Ceramic

Ceramic: (adj) made of clay and hardened by heat.

Having someone talk you into something.

I was guilty of it many times when I was younger. Someone would come in the room with a hard sell on a new idea, and I would feel like an
idiot if I refused to participate.

One of my friends got interested in doing ceramics. Matter of fact, she bought a kiln. I would try to explain to you what a kiln is, but let me just sum it up by saying that it’s a very, very hot oven.

My dear friend decided to coerce me into making a pot.

I did not want to. Yet I felt that my reluctance was a sign of insecurity, so I agreed. She repeatedly explained how simple everything was, as I continued to make it complicated. I finally succeeded in forming my clay into what somewhat resembled a pot, and we put it into the kiln to bake.

After that, things become blurry. There was something about letting it cool, painting it, decorating it…

Let me just say that I did everything she asked me to–ineptly.

At the end of the experience, I had a pot-shaped object which was extremely ugly and looked like it was made by a five-year-old.

She disagreed.

She said it was beautiful. She used the word “unique.” She said she would be proud to have it in her house.

She told me to pick it up next week, after it had the chance to fully… I forget the word. Mature?

I was heading to my car when I realized I had left my hat behind. As I approached the doorway, I heard laughter. I stopped, leaned against the wall and listened.

My friend was explaining to her other pot-makers the experience she had with me, while displaying my work. If the goal of pot-making is to create hilarious laughter, I was superb.

I waited a few minutes until the laughter died down and I went inside to get my hat.

I never returned to get my pot. She called me once, asking me to come pick it up. I told her to use it as an example of what someone does when they reluctantly follow the wishes of a friend.

 

 

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Brotherhood

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Brotherhood: (n) a community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade

She crinkled her twenty-four-year-old nose, frowning, and said to me, “I don’t know about that. It was before I was born.”Dictionary B

Somewhere along the line, people have decided to trace the history of our race beginning with the date of their birth. Nothing before–or, I assume, after–really matters at all.

So in the process of pursuing this arrogant practice, we discarded a lot of powerful ideas.

One of them is the concept of brotherhood.

When I was a boy, there were many songs that talked about brotherhood, the human family and the common spirit of mankind.

They have disappeared.

Matter of fact, if you sang one of these songs, people would think it was maudlin.

Because in the process of establishing individuality, we have eliminated similarity. Also, while trying to convince ourselves that we are unique “snowflakes,” we have allowed an avalanche to sweep away much of our commonality.

We’ve replaced the entire Earth tribe with allegiance to our own domestic family. We are convinced that if we love our kin, we need do nothing more–even though a great teacher once warned us that if we only love those who love us, we’re stinking slobs.

What am I looking for?

Reasons to love everyone I meet.

If I don’t, I will eventually notice that their particular birth certificate frees me of the responsibility to give a shit.

 

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Adieux

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adieux: (n.) from Old French, another term for “goodbye.”

I think it’s the whole “another term” thing that bothers me.

We all know people who think they’re extraordinarily clever by coming up with a new word, new phrase or new angle on saying or doing something that is common to the crowd. They insist on spelling it “ketchup” instead of “catsup.” They will argue with you that the pronunciation is unique and obvious.

I don’t like it when people go into foreign languages to express a word–greeting or departure–that is not their own tongue–and is one of seven words they know in that other language.

Thus, “adieux.”

When you look at it in the context of the dictionary, it seems fascinating. When you speak it aloud it is pretentious.

“I bid you a fond adieux.”

Such a person is a prime target for de-panting, mocking, gossip or alienation from the Bingo tournament based upon the various ages in his or her life.

I think we have to be careful not to be TOO common, so as to make ourselves invisible, yet not choose to become so bizarre that people avoid us for fear that we’ll have a psychotic break at any moment.

I think that’s why the word “common” and “sense” go SO well together. It is a decision to join the human race while being willing to learn how to run better.

That would not be “adieux.”

I must warn you–if you ever use it around me, I will smile, connoting to you that I found it intriguing, only to laugh at you … when you sashay from the room.

 

 

Adequate

Words from Dic(tionary)

Adequate: (adj.) satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity.dictionary with letter A

 Five steps to building a loser (for after all, they ARE manufactured, not born):

  1. Teach him or her that they were born special and unique. (For if you’re going to fail and not measure up to the standards set around you, you need to be able to forgive it by mentioning your individual genetic configuration.)
  2. Tell him or her that all they have to do is their best. (Being human, our best is eventually defined as the amount of energy we are willing to expend at any moment on any situation.)
  3. You should also tell them that they deserve praise for just trying. (Addicting people to praise is leaving them to believe that they’re going to be able to acquire the drug on the street. They won’t.)
  4. Let them know that excuses are the same as apologies. (Can we make this clear? An excuse is the opposite of an apology. An excuse is asking someone to understand why it was completely impossible for you to achieve the goal. An apology is an admission that the goal needed to be achieved, and unfortunately, you fell short.)
  5.  And finally, communicate to him or her that everyone wins. (Matter of fact, print certificates of participation, place gold stars on their sheet or make sure the pizza party planned for the winners is diluted by including everyone who lost.)

We live in a world where we honor people who train, excel, pursue and win the prize.  There is usually only one.

Contrary to Mr. Webster (or Ms., so as not to be sexist) adequate is not satisfying. Adequate is also not acceptable.

Adequate is when people inform us that they don’t believe we can do better. It is why we will not put up with an adequate doctor, an adequate plumber or even an adequate person washing our car.

What we expect from others we need to apply to ourselves. Since we know there is no reward for the first mile and blessing only in the second mile, how could we ever think we should be applauded … at the half-mile mark?

Adept

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adept: (adj.) very skilled or proficient at something: e.g. he is adept at cutting through red tape; an adept negotiator.

Beware of titles that require follow-up.

I often come across individuals who want to quantify my abilities or value by assessing names or positions to my talents. We all are tempted at times to tout our value by putting some sort of signature on it, which is supposed to communicate our qualification or aptitude.

  • Lieutenant
  • President
  • Senator
  • Manager
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Principal
  • Reverend
  • Husband
  • Wife

Well, the list goes on and on–an unending collage of words that are supposed to scream out our uniqueness, so people will give us respect in the foreground before they check too much into our background.

Matter of fact, without these accolades, we sometimes feel that we’re just human beings, God forbid. But when we insist on such bravado in front of others, we take away the element of surprise, which allows people to surmise our lack of worth based upon our appearance, only to be proven wrong by the tally at the end of our endeavors.

Sometimes I don’t even like it when people ask for a resume. I always hated it in a job interview when the question was posed, “Tell me a little about yourself.” An impossible inquiry. If you stumble or act humble, people will say you lack confidence. If you go on and on about your personal achievements, you certainly will flirt with arrogance.

Yet for some reason the human race is convinced that carrying our “blue ribbons” to the starting line is confirmation that we will win the race.

The beauty of life is also the most frightening part. For after all, what I did yesterday is worth very little if I plan on screwing up this morning–and calling me by some regal proclamation only increases the pressure or takes away any praise I might achieve by exceeding expectation.

Am I adept at things? Probably. But I will never tell you.

  • Tell someone you’re adept at writing and they’ll critique your paragraphs.
  • Adept at love-making? God help you.
  • Adept at comedy? Be prepared for the audience to stare at you, waiting for the funny.
  • Adept at parenting? Watch your neighbors scrutinize your children very carefully.

“Adept” is one of those American words we use to attempt to impress before we actually perform. Sometimes it’s just better to shut up, do the best you can and surprise everybody when you actually have … some game.

 

 

Abelian

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abelian: adj. {mathematics} (of a group) having members related by a commutative operation (i.e. A x B = B x A)

Sometimes I wish we didn’t live in an A and B world. Actually, most of the time.

And if we insist on living in that separation, I wish we all would be more Abelian. In other words, find out that A x B does equal B x A.

There is a great chicanery going on in our society today. It is presented under the magnanimous banner of diversity. But if you look carefully, you realize the reason we want to extol our differences is in order to publicly or privately refuse equality to those who dare to vary.

It’s really sneaky.

Once you determine that somebody is unique–or at least off the beaten path of your lifestyle–you can smile at them, pretending that you appreciate their choices, while internally feeling superior that your particular inclinations are better.

No, we need to be more Abelian in our approach. Long before we discuss differences, we need to establish the certainty of equality. In other words, you are equal with me. Now, let’s sit down and learn about our individual choices.

If you don’t establish what’s equal first, you will use people’s differences against them.

Case in point: women are not different from men unless they’re first equal. THEN we can study, appreciate, argue, celebrate or even fuss about our variations. The discussion will be fruitful because it will be done in an atmosphere of “even-Steven/Stephanie.” If we joke about the differences before we’ve established an Abelian equality, we will never grant each other the dignity of justice.

Tricky, isn’t it?

Let’s find out what’s equal. We’ll have plenty of time to discover what isn’t.