Sit Down Comedy … March 20th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

The natural order did not feel that plaguing us with a Presidential election was enough. Apparently, what was needed was a virus, which has scared us all into our corners to ruminate. I don’t know about you, but I have found that rumination is a skill that demands tremendous effort, patience and a certain degree of intelligence.

So it will be difficult to assess how long we will all be able to sustain our positions—until, like all creatures great and small, we try to fight our way free because we’ve been cornered.

I rely on a practice which I’ve used daily for many years. It seems on point for this situation. I call it:

“The Ten Questions I Ask Myself Every Day.”

Honestly, on some occasions, I don’t spend much time musing over them. But I do have them written down, and I do take the space to respect the exercise, and at least afford some sort of answer.

I thought you might be interested in them, and if you aren’t, this is an excellent place to stop reading.

****

1.Why in the hell are you so afraid?

(Remember, I’m asking myself.)

Fear is one of those luxuries we afford ourselves, even though we know it has no value. After all, there are rumors that individuals have been scared to death, but never any reports of humans being scared to life.

2. Can you identify your prejudice?

This forces me to admit that I am still prejudiced, even though I’ve worked on it. But since my upbringing was mostly out of my control until my late teens, I accumulated a lot of misinformation that still needs to be rummaged through and placed in the garbage heap.

3. Can you work on your diet without cheating?

I’m a big, fat boy, so I am constantly dieting. But even if I were slender, I would still have to work on my diet to ensure I maintain my nutrition, so I could use my vitamins and minerals to fight off…viruses.

But can I do what I do without cheating? And by cheating, I mean making promises to myself that I know I will not keep.

4. Can you stop lying?

Of course I can.

Actually, when you boil down the hours, minutes and seconds it takes to maintain a life of lies, it is much more time-intensive to be a deceiver than a truth-teller. I guess the question is, can I finally convince myself that I’m always going to get caught in my lie.

5. Can you slow down without stopping?

I know this sounds a little weird, but often we feel we have two gears: a dead stop or a deadly speed. Sometimes it’s good to know how to do a little less but still make it look like it’s the same amount. It’s in the slow-downed times that we discover the things that are worth speeding up for.

6. Can you consider multiplying your talents?

The deadliest words that can come off anybody’s lips are, “I don’t have any talent.”

We all do. It’s just the difference between having a single stick and two sticks. One stick is usually a weapon. Two sticks can be rubbed together to make a fire.

Can I take my abilities to make more abilities, so I will have the ability to survive?

7. Are you always attempting to maintain good cheer?

It’s important to know what good cheer is. It’s not a facial expression, nor a giggle, nor a spate of silliness. Good cheer is honestly knowing that fear and bitching will get you nowhere. So you might as well manufacture a better outlook.

8. Can you avoid arguing with people and just live out your heart?

We argue because we want people to approve us.

I’m not going to argue with you. I know what’s in my heart. I know it’s not going to hurt anybody, and I have a pretty good idea how to live it out.

9. What does love look like today?

Love looks different every single day. Sometimes it’s stealing kisses. Other times it’s giving space. Frequently, it’s quietly respecting without inserting an opinion. And on occasion, it’s intervening.

Wisdom is knowing which love to use today.

10. And finally, did you murder, blame and shame?

I become completely useless when I blame the world around me for my circumstances. And I topple from useless into despair when I take all the shame upon myself.

I don’t care who’s to blame.

And I will not allow you to place the shame on me.

***

Now, I realize this is a lot of questions.

But the answers don’t have to be long, and when you finish, you will find yourself thoughtful.

And it is my experience that thoughtful never hurt anyone.

Thoughtless is the culprit.

 

 

1 Thing You Can Do That Astounds the World Around You

Take Responsibility

It’s not difficult.

You’ll be surprised—it’s not as painful as it sounds.

You can do it at home, on the job, or anywhere human beings gather.

If it hurts, you can cry. If you’re confident, you can stand steady.

Matter of fact, there must be twenty ways to leave your mistake:

“It was me.”

“My bad.”

“Buck stops here…”

“Look no further. ‘Twas I.”

“My doing.”

“I own that.”

“No excuses.”

“Back to the drawing board.”

“Oops.”

“That’s got my fingerprints all over it.”

“Plan B.”

“That one’s gonna smell.”

“You got me.”

“I dropped the ball.”

“Not my finest hour.”

“My blame. No shame.”

“I’m your huckleberry.”

“I failed.”

“Crash and burn.”

“I ate the apple.”

Pick one.

They’ve been used over the years by many intelligent individuals who wanted to avoid the stupidity of lying, cheating and accusing others.

And by the way—you get a gift.

Here it is:

You aren’t exposed, you don’t have to hide and if you confess, you can be healed.

 

 

1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Increase Your Possibility of Personal Success


Fail Well

Yes—as an official member of the human race, you will spend most of your time failing. Sometimes it’s small. Sometimes it’s gigantic.

But there will only be one time that it will actually kill you.

So relax a little bit.

Understand that failure is the only way that Mother Nature can teach you the inadequacy of your approach and simultaneously place you in a classroom where you can learn to fare better with your second (or seventy-second) attempt.

We hate failure. It damages our ego—when really, it is our great “amigo.” It is our friend. It limits the amount of damage done in our lives if we’re willing to quickly acknowledge error instead of stubbornly and often angrily continuing to pursue a fruitless path. Two words must be learned:

Sustain or Complain

If you can sustain your abiding faith in the power of wisdom, the love of God and the practicality of effort, you can bounce off any failure, making it a rubber surface instead of finding yourself splatting against the concrete.

To achieve this, you must never complain.

Complaining is when we pretend that failure is unnecessary.

Complaining is when we tell everyone around us that life is not fair, when life itself often generates justice by seeming to be unfair but doing it to everyone.

If you can sustain your belief and refrain from complaining, you can attain your goal.

If you can’t, you will think of failure with words like:

  • Unjust
  • Cheating
  • Cursed
  • Or even Satan

So fail well.

Sustain the good parts, avoid the complaining, and you will live to succeed on another day.


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Ask Jonathots … May 19th, 2016

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ask jonathots bigger

I heard an Olympic official on a national television news show say, “People will always cheat. It’s human nature.” Do you think this is true?

“To err is human and to forgive is divine.”

This is the classic axiom.

Unfortunately, the proverb has a missing piece. Actually, it should state: “To err is human, but to repent is human also.”

There are two little devils that chase the human heart, trying to turn us into scoundrels.

Ignorance and arrogance.

We only become hapless when we try to combine these two and justify one with the other.

For instance, I may say something stupid, which is completely forgivable unless I try to convince you that it wasn’t stupid at all–you either misunderstood me or you’re not hip to my particular perception of life.

Ignorance is forgivable.

But when it links up with arrogance, not even divinity can salvage such a stubborn creature.

So my problem with the statement provided in your question is that as long as we view cheating as a normal side road taken by humans which needs to be avoided and confessed, we are fine. But when we begin to believe it’s part of our character–an arrogant segment of us that cannot be removed–we not only lose our redemption, but we lose any portion of us to redeem.

So what is the correct profile?

  • Ignorance happens.
  • Ignorance is exposed.
  • Ignorance is confessed.
  • Forgiveness is granted.
  • Knowledge expands.

This is the process that makes a solid human being.

But if we express ignorance, have it exposed and we defend it with our arrogance or insist that what we have done is “no worse than anyone else,” then forgiveness is impossible and knowledge is stalled.

Repentance is not a noble action, but rather, a necessary position that all humans take to make sure that we progress in wisdom and understanding instead of finding ourselves falling back on the failing positions of former times.

So in conclusion, I would say that ignorance happens, and as long as arrogance doesn’t show up, repentance can open the door to forgiveness, which allows knowledge to rule the day.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … January 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: Why didn’t you tell me you were sick? I had to find it out from Mike. Would it have killed you to share?

 

Dear Woman: Mike should have kept his mouth shut. It’s not a big deal. I just didn’t want to tell you and have you fuss over me.

 

Dear Man: Fuss? What do you mean by fuss? Here’s something you have to understand. Being concerned for someone else is not fuss. It’s called love.

 

Dear Woman: Yes, but you overdo it. You start feeling my head for a temperature. I especially hate it when you conjecture on what the problem might be or how I need to take care of myself better. You’re just too emotional.

 

Dear Man: I’m too emotional? Are you kidding? You remember the last time you had a cold? Eight o’clock at night–you asked me if I would go down to Porky Bob’s Barbecue and get you some ribs because they would “make you feel better.” If I remember correctly, you did this with a tilted head, seeking pity, and a tear in your eye.

 

Dear Woman: The sauce is tangy. It burns my throat in a way that makes it heal up. Anyway, that’s not emotional. That’s just expressing my feelings.

 

Dear Man: Let me stop right here. Apparently I have a lot to learn. What is the difference between expressing your feelings and being emotional? Because last week when you were watching the football game, screaming at the TV set because the referees were cheating, and then, when the team lost, you cursed and broke down in tears… Well, I guess what I want to ask is, was that expressing your feelings or being emotional?

 

Dear Woman: Yes, I did all that. But not because I saw a little bird with a broken wing on television and I started to dribble tears because it was so hurt, but cute.

 

Dear Man: So what I’m picking up from you is that if you’re emotional, it’s just a natural expression of feelings. But if I’m expressing my feelings on an issue or situation, it’s because I’m naturally over-emotional.

 

Dear Woman: It’s a known fact that women are more emotional than men.

 

Dear Man: Known by whom? Let me ask you some questions. Can you tell me five women who have ever gotten so emotional and angry that they declared war, went off and killed people?

 

Dear Woman: That’s called patriotism. That’s passion. A devotion to your country.

 

Dear Man: Well, I can see that you have an answer for everything. Are you trying to maintain that whatever I feel is emotional and silly, and whatever you feel is human and good? Because let me clue you in–we’re both human. As human beings, if we don’t have emotion, they classify it as mental illness. We both express those feelings at different times, in what some folks watching might call extreme ways. But if it’s real to us, it’s real.

 

Dear Woman: So you don’t think women are more emotional than men?

 

Dear Man: No, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you being emotional, whereas you portray that when I have concerns and feel happy or sad, it’s because I’m going through some “time of the month” or tirade against the male of the species.

 

Dear Woman: You realize, nobody agrees with you.

 

Dear Man: No, I realize that everybody agrees with me, but they’ve bought into the idea that women are more emotional and men are more controlled. Yet it’s difficult to find a female serial killer, a woman who commits genocide, or a chick who has started her own Ku Klux Klan.

 

Dear Woman: So what are you saying? Are you saying that men and women are equally emotional?

 

Dear Man: I am saying that without emotion we’re not human. Maybe men and women have different interests which ignite their emotions. But in the long run, every person emotes, or they die inside.

 

Dear Woman: I’m a little sick. I should have told you, but honestly, when I tell you, because I’m kind of a baby about it, and you’re willing to mother me, it makes me feel real stupid later on, though I enjoy the sympathy in the moment.

 

Dear Man: That was beautifully stated and I totally understand. Do you think we could do it that way the next time?

 

Dear Woman: If I remember.

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Getting in Character… August 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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diane lane unfaithful

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.”

To thine own self be true. More words from Bill the Bard.

Without being emotionally truthful to ourselves, we set in motion the seeds of infidelity.

Unfaithful. Promising and then failing to deliver.

And the truth of the matter is, if we’re unfaithful to ourselves, we are certainly determined to be equally as unfair to others.

Even though we criticize this kind of cheating as reckless and uncaring, it seems to permeate the human race like a fungus–or maybe better described as a mold that grows voraciously in a damp environment.

If we’re going to be good actors on the stage of life we have to be able to isolate what makes us unfaithful. The lust to be untrue is not born in our flesh, but in our heart. People who feel cheated, cheat:

  1. I am better than what I have.
  2. I am being ignored
  3. I will force my next opportunity.

When you put these three statements together, or isolate even one of them into a great pool of self-pity, the end result is a disregard for promises and leads to the pursuit of whatever is available on the premises.

Once unfaithful, each one of us is deemed a risk.

As a risk, we tolerate a certain amount of scrutiny but then rebel against the incrimination. This only creates more heart sadness, which leads to greater unfaithfulness.

How can we human beings, who are drawn away by our own lusts, ever learn to gain the predictability that makes us trustworthy to others?

A. Do well.

By the way, that’s your well-doing, not something someone else dug for you. In your present status, what is your “well?”

B. Get better.

You have to be willing to admit that there’s always need for improvement, and such adjustments are made much easier if they happen to be your idea.

C. Stay aware.

Aware of what?

  • Aware of being disgruntled.
  • Aware of being disappointed.
  • Aware of feeling left out.

These are the beginnings of the sorrows of infidelity.

If I am true to myself, I have a chance to be true to you.

But to be true to myself, I have to remove all of the ego props that tell me I should be receiving much more attention.

 

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Confessing … June 6th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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V.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Being 16 years of age, I was thrilled.

The principal of our high school had agreed to let our music group perform at an assembly for the entire student body.

I was pumped–with a side of arrogance.

I arranged for the custodian to meet me at the school very early that morning so I could get in, set up the equipment and make everything perfect.

I also decided to bring along my 9-year-old brother so he could help me carry stuff and be my legs, running around from place to place.

But when I arrived at the school there was no janitor anywhere and the building was locked.

Fearing that my dear friend who swept the halls might be late for our appointment, I had taken the precaution the previous day of going into the basement of the high school, where they kept the boiler room, and unlocking a window which faced out to the parking lot.

I was so proud of myself.

This was another reason I had brought my little brother–the window was only big enough for him to slide through.

So I went over, opened the window and gradually eased him down, holding onto his hand, thinking that certainly his feet would touch the ground on the furnace room below.

They didn’t.

He was scared and started to cry, so I released his hand.

He fell a few feet to the ground and bumped his head on the wall. Once again, tears ensued.

I yelled at him, told him to go up and open the door so I could get in.

When the janitor finally did show up, I was nearly set up. With an angry tone and furrowed brow he asked me how I got into the school. I explained that it was really weird, but apparently somebody left the door open. He didn’t believe me, but he also couldn’t prove I was wrong.

After I got set up it was time to take my little brother to the elementary school. On the way I told him to keep his moiuth shut about us entering the school and him bumping his head. He promised he would.

But during the day he got a headache, so Mom had to come pick him up–and all the beans were spilled.

She yelled for a while, calling me inconsiderate and selfish. Honestly I didn’t care. The concert at the school went great.

Until writing this essay today, I had not done a whole lot of thinking about that incident simply because my lies weren’t punished, my meanness to my brother was not revealed and it all came off beautifully.

But it does make me wonder if any of that self-righteous deception is still inside me.

Am I willing to cheat to get what I want if I know what I want is a good thing?

I hope the years have taught me that honesty is not a wimp sitting in the corner waiting to be bullied by the lying crowd, but rather, an intelligent student with a secret–knowing that when all things pan out, he will be the valedictorian.

 

Confessing boy falling

 

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