Things I Learned from R. B.


Jonathots Daily Blog

(4343)

Episode 6

Opening night for the musical arrived about thirteen days before the cast was suitable for public viewing.

Yes, another fortnight and we might have achieved “adequate” with the possibility of “passable.” But as the maniac once said, “The show must go on.”

The music was learned and the pitches, generally pleasing. But the vignettes that separated the numbers were filled with so much wooden acting that we could have built a fort.

As to the choreography, we should have put a disclaimer in the show’s program, warning parents to cover the eyes of their small children.

There was one saving grace:

Our homosexual producer had gathered all of his flair and had designed and purchased stunning costumes. They were accessible and colorful—and as we found out later, easy to clean. They gave the show the appearance of legitimacy.

During the final rehearsal, which blended chaos with over-optimism, R. B. appointed himself cheerleader for the troupe. Whenever a note was missed or a cue ignored, he stepped in and said, “Don’t worry, guys. We’re going to do great.”

I probably should have stopped him, but before I could, one of his fellow-cast members snarled, “Hey, R. B., just because they’re dance slippers doesn’t mean you need to slip up.”

R. B. laughed, completely oblivious to the fact that he was being critiqued.

During the time of preparation for the evening’s fiasco, I made two requests: don’t drink too much water or you’ll sweat like a pig; and under no circumstances were any of the cast members to go into the lobby in costume—so we could keep the surprise of the quality costumes from the audience until stage time.

R. B. ignored both.

Feeling the need to use the bathroom because of over-watering his hole and not wanting to stand in line with his cast members at the facility backstage, he drifted his way through the halls to the lobby, where he not only used the bathroom donned in his costume, but stopped off to talk to the audience members in the foyer, who were complimenting him for his appearance.

Then, under the influence of the fumes of appreciation, he walked down through the auditorium and jumped onto the stage, where we were all waiting behind the curtain.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been any more infuriated—yet it was hardly the time for a teaching moment.

I took a deep breath, channeling my Knute Rockne, and tried to deliver a pregame speech.

I think I did pretty well, but all the cast members knew there were so many gaps in the training for the show that it was literally impossible for anything to happen short of the Hindenburg.

I still held out hope that maybe the god of dance would send angels to join us. He did not. Instead, arriving on opening night were the devils of dunce.

And I didn’t even take into consideration that the lack of preparation would be further complicated by nerves—great stage fright. There were at least five times when the musical came to a complete halt while the cast members stared at one another, wondering whose turn it was, and the audience giggled uncontrollably at the mishap unfolding before them.

I wanted to run.

The advertising had been so good that the theater was packed. There were two nights scheduled for Columbus before we hit the road—and both performances were headed toward standing room only.

Of course, I realized that once the word was passed about opening night’s bedevilment that few people would show up for the second go-round.

The little boy in me arrived. I wanted to disappear, go back to the rehearsal camp and wait for the cast to join me later. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was stand out in the lobby with my fumbling thespians. For of course, I knew it ultimately would be viewed as my fault. But I came and stood among them.

Back at the rehearsal camp, discussing what to do the next night—how to quickly simplify the choreography so as to not look quite so inept—and which songs to go over, R. B. spoke up, interrupting my instructions.

“Excuse me,” he said sprightly. “Guys, I think we did pretty good for our first try.”

Now, I’ve never been in a room with a lynch mob. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people to become so enraged that they grab someone and rush him into the forest, throw a rope over a tree bough and hang him on the spot. But I would venture to say that the cast came close to putting R. B. in a “neck-tie” that night.

I stepped in to protect him, but also rebuked him.  “Listen,” I said, “there’s nothing wrong with stinking and doing a shitty job, as long as you don’t pretend it doesn’t stink and that it’s not shitty. It was my job to get you guys ready. I didn’t do it. But it was your job tonight to give your best performance. As you go to your beds, you can ask yourselves if you did just that.”

R. B. was offended.

Matter of fact, I found out the next day that he stayed up crying to one of the girls about my “attack.”

I worked with the cast all the next day, and by the time we arrived for the second performance, we were miles further down the road than we were the night before.

Of course the problem was, the audience had decided to stay miles away.

Sit Down Comedy … January 18th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3929)

Sometime back, but still in my retainable memory, I was invited to speak at a youth convention.

It started out slow, as those kinds of gigs often do until the audience realizes you are acceptable and hearable. It ended beautifully, with enthusiasm, passion and even a few tears. I was feeling so inspired that I turned to the gathered and said, “God, you guys look great.”

Afterward, I was greeted by the sponsor of the event, who seemed to lack my joy. He shared that he was greatly uplifted by the message I imparted to the students, but found the use of the word “God” in my closing to be a classic case of using the Lord’s name in vain.

OMG.

Move ahead a little while and it is such a common phrase that we have an Internet abbreviation for it.

I ran across the same problem over the years when I appeared in front of pristine-thinking audiences, using the word “crap.” Once again, move ahead, and I’ve even heard “crap” used in prayers: “Lord, save us from all this crap.”

We get nowhere with language by thinking that certain words are perverse, others are acceptable and a chosen few are supreme.

Let me give you an example:

I have a bottom. I don’t call it a bottom very often, because the occasion to use that word doesn’t arise, and I don’t feel the need to ever be that formal. So instead, I may say, “I’m going to sit on my backside.”

That’s about as vanilla as I can get. I refuse to use the word “tush.” Sometimes when I’m trying to motivate myself, I will say, “I got off my butt and finished dinner.” (“Butt” in this case is required to express to the hearer that a process was necessary to change my stationary position to an active one.)

I would never say, “I got off my derriere and finished dinner.”

Moving along, if I were referring to a woman’s attractive backside today, I might call it a “booty,” only to be playful. But I don’t think I would get the same reaction from her or anyone else by saying, “She certainly has an attractive gluteus maximus.”

Words justify us—meaning they make us come across clearly—or they condemn us—causing us to sound foul or overly cautious.

I have to be honest with you—if I were discussing the government of the United States in its present stand-off, I would certainly put forth this sentence: “The government should get off its ass and fix some things.”

I wouldn’t use “bottom” and I wouldn’t use “butt.” In this case, the word “ass” has a double meaning. It refers both to their languishing position as well as their attitudes, which prevent them from being proactive.

Do you see what I mean?

We need to stop this foolish, politically correct mindset regarding the American language. If a word communicates, it communicates.

For instance, I never say, “I’m going to have a bowel movement,” but I might say, “The baby did a poop.”

If I run across something that’s plain bull, I will call it crap.

If someone is being mistreated and bigotry is being fostered, I might spout, “What the shit is going on?”

If you feel that I should say, “What the potty is going on?” I think you’re either being insincere or you should find a time machine and join us here in the twenty-first century.

Stop looking for whether words are perverse, righteous, foul or sacred. Start noticing how they fit into sentences or questions that communicate the depth of our passion.


Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

 

1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Magnify Your Character)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To Magnify Your Character)

William Shakespeare contended that “all the world’s a stage and each one of us, merely players.”

So who are you?

In the world of theater, it is impossible to play too many characters without coming across anemic in the roles. Also, if you establish your character onstage and then drastically revise it, the audience doesn’t buy into your leap.

The one thing you should think about this week to magnify your character is:

Don’t let your problems give you stage directions

Unlike true theater, in everyday life we have a tendency to adjust to the settings, the surroundings, the spotlights, the poor audience reaction or the failure of others around us to remember their lines, and either attempt to revise our dialogue to fit the circumstance or freak out because our the revisions cause us to lose all credibility.

Here is this week’s question: who are you?

And don’t try to tell me that you are a multi-faceted individual with many different layers of being. That’s the best way to describe a liar. Who are you?

Once you find the answer to that, remaining faithful to the role, no matter how the play unfolds in front of you, is how you gain the reputation of being solid and trustworthy– well worth knowing by your peers.

An acquaintance recently asked me, “Who are you?”

I replied, “I am a character addicted to good cheer, so no matter what you hand me, I will do my best to give you back joy.”

The definition of immaturity is feeling the need to change the script simply because there’s been an unforeseen twist in the plot. But in doing so, we sully our character and make ourselves seem unreliable.

Who are you?

Answer that question–and then don’t let your problems or your mishaps give you stage directions.

 

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly donation for this inspirational opportunity

 

Good News and Better News… September 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3434)

Optimism is completely useless in sharing the Good News. It always hopes for positive results which are only determined by the audience and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, pessimism is a meaningless, funky choice. After all, what value is there in preaching the end of the world while the doggone thing is still revolving?

I think Paul Simon summed it up best in his song, “The Boxer” when he wrote: Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

So if you want to be a bearer of good tidings, you must keep two essentials in mind. These were in play when I went to Tampa Bay to do two concerts, one at the Sun City Center United Methodist Church and the other at Atonement Lutheran in Wesley Chapel. I was hosted by two fine gentlemen–Kevin and Scott–both of whom desire to see something good happen in our time.

But over the years, you learn that passion, deliberation and organization are not enough. Talent falls short, and patience is a virtue which often fails to impress the meandering mob.

Two things to keep in mind if you want to make a difference: make it clear and make it good.

Honestly, if you don’t come with quality, don’t expect to get any kind of ear turned in your direction. So stop trying to do things that are difficult, believing they’ll be impressive in the long run. Find things you can accomplish well in almost any circumstance, and perfect them.

I am not the best anything. I never will be the best anything. But I can always get better at my best.

That’s our job. Make it good. It’s time for us to stop apologizing for what we present under the guise that “since God is in charge, and He loves us all, He’ll forgive a few sour patches.”
Tain’t so, my brothers and sisters. We’ve got to make it good. And then, you’ve got to make it clear.

To do this requires simplifying your message so that everybody in the room, from six to ninety-six years old, knows exactly what you’re trying to say. Some folks will still try to twist your words to their advantage, but there’s not much you can do about that, so don’t worry.

If you want people to believe that “love your neighbor as yourself” works, you need to say it five times and provide three good
examples.

And then do everybody in the room a favor: Don’t try to make another point. Three-point sermons leave two points forgotten and one point confusing.

So my time in Tampa Bay was lavished with lovely, inspiring people who benefitted from my presence because I determined to not be either optimistic or pessimistic, but instead, made it clear and made it good.

So therefore, the good news is that life is not hopeless, filled with ungrateful human beings who are beyond redemption.

The better news is, as Paul Simon said, we need to give them things they can hear and don’t disregard.

 

 

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

G-Poppers … January 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3193)

Jon close up

G-Pop loves the Gospel.

Not because it’s religious, but because it’s good news. And good news always has a market, an audience and a possibility.

Many religious people think the Gospel is Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. This is the invitation to salvation, not the solution to human conflict. After all, you can have seven billion baptised believers in the crucifixion who still want to kill each other.

The power of the Gospel is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For years, it has been honored as a sacred oracle, and even though tarnished, attacked and ridiculed, it stood the test of time–the only hope for us getting along with each other.

Then came 2016.

Under the masquerade of a Presidential election, the Republicans, Democrats, press, pundits and lobbyists worked together to dismantle the integrity and power of the Golden Rule. Through countless proclamations, we were told that “loving your neighbor as yourself” was too weak a position to defeat ISIS, negotiate Syria, overcome racism or eliminate terrorism.

You and I were there for it. It was televised nightly–a four-step process:

  1. People are different.
  2. Difference makes conflict
  3. Because there’s conflict we need to be strong
  4. Because we’re strong, we will make enemies

It was a macho, self-righteous belief that the “exceptionalism of America” means that we have a duty to view ourselves as superior to the rest of the world.

Both political parties utilized the platform, abandoning the Golden Rule in favor of alleged “brass balls.”

What is G-Pop telling his children?

What is our mission in 2017?

Get out there and renegotiate the Golden Rule.

  • Stop advertising violence and the aggressive idea that another drone strike will take care of our problems.
  • Stop focusing on our differences.
  • Stop colorizing people with blue, black, red, yellow or orange.
  • Find common ground and build a hope there.

Yes, the Golden Rule is under siege.

For thousands of years, it has prevented us from dissolving the human race

The Golden Rule is still gold.

It just needs people who will continue to tout its value.

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Getting in Character…July 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2632)

heart

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

“Not believable.”

It is the two-word epitaph for every actor’s performance which seems dead-on-arrival. It is pronounced by critic and audience alike when the scene set before them lacks sincerity, legitimacy and heart.

Sometimes it is caused by the script being underplayed; often it’s a result of overacting. But somewhere along the line, the actor has failed to take the words that he or she has committed to memory and equally commit them to heart.

  • The emotion is phony.
  • The emotion is lacking.
  • The emotion is pre-determined and therefore sits on the shelf too long, arriving stale.

There is a certain amount of emotional purity necessary to convey who we are to the world around us. When this is lacking, the jungle sense inside every mortal comes to the forefront, screaming “this is not real.”

So since the world is a stage and we are actors, what can we do to guarantee that our contribution is believable? Because long before we are valuable, we need to establish that we are as we say we are.

To gain this pure heart, you must:

1. Be the first person around you who is not afraid of sharing your feelings.

You can be selective. You can release it slowly–just as long as you’re forthcoming and not being “caught”–trapped in a web of lies.

2. Realize that your feelings are inescapable, yet they only gain the possibility of change when shared well.

No one is suggesting that there has to be an outpouring from the heart of every single sensation that happens from moment to moment, but when a reality exists, to deny it, mask it or reject it is to set yourself up for being exposed instead of controlling the update on your own situation.

3. Know that people can trust you because they are fully aware that you’re willing to be honest.

Without this kind of emotional purity, human beings spiral down. They end up in the basement of consideration, relegated to a position of worthlessness because they were unable to deliver what they advertised themselves to be.

Fear makes us doubt.

Doubt makes us defensive.

Defensiveness turns us into liars.

And all liars end up looking like fools.

 

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

***************************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

 

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

Buy Now Button

 

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2459)

pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

Donate Button

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

click above for information on 567!

click above for information on 567!

 

%d bloggers like this: