Catchy (Sitting 31) Everything Butte That…January 14th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3552)

Sitting on the tarmac in Butte, Montana, getting ready to lift off in the jet back to Las Vegas, Jubal Carlos desperately tried to capture pieces of his mind, seeming to float in his inner space.

The major question was very simple. What in the hell was he doing? He found himself interacting and working with people he hadn’t even known this time last year. They were nice enough, but a loneliness was settling into his soul–a yearning for purpose to join passion, to offer possibility.

The band he once loved was beginning to grumble and complain over the schedule, even though there was lots of money and a gentle atmosphere for the work. He cited to his mates that they were reaching people, but realized that they were becoming weary in all their well-doing.

The craziness of Washington, D.C. and the near-death experience of Jo-Jay hollowed out his insides.

But mostly, it was Butte, Montana. It was the most recently-selected little city to receive the noontime luncheon and show. Of the thirty-thousand-plus residents, a jubilant and warm-hearted five hundred came out to sit on the grass and “consider the lily.”

Shortly after the rally was over, Jubal excused himself and drove a rental car over to a nearby convenience store to buy snacks for the plane trip. In the parking lot he saw four young men sitting in the back of a pick-up truck, passing rifles back and forth.

It seemed fairly harmless.

Just before Jubal entered the store, one of the young men screamed across the distance, “So do you supposed to be Jesus?”

His comrades in the truck giggled.

Jubal just smiled, waved them off, and went into the store to acquire his delights. When he came out, the four fellows were gathered around his rental car. A shiver went down Jubal’s spine. Could be trouble. Yet small-town folks could just be curious, even though you’d swear it seemed threatening.

Jubal took a deep breath and walked to his car. He opened it, threw in his supplies and started to climb in himself when one of the young men grabbed his arm.

“You ain’t Jesus,” he said.

Jubal mustered his courage. “You sure are right. I’m not. No more Jesus than you are.”

“Well, I ain’t Jesus,” said another.

The boys showed no sign of being dangerous, but were certainly out on a lark, and Jubal realized that from their menacing profile, they could accidentally produce some mayhem.

A third one spoke. “We got all the Jesus we need here. What nationality are you anyway?”

Jubal smiled. “I don’t know. My mother died before I was two. My father split out after he found out I was gonna be born, and I don’t know where my grandparents are. So I usually have people guess. What nationality do you think I am?”

The fourth one piped up. “You look a little Korean.”

The other three laughed. “He ain’t no Korean,” said the second fellow. He was still holding his shotgun. The other three had leaned their weapons against the car, making Jubal’s departure more precarious.

The original fellow who had yelled across the parking lot offered, “I think he’s just a partially bleached-out nigger.”

“Now, Billy–you can’t say that word. It’s not proper,” laughed his friend.

“What? Bleached out?” said Billy, giggling.

Jubal decided it was time for him to use the gifts God had given him. “I could be bleached out,” he said. “You see, when I was a little boy, the foster home I was living in did laundry every Tuesday morning, and I wasn’t able to help much. So I sat on a stool nearby, watching all the grownups and older kids work on the clothes.”

Suddenly all four gentlemen were listening intently. Jubal continued. “Well, here’s what happened. Auntie Maria–that’s what we called her–well, she brought in a big bucket of bleach. And wouldn’t you know? I was so young and dumb I thought it was water. So when nobody was lookin’, I jumped in. I mean, the bucket was big enough to hold me, and I saw no reason to resist.”

There were a couple of snickers.

Jubal pressed on. “I wasn’t in the bleach very long. So I didn’t get totally bleached out, like you suggested. But word has it that before I went in that bleach, I was as black as an ace of spades.”

The young men stared at him curiously. Billy squinted. “So what you’re sayin’ is, you could be bleached out.”

“Maybe you are, too,” said Jubal.

Young Man Two jumped in, objecting. “No siree. I’ve been white all my life. I’ll live white and I’ll die white.”

“Well, I’ll probably die this color,” answered Jubal, “unless I get a hankering to jump in some more bleach.”

“You’re a dumbass,” said Billy flatly.

“Of course I am,” smiled Jubal. “What kind of idiot jumps in a bucket of bleach? So if you fine gentlemen will forgive me, I’ve got some friends waitin’ for me.”

There was a long pause as the group considered their options.They looked around the parking lot to see if they had gained any attention. There was a small crowd at the door, watching the events, since word had spread that the “Jesus fella” was in town and was picking himself up some Twinkies.

Billy peered at Jubal. “Do you think Jesus liked guns?” he challenged.

Jubal thought for a moment to make sure he portrayed that he was taking the question seriously. “I don’t know, Billy. I’m not real familiar with his feeling on firearms. But I do know that he loves people. And I do know he loves you fellas.”

They laughed him to scorn.

Billy turned to walk away, motioning to his friends to come on. “Like we were tellin’ you–we got plenty of Jesus here. You don’t need to come back.”

With a smooth, choreographed motion, Jubal slid into the car, shut the door and rolled down the power window. “Tell you what. Maybe I’ll just come back and see you guys. Thanks for the conversation. By the way, you didn’t ask me what I think about guns.”

Billy paused, turned around and frowned. “Well, that’s true.”

“You see?” said Jubal. “I’ve already got a reason to come back.”

He rolled up the window, started the car, backed up and drove away.

As Jubal sat on the plane, he realized that even though the moment in the Butte parking lot had been fraught with some danger, he loved it.

He loved the opportunity to meet people and see if he could sweeten their spirits and motivate their minds.

Off to Vegas.

Another three hours in the air, when he should be sleeping.

But his thoughts held him captive.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 26th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2794)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man,

I do need another choice.

Something between independent and dependent is what I’m looking for. I don’t know about you. Independent sounds stupid. What’s the whole purpose of a relationship then? It also makes me sound bratty.

Dependent, on the other hand… Well, I don’t even know where to start with that.

It just seems to me that what we end up needing makes us needy and then eventually frustrates us because we don’t ever seem to get as much as we need.

 

Dear Woman,

Do you think it’s any different for me? If I don’t act independent, all my friends say I’m pussy whipped. Yet if I become dependent, hang around more often or become interested in something that is deemed “feminine,” my masculinity is in question.

 

Dear Man,

So do you think this is normal?

 

Dear Woman,

Well, if it is normal, it’s pretty unpleasant. You see, I don’t even know if I can use the word “unpleasant.” It challenges my macho. But if I acted macho you’d cry.

 

Dear Man,

Do you think I like to cry? I just started crying when I was a little kid.

 

Dear Woman,

So did I. But somewhere along the line, an adult picked me up and said, “You’re a big boy, now. Be tough. Don’t cry.”

But my eyes still water if I shut my thumb in the door.

 

Dear Man,

So you’re saying you want to cry and you don’t?

 

Dear Woman,

I’m saying I don’t know. There’s so much expected of me that I can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is programmed. For instance, since we’re being honest, I don’t like spiders either.

 

Dear Man,

So why didn’t you say something?

 

Dear Woman,

Because you’re scared of them and it’s my job to come to the rescue and… I don’t know. Slay the damn thing.

 

Dear Man,

Aren’t there guys who don’t mind killing spiders?

 

Dear Woman,

I don’t know because we wouldn’t be allowed to say. I just think that some guys get used to doing it with their hands and other guys grab a tissue, wishing they can use their foot. It just sucks.

 

Dear Man,

So for me, when I’m too independent you look weak. When I’m too dependent, I feel weak.

 

Dear Woman,

And when you’re too independent, I feel like I should be supportive, but I feel left out. And when you’re too dependent, I wonder if I have enough energy, courage and faith to carry the both of us.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 33 (March 12th, 1967) Charley … September 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2364)

(Transcript)

Charley loved to run.

Not me.

I had chubby legs that seemed to be made out of cotton candy, generating the gait of a circus elephant.

In one of the brief fits of verbosity that possessed his soul, Charley once shared with me that running faster and faster made him feel that his feet were leaving the ground and he was soaring into the heavens to dance with the angels.

Pretty articulate for a Midwest kid.

I decided to go out for track and field more or less because I didn’t have anything else to do. Since I could not run or jump, they asked me to try out on the shot put. I did.

I was unimpressed, so I fell back into my acquired nature of quitting. But even though I departed the team, I found myself during study hall sitting at the table with these athletes, and when the monitor left the room, Randy spoke up and gave us a juicy piece of gossip. (Randy was also a runner but never quite as fast as Charley.)

Randy explained that Charley was a “gypsy type.” Now, I do not know what the origin of that phrase was in our community, but I knew that “gypsy type” meant that Charley was–well, dangerous. The adults had other terms for Charley’s problem when they were alone and away from the children.

  • “Effeminate.”
  • “Queer.”
  • “Sodomite.”

Although I had no personal experience with Charley demonstrating such bizarre behavior, in 1967 just the mention of the situation caused your skin to crawl, making you want to avoid any contact with such perverted beings.

Randy knew this. In other words, it didn’t have to be true–just spoken. The gossip mill and bigotry would do the rest.

No one drew close to Charley after that.

He ate alone, he ran alone, he walked alone, he talked alone.

When he asked me why I was not sharing with him anymore, I clumsily replied, “I’ve been busy.”

One day we came to school and he was gone. No one even asked where he was or if he was coming back. Charley was soon forgotten, and the quest for other “gypsy types” was set in motion with renewed scrutiny.

It was many years later that Randy, the accuser of his running friend, came out of the closet, admitting that he was gay. (“Gypsy type” was no longer acceptable terminology.) Randy was lauded for his courage. He was embraced by his friends. Matter of fact, he was set apart as an example of someone who had endured a silent persecution and now was set free.

Mustering some boldness, I asked Randy about Charley. He said he didn’t remember much about Charley.

He paused and then added, “Oh, wasn’t Charley that good-looking kid that was really fast?”

I just smiled, and said, “Yeah. That’s him.”

I walked away from that encounter realizing that there is no such thing as a “righteous” judgment.

It’s all just crapping on people.

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Friends With Benefits… October 14, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2036)

I do believe she was a little peeved with me, even though her cordiality remained intact during our entire exchange.

She questioned an assertion I had made during my presentation, about Jesus wanting to make us all “look good.” The premise of my statement was based on the feeding of the five thousand, when the disciples were unable to muster either courage or faith for the experience, but Jesus granted them a tender leniency and came up with a plan to involve them–even though at first they were reluctant participants.

She said she was baffled at the notion that Jesus would want to make anyone “look good.” I think she believed that being the son of God, he had an agenda of a divine nature which superseded all temporary relationships or slack that one might cut to a companion during a weaker moment.

I was sympathetic. I understand that our religious system conveys that God stomps around heaven, frustrated that His will is not being done. Unfortunately, I could never worship such a Being. Why would I be interested in a God who is not as friendly to me, sensitive to me or as willing to adjust to me as one of my friends?

If He truly has the power of being all-knowing, why can’t He know that sometimes I’m weak without being angry about it? And on those occasions, I could really use Him to be tender instead of full of commandments and wrath.

Yes, I believe that Jesus came to earth so that we would understand that our relationship with God is “friends with benefits.”

Not only do we gain a friend who is our Father, our Companion, and our Giver of grace, but the story also tells us that at the end of this excursion of relationship, we get to go to heaven.

Why would I worship a God who does not want to make me look good, but is so intent on His own mission that He doesn’t even take a second to factor in my frailties?

I shared this with her but I don’t think she was convinced. Some folks need a God of rigorous principle, so that by toeing the line they can feel empowered. And when they fall short they can fearfully repent, hoping to achieve His mercy.

Honestly, if that’s the way God really is, I am literally in a helluva lot of trouble.imaginary friend

Bill Maher often jokes that people who believe in God are just pursuing an “imaginary friend.” Okay, let’s play along.

What if He IS an imaginary friend? At least He’s a friend, right? He’s not out to smite me with fire and brimstone, decimating my house for all generations. And considering the fact that the average therapist costs somewhere between $150 and $10000 an hour, it is certainly a cost-saver to have an imaginary friend to listen to your lamentations.

Also, if He ends up being imaginary, what did I lose? So I die and find out there’s nothing. Of course, I jest, because I wouldn’t even find out, would I?

On the other hand, if it does end up being some rendition of what I believe, then I get to meet the Person who understood every step of my journey, relished my foibles by showing His wisdom to my betterment, and stayed closer than a brother.

Perhaps my Friend is imaginary. I don’t think so–but I do know this: He is a Friend.

And as a Friend … He is intent on making me look good.

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The Day After… July 5, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1934)

The day after I was born, I was a squalling, moody, pink blob of pending poop.

The day after my first kindergarten class, I was confused by the ABC’s, hoping and praying we would spend more time with round-tipped scissors and delicious paste.

The day after puberty began, I was greatly enamored with my abilities and appearance while frightened that I had five more years of school and celibacy.

The day after I graduated from high school, I was shocked by how little the world cared.

The day after I got married, I realized that my wife needed a man, and I had no idea whatsoever where to find one.

The day after my first son was born, I was surprised that no one would let me be a child with him.

The day after I nearly died, I concluded that life is brief and unsympathetic to the procrastinator.

And …

The day after they signed the Declaration of Independence, very frightened patriots probably wished they could take it back.

Fear is what intelligent people do to buy some time to gain courage.

The day after I die, I will know if what I believe is real–or just a bunch of crap.

Scary.

Lord, grant me the time … to muster bravery.

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