Conclave

Conclave: (n) a private meeting.

Yet another word a writer should never use, because everyone reading his or her work would know a thesaurus had been consulted.

Too bad.

Because right now our world is plagued with a convergence of unrighteous conclaves.

Since we’re convinced that we can’t get along, we are shrinking our circle of affection down to those who agree with us on every point, and then meeting funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
together to be critical of all opponents to our ideas.

Such a conclave of young boys caused me to believe, until I was in the sixth grade, that girls actually did have “cooties.”

Such a conclave made seemingly rational monarchs and religious leaders decide to go on Crusades to slay the infidel in the Holy Land.

Such conclaves deemed it necessary to lynch those with black skin who dared to be “uppity.”

A conclave was responsible for the Third Reich.

Conclaves brought about the assassination of a great leader–whoever he or she may be.

A dynamic human being once stated that “wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst.”

But unfortunately, often such conclaves of a gathering of a pair or trio do not always bring about the sharing of Good News.

 


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Combo

Combo: (n) a small jazz, rock, or pop band.

Being clever is similar to setting a bear trap down in a room full of balloons. It is so easy to spring the trap and bust all your balloons of hope.

In my early years I had a music group and was desperately trying to promote us–at least to the point that I could make enough “jack” to pay for “Jill.”

Money was rare.

Now, opportunities and gigs seemed to pop up everywhere–but when the subject of remuneration was suggested, there were offers of free coffee, “help yourself
to the day-old pastry,” or “we have a garage where you can sleep overnight.”

I knew I needed to do something drastic to set our group apart from the rest of the marauding musicians trying to fend for the single crust of bread, so I put together a damn good press release.

Now, wait.

Understand–this was an era when bands did not advertise themselves via printed material, but rather, through audition tapes or live performances.

I got a great picture of us, looking our cutest (and surliest) and attached our release. One of the things I discovered in writing the piece was that if you’re constructing a great article, it should not repeat words.

I kept landing on the word “group.” “Group?” “GROUP!”

So thinking myself extremely clever, I went to the Thesaurus and looked for different words to communicate the idea “group.”

One of those was “combo.”

I was ecstatic. The word sounded good to me, so I stuck it in the press release a couple of times and sent it off.

I noticed when I started calling places back to see if they wanted to schedule us based on our fine piece of promotional material, the proprietors would grumble, “We’re not interested in a jazz thing.”

I tried to explain that we weren’t jazz, but by that time they had hung up the phone and I was left standing, listening to the dial tone of the day.

Finally, one of the gentlemen I called suggested a nightclub down the street that specialized in jazz.

I squeezed in my question. “We’re not a jazz group. Where did you get the idea we played jazz?”

“Really?” he said. “Your article said you were a combo, and I never heard of any band calling themselves a combo unless they were jazz.”

I wanted to tell him about my journey through the “prehistoric thesaurus,” but instead, I went back to my creation and removed the word “combo.”

Needing to replace it, I inserted “adventurers.”

 

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Chubby

Chubby: (adj) plump and rounded.

Please do not feel the need to grab your thesaurus when describing me.

I am not portly.

I am not rotund.

I am not big-boned.

I don’t have a healthy appetite.

I’m fat.

And as painful as the word may be, and as many different negative associations it carries, it is still better than “chubby.”

Chubby removes all possibility of being masculine.

Babies are cute and chubby.

Furry animals are chubby.

Things that are cute are dubbed chubby so we do not have to comment on their rolls of blubber.

In the pursuit of gentle phrasing, nobody’s feelings are spared. Only the speaker feels self-righteous about placating through terminology.

I’m too old to be chubby.

I’m too manly to be chubby.

I’m too fat to be chubby.

Chubby things are acceptably fat, yet fat things are not acceptably chubby.

I don’t want to be a chub, so I certainly don’t want to be chubby.

So as painful as it may be to my ears, I am more comfortable being referred to as a “fat person” instead of a man who has “a big body to hold his big heart.”

 

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Chap

Chap: (n) A true gentleman

Writers are insane from spending too much time in their own brain–drunk on the intoxicant of finding new words to make great phrases.

Often in writing a story line, when you’ve used “he, man, guy and fellow” so many times that you know the reader must be gagging, you go to the Thesaurus and look for other terms for the same idea.

You often land on a word like “chap.”

No one actually refers to another person as “a chap.” Even in England, you probably would not find many people pointing at others and saying, “Now, there’s a fine chap.”

But in a pinch, a writer who wants to extend his story by one more paragraph and needs a variable to describe a male figure will insert the word “chap,” hoping that the person reading his or her novel will overlook it and move along to the next verb.

It is in that moment when you know the writer has run out of words before running out of ideas.

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Chance

Chance: (n) the possibility of something happening

I have a chap who is one of my daily readers, who constantly becomes infuriated whenever I use the word “chance.” He contends that using
“opportunity” is always preferred.

It is a school of thought that there’s no such thing as luck.

But I must tell you, if I did not believe in luck, chance, happenstance or any other synonym found in my thesaurus, I would never be able to comprehend God. I cannot envision a Creator who scurries around His universe trying to repair minor matters, similar to a maintenance man at a dilapidated apartment complex.

  • There have to be systems.
  • These systems have to be free of prejudice.
  • They have to be self-perpetuating.
  • And they must integrate with one another.

That is why dissociating God and science is similar to running your car on only oil, without water, or vice versa.

If there is free will–and there is–there must be a system in place which allows for good choices, education, wisdom and perseverance to obtain more chances for those who are determined.

So from time to time, those who are not worthy of consideration do stumble on the right numbers for the lottery ticket. Without time and chance, we are living on a sphere which is dictating to us, instead of opening the door to change through our vision and actions.

Not everything is an opportunity. Sometimes there is no reason whatsoever for what happens to us.

It reminds us that the random nature of science requires that we stay on our toes, and affect as many components of our lives as possible.

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Antepartum

dictionary with letter A

Antepartum (adj.): occurring before childbirth.

Pregnancy.

No male of the species should probably ever postulate on this issue, even if stimulated by curiosity to offer insights or opinions on the process by which a female conceives, carries and eventually “unshells” a human being. It is beyond the scope of the average man.

Yet it is a source of fascination.

Having been around numerous pregnant women in my life, I first of all realize that many of them do not like to be referred to as “pregnant.” So the first thing a male should acquire is a Thesaurus, to discover different terms for a woman impregnated. (Once again, another dubious word.)

Truthfully, during that nine-month period of gestation, words and wording become very important. To some degree, true candor must be abandoned in favor of cautionary terminology.

For instance, one should never have an opinion on whether a woman with child looks good. It is a foregone conclusion that they are “blooming, glowing, transcendant” and nearly “immortal.”

So at my own peril, I will be honest about my take on this situation of what is referred to as “antepartum.”

1. It’s too bad that the baby can’t be passed from parent to parent like a basketball.

When one got tired the other could take over for a while. I suppose this might create its own set of discussions, but at least one would not be suffering while the other desperately scrambles to alleviate it.

2. Telling a person that is normally attractive and small that they are still extremely desirable, when they realize by looking in the mirror that they are suddenly humongous, is not very comforting.

I don’t know what the right decision would be in this situation, but it is a fruitless task to try to tell a balloon that it is not blown up.

3. It is ironic that the romance, chemistry and lust that produced the condition suddenly runs away in terror at the conclusion.

“Chicken!” That’s what I yell at the retreating emotions as they scurry away in horror, leaving the pair to wonder if any attraction remains.

4. And finally, because this is going to be a journey, pack a bag and make sure you include lots of money, a first-aid kit, games, trinkets and a list of the reasons why you love her.

it’s not that women are silly. I imagine if men were carrying a child, they would be even more prone to bursts of temporary insanity.

It’s just that the idea of growing something in your body that weighs nearly ten pounds is normally treated with radiation and surgery. In other words, a cancer.

So I think trying to find the balance between honesty and tenderness is the best profile.

But of course, in doing so, wear a helmet and a cup. 

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Absquatulate

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Absquatulate: (v.) {HUMOROUS}to leave abruptly: the overthrown dictator absquatulated to the US.

Now we’re just getting silly.

I have certainly discovered in my lifetime that having a decent vocabulary can be advantageous in portraying some presence and bearing. But each and every one of us knows there is a fine line between knowing words and using words.

Matter of fact, I often have to revise the words I use in my books when I deliver public readings because the particular term, rather than being enlightening, stops the audience in mid-thought as they try to figure out exactly what that particular verb or noun might mean.

It’s just a waste of time.

And of course, both you and I are suspicious of it. If I’m watching a pundit on television and he suddenly releases some three-syllable word not of my acquaintance, I don’t think he is more intelligent than me. I just think he grabbed a thesaurus right before he went on TV and picked out the biggest word he could find, in order to come across superior.

Here’s what I know about the word absquatulate. If you ever used it, people would insist that you absquatulate from the room. They would first do this by turning their backs on you. If it was a party, they might become quite interested in the texture of the chip dip. But eventually, after escaping to the bathroom three or four times to gain some relief from being in your presence, they would remember a cat to feed at home.

Yes, I will say it aloud and say it proud: the best way to express intelligence is through your productive actions, not through your words or debating technique.

This is why Congress has a very low appreciation level among the American people. No one would doubt that this is an intelligent group of guys and gals. No one would ever insinuate that these alleged law-makers don’t know what absquatulate means.

It’s just that we’re all quietly and eagerly awaiting the next election, in order to permanently absquatulate them from office–a truly Capitol idea.