edison explaining to all the people who deeply loved candles and gas light lamps how his incandescent bulb might be able to work better, and ultimately even be cheaper?

Boring.

Or how about Abraham Lincoln, stumping to his Cabinet and Congress, how the addition of the freed slaves to our everyday life would give us a great brotherhood to exemplify the idea of liberty?

Really boring.

Or the guy named Salk, who came along and said that just weeping over children with polio was not enough–that maybe we could come up with some sort of vaccination to protect them from the disease instead of just praying for them and telling stories about their hideous struggles.

No thanks, Jonas.

Boring is not what is truly misplaced or ill-timed. It is the piece of truth that we do not yet understand, which we decide is meaningless because it mystifies our limited reasoning.

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Bob

Bob: (n) a shortened name for Robert.

We’ve given up on Bob.Dictionary B

In an attempt to include Julius, Keesha, Manuel and Mohammed, we somehow or another felt it was necessary to reject Bob and relegate him to the museum of artifacts.

As much as conservatives suffer under the short-sightedness of failing to see where progress is heading, liberals are often so far-sighted that they stumble over the settled souls of their fellow-countrymen.

It took a lot of Bobs to make America.

They don’t understand everything that is going on–yet they won’t become more tolerant by constantly being told how bigoted they are.

Bob has a heart, which is often encased in a weathered, oaken trunk of tradition. It needs to be opened, tenderly and carefully.

As we try to give freedom and justice to all, we need to remember that this also includes Bob. He may be slower at arriving at necessary conclusions, but he should not be ignored because we find him tedious.

God bless America, with all of its unique names and nationalities.

But also, God bless Bob.

May we travel at a pace where we rest every once in a while … so all the Bobs in our country can catch up. 

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Apostrophe

dictionary with letter A

Apostrophe (n.): a punctuation mark (‘) used to indicate either possession or the omission of letters or numbers.

It is a very good question. Are shortcuts in life an expression of laziness, or a desire to simplify before we end up being conquered?

Because honestly, I have taken some shortcuts which certainly ended up at dead ends, and have often found myself taking the long way home, only to be mocked by those who use a better GPS.

You see, the apostrophe already had a job. It was being used to prove that we own something. It was a clerical title-deed, to be presented to the reader, to establish the authenticity of our rights.

But them someone said, “There ought to be another job for this little marking. After all, the formal nature of using words like ‘is’ and ‘are’ over and over again is extremely tedious. So maybe if we leave out one of the letters, and stick in the apostrophe, which is already hanging around, we could come across as more relaxed, if not hip.”

I don’t know if someone experimented with this once in writing a document, or even when it started. For instance, I don’t see any apostrophes in the Declaration of Independence. It remains rather “verbal.”

Yet as a writer, I am often encouraged to shorten words with apostrophes so as not to appear to be a stick in the mud. Why is that?

(Or perhaps better phrased, why’s that?)

I think we do a disservice to ourselves when we merely accept the radical concepts of the previous generation as common doings in our own time simply because they survived the rigors of scrutiny.

So for me, there are occasions when I think clarity demands the addition of the full use of the little verbs … instead of sticking in a comma dangling in midair.

 

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