Sit Down Comedy …March 8th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I recently moved, abandoning my old fortress of solitude for new digs, which I now comfortably call home.

In my whole life I have done this process twelve times. I was a little surprised to discover that this is statistically average.

Whenever I move, the first thing I do is go out and buy a box of garbage bags. Why? Because I’m going to give away a whole lot of stuff. These are the materials that crept into my life, were used temporarily, and ended up being stored in my closet or corners, where I intentionally forgot them.

It’s a very easy evaluation process. As I begin to pack things, I look at each item and ask myself the following three questions:

  1. Have I used this in the past three months?
  2. Will I use it a lot in the next three months?
  3. Is there someone who would really like to use it right now?

It makes things so easy. I not only end up moving but am able to bless a whole bunch of people who get the rejects I’ve been keeping around out of sentimentality mingled with laziness.

But you see, likewise, every once in a while, when something in my life needs to be moved, shifted or rearranged, I will dare to enter my closet of emotions and see what might be in there that is unnecessary.

There are three main culprits:

A. Worry

It gets shuffled to the rear and pretends it’s not there until you glance at it and then, the apprehension surfaces.

B. Pride

It always likes to be hung up high where it can be seen but does nothing to enhance my being except puff up my ego and is quickly deflated by reality.

C. And finally, self-pity

This one really likes to hide, like a cockroach surprised by turning on the light in the middle of the night. It likes to pretend it doesn’t exist, but self-pity literally “bugs me.”

When I look at these emotions—worry, pride and self-pity—I know deep in my heart that they’re worthless, but I keep them around for those times when others are not concerned, praising me—or they might even be ignoring me.

They suck. Yes, these fretting emotions literally suck the life out of me.

Because when I pose the three questions to them, which need to be asked of any emotion, they always fail. The three questions are:

  • Is this emotion making me money?
  • Is this emotion making me friends?
  • Is this emotion making me smarter?

Honestly, I do not feel old, but I am too ancient to waste time worrying pridefully in a puddle of self-pity. I need things in my life that make me money, friends and turn me into a smarter being.

So will you join me in grabbing a sack, finding your worry, your pride and your self-pity, bagging it up and giving it away for Goodwill?

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Cracked 5 … May 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reasons Why Consuming Road Kill in Beverly Hills is Illegal

A. Could be someone’s chinchilla coat that fell out of a box from the Rolls on the way to Goodwill

 

B. High in cholesterol and saturated fats

 

C. PETA wants the body for an autopsy in helping to track down the murderer

 

D. No available garnishes or condiments

 

E. Really, really, really ga-rosss-icky-poo!

 

Fat Free Beverly Hills 

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Confessing … September 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Some time ago in a parish far away, I joined with some friends who had a creative bend and believed that art and faith were intended to be wed, and rented an H & R Block building, which had completed its taxing season and was available for occupation, gathering with these sweet folks at least twice a week to discuss the beauty of music and words, and also how we might be able to help others.

Yes, there was just enough hippie in us that we chose to have a concern for the needy in our midst.

So one day at our little headquarters, a large, cocoa-complected young man strolled through our door with an appearance that foretold his lack, possessing only a huge, toothy grin.

He wondered if we had $1.99 so that he could go to Church’s Fried Chicken, which was two doors down, and pick up their special–two pieces of chicken and a side.

We all liked him immediately.

We told him we would give him the money if he would pick up the same deal for the rest of us. Then we could all sit down, eat together and get to know one another. I think my friends were a little surprised when I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, gave it to the big fellow and told him to purchase seven of them, come back, and bring me the change.

By the way, he told us his name was Johnnie, and I’m sure that all of my acquaintances were convinced that Johnnie was going to abscond with the twenty dollars.

He didn’t.

He came back, we ate chicken and it became a daily ritual for the next several months. We got to know him as a person instead of merely an object of charity.

So one day, when Johnnie told us that he was supposed to go into the Social Security Office and apply for disability, we took him to the local Goodwill, and after much shopping, we found a suit big enough to cover his girth.

He was so proud of it.

He went to the meeting, and then we didn’t hear from him for several weeks. I was concerned, so I went out into the streets, looking for my buddy.

I found him sitting next to a dumpster about a half-mile away. He tried to run away from me, but I was able to stop him. I asked him why he was avoiding us.

He explained that he was embarrassed because he had sold the suit so he could purchase a bucket of chicken.

I gave him a hug and explained that we didn’t love him because he was wearing a suit–it was just a gift, for him to use as he wished.

Shortly after that encounter, our little group decided to move our headquarters since the H & R Block building was no longer available. We found a place about three miles away and told Johnnie about our exodus.

He was sad.

I was bewildered. After all, we weren’t leaving town. So I made him promise he would come and see us.

He didn’t.

After about three weeks I went out on another search for Johnnie. Finally the lady at the Church’s Fried Chicken told me that Johnnie had been arrested for erratic and disorderly behavior, and that they were holding him in the mental ward on the 13th floor of the local hospital. I got in my car and went to see him.

Amazingly, since I wasn’t kin or connected to him in any logical way, they let me in to talk to him.

When I walked into the room he was sitting next to the window, staring into the distance. I was very disappointed when Johnnie didn’t recognize me.

He was heavily medicated and docile. I tried to stir his memory but was completely unsuccessful.

So I took his hands, which lay limp in his lap, and prayed for him. I stood to leave and was just about out the door when Johnnie turned his head and said, “Chicken.”

Just as quickly, he turned away and resumed his vigil of nothingness.

I cried.

He remembered.

But you see, I also learned. People are not projects. They are human, with real needs. We can’t just pick them up and handle them when it’s convenient to our charitable inclinations and then drop them off in the middle of nowhere without a map on where to go.

We thought we were so damned generous, but we didn’t realize that Johnnie needed daily care, daily love and a daily location in which to go to give him a sense of balance.

Johnnie taught me a lot.

Johnnie taught me that since the poor don’t go away, if we’re going to start helping them, we have to have a plan to keep from abandoning them.

Confessing Johnny

 

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Mistaken Identity … November 28, 2012

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It happens–just never twice in the same night.

But last evening I got a double dose of mistaken identity. It began with a lady coming to my table and asking that frightening question. “Do you remember me?”

I always dodge it by saying, “You look familiar,” hoping that the person will fill in the details. She did. She was quite convinced that I had been the DJ at her son’s wedding. As I contemplated how to contradict her assertion, she launched into details about the reception, the recent birth of children and what name these offspring referred to her as when lovingly addressing their grandma. We were in the full swing of a mistaken identity–one which I had no idea whatsoever how to escape. So please pray for me–I went along with it.

She came back two or three times, reminding me of certain aspects of the evening which she felt we had shared in common, and once even brought along the sponsor of the concert, to share the irony of our re-crossing paths. He looked a bit bewildered as she told her story and squinted at me for either confirmation or denial and I just sat there with a blank look on my face–similar to someone who just discovered he was one number away from winning the lottery.

On the heels of my proposed DJ performance, another man came to the table and said how glad he was to see me again, because he had enjoyed me so much last year when I was performing at the Lexington Civic Center. Once again, before I could jump in and point out that I had never been to the Lexington Civic Center, he recited the details of my performance, including a duet I had sung with a young black boy. Once again, I was unable to escape and found myself in the midst of a great nod-fest.

Mistaken identity. I know I probably should have corrected these folks, but you see, at the heart of this particular event is a blessing. People meet you for the first time and really want to establish a connection, so they go ahead and manufacture one based on a similar experience they once had with someone who might have resembled you. I think it’s just a way of saying “I love you” without having to mouth the words.

Matter of fact, maybe the world would be better if we had MORE mistaken identity. If all bigots believed that black people were Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey, maybe there would be less prejudice. Those who have problems with the gay community may wish to project that all gay men and women are Rock Hudson and Ellen DeGeneres. How about politics? That’s easy.  All Republicans are Abraham Lincoln and all Democrats are Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It may be a bit embarrassing when we do discover that all people with long hair, playing guitar are not the Beatles, but in the meantime, it might increase our toleration for one another and project some love out into a world that is starving to death for some of that good stuff.

I occasionally get mistaken for someone else.  Last night it was a DJ and a performer at a civic center. That’s not bad.  It has been worse. One night long ago in Michigan, a guy was convinced that I was the janitor at the local Goodwill store.  By the way–that one I denied. Sometimes people project that I’m Orson Wells or Dom Delouise or any one of a number of fat, aging men. Interesting though–so far, no Brad Pitt.

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