Bear

Bear: (n) a heavy wild animal with thick fur and sharp claws which has many varietiesDictionary B

Is the key in knowing what, and then when, or is it more accurate to pursue when, while acquiring what?

Please pardon the philosophical approach.

Is when more important than what, or does what take primary position over when?

Let’s study the bear.

Because even though this creature is known as a lumbering mammoth of fur and flesh with a ravenous appetite, which can be quite dangerous if aggravated, it does spend much of its time sleeping in a cave.

The bear has simply discovered when to be industrious and what to do. The bear has also learned when to be lazy, and what is the best slumber.

I think we are either lazy when we need to be industrious, or industrious when it might be better for us to lay back and hibernate.

Think of it from the bear’s perspective:

  • Spring and summer come along, which have pleasant weather, lots of fish to eat and picnic baskets to poach.
  • Then there’s winter. Even though you have a coat, why use it?

So crawling into a cave, relaxing, realizing that most things are not blooming and that picnic baskets have been put into the closet for better days, you choose to survive this down period by resting instead of fretting.

It’s very ingenious.

It’s probably why the bear has survived the post-dinosaur era until now, with very little sign of disappearing.

So I guess to capsulize this into an easily remembered slogan:

Learn from the bear … and don’t do what you can’t bear.

 

 

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Antifreeze

dictionary with letter AAntifreeze (n): a liquid typically based on ethanol, which can be added to water in a car’s radiator, to prevent the engine from freezing.

 

Poverty promotes poor decisions.

Aside from the obvious dangers of starvation, eviction and financial humiliation, having little money often causes one to cut corners, which leads to dumping all of your existing treasure on the ground in a big heap.

When I was nineteen years old, I purchased an old green van which had originally been used by the telephone company. It was well-worn, but I was pleased to get it for $300.

Living in Ohio at the time, I was confronted with the perils of winter. One of those obstacles was the issue of “winterizing” your vehicle by adding antifreeze to make sure that you did not literally ice over and destroy your engine.

Well, here’s the problem. Antifreeze cost $2.99 a gallon, and I would be required to purchase two such units to take care of my vehicle. That was nearly six dollars–the equivalent of the food budget for my young wife and myself for three days.

I heard through the grapevine (which, by the way, is also inhabited by some nuts) that you could add rubbing alcohol to your radiator and protect it from the cold just as easily. Now, a bottle of alcohol was only twenty-nine cents, and I felt that three of them would be sufficient to provide me with the necessary coverage.

So I poured my alcohol in. A very cold Ohio night transpired, and I rose in the morning to start my van. I decided to peek in the radiator to see how my plan had worked.

It was frozen solid.

In my late adolescent mind, I figured that the best way to unfreeze my radiator was to start my engine and let the car warm itself up. (It made sense at the time.)

After starting my vehicle, I realized that I had cracked the block.

I discovered the reason for antifreeze. It performs a function. Its six-dollar price tag saves you from spending several hundred dollars repairing your engine.

It was a very expensive mistake, and one that I never repeated again.

Sometimes you swallow a little expense … so you don’t choke on a larger lump.

 

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Anthropology

dictionary with letter A

Anthropology: (n) the comparative study of human societies and cultures

There is an abiding, if not persistent, inclination to believe that intelligence invokes individuality.

In other words, because the human race possesses greater brain power than, let’s say, the duck, we are segregated into a multitude of clumps that not only differentiate us from one another, creating chasms of separation, sprouting suspicion.

Anthropology would do a great service to humankind if it pursued the premise that we are much more like the duck. No one sits around and discusses how ducks from the south are different from ducks from the north. (Maybe it’s because they fly south for the winter and north for the summer. Of course, most of our aging human population has similar travel plans.)

It is ironic to me that a scientific community which fastidiously places us within the animal kingdom as brother and sister to our jungle family suddenly decides to separate us from that kingdom when it comes to matters of race and culture.

Is it possible that we would be better off if we punctuated our similarities instead of showcasing our differences?

  • For instance, does someone born in Siberia who is transplanted right after birth to Southern California still prefer to wear parkas?
  • Would a native of Africa, born in the Serengeti, if translated to London-town, constantly find him or herself pining to hunt with a spear?

Can we really continue to take the attributes that are engrained and nearly beaten into us by our families and pretend that they’re a part of our natural desire?

Very few people ever consider the personality profile of an individual chimpanzee. Yet in some sort of “Homo sapien silliness,” we think that each and every one of us is a snowflake falling from the heavens, with our own particular jagged edges.

Yes, I believe anthropology would provide a salvation to humans if the science explained how much we share in common.

We would certainly be more like the duck, and realize that our particular quack … is not that special. 

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Ablation

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.