Sit Down Comedy … June 12th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

If the world were a rainbow, I would swim in its swirling colors.

If the world were a promise, I would keep it.

If a song, I would write my own chorus.

A hope—I would find a way to start.

If the world were a pizza topping, I would pick something double-cheesy.

If the world were a thought, I would think it out to joy.

If a dream, I would live the parts I can do.

A sport, I would toss the ball at the goal until I made my points.

If the world were a political party, it would have no name, no agenda—just a heart.

The world, as a hat, would be a cowboy.

If the world were a wish, I would find my part and tenaciously pursue.

If the world were a piece of advice, it would be, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

As a kiss: soft, lingering, with heads turning halfway through the caress.

If the world were a question—”why not?”

An ice cream? Rocky Road one day, Cookies ’n Cream the next.

If the world were a fruit, it would be cherries—so bring your bowl.

A vegetable? It would “cauliflower” and present a blossom.

And if this old world of ours were a statement, it would say:

“To finish requires you begin.”

Sit Down Comedy … June 5th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan.

A triple threat in alliteration.

She is forty-six years old, the mother of three children who range in age from twenty-one down to a precocious ten.

She is the assistant manager at the local Nordstroms, where she has been employed for twenty years, ascending in the ranks, and well-respected.

The date is November 8th, 2016.

Mary was awake early that morning. She had lost her battle with insomnia hours earlier, trying to remain still as a mouse, hoping that sleep would be merciful to her fatigue. Giving up, she rose, made coffee and cinnamon toast—one of her favorites—and prepared for the day in the quiet of a very chilly pre-dawn kitchen.

She had one thought on her mind: should she go vote before work, or wait until afterwards and possibly face long lines?

Actually, that wasn’t the primary question. What had been haunting her mind for weeks was whether she could cast a vote in good conscience either way.

Politically, Mary was a moderate.

At least, moderate for Michigan.

She had voted for her share of Democrats and a similar array of Republicans. She felt she was informed and believed herself to be open-minded to opportunities offered by both parties. But the past few months had left her in a whirl, dizzy from disjointed facts and accusations.

Donald Trump seemed unqualified to be President, but his journey as a mature man of business seemed respectable.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seemed more prepared for the position, but less sure-footed in the midst of entanglements.

But still, that wasn’t the real problem.

Deep in her heart, Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, felt that everything was just moving too fast.

She wasn’t against progress–she was upset about the speed being used to achieve it.

So many issues.

Abortion, for instance.

Mary believed a woman should have the right to choose the conclusions of her life, but she was uncomfortable about how the subject of abortion—the termination of a fetus—had become so cavalier. She especially hated the phrase, “abortion on demand.”

Wasn’t a little more humility in order?

Mary also knew she didn’t hate gay people. She was one of the first ones in her local church to rally behind the idea of civil unions.

But lickety-split, she was expected to not only honor gay marriage, but to be supportive of it whenever it was brought up, so she wouldn’t come across as a homophobe.

It felt unfair.

After all, the world of psychology and psychiatry had, for decades if not centuries, contended that homosexuality was aberrant behavior which required treatment.

Now, since that diagnosis had been recently abandoned, they expected Mary and all the American people to quickly shed several generation’s worth of comprehension and join the parade.

It was fast.

Mary wanted equal pay for women in the workplace, but when she rallied with those struggling to achieve this worthy goal, she found herself in the midst of some who decried motherhood and made fun of the simpler values Mary held dear.

Mary was especially troubled by the spiritual indifference, which seemed to reject any soul who believed in God, deeming such a person irrational or uneducated.

Everything was so quick.

Marijuana becoming legal. If marijuana was so safe, why did the people who smoked it always portray it in their movies as a brain-staller—and a pathway leading to no motivation?

And then—the candidates themselves.

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, was very worried about a man who mocked women, weaker folks and other nationalities with a sneer. But on the other hand, how could she support a woman like Hillary Clinton, who defended her husband’s mistreatment of a twenty-one-year-old intern in the White House, and even to this day, joined into the attacks against poor Monica?

As Mary sipped her coffee in the kitchen, she heard rumblings from the bedrooms above.

Soon her family would join her. Her thoughts would be blended with their desires.

Realizing how important her decision was, she scurried around, deciding to leave for work, going to the polls early to beat the rush.

She called out her good-byes and best wishes for the day, jogged to her car, got in and drove off.

She was nearly to the polling station when she veered off at a graveyard. She sat, staring at the frosty granite stones. Still they were—and at peace.

In a moment of deep reflection, she asked herself what all these people who had once lived would want her to do.

Who would they want her to vote for?

Mary just wished that one of those who wanted to be President of the United States would acknowledge that affairs, nations, wars and social revisions were happening at such a rapid pace that we all needed a deep breath—just to appreciate where we are, who we are and what we’re about to undertake.

Was there an order in it?

Did civil rights come before women’s rights or abortion rights?

It all seemed to be happening at the same time.

Was she supposed to feel some beckoning or even a requirement to vote for a woman since she was a woman herself? Maybe she would have felt differently if Hillary had even visited Michigan—instead of assuming that the unions and the black vote “had it in the bag.”

The Democrats took too much for granted, and the Republicans granted so very little.

Time was passing.

She had a tiny window—about twenty minutes—to go vote and still get to Nordstroms for her shift.

But after weeks—perhaps months—of deliberation, she was no further along.

So she made a very quick decision in her troubled mind.

That night, as Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, watched the election returns, she was so troubled that she felt a chill go down her spine.

Donald Trump was winning. Would he rise to the occasion and be a great President?

Should Hillary have been the one?

Even though the campaign had drug on for more than a year-and-a-half, now it all seemed to be too quick. Too speedy.

Mary was not a bigot.

Mary was not conservative.

Mary was certainly not liberal either—not by present standards.

Mary didn’t hate anyone.

But Mary also didn’t favor people just because they were of a certain color or even just because they were victimized.

As the night wore on, it gradually became more obvious and then official.

Donald J. Trump would be the President of the United States.

Mary didn’t know what to feel.

Maybe she was a little relieved that there wouldn’t be any more Clintons in Washington, but also a bit frightened that a real estate developer would be leading the greatest nation on Earth.

But most of all, she was in turmoil about herself.

For she had gone to work—and didn’t vote.

Sit Down Comedy … May 29th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Responsibility.

The ability to be responsible.

Sounds just a trifle old-fashioned. For after all, in this modern era, how can we determine the true height and depth of our ability? And likewise, what are we responsible for, given that our power is limited by the circumstances of the world around us?

Yet many years ago, when Darren and Karen (with rhyming names), after twelve years of marriage, suddenly found themselves on the verge of a divorce because Darren was spotted at a motel twenty miles away, with the high school choral teacher…

Well, literally the whole affair set our village ablaze with controversy, disagreement, judgments and opinions.

Karen was greatly wounded by the sexual misconduct of her assumed loving husband, but was also warned by the local minister that divorce was a “horrible sin in the eyes of God,” and that their two children could be damaged beyond repair if there wasn’t some way to bring about reclamation to their relationship.

Darren was embarrassed—almost appeared to be sorry, until three weeks after the temporary patch-up of their marriage, he was again spotted, at a different motel, with the choir lady–just humming along.

Darren and Karen decided their responsibility was to stay married.

Their further responsibility was to pretend it was working out really well.

No one would put up with such restrictions nowadays.

We’ve come up with the notion that our only responsibility is to be happy, and then, because we can’t seem to be, we permit ourselves many experiments to attempt to uncover our pleasure.

Meanwhile, responsibility has been carted away to the garage and set next to other words, which also seem to have no current relevance. Like “sinner”—that being one who gets too near sin.

Time pushes on.

Or does it march?

Perhaps slip on its greasy surroundings?

Or does time do a Rip van Winkle and just go to sleep, and wake up later, when the problem that existed is no longer considered problematic?

For we used to have a responsibility to tell the truth.

Now we have a responsibility to offer a convincing lie.

We had a responsibility to love our fellow-man. Now, all we have to do is “treat our families really good.”

We had a responsibility to feel guilty about the bigotry that existed in our country. Now we accept a cultural divide, which keeps us from thoroughly understanding one another.

We had a responsibility to be honest in our business practices.

Now we favor the old saying, “Let the buyer beware.”

Perhaps that’s what we should do at this season in our nation—have a deep-rooted discussion about our responsibility.

For certainly, threatening such a maneuver is a great way to terminate interest in this essay.

Sit Down Comedy … May 8th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

They are lying to me again.

Folks tell me I should just accept it. “Everybody lies. Just get used to it.”

I can’t.

There are just some matters that are so important they require the truth.

I’m being lied to about Covid-19.

I know I am.

I’m not paranoid. I’m just observing that all the symptoms of lying have sprouted.

  • Ambiguous answers.
  • Careful explanations.
  • Outlandish attacks.
  • Double-talk.

All these things tell me that the participants involved in this pandemic feel the need to lie in some capacity to support their position.

Even Dr. Fauci seems quite fuzzy.

For we all know, if this gentleman were actually telling the whole truth, his ass would have been fired weeks ago. He’s walking that “fine line” between revelation and deception.

I believe the good of mankind is total transparency. After all, they think you and I can’t handle the truth. Right? We need someone to pander to us. We need to know that God is still blessing America.

They are lying to me again. What should I do about it?

Here are two things we know:

  1. We cannot continue to stay in our homes, waiting for the virus to either scurry away or be cured by research departments that are in the back pocket of Somebody-or-Another, Inc.
  2. We also know that we cannot launch out in ignorance and begin to imitate America circa 2018 and pull off some sort of “Holy Jesus miracle,” which will make everything alright because we’re the good guys.

Whatever we do is going to be messy—but at its core, needs to be initiated through mercy.

So I need three questions answered.

I shall not believe a Republican or a Democrat in an election year.

Unlike millions of Americans, I don’t have faith in the medical field. I know for a fact, they tout more than they deliver.

And in spite of my faith, I do not believe that God is going to intervene, interrupt Science and His own Natural Order—to pinpoint one organism and obliterate it so we can go play football again. So here are my questions:

Question One: Do you have a preference?

Since you’re going to be making decisions about the safety and lifestyle of the American people, do you have a preference?

I mean, have you already decided that one approach is better for your political party? Have you concluded that you’re going to follow the dictates of some organization, where you’ve placed your allegiance in determining what is best to do?

If you are, I can’t listen to you unless I want to be a fool.

Question Two: Are you angry?

Are you preparing to make a decision about the health of 330 million people based upon a fussiness that has settled into your soul?

For I will tell you, the forces of the universe don’t give a shit if you feel put out, and they certainly are not frightened of the prospect of your raging tantrum.

And my final question to anyone who is going to try to offer truthful insight and a solution to this situation is:

Question Three: Who or what do you really care about?

I have to know.

Do you care about the stranger who has blood, heart and brain, just like you? Or do you feel that this stranger can be damned—just as long as the right person ends up in the White House?

So as I’ve asked the questions…

  1. Do you have a preference?
  2. Are you angry?
  3. And what do you really care about?

…the answers so far have been unfulfilling and even disturbing.

Here is what I feel:

Life is messy.

Tell the truth.

It doesn’t get better painted with lies.

Life demands mercy because we require it also.

So whatever you decide to do needs to be drenched in mercy.

I will not continue to be lied to and play the part of a helpless buffoon. Don’t talk to me unless you’re prepared to tell a truth that contradicts what you said before.

Then, and only then, will I be willing to listen.

Sit Down Comedy … April 24th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Sometimes good people do bad things.

Likewise, bad people do good things.

More often, people do nothing.

This compels us to ask the question, “Should folks be judged by what they accomplish, or by the dictates of their beliefs and the parameters of their character?”

It does come up.

For the greatest among us are often splattered with iniquity, while simultaneously making a notable contribution.

Such is the case of a man named Henry Ford.

He is arguably the inventor of the car. The argument exists because there were many souls experimenting with the “horseless carriage,” but Henry was certainly the first one to take it to market, promoting a product known as the Model T.

Mr. Ford jokingly once said about his Model T, “The customer can get it in any color whatsoever that he may want, as long as it’s black.”

Along with this massive achievement of motorizing the race, Mr. Ford was also known to be one of the worst bigots and enemy of the Jewish people. He even received an award for his writings from Adolph Hitler and the Nazi boys.

So history has handled the dilemma by enjoying the automobile and leaving next to it an asterisk, which quietly tells about its creator, Henry Ford.

Perhaps that’s the best way.

But the truth of the matter is, Henry Ford took something that was impossible and made it pleasing. Why was it impossible?

A gasoline combustible engine.

Can you find a word in there that isn’t dangerous?

Yet Henry took on the job of making a shell to sit on top of that engine safe for traveling.

He did it by following a three-step process. And though I don’t agree with Henry about the Children of Abraham, I cannot ignore the visionary approach he took for making the renowned family car.

First step: make it work.

It doesn’t matter how pretty it is, how many colors it comes in or how many seats it has—if it doesn’t work.

It has to function without people choking from all the smoke. It has to start up instead of needing repair on every trip. It must be reliable.

Now wait a second. I must be candid—over half the things we have going on in this country are negated because they don’t work. They are pretty, popular, spiritual, touted—but they don’t work.

If you’re going to do great things, you have to make sure the great thing you have come up with actually kicks ass, while taking names.

Number Two: make it comfortable.

It was not easy to ride a horse for twenty miles to the next town. That’s why they came up with the carriage in the first place. But it had its drawbacks, with broken wheels, axles and many a sore buttock.

Yet people were not going to give up their horses for something that did not work—and was not pleasant.

Room for at least three inside.

A little padding on the seats.

Glass in the windows.

A way to get fresh air.

And a way to start the vehicle that didn’t demand priming the engine each time or turning a crank.

And then, once you make it comfortable:

Number three: make it fun.

All the things that have been added to the automobile since Henry Ford pushed his little invention down the road have been all about making driving fun.

  • Radio.
  • Speedometers.
  • Air conditioning.
  • Heated seats.
  • Video.
  • Audio.
  • GPS.
  • Mirrors everywhere.

These have turned the car into more than just a means of transportation. Now it’s a way to brag about your success.

Henry Ford, in spite of his bigotry, took an idea and made it work, made it comfortable and made it fun.

Somewhere along the line we will have to do this with everything we wish to accomplish in America, or we will drag our feet, fail to pursue great ideas—and shall we say—back the wrong horse.

 

Sit Down Comedy … April 17th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Preparing for our new normal…”

It seems to be the catch phrase of the day.

Yet hearing it sprouts questions which ping-pong in my brain.

What if I didn’t care about the old normal?

What if I found it obtuse?

What if the old normal aggravated my emotions with its continual flood of personal attacks?

What if I found myself alienated from a society that was too frightened of aliens?

What if I don’t want to return to what we had?

The braggadocio attitudes of small-minded humans being given platforms to scream their ridiculous claims and espouse horrific prejudices does not seem to be the “normal” where I can be normal.

Life, Mother Nature, science, humanity and God, himself, have granted us a time-out for our incorrigible behavior.

What should we do with it?

You should do what you deem necessary.

Me? I’m going to take a pause from the cause.

There are too many things I believe in that have sharp edges which cut and hurt other humans.

I’ve worked on it for many years, but my blades still extend.

I must take a pause from my cause.

Can I suggest to you that this is a possible alternative to meaningless repetition? For instance:

If you possess a fervent belief in God, at least admit to yourself there are times that atheism seems comforting.

My brothers and sisters who are Republicans may want smaller government and less interference, but keep in mind that the stimulus check still arrived at a sweet moment.

How about you Democrats take a pause from your guilt trip—blaming others of wealth and substance for every evil that has befallen the Earth?

And you, committed to pro-life, standing firm against abortion, must at least pause and consider what you would do if your sixteen-year-old daughter came to you with the results of a drug store pregnancy test, and her only excuse was that she was told “if you drink lots of lemon juice, you can’t get pregnant?”

Yes, God bless America, you patriots, but keep this in mind: your family does not live in a war zone, where the danger of being blown up, ravaged or murdered are a constant threat after your meager dinner is consumed.

Mr. Macho–what do you think it would be like to be pawed at and disrespected all the time, while your abilities were set to the side in deference to discussing your rack?

And my sisters may want to mull how their brothers have to battle testosterone and the urge to be overly aggressive with physical prowess.

Whether it’s black or whether it’s white, take a pause and channel the other color. If it’s yellow or it’s red, consider what it’s like to wear the skin of another.

Those who are heterosexual—do they really believe the gay community is embroiled in perversion, or, just like you and me, in search of a defining love?

Can the rich remember a time, or project in their minds, the anguish involved in being short on the rent?

And can the poor man and woman understand that not all money is inherited? Some of the green stuff is procured by “greening” a great idea–and patiently working it as it grows.

I am not ready to find a new normal.

And I am certainly unwilling to return to the old.

For before this virus, we had grown much too cynical and selfish, welcoming back into our hearts latent racism, causing us to be pious about our own ignorance.

I shall take a pause from my cause…to study my flaws.

Sit Down Comedy … April 3rd, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Eunice Buell was a Sunday School teacher for the junior high class at my church. Somewhere deep in her heart, I think Mrs. Buell liked me very much—maybe even found me entertaining.

But every once in a while, I sent her into a near-saintly tirade over some of my comments. She called them crude, unwarranted, hurtful, offending—and once even went so far as to say “vulgar.”

When I said something she did not approve of, she often turned to me (while simultaneously gesturing to the whole class) and said:

“Think before you speak. That’s what separates us from the animals.”

I didn’t have the heart to correct her and say, “Animals don’t speak.”

She expected us all to understand.

We did.

And we still do. There is no place you can go where “think before you speak” would not be considered a holy axiom, possibly even found somewhere in the Bible.

Because of this, we now have politicians who polish their lingo, scrubbing it of all possibility of controversy, while inserting enough lying to make sure the proclamation has some heft.

Our religionists require blind devotion from all followers, lest someone stand up and suggest that there are contradictions, or at least confusions, dwelling in the Holy of Holies.

Our corporations and businesses hire lawyers to develop statements placed at the bottom of the product in small print to protect the stockholders and investors against all liability.

And relationships—oh, dear God—relationships are riddled with a series of phrases used to manipulate one party into performing “your will”–without ever noticing that they’re sacrificing their individuality.

It spawns from the notion that humans are capable of perfecting themselves.

We aren’t.

The theory is permitted to exist so we can maintain our arrogance. But it is the emotions in our lives that need to be spoken, even though they are often raw and uneducated.

They are the real we feel.

Certainly, these thoughts fester with frustration and can frequently be proven wrong.  But when we are the only ones correcting the language in our brains, we close the door to greater revelation being afforded us through discussion.

So without trying to cast myself in the role of renegade, I challenge each and every one of us to:

Speak before we think.

And since we know it comes out as raw ore—not gold—after we speak, we should be quiet.

Listen. Register the reactions. Ponder the possible contradictions.

Then we must do something that makes the human race truly unique:

Change our minds.

As a species, we are worthless to one another and an enemy of the Earth when we are incapable of recanting our initial feelings and replacing them with common sense.

Because once we change our minds, we can speak again.

And those who know us realize that we are not only sharing the truth with them as we feel it in the moment, but we have also alerted ourselves to gain new insight—and then verbalize our fresh discovery.

Thinking before you speak turns you into a self-editor.

No good writer should ever trust himself to be the sole editor.

Speaking before you think presents the emotion and heart which very well may be overwrought or even wrong.

Yet it provides the opportunity to inform those around you that you are fully aware of your imperfection—and prepared to be a student of the planet we share.

 

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