Not Long Tales … August 20th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4142)

Underneath

Lance sat quietly staring at his hands.

They didn’t seem small—at least, he didn’t think so. But the bully who lived seven houses down on the right-hand side had made fun of them yesterday, in front of four or five guys, and worse, two girls.

It wasn’t easy being eleven years old, anyway you looked at it. But being ridiculed for your little hands in front of friends was more than humiliating. It was debilitating and left no recourse. After all, you couldn’t scream, “My hands are big!”

But Lance had anyway. And when he objected, everyone laughed at him. Because tears that were lurking in his eyes suddenly avalanched down his cheeks.

Lance hated summer vacation. As bad as school was—and it certainly had some really stinky things about it—at least your day was filled, and you didn’t have to try and figure out a reason for getting up in the first place.

It was especially difficult because Lance had a mother who insisted he “go out and play with the other kids.” She didn’t understand that he had just been targeted for having tiny paws.

Yes—he felt like a puppy being mocked by the big hound. He was afraid to leave his doorstep.

There was one friend who never deserted him—what you might call the saving face. His name was Jallus. Lance’s mother always referred to him as “the black boy” and Jallus’ mother called Lance “the white boy.” Sometimes the two buddies joked with each other, calling each other “black boy and white boy,” just to get the giggling going. Of course, it was ridiculous. Lance was the color of dirty sand and Jallus looked like chocolate milk diluted by water.

But the two boys needed each other, because the bully also told Jallus that his hands were puny. They found comfort in each other’s company.

But during this particular summer, Lance had discovered an escape. He hadn’t told anyone, not even his buddy, Jallus. In the back of the house, just underneath the steps, there was a piece of white lattice covering up the crawl space. There were a couple of screws missing from the top—just enough that Lance could pull it back, squeeze through and climb in beneath the house.

When he first discovered it, he was scared. His mind went crazy thinking about what might be in that crawl space, lurking to harm him. A rat, a snake—and most certainly, any variety of bugs made their homes in the sludge.

Yet it was so peaceful in there—especially on hot days, it was just a little cooler, and on rainy days it stayed dry, but gave Lance a front row seat on the beauty of the pelting rain. He adored the place.

He cleared it out a little bit. There was some trash—discarded bags of cement and rocks getting in the way of affording him total space. He sat in there for hours at a time thinking about life, small hands and his daddy. Lance had never actually met the fellow. He had departed before Lance had a full brain for knowing. His mother told him that his daddy probably loved him, but lived far, far away, in Mississippi. It made it nearly impossible to come and visit.

One day when he was snooping through his mother’s closet, he found a picture stuck in a box—a fellow sitting on a motorcycle, wearing a cowboy hat. He assumed it was his daddy. Sitting behind him on the bike was probably his mother, back when she was a girl.

Seeing that motorcycle reminded Lance of the time his mother said that his father had sent a birthday present of a bicycle. It came in a big, huge cardboard box, but it wasn’t put together. Mama had tried really hard to get all the bolts in the right places, but it was never right. So it just sat in the garage in a heap. Every once in a while, Lance would pull out a piece or two and play with the back wheel for a while. The bicycle was so much like the rest of his life—everything seemed to be there, but nothing came together.

But when Lance went underneath the house into his chamber of privacy, it was a whole different situation. He took a flashlight with him so he could keep an eye on the surroundings, in case he was invaded by one of nature’s uglies. He also found an old canteen in the garage, which he cleaned and filled with Kool-Aid, to sip on as time passed by. The Kool-Aid was so refreshing that the next time he brought a plastic bag of Gummi-bears. Goldfish crackers and M & M’s. It was so peaceful and satisfying.

Lance never thought he’d ever want peace. Being a boy, he was rather fond of chaos. But occasionally, he needed to feel like feeling was okay and nobody was staring, wondering what he was doing.

Sometimes he would lie on his back and listen to the floorboards creak—Mama preparing dinner in the kitchen. Sometimes she would sing. It made him feel so good when he heard her sing. Other times, she just talked to herself. He couldn’t hear what she said but could tell from the tone that it came from an unhappy place.

Summer persisted, as the summer sun often does.

Then one night, right before bedtime, sirens went off from the nearby town. Mama was frightened. She explained to Lance that the sirens meant there was a tornado coming. It didn’t take very long before great winds began to sweep by their house, rattling the windows and striking terror into their souls.

The two of them lived in a very simple house. There was no upstairs, no basement. Just the one floor—and Mama had no idea what to do. She was looking for a safe place for them to hide from the danger, but she couldn’t move. Her head turned, her eyes peering in all directions, as if waiting for someone to give her instructions.

All of a sudden, she prayed—no, nearly screeched, “Oh, Jesus! Help us!” Just about that time, a tree blew over in the front yard and landed on the top of the house, mashing in the roof.

Lance looked at his mother. He knew two things—she wasn’t going to move, and Jesus wasn’t going to stop the storm.

He took his Mama by the hand and started to walk toward the back door. She wouldn’t come. He pulled a little harder, but she resisted. Then, as if inspired by forces far beyond his understanding, Lance decided to run out the back door, figuring that Mama just might follow, terrified that Lance would be swallowed by the big twister.

As he ran toward the door and opened it, the screen flew back, broke off and landed on the ground. He hurried down the steps and when he reached the landing, he looked back. Sure enough, there was his mama, faithful lady that she was, chasing him.

He slid around the steps and over to the lattice, pulling back as hard as he could, to make room for him and also his mother to get in. He climbed into his precious space. She trailed, peeking inside. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Lance realized there was no time to explain, so he whispered. “Trust me, Mama. Trust me.”

She stared at him for a moment, trying to make out his image in the darkened space, and then wiggled forward as he grabbed her hands and pulled her down to sit next to him. As soon as she was seated, they heard a cracking—breaking glass and horrible thumps coming from all directions. They sat in the dark, holding each other and breathing heavily, hoping…hoping there would be a life left for them, since they would still be living.

Then, as quickly as it began, it was over. There was just the sound of rain splashing against the broken lattice. Mama shivered. Both of them were afraid to move.

Lance thought his mom would eventually release her grip, but she stayed where she was, squeezing him. He could hear her heart pounding. Finally, after a few moments, she relaxed. Her arms came free, and she wrapped them around her knees. She took four, maybe five, deep breaths.

He watched her. Either there was more light or his eyes had adjusted, because he could see her face clearly. She looked like a little girl. After all, that’s what bad storms do—they turn us all into children.

He leaned over and stroked her hair. “Mama,” he said, “what do you think about my place? I call it ‘Underneath.’”

Her eyes filled with tears as she looked around with her limited view and managed, “I like what you’ve done with it.”

She started to move, as if she was going to head out of the protection. Lance grabbed her arm. “Let’s not,” he said. “There’s no need for us to find out anything right now. You see, if we don’t know, then we don’t know.”

He offered her a drink from the canteen and some Gummi-bears. She accepted, putting a Gummi in her mouth and then taking a swig from the canteen. She emitted a tiny giggle.

Lance reached over and grabbed her hand. “Mama, this is where I come to get away from all my storms.”

Her face brightened, with a glint of understanding. She scooted across on her bottom, pulled him close to her and hugged like she had never hugged before.

The two just stayed there, hugging, crying and breathing in unison…

Underneath.

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4119)

Sitting Thirty

There was an attempt at a silent meeting of the minds.

Those melting in the desert heat who were over eighteen years of age peered at one another, trying to decide who should speak up next to foil the efforts of the little ingrates. In the meantime, Iz frowned. He had grown weary of the conversation.

Before the inquisitors could come to terms on whose turn it was to interrogate the boys, Iz spoke up. “Here—I have some questions. Listen, if you can answer them, then I will certainly stay silent and receive what you have to say. Let me start with you, Rabbi. Are Ishmael and Isaac brothers—both sons of Abraham?”

The shirt and tie cleared his throat. “Well, actually, half-brothers. Abraham had Ishmael with a slave girl and Isaac was born under the true promise of God.”

“E-e-e-e-h-h-h, there’s the buzzer,” said Iz. “Wrong again. They’re either brothers or they’re not. And actually, Ishmael was Isaac’s older brother. Don’t you think God knew he needed an older brother? Weren’t they supposed to stay together?”

The mullah stepped forward. “My answer would have been quite different…”

“Yes,” Pal interrupted. “I know your answer. I learned it early on. You believe Ishmael was a child of promise, too, and he was mistreated by the Jews and forced into exile, where God raised him up to be equal. But here’s my question, Mullah. Doesn’t that make him the underdog? Aren’t you always teaching that we have to struggle to live up to the same standard as the Jews instead of having our own identity, our own mission?”

The mullah chuckled. “You are so young. You do not understand, and I don’t have the time to educate you.”

“Next question,” said Iz, inserting himself. “This one goes to the guy with the funny collar. Was your Jesus a Jew, and if he was, why didn’t he come as an Arab instead?”

The collar spoke. “By the way, I am Father Shannon, and you’re right. I believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and we do believe Jesus was a Jew…”

Pal raised his hand. “So why should I care about him? Why do I want another Jewish guy to be in charge of me, telling me I’m not part of the promise of God?”

Blue jeans interceded. “Actually, according to Christian theology, Jesus was Jewish on his mother’s side, but spent most of his early years in Egypt, as an Arab. Lots of theologians believe God wanted Jesus’s disciples to take the message to the Jews, Arabs and Afrikaans first. Well, they really didn’t. They ended up taking it to the Jews, Greeks and Romans.”

“You see?” screamed Iz. “They screwed up, and because they screwed up, you all got different names for the same things that end up doing nothing for anybody. And Pal and I get messed up because we don’t get to be friends, ’cause you guys can’t even agree on what clothes to wear. One of you’s got a collar pinching your throat, another is dressed like a businessman, you over there—well, you’re wearing a robe like some sort of shepherd, and dude—you’ve got on blue jeans, trying to pretend like you’re young.”

“I hear a lot of anger,” said Blue jeans.

“I see a lot of stupid,” said Pal.

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Drawing Attention … July 10th, 2019

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(4101)

Jesus Is Jesus

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art by smarrttie pants


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Sit Down Comedy … June 28th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4091)


What it takes to be a:

PoliticianFinding yourself unexplainably interesting

MotherStill not crying over spilled milk

FatherHanging around to plan birthday parties

Football playerSurviving the hits

FarmerFirst, plant yourself

ChauvinistAct like a pig

ChristianHate religion but love Jesus

SoldierTake orders

BankerBe-A-Count-Able

ButcherA real cut-up

BloggerKeeping your parents’ basement reasonably clean

HousewifeA house, a husband…a kitchen

ModelCat-walking (no fur)

SingerCroon in tune

DancerStepping up to the routine

ProfessorBe noteworthy

PoetMaking rhyme with your reason

CarpenterNailing it down and not screwing it up

PilotStaying high at all times

SalesmanSelling out

Uber DriverUnoffended when angry people tell you where to go

AuthorFinding the words, editing the turds

DoctorSmooth operator

LawyerMaking a federal case out of everything

MatadorSwooshing through the bullshit with your glorious cape


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The H Word … March 26th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3996)


THE

Image result for gif letter h

WORD


“Go to Hell”

Even folks who are very particular about using profanity will often favor this pronouncement. Matter of fact, they believe it to be their Christian duty to warn lost sinners, deviants and the depraved that there is a “devil’s hell.” And if these unfortunate and misguided souls do not decide to comply to the common appeal of salvation, they will certainly spend all of eternity suffering within the confines of this dungeon of torture and despair.

Hell is a hell of an idea. What’s even more surprising is who ended up being one of the greater promoters of the location.

Yes—Jesus probably talked about hell more than any other religious teacher who ever walked the face of the Earth.

The Old Testament doesn’t have many references to such a place, and really relegates it to one single word: Sheol—meaning “grave.”

It was Jesus who came up with the lake of fire, outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the bizarre inclusion of this city ablaze being eternal.

Even if you are able to affix your mind on the possibility of there being an afterlife where those who are evil are sent to receive their retribution, it hardly seems likely that someone—even if they spent one hundred years on the planet, killing, maiming and leaving their puppy out in the cold in the winter—well, it just seems a bit bizarre to think that person, for a hundred years of evil, should receive an eternity of fire and brimstone.

Yet we kind of like the idea.

It’s not so much the notion that there is a hell, or that some people end up there, but rather, the advantage we gain in our self-righteousness, by imagining who we think should be there and how painfully they should be slapped around for mistreating us.

So I will tell you that even though hell is a promo that came from Jesus—and I am very fond of his work—I do choose to believe that this isolated concept was conjured during his “blue period,” and I do not favor it.

Is it not punishment aplenty for each one of us if we go through life without living?

Is it not agony to take this gift of time and sleepwalk through it without giving?

For that lack of tenderness, foresight and rebellion, there certainly will be a grave conclusion.

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Sit Down Comedy … November 30th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3872)

Mall Talk

Santa: Jesus Christ!

Jesus: Are you cussin’ or just glad to see me?

Santa: (hugs Jesus and pulls back) I almost didn’t recognize you.

Jesus: That’s because I’m traveling S. I.

Santa: S. I.?

Jesus: (smiling) Savior Incognito. So good to see you, old man.

Santa: Yeah, that’s interesting, because I supposedly have gained immortality, but they’ve stuck me at about seventy-five years of age.

Jesus: Well, I died at thirty-three–that’s where I’m kind of stuck, except I didn’t exactly leave behind a pretty corpse.

Santa: (frowning) Sorry about that.

Jesus: Oh, lighten up, old man. It’s Christmas. We’ll get around to that Easter stuff later.

Santa: Well, what brings you to this mall on this day?

Jesus: I was about to ask you the same question.

Santa: Well, there are so many people dressing up like me now, that it’s easy for me to slip in, as you say, incognito, and play myself at a mall. No one knows the difference.

Jesus: So why this mall?

Santa: The best damn curly fries at the food court. I’m tellin’ you, you’ve got to try them. They’re to die for.

Jesus: Was that another crack at my crucifixion?

Santa: Oh, I’m sorry…

Jesus: (punching him in the arm) Just kidding! You’ve gotta lighten up!

Santa: Well, there’s a lot of pressure. This time of year, you run into this “Christmas war” thing–you know, where you and I are supposed to be enemies. You representing the “true meaning of Christmas” and me being a commercial bungler.

Jesus: Well, don’t people know that you’re real name is Saint Nicholas?

Santa: I’ve always been your greatest fan. I watched what you did with children, learned from how you gave to people. And I took it seriously when you said in your Beatitudes, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.”

Jesus: And you even copied my twelve elves!

Santa: (a bit flustered) Well… Not exactly.

Jesus: Well, sometimes they acted like elves. You see, people like to keep you where they found you. Lots of folks met me in church so they think I live there. (whispering) Honest to God, Claus–I haven’t been there for years.

Santa: You’re right. Because with me, they loved the Old North Pole thing. Obviously couldn’t do all the work in one location. I have it spread all over the globe. Every once in a while, I even use Amazon.

Jesus: If people just understood that there’s no bad way to say Christmas. It’s kind of like the word “candy.” You can substitute “chocolate, peanut butter, confection, caramel”–and still, what comes to your mind is…

Santa: (interrupting) …candy. You’re right! You can say “reindeer, Christmas tree, carols, jingle bells or manger.” What comes to my mind is Christmas.

Jesus: So they can call it a holiday. That doesn’t help them. Because the word “holiday” means “holy day.” They can say “Season’s Greetings,” but everybody knows the season is Christmas.

Santa: People just fuss too much.

Jesus: I’d say “amen” but I’m not that religious.

Santa: You really aren’t, are you?

Jesus: Nope–I just love people. I love my Father, I love Mother Nature and I love the idea of life. You know I was born in a barn…

Santa: (laughing) That’s funny.

Jesus: (serious) What’s funny about it? You live in a toy shop with reindeer.

Santa: (serious) Well, I didn’t want to argue with you.

Jesus: (laughing) You really are uptight about this Christmas thing, aren’t you? Tell you what–let’s head off to the food court and you can buy me some of those curly fries and prove to me that they’re the best in the world.

Santa: That’s a deal–if you’ll tell me about the first Christmas.

Jesus: Well, I was just a little baby surrounded by asses.

(Santa is shocked)

Jesus: (poking him in the arm) You know–donkeys. Listen, old man–we’d better hurry and get those curly fries right now. You are desperately in need of some good cheer.

 

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Jesonian … October 30th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3841)

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The disciples of Jesus decided that children had no business hanging around with the big, important people who were doing big, important things for God in a big, important way.

After all, they were kids and all they wanted to do was have fun, and such jubilation is often an unwelcome interruption to austerity.

They decided, as grownups, in a mature way, that they would make an adult provision to eliminate these brats, as they frowned from their ancient faces.

Jesus disagreed.

He explained that the message of the Gospel is for children, and the goal was not to make younger people act older, but to make older people act younger.

It’s amazing that his message is now celebrated by those who are on the verge of death instead of those who are just beginning their lives.

Jesus had a children’s message because he said we’re all supposed to become children.

It’s the only way to escape growing up, being mean and acting childish.


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