Blanket: (n) a large piece of material used as a covering for warmth.

Dictionary B

Having met my share of homeless brothers and sisters, I became very curious. What was it like to be homeless?

So I made a decision to don the uniform of the street and attempt to walk in the shoes of those without gainful employment, hearth and home.

I decided I would do it for a week, but must tell you that I abandoned it after twenty-four hours.

The daytime found me in a situation in which I constantly needed to be on the move so as not to annoy the “civilized” people who passed by. I got hungry very quickly and didn’t have any money, so had to figure out where to go for a free luncheon, or beg off of my neighbors.

It was humiliating.

But the most difficult part was when nighttime fell, and my mission was to locate a place to sleep that was both comfortable and safe.

I discovered that such a utopia does not exist for the street person.

I hid behind a huge bush and laid down several cardboard boxes I had broken up to use as my mattress. Several problems leaped to the forefront:

1. Every sound spooked me.

2. Sleeping on the ground means sharing the turf with things that creep and crawl.

3. I was uncomfortable not having my head elevated (pillow).

4. But the most annoying part was the lack of a blanket.

I was so accustomed to being covered, protected, swaddled by that piece of cloth that gave warmth and the sense of cocooning.

It made me bitchy, frustrated, cold, and caused me to wake up the next morning antagonistic toward the world around me–in a season when I was most vulnerable.

A blanket is a sense of well-being.

When you remove it, it takes away a gentle reassurance that all is well … and you are coddled.

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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alopecia: (n.) a condition in which partial or complete loss of hair occurs from areas of the body where it normally grows; baldness

I think I’ve finally found a word that’s worse than “bald.” I just don’t believe I could bring myself to tell folks that I suffer from “alopecia.”

It’s hair.

I have to admit that having hair is a very positive experience.

Somehow or another I knew even when I was in my early twenties that the hair that was visiting my scalp had no intention of staying over for more than a summer vacation. Yes, by the time I was in my mid-thirties I was fairly depleted of hair, although I made a few vague attempts to cover up my lack.

There was even a spray that you could squirt on your head, and if you matched the color just right, from a distance it appeared as if you still had your pate covered with some sort of hue. But it was messy, ugly, and after a while people became aware that it was available so they would ask you embarrassing questions like, “Is that hair, or have you just been sprayed?” (You realize, there is no dignified answer for that question.)

For a season I wore hats, which made it appear that there might be hair growth underneath, but kept it a secret so as not to age me or make me feel vacant.

I cannot tell you that I wear my baldness with pride. But sometimes, I am grateful. Honestly, you don’t have to wash the top of your head nearly as much as you do your hair. Most of the time, I just don’t notice.

Yet I must be honest–if there were a cure for baldness that didn’t make a ridiculous appearance on the top of your bean that looked like a miniature golf course turf, I might consider doing it.

I’m not sure.

But I have avoided getting a toupee, though on occasion I have threatened to do so.

I realize this article is very scattered–all over the place with different thoughts and emotions.

Think of it as symbolistic of my sentiments on hair loss. 


Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAdjoin: (v.) to be next to and joined with (a building, room or piece of land). e.g. the dining room adjoins a small library.

If you are not accustomed to traveling on the road and you find yourself normally perched in a domestic nest, one of the greatest thrills in life is checking into a motel room. Now, if you want to highlight that experience even more, go with friends and get adjoining rooms.

It is a phenomenon of the hotelier industry–placing a door between certain enclosures, allowing for free flow, creating one huge space. Thus, adjoining. It transforms your simple Motel 6 into a Motel 12.

After a few hours, it does become a bit annoying, though, because:

  • If you leave the door open, sounds from the other room, including laughter, can float onto your side, and if you step over to find out what’s so funny, the moment has passed.
  • Or the television from next door is so loud that you can barely hear yours, and you find yourself trying to follow the plot of two shows–one at a distance.
  • Or you take the option of removing your pants and sitting in your underwear, and then you realize that the door is open and your neighbor could suddenly appear and view forbidden turf.
  • But if you go over and close the door, you become known as “the guy who closed the door,” creating an unnecessary mystery about what you planned to do. And understanding the imagination of human beings, that could be anything from shooting a porn video to starting a meth lab.

Matter of fact, as I think about it, adjoining rooms seem to have more problems than positives. So why do I remember them so fondly?

I think it’s the rush of the first few moments when you arrive, and realize that you are on vacation … adjoined with really good friends.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Ablation: n. 1. the surgical removal of body tissue 2. the removal of snow and ice by melting or evaporation, typically from a glacier or iceberg.

I guess I’m familiar with both types of ablations.

When I was a kid, our house sat on a small hill, completely covered by trees. So in the winter, when snow fell in our back yard, there were patches of turf which were untouched by sunlight due to the covering of the branches and therefore, the accumulated ice would not melt, even when May Day came around.

My mother would ask me to go into the back yard and dislodge the frozen precipitation from our yard so little kids wouldn’t slip on it on their way to play ballgames on our property. I seriously doubt if any kid would ever have slipped on the ice. The patch was only about five feet long and a foot and a half wide. But you don’t argue with your mother. She always has a second and third more boring reason for doing things which she will be more than happy to reiterate to you, and also controls the purse strings and access to kitchen treats.

I will tell you–this ice was determined. It had survived some very warm April days and had seen all of its friends dissipate into a watery grave as they drizzled down the hillside.

So I chipped at it with a shovel, dislodging some pieces, and actually had to dig up some of the ice, which had developed a deep and lasting relationship with the underlying grass and dirt. Not certain of where to take these leftover pieces of winter, I walked them over to our trash barrel, placed them in there and set some pieces of paper on fire in an attempt to melt them.

It was amazing how long it took for the ablation to have its complete effect.

Ice and fire.

You would think that fire would have the advantage, but ice really does hang in there, melding itself into a harder and harder nugget of determined cold.

I also had a tumor removed from my body at one time, which was a rather strange sensation. It hurt very badly, but no one believed I actually had an internal problem, so the doctors attempted to treat it externally. One day it just popped. Turns out there were two in there–one which exploded and drained (have I lost you yet?) and another which had to be surgically removed.

That second was quite similar to my back yard ice.

I was always curious about how long that ice would have lasted in my backyard had my mother not insisted on relegating it to the trash can. I guess I am also curious about whether my second tumor would have taken care of itself like the first one did.

But I also see a time and place for ablation. And now I have a much better word for it, which I can show off in those embarrassing times when ice and soft tissue need to be dramatically removed.