Sit Down Comedy … August 23rd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Carefully selecting the pen name Barton Marshall, he had just received the opportunity to pursue an article for Flog Blog, International: “No more than 5,000 words—a nickel a word (edited).”

He was to do a feature story on a group of young citizens meeting outside San Francisco, California, who referred to themselves as assholics.

He was certainly intrigued. He made some calls and set up a time to come and be “a fly on the wall” at one of their joinings, and interview some of the participants after snacks.

The traffic on the freeway was so heavy that he arrived fifteen minutes late—thinking he was going to make a horrible first impression—only to discover that he was the second person to arrive, and that the folks trickled in at their own whim.

About forty-five minutes later, when there seemed to be a quorum of twenty-five or thirty people, mostly male, the meeting was brought to as much order as was able to be achieved without a gavel.

A young fellow stood to his feet and said, “My name is Henry and I’m an assholic.”

The whole room burst into laughter, shouting. “Ho, Henry!”

He continued. “I’ve spent the better part of my younger years trying to tolerate the bitter taste in my mouth from being forced to expel thank you’s and vomit excuse me’s.”

(Uproarious laughter.)

He pushed on. “Unlike the alcoholics, we are not anonymous. We are proud. For us it is not one day at a time, but rather, the glory of one insult at a time. I have no need to search for a higher power, for no one is higher than me. And though it’s taken me time, I have finally learned how to trample on the weak, while trumping the losers.

“It began one day on a bus—one of those city buses teeming with the wretched refuse. You know what I mean. The bus was full, and I was tired, when a pregnant lady—very pregnant; obtusely large, gross in magnitude…”

(With each insult the laughter increased.)

“Well, she got on the bus and there was no place to sit. My retarded inclination was to stand up and give her my seat. You know what the problem with that is? Then I don’t have a goddamn seat! I did what everybody else did. I stared into my phone and let the prego stand, just glancing over every once in a while to watch her ankles swell. After that first encounter—that glorious elixir—I began cutting in line at concerts, grocery stores and even bravely did it at the DMV.”

(Everybody was hooting and hollering.)

“Nowadays my morning commute is spent counting how many fingers I give to people in traffic en route to my worthless job, where a bunch of no-good foreign workers struggle to keep up with my exceptional, beautiful American ass.”

(Applause, applause, applause.)

For a moment, Barton thought it was merely an impromptu comedy troupe, meeting with a different weekly theme—this week being rudeness. But when Jack, Brian, Sandy and even Sue followed suit, with wild tales and vicious epithets against humanity, it became obvious that the assholics had actually discovered a perfect name.

They seemed to be intoxicated on cruelty and drunk on self-confidence, which was producing a slur against everything and everyone in sight.

There was mocking of the straight line and cursing those heretics who had escaped the club—going out into society with their anemic apologies, detoxing on civility and swearing that the key to escaping assholic is “one thought at a time.”

The meeting rolled on and rolled on, for nearly an hour, until the members began to be so critical of each other that it nearly broke out in a fight. Sensing danger, Barton left the room and climbed into his car, went home and sat behind his computer and typed his article, which he entitled, “Assholic Abominabus.”

He finished it off, put it through word count and discovered it was 3,823 words. One more read-through, a couple of quick changes and he sent it off to Flog Blog, International.

Five days later a note came back, reading, “Although the writing was passable, we felt that your title lacked impartiality. We asked you to write an article about the club—not a review. Better luck next time.”

Barton Marshall sat back in his chair and thought about what he had learned. He considered reacting to the rejection with the same acidity as the assholics. How comforting it would be, for a moment, to be pissed at the whole world and convinced that all the people at Flog Blog were pedophiles.

Yet all that ferocious fussiness would not grant him an opportunity for publication nor a few dollars for his bank account.

So Mertland Michaels sent out a query to a magazine which was looking for someone to write a feature story on the decline of interest in squirrels.

 

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Sit Down Comedy …March 29th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I, too, have no collusion with rushin’.

Slow down

That’s what I say.

Slow-cooked chicken. Give the bird a chance to reflect on its journey before you dip it in the gravy.

I like the slow lane on the freeway, just in case, on a whim, I decide to exit.

I’m the guy you honk at because I’m going the speed limit

And for some goddamn reason this has ruined your life.

I had to quit football because there was running. I loved the blocking. I loved the tackling. Looked pretty good in the uniform. I could not convince my coach that running was unnecessary. He explained that the other team would have people carrying the ball, and we must chase them, and stop them. I suggested we surround them and move in slowly for the kill. He didn’t agree.

I was at a department store yesterday, entering the door, when two ladies in front of us stopped to chat with a friend. It blocked the entrance. I was happy. For a few moments I didn’t have to move.

The lady right in front of me, turned and peered at me, hoping to get support for how stupid it was for these two women to be talking to another human, blocking her progress. She move her cart around them, but there was no room. Finally the two women who were having the delightful conversation realized they were being assaulted from the rear and stepped aside.

The lady zoomed by, disgusted.

She’s fast.

I’m not. All my turtles win by a “hare.”

So you can imagine how ill-suited I am for a season in which how speedily things are accomplished is more important than the quality of what is produced. I dare to say that’s the entire problem in our nation.

We have the evangelical church, which is racing around looking for signs of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ, while young people are testing the temperature and depth of the oceans, convinced we’re all in hot water, preparing to cook like lobsters.

Here I am, slowing down

We have picked our past four Presidents because they were like fast cars and we were acting like teenagers.

Bill Clinton was not ready to be President. He and his wife had not yet made their peace about his flirtations and womanizing.

George W. Bush should never have been President. We should have put him in charge of CIA Black Ops, and he could have murdered Saddam Hussein, which would have saved tens of thousands of lives and about a trillion dollars.

Barack Obama was also ill-prepared for the transition. Although a pleasant man, he did not understand the futility that had to be overcome to lead the country and fell victim to cunning minds.

And Donald Trump was doing extraordinarily well working with buildings and an “Apprentice” here and there, without being given a job which cannot always be negotiated through “The Art of the Deal.”

It was all too fast

And because of that, we are in the midst of an ongoing “clean-up on Aisle 3,” with mistakes being made which don’t seem to mop up.

So not being in a hurry to give my opinion, and allowing myself a space of time to think, I will tell you…

(to be continued)


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G-Poppers … August 24th, 2018

“People are stupid.”

This is a statement that seems to be flying through the air twenty-four hours a day, as our society becomes convinced that gaining supremacy over other people is best achieved by insulting them and striking out at their character and intelligence.

Unfortunately, there is way to stop this onslaught without getting ground up in the gears of the mechanism.

So today I offer my last G-Popper.

It has been a great run.

Sharing the wisdom of cordiality and gentleness through the eyes of a grandfather was something I felt, many months ago when I began this column, to be a kind way of expressing the change that needs to be set forth among us all.

But it is important for all organisms on Earth to evolve with the times.

So starting next week I will have a new column on Friday entitled “Sit Down Comedy.” It will be a combination of observations mingled with a humorous peek into how we turn our everyday journey into a sixteen-lane freeway instead of just honoring a path.

And of course, in the process we will determine the difference between a stupid idea and trying to tie that misstep with the people who often accidentally stumble into believing it.

We will use video. We will use audio. We may use music. And just a little bit of writing to express the ways to escape stupidity without declaring people stupid.

It will be simpler than G-Poppers but no less sincere.

So I look forward to seeing each and every one of you next week for “Sit Down Comedy,” when we can sit down and reason together… and use the comedy to ease some of the pain.

 

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Party Planners… November 7, 2012

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Ellie and Don wanted to plan a party.

They decided to work together on the idea. It was exciting. But within a few days they ran into some problems. Don wanted to try some new concepts and experiment, and even though Ellie was intrigued by the possibility, she wanted to make sure she didn’t disinclude old friends. What at first was a casual conversation changed into a disagreement, became a conflict and ended up in a rift.

So Ellie decided to have her own party, and Don likewise pursued his. Ellie got all of her old friends acquaintances and they defined exactly what they thought a party should be. Even though they wanted the occasion to be rich with expansion and open to new encounters, they also were intent on maintaining the integrity of their lifestyles and positions. It was an intense discussion.

Meanwhile, Don got together with a few of his chums and began to assemble a format–or actually, more a direction–for their particular party. Don’s idea was different. He candidly told his gathered helpers that he really liked them a lot, but that he was also interested in trying to enlarge his surrounding host of friends to include new faces. To his amazement, his committee agreed.

So Don went out and bought a book on party planning, shared it with his little council of helpers, and they followed the guidelines meticulously. The first step in planning a party, according to this book, was to invite more people. So instead of relying on a Rolodex of names and telephone numbers, they spread their net out to welcome people from everywhere, most of whom they did not know personally. As Don read the book, he realized that it was impossible to make new, lasting relationships if you didn’t go out and meet new people.

Meanwhile, Ellie and her cohorts decided to limit the guest list of their party to people they knew or people who understood the style and approach of what this particular extravaganza needed to be. So it was agreed in Ellie’s meeting that each member would be given a couple of tickets to pass out to their immediate family or individuals they deemed would be comfortable with the scheme.

As Don read further into his book, he discovered that the second step to having a great party was to serve good food–lots of it and different types. So as they sat down to plan a menu with the caterers of the event, the party planners for Don’s little foray actually picked delicacies that many of them had never even tasted. They were a little bit nervous, but also excited at the prospect of spicing up their lives through variety.

Ellie also planned a menu. It was decided to go with foods that were tried and true–possessing the quality of the taste of time. A couple of suggestions were made to Ellie that they include a few unusual recipes, so cautiously, they inserted one or two of these unknown quantities, but in very limited amounts.

Meanwhile, back at Don’s party, the book suggested that the party have easy directions to a known location. The point the book made was that it’s ridiculous to have a festive occasion if people have difficulty finding it or they are completely unfamiliar with their surroundings. So Don and his little group found a lovely facility right off the freeway, well-lit, with lots of parking.

At Ellie’s session, one of the members mentioned that there was a beautiful mansion available up on top of a hill, about twenty-five miles outside of town. It was practically abandoned and they could probably get it for a song, and people would enjoy the adventure of finding this remote location and strolling around the old halls, viewing the ancient architecture. Everyone was thrilled.

So Don’s party was held–right off the freeway in a simple building–and Ellie’s was out of town, but in an elegant, traditional setting.

Finally, as Don read the last chapter of his book, he concluded that the overall message he received from the volume was that the party should be a place where people could have fun. Of course, everyone had a different definition for fun, but it was generally agreed by one and all that having fun had something to do with pursuing your own happiness without being restricted by others.

Ellie brought up the same subject to her friends. They agreed that fun was a wonderful idea, but in the process of trying to achieve this levity, they should be careful not to lose control of the situation and to make sure to put enough guidelines in place so as to avoid the danger of activities that might be beyond acceptability. Matter of fact, a huge discussion ensued, which raged into the night, about what actually WAS permissible. They decided to make a list of forbidden practices and include it in the invitation sent out to the chosen few.

All was prepared. Both Ellie and Don finished their preliminaries, dates were set and advertising was put in motion.

Don trusted his book and invited all the people he could find, served good food and lots of it to stimulate any taste bud, printed out easy directions for their common location and advertised clearly that all those who came could have fun as long as they didn’t infringe on the rights of others.

It was uncanny that Ellie actually ended up reading the same book that Don pursued–but her conclusions were quite different. The guest list at Ellie’s party was more trimmed and tailored to the specifications of her existing friends. The menu was limited, but tasty. The directions were quite complex, but there was the promise that upon arrival it would be well worth the journey. And fun was so well-defined that confusion and rabble-rousing were absolutely eliminated.

Don’s party was packed. It was disorganized, rowdy and at times bordered on a bit of confusion. Ellie’s party was less well attended, but much more specific to taste, and proper in its proportions.

Over half the people at Don’s party were strangers–unknown to the committee which had originally initiated the idea.

Ellie knew everyone at her party and actually was related to most of them.

Ellie and Don caught up with each other a week later and shared their findings. Of course, each of them put a bit of “spin to the positive” on the affair. Don shook his head as he explained that his results were a little rowdy, but certainly filled with inclusion and excitement. Ellie smiled and said she was glad that her party was much more orderly and contained, even though not nearly as unpredictable and crowded.

But the biggest shock was when they realized that both of them had consulted the same book to plan their parties. It was a volume that had been around for thousands of years and was available to anyone who was willing to learn and receive.

It was the Bible of the party, and from this Bible, Don had learned to invite more people, serve great food, make things easy and have fun. Ellie gleaned from the message to limit invitations, go with tried and tested formulas, make it a little more difficult to get to the destination, but reward those who made it, and to carefully define what was acceptable pleasure so as not to end up with undesirable results.

Two parties. One book. Different ideas.

The amazing part of the whole endeavor was that the book that Don and Ellie consulted did contain information to support both of their assertions, so it was no longer an issue of who was right and wrong–but rather, which idea bore the most fruit to benefit humankind.

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