Sit Down Comedy … February 28th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

A wake-up call.

When I traveled on the road, I frequently requested one from the front desk clerk at the motel. He or she punched a few buttons, and sure enough, the next morning at the specified time, my phone rang.

It was startling—so loud that I decided to purchase a small traveler’s alarm clock, which could still awaken me but without a heart attack.

The only problem with this new apparatus was that it was gentle and had a snooze button, which permitted me to rob ten more minutes of sleep. Sometimes I just didn’t get out of bed on the right schedule.

A wake-up call should be alarming.

It should sound the cry: “WAKE UP!”

So what happens when you don’t permit a wake-up call, or you’ve deafened your ears to such an extent that you no longer find the sound alarming?

I don’t know which one has happened. But there are certainly things going on in this great country—things we all share—which would have alarmed us at one time, and now have been relegated to the status of background noise or surrounding scenery.

I, for one, think we once thought it alarming for people to treat one another without civility. We were cordial, even to people we didn’t like. We chose our words carefully.

Perhaps there was more gossip because true feelings were being uttered behind the backs of our enemies, but “a hospitality of congeniality” kept us from being openly hostile, on the verge of rage.

I am alarmed that we’ve lost our civility.

Likewise, it stands to reason that a faulted people should be served by a faulted leader. So what happens when the leader of the nation no longer believes that he or she has any faults? Won’t all the citizens want to imitate such an arrogant profile?

“If it’s good enough for the top dog, why don’t the little puppies get to bark at will?”

It is alarming to me that we seem to have lost the awareness of our own fragility and consciousness concerning our weaknesses.

Killing used to bother us. It really did.

Many years ago, when four students were murdered at Kent State University during a Viet Nam War protest, the country was stunned. Now I’m not so sure that four victims destroyed during a shooting would even make it into the second news cycle before disappearing into the past.

Once killing gains acceptability, it no longer matters who, and unfortunately may someday not matter how many.

I am extremely alarmed that the term “socialism” is being bandied around like a cultural volleyball by those with little awareness of the horrors suffered by souls in the Eastern Bloc of the European continent, or the stunted status thrust upon the good folk of Cuba.

Especially alarming is tying the word “socialist” to the adjective “democratic,” or harkening back to FDR and the New Deal.

Socialism has no place in our country’s governing.

And concerning programs to help the aging and poor, we must realize that as a nation, we have historically been able to come up with such plans and opportunities without ever having to wave the banner of socialism.

Then finally, I am alarmed with bias.

Whether it’s the religious right continuing to hold women in subjection to men or the liberals celebrating culture, only to further focus on our differences instead of our similarities, or just trying to keep all colors, mindsets and religions seemingly revered, but banished to a distance—it is alarming.

We’ve lost our way.

Our nation is sleepy.

We’re waking up intoxicated by our own foolishness, yearning to snooze, ignoring the need to rise up and make a difference.

How loud would the alarms have to be to awaken us from:

  • following a leader who thinks he makes no mistakes
  • supporting a Presidential candidate who dubs himself a socialist
  • joining into a general national nastiness that puts us at continual odds with each other
  • permitting a bloodbath of treachery and murder that leaves us baffled but unmoved
  • or supporting an ongoing bias against gender, race and religion?

It is time to wake up.

It is time to sound the alarm, hear the alarm and be alarmed.

Untotaled: Stepping 54 (May 7th, 1970) Prom Motion…February 14, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

It was early afternoon on Wednesday, May 4th, 1970, before the word spread through our high school that four students had been killed at Kent State.

The response was odd.

For you see, half of our teachers were nearly in tears over the unnecessary loss of human life, and the other half basically had the attitude that “the kids got what they deserved” for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So the school was split.

What made things even more difficult was that there had been riots all over the nation for weeks, and our senior prom was coming up on Saturday.

Having a myopic view of life at eighteen years of age, the shooting of the students at Kent State barely created a blip on my radar. I was thinking about the prom, romance, finally getting out of school and a big gospel concert I planned to attend with my date in the middle of the prom experience. Yes, we intended on leaving the prom for a few hours and going to the fairgrounds in Columbus to catch a musical show.

I was also excited because my girlfriend’s father told us we could use his Corvette for the prom. I would not say that her parents were in favor of our relationship–I think they were convinced it was merely a high school affair, and she would soon be in college and forget the hometown boy.

Prom night arrived. We went to the dinner, and then slipped off to the gospel concert, where we were confronted with a most bizarre situation.

Stationed at the fairgrounds were National Guard troops who were trying to keep order at Ohio State University. So as we walked around in our formal wear, there were soldiers not much older than us, carrying guns–dancing to the music with their rifles overhead.

After the concert we decided not to rejoin the prom activities but instead, went out, talked, made out, and ended up, just before dawn, on the long driveway leading to my girlfriend’s house.

We wanted it to be a memorable night so I took off my dress coat, placed it on the grass, and she laid down. I lifted her dress and she unbuckled my pants. We commenced to do things that we knew would be frowned on by anyone older than us.

Two weird things happened in the midst of this intimacy.

A horse my girlfriend owned came up to the nearby fence and stared at us. I couldn’t help thinking that he was critiquing my technique, And then, even more strange was that a nearby neighbor–a friend of my girlfriend’s father–pulled into the driveway with his pickup truck, sat for a minute and then backed out to depart.

We finished our fling and realized that it was unlikely that this intruding neighbor would keep his mouth shut. We were pretty confident that we had the horse’s silence.

So we drove the rest of the way up to the house and had breakfast–both of us realizing this was probably the last time there would be civility in her household over our relationship.

Not much happened after that.

Two weeks later, on graduation day, we both picked up our diplomas without much pomp and circumstance, with only one thing on our minds.

A time of the month had been missed–and we were afraid we were prematurely on our way to a grown-up world.

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Published in: on February 14, 2015 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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1946… March 13, 2014

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Nixon resigningYour mommy is pregnant.

Well, actually, because it’s 1946, one is not allowed to say “pregnant.” Preferable is with child, in the family way or on the nest.

You are about to be born. While you are still in your mother’s gentle jail, two atomic bombs are exploded, with tens of thousands of casualties.

You, too, are going to be part of a “boom”–yes, an explosion of births due to men returning from war, seeking the comfort of family and the pleasure of their wives’ company. By the time you are three years old, China has joined the Soviet Union, becoming Communist.

By age four, the world is back at war, in Korea.

When you are six years old, the Supreme Court makes a decision on Brown vs. Board of Education, decrying segregation in the South. It would take thirteen years of bloody confirmation.

When you’re eight years old, you suddenly are confronted with a Cold War, which threatens to heat up periodically, causing your local village to build a bomb shelter near the school.

In like manner, when you’re sixteen, you feel the anxiety of global annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And then comes the roller coaster:

  • At seventeen years of age John Kennedy is shot.
  • At eighteen the Beatles arrive, disrupting the social consciousness of a society already reeling from the death of a President.
  • At twenty-two, you stand by and watch as both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy are gunned down by no-name nothings.
  • Also in the same year you watch the Vietnam war escalate as thousands of young men your age are dying in the jungle.
  • At twenty-three they put a man on the moon.
  • And when you’re twenty-four, National Guardsmen gun down four students at Kent State.
  • On your twenty-eighth birthday, Richard Nixon resigns as President of the United States, acknowledging a conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The fear of your youth and the anger of your adolescence culminates into an adult cynicism.

Yes, the Baby Boomers became the adult Gloomers–and they passed onto their offspring a sense of mistrust, causing their children to constantly seek ways to escape reality.

It is rather doubtful if we can get out of the bland and bizarre depression that the country is experiencing without understanding how we got here.

We’re all too cynical.

We are too engrossed in ways to escape our lives instead of embracing them. And it is causing us to selfishly close up possibilities which just might make us better people.

Now you know how you got here.

Why don’t you go out today and do your best to reject the cynicism … and inhale some sort of new breath of life?

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