Cracked 5 … December 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The Day After Christmas Is Fairly Famous

Here Are Some “Day Afters” That Lacked Promise

A. The day after the Titanic launch

 

B. The day after my first treatment of “Twelve Day Colon Rinse”

 

C. The day after the end of the world

 

D. The day after my wife told me to buy a lottery ticket on the way home from work with a specific number she wanted and I forgot and it ended up winning $416,723,000

 

E. The day after my funeral

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 20th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn May 20

A Guest At My Own Funeral

I would love to attend my funeral

If I didn’t have to be terminal

Listening to what people say

When it truly is my grave day

Wondering if they would “rock it out”

Or sob like babies, whining some doubt

About the way they treated my feelings

In all the fussy personal dealings.

Would their tears make me cry?

Or eulogies contain some lie?

About my festering needs

Instead of “me more noble deeds”

For dying lasts a good long while

Stuffing in your butt–a painted smile

Please someone let loose and weep

Get good flowers, don’t go cheap

Prove that I was your favorite me

Make me more than I appeared to be

Because I’m meeting God on high

He knows my what, where, when and why

Send me off with words so kind

And ignore the occasions I lost my mind. 

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 30 (November 12th, 1966) Candy Crash … September 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2344)

(Transcript)

A mumbling conversation.

An attempt to disguise the nasty details of a tragedy from the fragile adolescent.

That would be me–the teen who is to be seen but never understood.

I listened carefully.

Whispers.

Aunt Janice. Uncle Randy. My cousin Jeremy. And my cousin Candy.

My ears perk when I hear “Candy.”

I love Candy. I mean, I love her because she notices me. She believes I’m alive. Her eyes focus on me instead of quickly darting away to other distractions.

The last time I saw her she said, “Jonathan, you look nice today.”

My breath squeezed from my lungs. I thanked her and rushed from the room, went outside, found a corner unto myself and cried.

No one sees me. And certainly, no one thinks I look nice.

So I listened more intently.

Car wreck. Injuries.

And then many hidden words I can’t quite make out.

When suddenly, the room stands still as I hear uttered, “Candy was killed.”

I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. I didn’t want to know–but I had to ask them.

They rebuked me for listening in on adult conversations. I didn’t care.

“What happened to Candy?” I shouted, trying to pull up short of a scream.

Driving on vacation in Florida, Aunt Janice, Uncle Randy, Jeremy and Candy were struck by a drunk driver who went left of center, seriously injuring three of them … and killing the flower.

I couldn’t comprehend.

I saw no reasonable purpose for such insanity.

One week passed. It was Candy’s funeral. Aunt Janice was there in a body cast, Randy with a broken leg and Jeremy, all cut up and weeping. The whole room smelled like blood and rubbing alcohol.

One by one, family members passed by Candy’s casket. They paused and wept for a young woman with such promise, struck down at twenty-one.

It was my turn.

I spoke firmly to my legs, asking them to move, and gradually made my way to look into the mahogany box.

It was so odd.

Because she had been thrown through the windshield and severely mutilated, they had constructed a mask of her face made out of plastic, put make-up on it and squeezed it over her fractured features.

Before me was a doll.

It was a mannequin representation of a living soul.

I must have stood there too long because my mother came to my side, poked me in the ribs, and told me to move on.

I did so obediently, having no urge to stare at the harlequin before me. I excused myself and went outside.

About ten minutes later I returned. No one was in the room–just the casket, the empty shell of a saint … and me.

Mustering all my strength, I walked over again and looked at my departed loved one.

I said, “Candy, you look nice today.”

 

 

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Just Shy of Success… May 14, 2012

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I was at the funeral of my brother Dan, standing out in the lobby of the mortuary with my younger brother, Alan. We began to swap stories about Dan’s life—his discoveries and struggles. In no time at all, we got tickled and started to giggle, only to be interrupted by a young man—the assistant director of the funeral home. He popped his head from around the corner and said, “Shhhh!”

Honestly, my dear friends, I have never been a great fan of overly officious, schoolmarm mentality. It was disturbing to be scolded at my own brother’s funeral. But I took a breath, went inside and in a few moments was introduced to speak on Dan’s behalf.

I just continued the conversation I was having with Alan in the hallway. The gathered souls who had come to tribute my dear brother laughed and cried, and there was a great sense of relief and joy in the room.

Yet I continued to get frowns from my rebuker. But I didn’t care.

Human beings were never meant to be subdued.

Likewise, a few days ago, a gentleman came to my book table after one of my church performances. He disagreed with my contention that there was too much somberness in religious services. He said there were times when we needed to be quiet and acknowledge the solemnity of the moment. He cited his visit of the USS Arizona inHawaiiand the battlefield inGettysburg. He explained that on those occasions, applause, laughter or any other emotion other than silence would be completely inappropriate.

I was very kind to him. But you see, the problem with his logic is that the locations he cited were …cemeteries. Memorials.

The church was never meant to be a gathering of those who are commemorating a death. Matter of fact, two thousand years ago, when some women showed up in tears at a tomb to memorialize their dead friend, they were greeted by jubilant angels, who, in an off-the-cuff way, chided them by saying, “Why do you seek the living amongst the dead? Jesus is not here. He is risen.”

Exactly. Why DO we seek something living amongst the dying embers of a once-roaring fire of faith? Where does this come from? Why have we unearthed a grave that causes us to retreat from life instead of vivaciously attacking it?

There is a contingency in our country that believes that some people are “just shy.”  I suppose this theory might hold some water if those individuals maintained the same backward attitude all the time—but most shy people are just waiting for the right moment to find something that really interests them, so they can cut loose and be enthusiastic. So the man who refuses to speak to his wife and practically ignores his kids will all at once turn into a chatterbox on the fishing trip with his buddies. The woman who pulls away from interaction with others, insisting that she’s too “bashful” to participate in the church choir, will metamorphosis into a flitting butterfly as she gossips over needlepoint with her cronies.

Shy is a lie.

More often than not, it’s a way for us to hide our antipathy for what’s going on behind the presumption that we’re “just not very outgoing.” It’s also a lie because no one who is shy is ever able to achieve his or her full potential. It’s just too painful to encourage people to come out of their shells and do their best all the time. There are people who get nervous—but they learn how to overcome those nerves in order to grant themselves enough gregarious personality to express their talents. There are folks who prefer being alone—but the knowledge that they both require and desire fellowship causes them to overcome that hermit mentality to find the sweet fellowship that enriches their souls.

In an era when we seem to be obsessed with the notion that we are “born” a certain way, we have forgotten the importance of what Jesus said—the option of being “born again.”

I, for instance, have a strongly backward nature, which often prefers to retreat from gatherings instead of jumping in with both feet. But my calling, my life, my human need and my intelligence have all taught me to counteract those instincts by placing myself in a little bit of jeopardy—and allowing for blessing to seep in, dodging my inadequacy.

If you allow people to be shy, you remove money from their lives. If you believe that “shy” is a condition of birth, you trap people in a loneliness that is completely unnecessary. And if you think for one moment that a God who celebrated His own gift of creation by calling everything “good,” and requested that we praise him with high-sounding cymbals and the blare of trumpets, is going to favor anyone who hides his light under a bushel, you are sadly mistaken.

Verily, verily, I say unto you: burying your talent in the earth will still get you booted into outer darkness. There is no room for timidity in the lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth.

Truly, we should be merciful to those who are learning to replace their emotional lethargy with a sense of new discovery. We shouldn’t be critical. We shouldn’t mock them. But we should never trap them in a way of thinking, feeling and living that leaves them alone instead of embraced.

Two weeks ago I leaned down to a young boy who was standing next to his mother and asked him what his name was. He stuck his thumb in his mouth and hid behind her skirt. She looked at me, a little embarrassed, and said, “Oh, he’s just shy. He’s been that way since birth.”

I lifted myself up, looked her in the eye and said, “I sure hope he gets over it—before he starts believing that what you say is true.”

  

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