Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4085)

Sitting Twenty-Five

As it turned out, orange construction cones make great soccer goals for runaway boys in the desert, dreaming of football stardom.

Iz and Pal were desperate for a diversion—a way to physically explode with energy, allowing their muscles to stretch and ache. With the arrival of the cones, the soccer balls, the tennis shoes and the hamburgers, they had the makings of a deliriously exciting life.

Sweet play.

They vigorously kicked the ball, imagining acclaim and cheers in the great arenas of the world capitals as renowned soccer players, drawing applause and the favor of men with the pleasure of many women.

They fell, exhausted, in the sand, laughing, liberated from conventional restraints, simply content to live in the moment’s lingering bliss.

Nothing seemed wrong. Therefore, nothing was wrong.

During one of these respites, Iz posed a question. “Pal, what do you think will become of us?”

Pal, still ablaze from the fervor of the game, asked enthusiastically, “Do you mean before or after we win the World Cup?”

Iz frowned. “No, really. Where do you think this is going?”

Pal realized his friend was once again turning serious—an attribute he didn’t favor much but decided to tolerate from his more melancholy partner. Settling into some solemnity, he replied, “I don’t know.”

Iz perked up. “I think I do.”

Pal drew a deep breath and inquired, “Well, tell me what’s gonna happen.”

“They’re going to take us back,” said Iz. “They’re going to make us go home.”

Pal shook his head. “They haven’t been able to do that so far.”

Iz shifted to his knees, grabbing his friend by the shoulders. He stared into his eyes. “That’s because they still think we have a hand grenade. When the soldier tells them the truth, they will come for us.”

Pal’s eyes welled with tears. “I don’t want to go back.”

Iz settled down on his backside and looked at Pal carefully. “Don’t want to? Or won’t? Which is it, Pal? You know we have to decide. It could happen at any moment. We have to decide.”

Pal was confused as to what Iz might be referring—very concerned. “We have to decide what?” he posed cautiously.

Iz didn’t miss a beat. “We have to decide what we’re going to do if they come here and try to make us go back.”

“Well, we don’t have a hand grenade,” Pal said flatly.

Iz shook his head vigorously. “Don’t be stupid. Did you think we were going to use the hand grenade?”

Angry, Pal rose to his knees. “Don’t call me stupid. I hate that. If we weren’t going to use the hand grenade, why did we have it?”

Iz scoffed at him. “To scare them away. That’s why. But they won’t be scared anymore. I can just feel it. They’re coming for us.”

Suddenly Pal was overtaken by a streak of tenderness. “Iz,” he said, “I won’t let them take you.”

“How will you stop them?” demanded Iz. “My father is so angry—so mean. I can still feel his anger pouring all over me, making me shrink before his eyes, becoming a little ant that he could step on at any time and mash with his foot.”

Pal was shocked by the words. It was a true revelation into his friend’s soul, but a sudden one that left him bewildered. He reached out to touch his comrade’s arm. “Listen,” he said, “No one’s going to mash us anymore.”

Iz looked up with a glassy stare. “Are you with me, buddy?”

“You know I am,” said Pal.

“No,” insisted Iz, gaining an unnatural intensity. “Are you with me?”

Pal was startled. “With you for what?” His friend’s reactions sometimes seemed chilling, foreboding. There was something frozen, perhaps dead, in the heart of Iz that never quite warmed or showed life, no matter how much joy came into their situation. Pal felt equal—but still overwhelmed.

Iz continued. “Are you with me to the death?”

“Death?” Pal lurched back, unable to hide his shock.

Iz shook his head. “I won’t go back alive.”

Pal drew a deep, ragged breath. “Iz, I don’t want to die. I came out here because I wanted to live.”

Iz rose up and pointed his finger at Pal, screaming. “But what if they won’t let us live? What if they just come out here and act like we’re silly little boys and spank us, ridicule us, and take us home? I’m telling you, Pal. I can’t go back to Pada. I will not be that scared little ant anymore.”

Pal nodded his head in agreement, if not understanding. “So what do we do?”

Iz scrambled to his feet and ran over to the portable toilet. He opened the door, reached in, grabbed something and returned quickly. He held a pink stick in his hand. Breathlessly he explained, “Pal, these came with the toilets. They are poison. If they come for us, we will break this stick into two pieces and each one of us eat our half.”

Eat it?” Pal shouted.

“I won’t go back,” repeated Iz calmly.

Pal wanted to object. Pal needed to reason with his perplexed, confused friend. But Pal was just twelve years old. So a sense of allegiance swept over his heart.  He felt no need to resist. The plan was made, and it seemed to make sense.

Time would tell.

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The K Word … April 16th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4017)


THE

Related image

WORD


I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for nearly twenty years. Overall, I found it a very pleasant experience.

Yet seventy-four miles south of my home, on Interstate 65, was a town called Pulaski. It is the community where the Ku Klux Klan began. So most assuredly, confidently and sadly, I will tell you today’s word that should never be used again—the “K” that should not be spoken—is the Ku Klux Klan.

The K Word is the Ku Klux Klan

It’s not so much their views. I don’t agree with anything they say. Yet if they were coming from a position of personal experience, I might need to consider their perspective. But no member of the KKK has spent fifteen years playing in the National Football League, surrounded by black men. If they had done this and come out with a negative insight, then I would have to conclude that they had a right to their opinion.

Or if some of the members had lived in Israel for ten years and after the visitation, had stated that Jews were greedy and less than human, I might question their premise but certainly would have to acknowledge that they had been involved in a live-in experiment.

But there’s no member of the Ku Klux Klan who has spent any time with members of the black race or the Jews. They are not well-traveled individuals who, after careful research, developed a doctrine of the division among the races, with the hypothesis being that “white people are better.”

These are little boys and girls who were never allowed to formulate their own thinking but instead, absorbed the prejudice, anger and fallacious notions of their ancestors.

Unfortunately, these ancestors came to the conclusion that keeping their cotton crop in the black was much more important than the blacks who made it possible for them to have a cotton crop in the first place.

They are childishly ignorant—ignorant because the philosophy they cling to was long ago abandoned by people of reason, science and emotional well-being; childish because they’re still trying to please parental figures, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and ancient kin who held to a belief system that found its only power by leaving others powerless.

There is a school of thought that if you want to do away with the Ku Klux Klan, then let them speak their mind, let them be heard, and they will be revealed for who and what they are.

Unfortunately, unfoldings in our country over the past ten years tell us that giving breath to a murderer is granting license to murder.

This is why I’m saying the KKK should never be mentioned. It should not be discussed. It should not evoke either anger or apathy.

We should pretend that it does not exist until it’s so small that evolution can swallow it back into the earth—where it will finally die—with the graves of those who were once so presumptuous.


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The F Word … March 12th, 2019

THE

WORD

I was there, live and in person, when “golly” surrendered, without a shot, to “OMG.” Oh, My God.

Likewise, when “Geez” transformed into “Jesus H. Christ.”

Darn it, after that, “heck” didn’t have a chance. “Damn” and “hell” reigned supreme for quite a season.

Then people stopped referring to the “butt of a joke” and screamed at you to “get off your ass.”

Time passed.

It seemed like “give a shit” would hang around, but the times, they are a’changin’.

Here comes “what the fuck.”

“Fuck” is like an old friend who got lost in the wilderness but came back into the house, was ready to sleep on the sofa and willing to throw in a few bucks for pizza.

It stuck closer than a brother.

It became a noun, an adjective, a verb, an interjection—and I do believe I have even heard it used, from time to time, as an adverb: (“…he said fuckily…”)

This disturbs many people, who yearn for the time when language was carefully watched by censoring forces who desired that anything untoward would not cross the ears of young children, or even mature adults.

We most certainly know that Rhett Butler would never say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” if he was able to let Scarlett know that he didn’t “give a fuck.”

It is not the profanity of f-u-c-k that makes it particularly nasty. Although overused, it is not the foulness of the word that creates a problem. It’s just that on the journey from “golly” to “fuck” we got angrier.

We’re not using the language to be clever or cute. We’re using the word because we’re more pissed off than we used to be.

We even tease with a friendly “fuck” to remind people that just beneath the surface is a bubbling oil, ready to spill out and burn anyone in sight if they dare cross our path.

It would be absolutely fine if we could “fuck this, fuck that” and “fuck the other” if it was accompanied by a smile instead of gritting teeth.

It may be necessary to back off the language just to give us the chance to regain some civility. Because you can tell me I’m dumb all day long and I may not like it, but if you tell me to go fuck myself, we’re at war.

So let us not be childish.

First, let’s not be Puritans, pretending that language can be controlled and taken back to an 1853 purity.

But also, let’s not be so idiotic as to assume that the rampant use of more and more “fucks” in our society does not mean that we’ve lost control and no longer have the ability to deal rationally with each other, without tempers flaring.

So the F word is “fuck”

This is not because it’s particularly profane, but because it is a precursor to violent behavior.


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1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Be More Appealing


Avoid Your Temper

Temper is what happens when we ignore our anger.

Temper is the brat we thought was expelled—exiled far away—but suddenly shows up with a tantrum.

Temper is the frustration that spills out on the wrong person.

Temper is when we look like we have a short fuse and a big bomb.

Temper is caused by trying to keep from being angry.

Wisdom tells us that the lack of anger is a sin 

The inability to articulate what is displeasing causes us to swallow our resentment, and then vomit it through our temper.

But nobody takes our temper seriously, assuming we are sleepy, stressed, or the new excuse—”hangry.”

If it comes to your mind and you find it distasteful, before your brain develops a plot against the world around you, speak it.

Share it. You can always be wrong.

On the other hand, temper will never allow you to admit your fallacy. Once temper decides to raise its ugly head, it demands that you defend it.

It is not defensible.

Because temper is too cowardly to simply be angry.


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G-Poppers … May 25th, 2018

G-Pop would like to take today to talk to his children about anger and lust. No human being can live without ​them. Some folks may try to quell their desires, but this stifling often leads to repression. Therefore it would seem that every ​soul​ needs anger and lust.​ ​In our country we have become obsessed with tracking down lust, and not nearly as concerned with channeling anger.

There is a very wise adage which states, “The imaginations of a man’s heart are evil continually from his youth.”

With that in mind, it may be completely ridiculous, if not mean-spirited, to think that any one of us is ever going to be free of rage or minus indiscretion. Yet we ​choose to ​isolate off harassment, chauvinism and improper sexual behavior as if these are worse than the nastiness and evil spewed from the mouths of people to support their ca​se​ in the name of ​their cause.

​Consider this: are we actually going to be able to find a man living on Planet Earth who has not had a slip of the tongue and ​stumbled into a bone-headed moment? Is it​ realistic to believe that, in search of romance, flirtation ​might become abusive and hurtful?

Granted, we need to teach our young men and women, from an early age, how to conduct themselves ​in addressing their sexuality, and ultimately pursuing the time​-​old tradition of mating.

But G-Pop believes it must start with anger, for sexual harassment and rape ​are​ merely lust which has traveled from ​unwanted ​interest to ​violence​.​ ​And much of the anger that ​evolves into mayhem and murder is uncontrolled lust for the possessions, life and goods of another person.

Our churches, our schools and especially our homes need to be training grounds, to turn anger into questioning and a desire to find answers, and channel our lusts toward respectfully a​pproaching the space, person and dignity of th​e​ individual we might be considering for a relationship.

What all of the accused men have in common is that they have blurred the lines between anger and lust.​ ​They don’t know how to flirt without being intimidating and they don’t know how to confront​ ​a​bsent a​ condescending attitude.

There is nothing wrong with the “Me, Too” movement. It is enlightening and it is opening up a conversation which is well overdue. But simultaneously, there needs to be an “All of Us” movement–which confesses that when our anger and lust are not balanced and in check, we can become dangerous to anyone who crosses our path.

G-Pop wants his children to know that anger and lust are the motivators that God has given us​ to achieve our wishes. Yet with this, as with all freedoms, comes the responsibility to balance ​matters with kindness, gentleness, equality and mercy.​

 

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Salient … May 21st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3673)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

There is no escape.

No value in running.

Certainly no place to hide.

There are nearly a billion eyeballs staring at you and tens of millions of I-Phones trained on your every move.

Privacy is a concept but never a reality. You are being viewed, and often critically. Even individuals who do not speak to you are still noting your temperament, actions, generosity or lack of compassion.

Perhaps the greatest irony in the human experience is the notion that each one of us should carry a certain amount of overwrought self-esteem, even though simultaneously, you will not tolerate it in any other mortal.

Common sense should kick in. You and I should realize that since we are a species that respects the hell out of humility, pushing our self-worth too far guarantees a backlash from those who feel we are overbearing.

You must realize that kindness, mercy, grace and gentleness are not virtues but rather, precautions–used by intelligent people to protect them from the galling scrutiny of bystanders who draw conclusions from very little evidence.

And from those conclusions they decide how they will treat you.

Case in point:

Sometimes they don’t even know why they don’t like you, but they remember how you cut someone off in traffic, and it pissed them off.

They recall being in the room when you lied to your wife or your family.

They watch as, for the fourteenth time, you walk by a homeless person who is seeking a buck.

They burn with anger over your lack of consideration, caused by your perpetual boredom with your own life. Even though they themselves wouldn’t have done anything differently, you are not permitted indiscretion. You are not allowed to be obnoxious.

Courtesy is not an adventure of the meek, trying to keep the world civil. It is a coat of armor to protect against the slings and arrows which come from the probing public, always ready to indict, prosecute and convict.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration that there may be an Eternal Creator, also watching, who happens to know the number of “glares in your head.”

If you decide to be surly, always realize that there are people who saw it. They will take that encounter and use it against you in a time and place which you do not know.

So now for our salient moment. May I keep it simple?

Be mean, be seen.

Be kind, clear mind.

 

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G-Poppers … October 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3451)

G-Pop wants his children to understand about the sliding scale.

Although the human tribe insists on believing that goals are set and achieved, most of the time, we all fall short of the original aspiration, and end up settling for something a little bit different, if not lesser.

At that point, it is our nature to explain that what we attained is “just as good,” and if we’re smart, turn it into something of value.

So when Jesus told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to be merciful because it was the only way to guarantee mercy coming back in their direction, he was pointing out that if we do not set our minds to be merciful, we will never offer kindness.

Yes, kindness is about the best human beings can muster in dealing with one another. But to generate kindness, you’ve got to try for mercy–and mercy is that sense that it’s really none of our business, and we step away without judging whatsoever.

Kindness is the empathy that comes into our souls when we see someone fail and we recall our own sensations in failure.

Yet if you set your goal to be kind, you’ll probably end up with considerate. That means if someone is right in front of you and in need, you more than likely will put yourself out a little bit and lend a helping hand.

There are those who think that mercy and kindness are much too tender. So they try for considerate, and on the sliding scale, end up with tolerance. Yes, they patiently “put up” with foibles and attributes of other human beings while internally they harbor some hidden resentment.

Those who try for toleration eventually end up with indifference. Why? Because as you can imagine, toleration requires quite an effort, and sometimes it’s just better to stand at a distance and not get involved.

There are travelers who live a life of indifference, and suddenly find themselves plagued by complaining. Because even though we distance ourselves from other people, they don’t go away, and because they hang around with notable nagging nonsense, we are left complaining about them to other people.

Dare I say there are even human beings who start their day as complainers, and by the end of their morning and afternoon, as evening settles, they simmer in anger. Since no one really listens to their complaining, and what they complain about has not changed, they feel justified in being completely angry with the situation.

Would you believe there are people who live in anger, and as they look at the world around them, confirming their dark visions, they are suddenly engorged in a spirit of rage. They are the ticking time bombs–too sensitive to touch and ready to go off when least expected. And unfortunately, those souls who awaken in rage, on the sliding scale, eventually find themselves murderous.

There is a sliding scale.

So as we contemplate what causes a brother to fire thousands of bullets into a crowd, we must realize that maybe at one time, he wanted to be considerate, but the scale slid, and as it did, he did nothing to correct his course.

 

 

 

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