Salient … April 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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We called him “Denny the Dork” because we were twelve-year-old jackasses. He was socially awkward, walking around in a mental fog from the bog.

We could have been nicer, but when you’re twelve years old, nice is something you think people should do to you. It never occurs in your adolescent mind to be the initiator.

Denny was the equipment manager of our seventh-grade football team. If he had just brought water and taken care of the uniforms, he would have been fine. But Denny was inquisitive–what you might refer to as “an experimenter.”

One day Denny decided to replace the pads in the football pants with poster board. For some reason, nobody noticed while donning the uniforms–and after the practice, everybody arrived back in the locker room with extra bruises, and one kid had a dislocated knee.

When Denny’s act was discovered, he quickly explained that he wanted to learn the purpose of the pads, and thought the best way to do so was to remove them.

This made complete sense to him. It did not to the coach. Denny was kicked off the team and spent about six weeks coming to school early, to help the janitor clean the toilets.

Likewise, we have a lot of people in our world today who are determined to extract civility and kindness just to see what happens.

Is it curiosity? Is it a fear that goodness makes us all look weak and simpy? I don’t know. But because that emotional padding has been removed from our society, people are showing up bruised and broken.

Unfortunately, there is not one “Denny the Dork” to blame. All parts of our society–religion, business, politics, entertainment and even education–are permeated with the contention that dominating one another is preferable to accommodating.

We have allowed the jungle to be released, but unfortunately, none of us have the girth of the elephant, the tough hide of the lion, nor the universal survivability of the cockroach.

We are a vulnerable species that needs to be treated tenderly, or we break.

Yet there seems to be a competition to see who can be the “assiest hole” or the “assholiest.” (Yes, I think that second one fits it better, don’t you?People who act like asses but portray it is the holy mission of self-esteem they pursue.)

Yet in a room full of people who are crazy, suggesting mental instability is neither helpful or healthy. So today I stand as one soul speaking to you, saying that we have removed the padding which protects us from bruising each other.

It’s time to call ourselves dorks, and change this pattern.

So here is your salient moment:

You can’t make omelets without eggs, just like you can’t create a beautiful life without courtesy.

 

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Seven Points… May 23, 2013

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In the midst of scrambling some points with a couple of dozen good eggs in Seven Points, Texas, last night, I discovered that there really are seven points necessary to put together the kind of human life that is both good to ourselves and valuable to others.

First, I think it’s important that we CARE. After all, apathy is when love has died and finally shows up as a frown on your face.

The second suggestion I would make is to HEAR. Faith comes by hearing. That may explain why we’re in the middle of a faithless generation–people have stopped listening to each other.

How about ACCEPT? Certainly there are folks who might consider me to be wishy-washy, because I believe that if I can’t accept something in the life of another human being, I choose to ignore it. The other options are to judge them or try to change them, both of which are contrary to good sense and the Jesonian philosophy.

If I were to go for a fourth idea, I would certainly recommend REJOICE. The reason the joy of the Lord is our strength is because the absence of finding purpose in our journey makes us feel weak. There is something positive about hanging around with individuals who can kick up their heels and squeal in delight.

I think we should INTERCEDE. When it is in our power to do something good, to fail to pursue it is certainly sin. I sometimes see problems in people’s lives, and it’s just too painful to discuss it with them, so instead, I pray for them or I stand in the gap to make sure they don’t get hurt while they’re learning better ways.

Here’s a sixth one: TRUTHFUL. There aren’t many things we owe one another, but the truth is hard to top. There’s something about looking someone in the eye and refusing to lie to them that creates a bond of trust which is beyond measure.

And if you will allow me a seventh possibility, I would call it YEARN. Instead of becoming nagging ninnies, constantly fussing about the way life is, there should be a yearning in our hearts to see things get better. People who do not yearn always end up complaining–which is the best way to chase God away–AND all the people created in His image.

So here are the seven points I garnered last night from Seven Points, Texas:

  • Care
  • Hear
  • Accept
  • Rejoice
  • Intercede
  • Truthful
  • Yearn

And if you take the first letter of each and every one of those, you end up with the acronym “charity.” And charity is when love gets up out of its chair to answer the door because someone needs help.

Tonight I am off to Shreveport, Louisiana, where thirty years ago I first met my partner, Janet. So we will take a little walk through some memories, and hopefully in the process, create some new ones.

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Motelin Just What … May 29, 2012

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Somewhere between $35.95 cents and $169.99 is the average cost of a motel room in this country for one night. Of course, there are places where you can pay much more for a room based upon locale, special events or some little extra accommodation advertised. But generally speaking, most motels will blush with embarrassment once they go above that top dollar.

It is probably one of the most diversely priced items in this country. For instance, if I told you that a gallon of milk ranged between $1.23 and $18.55, you would be up in arms and ready to lynch some dairy farmer in Wisconsin. Yet the motel industry seems to get by with it by maintaining some dubious rationale in its advertising.

I will tell you right now, after having traveled nearly forty years staying in these establishments, which the top fifty dollars of every price is paying for the name, the location, or the privilege of eyeballing staff wearing coats and ties rather than t-shirts and jeans. If that is relatively important to you, then you should pull out that money and spend it heartily.

Thirty dollars of the price of a motel room in the higher range is for the privilege of being with clientele of your particular social ilk. Yes, I am saying it out loud—cheaper motels tend to draw people who don’t have as much money and unfortunately, in this country we contend that those souls are the source of our crime and violence. (Obviously, not so.)

Motels that charge you a lot of money for the rooms refer to these cheaper establishments as “flea bags–infested with bugs, or dens of drugs and prostitution. Of course, once again, very little truth in the matter (although I would not recommend taking out a motel room adjacent to an adult bookstore.)

If you will allow me to put it into perspective for you, a motel room is a simulation of a master bedroom.  Bed, dresser, closet, television set and adjoining bathroom. And nowadays, most of them have microwaves and refrigerators for convenience, which is a consideration we all might have in the future for our own home unit.

There are really three questions you must ask yourself about your motel room for the night that are essential for a good stay:

1. How much room in the room? Unless you have become very familiar with your traveling companion or don’t mind cramped quarters, being able to walk around your room without running into walls or furniture is a plus.

2. Can I park in front of the door or near to my room? One of the biggest misconceptions is that motel rooms that are enclosed, with a parking lost adjoining are safer than those where you can pull up to your door with your car. Honestly, if I were a criminal, I would not want to rob from cars that are right next to the windows of the owner. I would find a nice, large parking lot far from the front desk–and take my pick.

3. Now, this may surprise you. Staying in a motel room is all about the bathroom. You should be careful of those establishments that miniaturize everything in the toilet area so as to condense space so the room can look larger—because all of the plumbing may look Snow White, but it is best suited for the seven dwarves. Especially beware of toilet seats that are round instead of oblong. They tend to be very uncomfortable and are usually encased by a wall on either side, giving you the feeling that you are being wedged into your experience. The bathroom is the key to a motel room. Good lighting, double sinks a plus–or even a sink in the bathroom and one outside the bathroom is really handy. The shower should be easy to get in and out of and have good pressure.

Once you discover these pieces of information, you understand that the most you should probably pay for a motel room is about $75 a night. Everything above that is advertising name, location, staff or a hot breakfast which is offered to you, including eggs, bacon and sausage (which, by the way, is completely unnecessary unless you’re a lumberjack felling trees in the Yukon.)

As you find with everything else in life, there are ways to save money without losing quality. That seems to stymie a lot of folks, including the U.S. government and Congress–because at least half of what people refer to as quality is name-brand assurance that you will be taken care of if something goes wrong.

So the Holiday Inn wants you to pay extra money for their good name over “Bob and Mary’s Motel” down the street–because in the case of some unforeseen difficulty, they want you to believe they would handle it better than Bob and Mary. But since we don’t know what that unforeseen difficulty would be, and no one knows what anyone would do, you end up spending a lot of money for absolutely nothing–similar to buying extra insurance coverage on a car rental.

So I pulled into Denver yesterday and went to my motel, and as always, it ends up being a mixed bag. The room is small but has a lovely bathroom with an accessible shower AND throne. The air conditioning unit needs some work, but we’ve already met the maintenance man and he seems congenial and willing to try. The television set is too big for the room, but that hardly seems like something one should complain about after simply noting it. And the furniture is not made of oak or covered with leather, but instead, looks like your Uncle Charlie made it out in the garage because he’s hoping to someday leave his job at the factory and start a business.

I feel very good every week upon discovering a diamond in the rough and saving money that people have given me so that I can travel—to use it wisely to buy quality instead of merely a name or false assurance. If we could teach the financiers of our nation the same concept and we would begin to barter once again for better pricing on items instead of signing lifelong contracts with companies based on their previous reputations, we could begin to emerge from this dark cloud of indebtedness and arrogant spending with some dignity–and even have a little fun in the process.

Fortunately for me, I have a traveling companion who enjoys cutting a corner here and there as long as she doesn’t lose and arm or a leg. If we could just find people to elect to be our representatives who had similar mindsets, we would be all set.

So those are my discoveries about moteling. To sum it up, if you need a name, or if you are afraid of being next door to someone who makes less than 50K a year, then you will probably end up paying for the higher priced institutions, for the powdered eggs in the morning, convincing yourself it was worth it. But if you realize that buying a name doesn’t mean guaranteeing quality, or sharing the neighborhood with people who don’t have late-model cars but do have contemporary standards and morals–then you can shop around and save yourself upwards to fifty or sixty dollars a night.

Last week I met some of the most interesting people at the swimming pool where we were staying in Grand Junction, Colorado. They were young enough to be my children or grandchildren, and I befriended them, loved them and enjoyed them, discovering many twists and turns in their ever-evolving lives. It was fascinating.

So “motelin’ just what you’re looking for,” as you stay overnight somewhere, realize that money can be easily spent pursuing a security–that is never pre-ordained.

 

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