G-Poppers … January 12th, 2018


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3550)

As a boy, G-Pop recalls how beautiful and powerful six inches of snow was in Ohio. It usually meant that school was canceled for the day and the winter wonderland was available for walking and playing.

Yet with all the potential, it was G-Pop’s profile to go outside for a few minutes, but then to come back in, pull out the Monopoly game and play, by himself, using three different pieces, so he was only competing against himself.

It was so much fun. No yelling, no arguing, no fussing and lots of surprises.

Outside it was cold, crowded and competitive. The air was frigid and the surroundings were full of children looking for a way to create mischief with the snow–and the hillsides for sliding were soon lined up with people waiting their turn to get the best “slick trip.”

G-Pop just didn’t like to take most of his glorious day and spend it waiting, freezing and sometimes arguing

G-Pop wants his children to understand that we now have the same situation in our country. People have defined the thrills and chills of our era–so everyone bundles up and goes out into the cold, where it’s crowded and competitive. Of course, it can become so cutthroat that people start getting hurt.

G-Pop recommends to his children that they slip back into the house and play a better game. It’s named “Kindness”–and it is so unusual, so ignored and so set to the side that they will find themselves succeeding by surprising everyone with the choice.

It has three parts to it:

1. Return to “courtly.”

Reinstitute phrases like, “if you don’t mind.” Or, “if you would be so kind.” And of course, “it was so nice of you to do that.”

It doesn’t matter if other people are saying the same words. It gives a sense of well-being, purpose and gentleness.

2. Lead with a smile.

The usual grimace just doesn’t cut it anymore. If everybody’s frowning at one another, the possibility for negotiation or business is nearly eliminated.

Is there a danger in leading with a smile? G-Pop supposes so–there are always con men and women who will try to play off weakness, but if you can see them coming, you can keep a nice grin, welcoming people in.

3. Set aside a blessing.

Yes, every week, put a little extra money to the rear. A little extra time. A few things no longer used, to give to somebody who would benefit from them.

We are so interested in giving to charity, but often we don’t know where that money goes. If you set aside some of your charitable funds, and place them strategically where you desire, it is so much more fulfilling.

The world is cold, crowded and competitive.

Come inside the love of God and discover your warmth.

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Untotaled: Stepping 32 (January 14th, 1967) Mr. Bayonne … September 20, 2014


Jonathots Daily Blog

(2357)

(Transcript)

Two or three days of snow, then a brief warming period, followed by a frigid arctic blast, leaving the countryside glistening with ice, rendering everything precarious.

This was the winter of 1967.

It left all of us in grouchy moods, even though we insisted we were hearty “Ohioans,” accustomed to such frosty conditions. We basically just muddled through it, quietly complaining about “the winter of our discontent.”

Arriving back in my classroom after the Christmas holidays, I discovered that our female math teacher was gone. The initial explanation was that she was battling a severe bout of the flu.

But it took little time for the sour grapevine of the gossip mill to unearth the details. She had actually left town due to a pregnancy out-of-wedlock, making her the subject of great local scandal. My coach joked that considering she was a math teacher, she certainly didn’t do a very good job “counting her days.”

The whole locker room laughed, and I joined in–even though I didn’t get it.

Replacing her was a tall, lanky, clumsy olive-skinned fellow with thin brown greasy hair and a beak for a nose which would have been more suitable for the Family Ostrich. He was a tentative sort. Honestly, it appeared this was his first excursion as an educator.

Yes, he was an oddity. An Ichabod who resembled a crane. And in our community of conformity, he became a necessary target and needful diversion for our present boredom.

Especially when we found out that he was inept at discipline. We tormented him with our ridicule and teasing.

He wore the same brown suit every day with a white shirt and a brown tie with a gold design which could just as easily have been a speck of dried-on scrambled egg.

He had a hilarious tendency to point at the blackboard using his middle finger (which by the way, appeared to have three knuckles) and we always burst into laughter. He would whirl around and screech in a scratchy voice, “Silence!” We laughed harder.

One day a cheerleader inched her way to his desk, supposedly to ask him a question. He was so delighted for the kind attention that he failed to notice that she was taking blackboard erasers from their perch behind his back and softly laying them against his coat with her hand, creating an amazing chalk-dust design. After she returned to her seat and he turned around, we all once again erupted in great guffaws. He had no idea. Matter of fact, the same marks of chalk were on his suit four days later.

He persisted. So did we.

Matter of fact, it became more nasty when one student thought it would be funny to place an anonymous note in the suggestion box in the principal’s office, complaining about Mr. Bayonne’s teaching style.

Long story short, when we returned after our Easter vacation of resurrecting our Lord and chomping on Easter bunny candy, he was gone. We had successfully driven a stranger away–simply because we deemed him strange.

I often think about Mr. Bayonne. He may not have been suited to instruct the rabble of high school hoodlums, but he certainly deserved better treatment. But in our tiny world of thinking, this math teacher just didn’t add up.

  • Because he was different, he was wrong.
  • Because he was clumsy, he was mocked.
  • Because he wasn’t Nordic, Germanic or Scandinavian, he stirred our prejudice.

I have spent much of my life trying to make sure that I never “Bayonned” anyone again, and in so doing I have discovered a magnificent reality:

It takes different people to make me different. And if I don’t become different, I’m stuck … going no further than where I am.

 

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Hunt for the Peck … August 2, 2013


Jonathots Daily Blog

(1962)

kisspeckI was sitting here trying to figure out whether it would be characterized as a disease, a fungus, a bacteria, a condition or a rash. I do know that it lasts about six months and seems to have no cure.

“It” is this handsy, saccharine preoccupation that a man and a woman have with each other when they first discover that they are romantically intrigued. For them, it is akin to reaching the peak of Mt. Everest, and for others it is an insufferable tumble from Humpty Dumpty’s wall.

The two individuals appear to be physically connected by a gooey glue, which prevents them from being apart from one another without exchanging an insipidly-placed and performed kiss. One of them could be going across the room to retrieve the gravy bowl, but it would require a moment–meaningless as it is–of connecting their lips to communicate their affection and intention to return.

I have seen it with all of my sons, when in first combat with their lovers. (I use the word “combat” because it feels more as if they are entangled in a hand-to-=hand struggle than in the expression of deep and lasting emotion.)

On top of this particular proliferation of public display of affection is a self-righteousness–“we are the only two people who have ever been in love.” To them, Romeo and Juliet were just bunk mates.

The only thing a mere mortal can do in an attempt to avoid the gagging reflex is look away.

But I think what bothers me the most about this span of illness is that the kissing done is not really kissing, but instead, this insidious peck on the lips, which is not really satisfying nor is it any smooching worthy of discussion.

Kissing demands that the lips be intricately involved, lingering and intertwined. Actually, pecking seems to be a really good name for it–it resembles two chickens attempting to remove grain from each other’s beaks. There doesn’t seem to be pleasure in it. It is symbolic, leaving both parties either yearning for more or wondering if the other person “got his teeth bumped, too.”

I think romance would have a better chance in our species if it was more honest from the onset instead of insisting that it is a red-hot meteor, which falls into a frigid cave, insisting that it plans to melt the surroundings.

Yet I am fully aware that I am speaking to the wind. There is no chance that any kind of maturity can be registered during the onslaught of this infestation. But still, there is beauty after the passage of time has allowed for recuperation, in using kissing for its real purpose, which is deep pleasure and great passion, instead of grazing the lips against another’s face, to make sure they know you wish you could do more.

So in my ongoing search–hunting for the purpose of the peck–I must say that mature love is best expressed by a twinkling eye, a squeezed hand, or fingers gently running across the back, than it is by the often-dangerous drive-by peck.

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