Console: (v) to comfort someone at a time of grief or disappointment

When I saw the word “console,” I thought about becoming reflective, gentle and sharing some anecdote about a time in my life when someone comforted me, or perhaps I was able to bring solace to another.

But then I was struck by reality.

Even though I am a strong believer in consoling, too many times what we consider to be an action of consolation ends up being a cajole–or supporting an funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So shall we consider the three words?

  • Console
  • Cajole
  • Asshole.

What would be the difference among the three terms?

Console is what you do when people, from a good place in their heart, try to do something, and either due to bad fortune, poor execution, or maybe even a little stupidity, fall flat on their face and you lift them up and encourage them, saying that such a tumble is never a fatal fall.

Cajole is when you run across an individual who has ability but has decided not to pursue something on their own without being encouraged, pumped up and told how great they are before they will even flex one ounce of their ability.

And asshole is someone who’s become much too comfortable with a console or a cajole, and so manipulates life to make him or her receive all the attention by being a hold-out or a lazy so-and-so.

You’re probably asking yourself, how can you tell the difference? Truth is, you won’t be able to do so unless you’ve tapped your soul, repented of your need for the cajole and any instinct to be an asshole–and allow your spirit to show you the ones who light up when they receive words of edification… and rise to their feet to try again.

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Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAcrophobia: (n.) extreme or irrational fear of heights

It has to be that scene in the movie, Cliffhanger.

THAT particular vision–a woman suspended in mid-air, thousands of feet above the earth, only prevented from falling by a hand extended to her, as the glove on her fingers gradually begins to slip away and you realize she is about to tumble to her death.

If you are able to watch that scene without turning away, you might be free of acrophobia. Matter of fact, it would be an excellent way to diagnose the condition.

That was when I realized that I must be a bit acrophobic. For me, that little piece of the movie was unwatchable. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of falling or even hitting the rocks below. Certainly my body would grant me the mercy of a heart attack before I reached the “stoneful” end. It’s just the idea of having to prepare for my upcoming plummet by pausing for a moment to think about it, terrorizing myself.

I don’t like to stand too near the edge of a cliff. Now, I don’t remember feeling this way as a youngster, even though growing up in Ohio, there were not many a precipice. But somewhere along the line I became leery, and even queasy, about gazing off the edge of some high-mounted place, to the tiny confines below.

I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of whatsoever. I just don’t like to be around people who want to flaunt their “bravery on the edge.” You know what I mean–those folks who stand on one foot on the ledge of a building. Or the guy who walks across the rope over the Grand Canyon, while praying. I’m sure I would be praying, too, but I think I would like to put my supplications to less of a test.

Acrophobia is real. But I do recall, if I am not incorrect, that there are two fears we are born with: the fear of abandonment and a fear of falling.

So maybe those people who DON’T have acrophobia are aliens … and should be taken to Area 51 for further study.


Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAcrobat: (n.) an entertainer who performs gymnastic feats.

I had a flash-back.

When I was in high school, so many bronze ages ago, it was mandatory to take two years of physical education. I put them off until my junior and senior years. (I don’t know if I was hoping for a lazy state legislature to repeal the law, or perhaps that the gymnasium would collapse from the onslaught of a Midwest tornado, but I delayed.)

I was a big, fat boy. I liked to play sports until it became obvious that it was exercise. Does that make sense? In other words, if you wanted to go out and throw the football around or shoot some hoops, I was there. But if you were gonna line up and purposefully use your muscles in a way that produced exertion and perspiration with no immediate pay-off of sinking a basket or tackling a friend, well … I was rather non-enthusiatic.

ESPECIALLY during the six-week period of physical education when we did gymnastics.

I was no acrobat. I was the kind of person that if I slipped and fell down a hill, it actually appeared that there was a person falling uncontrollably down the hill, as opposed to gracefully tumbling and landing on my feet. Any motion that I took towards the ground ended up in a splat instead of a forward roll.

I hated it.

I tried to get out of it by insisting that my parents were too poor to afford my gym clothes. I even tricked my mom into giving me a note to give to the instructor, telling him that I was physically unable to perform the feats.

It was unsuccessful. Amazingly, these small-town educators saw through my ploys.

The most embarrassing part of it was the fact that there was no privacy. When it was time to tumble, we formed a line which ran in a perpetual circle, so that each person could come and tumble on the mat, regain his feet, and get back into line to do it again, until everybody had done at least FOUR of them.

Some guys were just great. They looked like human Slinkeys. I, on the other hand, looked like play-dough hitting the sidewalk on a very hot day. Rather than rolling, I kind of just spread out all over the mat.

So when I regained my feet, hearing the titters of my friends, I hung back in the line, hoping the teacher did not notice how many forward rolls I had accomplished before the whistle would blow for the next horror. Unfortunately, he preferred to wait until the end, leading me to believe I had pulled off my scam, making me perform my last two somersaults back-to-back, with the whole class reviewing, as if they were East German judges at the Olympics.

Honestly, as I retell this, I am not quite sure how I survived it without resorting to some sort of self-mutilation or abuse of my fellow-students.

But when I see the word acrobat, I have a mingling of great admiration and a chill that goes down my spine, remembering that torturous hour spent, for a six-week period, when my school insisted that I try to take my enormous body and  imitate a thirteen-year-old female gymnast.

Even though I could never approve and am certainly horrified when I hear about school shootings–when someone walks into his classroom and guns everybody down–honestly, I might be a little sympathetic if I found out it was a big fat kid and it was a Phys Ed class during the six weeks … of gymnastics.