Jonathots … December 11th, 2018


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handbook for touching

The light of the body is the eye

If the eye is evil, then the whole body is filled with darkness. But if the eye is clear, then the whole being can be illuminated.

Honestly, these words can sound like a bunch of gibberish if they’re not understood. This is the trouble with a lot of deep philosophy and passages that insist they are “spiritual.”

Let me phrase it this way:

Your eyes belong to you, but what you see was programmed by others.

Even though you may insist that you are the master of your own thinking and the manipulator of your vision, there is so much programming that’s gone into you–from childhood, schooling, experiences, defeats, failures and pain–which clouds your vision and only presents the images that memory will offer.

We are very critical of prejudice, but the fact of the matter is, nearly all of our preconceived ideas are deeply ingrained within our consciousness long before we have a chance to vote on whether to accept them or not.

This affects our touch.

If we don’t like what we see, we don’t want to get near it. If we don’t want to get near it, we avoid it and fear it. And once we’ve decided that someone or some group is foreign, then it becomes necessary for us to rationalize our choice by attempting to prove that the forbidden topic, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is hampered by evil.

Thus, white people who grow up in a bigoted environment really do think the black race looks a bit like monkeys. That’s how they were taught to see them. Therefore, that’s how they view them. The end result is, they decide not to be around them and the unity brought on by touch is forsaken.

Likewise, black parents who teach their children that Latinos are lazy and not to be trusted raise children that purposely avoid anyone with light brown skin, unless there’s enough pigment to welcome them as black brothers and sisters.

Also, the Latinos do it with the Asians, and within their own culture, assuming that Cubans are better than Dominicans, and Asians assuming that Chinese are superior to Japanese.

Once our eyes have been fitted with a pair of glasses by our upbringing, making us see the world in a certain way, then our bigotry becomes a spectacle.

Because once we’re afraid–once our “eyeballing” of other human beings promotes darkness in our minds, we are certainly not going to want to be near them, to shop with them, to go to church with them or to ever risk touching them.

Without touch there is no fellowship. Without fellowship there is no commonality, and without commonality, there is alienation.

Take some time during this Christmas season to consider the vision you have of life–the way you see those around you.

Are you controlling your own perception? Or do you have people you were taught were “untouchables?”

Because if you’re not willing to touch people with the tenderness of your hands, you will certainly end up fighting them with your fists.

 

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G-Poppers…May 8th, 2015

 

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G-Popper

 

For a very brief season, G-Pop taught a college class.

On opening day, he asked his students to take a quiz. Needless to say, the room was filled with quizzical expressions.

He presented them with 10 questions. He told them that in determining their answers they could take into consideration wealth, poverty, male, female, gay, straight, black, brown, Native American, statistics, history, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Hispanic and white.

This was the test:

Who is more likely…

  1. …to steal something from you?
  2. …to commit violent murder?
  3. …to molest a small child?
  4. …to open a casino in Nebraska?
  5. …to take their children to Disney World?
  6. …to graduate with honors in mathematics from MIT?
  7. …to be in the military?
  8. …to be a billionaire?
  9. …to be a genius?
  10. …to believe in God?

Even though there were a few mumbles and grumbles from the student body, all completed the test and turned it in to G-Pop.

The next day when they arrived, he passed the tests back to them unmarked.

Then he said, “All of you completed the test. All of you, in some way, shape or form, decided to take into consideration the factors I mentioned in determining your answers. I’m going to allow you to grade your own papers and give yourself a score. I will tell my answers and you can evaluate how well you did.

Let’s start with #1.

Who is more likely to steal something? The answer is a thief.

Commit a violent murder? A murderer.

How about molest a small child? A pedophile.

Who will be opening that casino in Nebraska? A venture capitalist.

And of course, the person who would take their children to Disney World is a good parent.

Who’s the math whiz? An excellent student.

Who would join the military? A patriot.

A billionaire? A budding successful entrepreneur.

How about a genius? I would say a hard worker.

Is there some type of individual who’s more likely to believe in God? Yes. A person of faith.

G-Pop paused. All the students had their eyes glued to their papers, reviewing their answers. A point had been made.

For after all, social justice does not begin when we recognize blatant bigotry in the world.

It starts when we acknowledge the prejudice in our own hearts.

 

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Bologna with a Ring … August 24, 2012

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Bologna with a ring.

It is not a marriage ceremony for piglets. It is a delightful application of a delectable American treat propagated and promoted in the Great Lake States.

I am in Michigan. They know their bologna. First, they recognize that it is spelled b-o-l-o-g-n-a rather than b-a-l-o-n-e-y. Of course, one of my friends back in high school thought it was” ball-only,” so named for the part of the bull extracted to make the stuff. He was greatly relieved when I told him that bologna was just an accumulation of hooves, belly fat and ear wax, forcibly removed from Missouri male cows.

Michigan is a land of bologna. (I mean that well.) Fried, seared, “jalapeno’d,” grilled, barbecued and of course, breaded. But for me, the most flavorful incarnation is bologna in a ring. Ring bologna–stuffed into a tube and folded over into the shape of a horseshoe and then tied at the bottom to create a psychedelic “O.” Ring bologna. The original YouTube–sometimes in flavors, but best left alone: sweet, firm, a little garlic, squeezed into a casing, plump and ready for slicing. (Sounds like my junior prom date…)

It is right that ring bologna is a regional product of these Nordic Northmen. For we are Vikings. We eat slabs of meat without apology. And when necessary, we can use our large ring bologna as a weapon against our tofu-eating enemies.

Anyway, I like the taste.

I have one dilemma–how can you eat as much of the ring of the bologna as you want and still keep it around for a respectable length of time so that you aren’t viewed by spectators as a glutton? This is important. Fat people like me have to think about such things. For instance, I can’t sit in a restaurant and enjoy a piece of pie. Everyone around me is thinking, “Oh, that’s how he got so fat.” I am not alone. It is the same situation for the black man. He cannot eat watermelon in public at the Mississippi State Fair. Likewise, a Japanese person can’t cut you off in traffic or wear a camera around his neck. Chinese people can’t shop at Wal-mart without hearing a drone of complaints about the products. Those of a Middle-Eastern descent find it difficult to stop off and pick up a couple bags of fertilizer at Ace Hardware. Native Americans don’t hang around outside the cigar store, and Mexicans stay away from 7-11’s, unless they’re looking for work. It’s just the way things played out.

A fat guy with a ring of bologna needs to make it last long enough that those who are watching determine it to be a normal consumption rate for the delicacy. It’s tough.

So I bought my ring bologna on Monday at 11:00 A.M. and finished the last piece on Wednesday at 10:12 A.M. Nearly forty-eight hours. Such control. Unbelievable discipline. I am humbled and proud. I wish I could tell you it was easy. It wasn’t. I even dreamed about my ring. One of my visions was a little sexy, so I won’t get into it here.

Soon I will leave Michigan and return to the world where bologna is sliced, stuffed into a package, stacked neatly and forced to be Oscar Meyer. I weep for my trapped comrades. How they wish to be in a ring, hanging out in Michigan, waiting for some Spartan or Wolverine to purchase them for game day. Alas!

So here’s to ring bologna–the Super Bowl Ring of high fat, enormous calories, immense cholesterol luncheon food products. If it is a sin, I pray for God’s grace–or hope the Creator Himself has had a fling with the ring.

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