Sit Down Comedy … August 31st, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Stupid Is as Stupid Is

One of my favorite movies of all time is Forrest Gump, featuring inspired acting by Tom Hanks, who portrays a mentally challenged man from Alabama, who ends up taking his limited abilities and travels the world, reaching thousands of people.

Famous line: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Although I find that to be insightful, I have to tell you that stupid is as stupid is.

Because every once in a while we all do stupid things but it doesn’t make us stupid.

One of the nastiest outgrowths of the social meanness that now occupies our country is the notion that some people are “just stupid.”

Once you convince those around you that some other group is full of “stupid people,” it’s not only simple to ignore them, but becomes much easier to mistreat them.

We have to learn the difference between stupid things and stupid people.

Well, let me use the video below to help make my point.

With hat in hand and my purse in possession, I launch out into my day, not becoming a stupid person because I did some stupid things, but instead, grateful that grace often covers a multitude of errors, if we keep our hearts humble.

There are two things that are not true about anyone in the human race:

No one is truly a genius, and no one is actually stupid.

 

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Fat Chance … August 10, 2012

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I have a terrific idea. (Forgive me–I guess what I should say is that I have an idea. Let me present it to you and you can determine its merits.)

It’s a concept for a new diet. Since dieting itself has fallen under severe criticism, I have come up with a plan which is practical in its application and simple in its proving. Here it is: since America is getting more obese all the time, what I am going to do is work on maintaining my present weight, and very soon the country will catch up with me and I will end up, poundage wise, in the middle of the pack and therefore it will appear I have lost weight. Then people will look at me and comment, “My goodness gracious, Mr. Cring. You don’t look nearly as big as you once did.” I will be free of the stigma of obesity, admired for my diligent efforts–although unfortunately, my health and portability will not have improved in the slightest.

Although I present this little scenario tongue-in-cheek (please don’t go out and apply it) it does seem to resemble the way we try to solve problems in our country. It is this penchant human beings persist in pursuing when trying to find a one-size-fits-all garment to cover all the inadequacies of our fellow-man. I don’t know when it started. There is a little nasty streak in all of us that believes “if I can do it, why can’t you?” For instance, for every cigarette-smoking slender person who shakes his or her head, wondering why I don’t lose weight, I, in turn, purse my lips and frown over why he or she can’t get off of nicotine.

It just doesn’t help matters. It reminds me of one night when I was at a fellowship with friends and one of the attendees became frustrated because an acquaintance was unable to find employment and was mooching off of those around him to survive.

“Why don’t you go out and get a job?” he screamed at the offender.

The man remained calm and replied, “I have made a job out of trying to get a job–except I don’t get paid for it.”

We often don’t understand one another’s difficulties, so it’s no wonder we haven’t taken the time to learn each other’s potentials.

As I have traveled this nation in 2012, I am learning how to become valuable to my human friends. I’m not always successful, but I am trying to comprehend the variety of ways that I can offer my services without becoming overly zealous and interfering. It is not easy. But I have discovered four ideas that I would like to share with you–because honestly, there is a fat chance that you’ll be able to help anyone if you start out by believing you are better than they are. So here are my suggestions:

1. What is my friend’s point of excellence? Excellence for me and excellence for the next guy is different. If I try to apply my concept of prosperity and personal growth onto everybody else, I will destroy them and on the way to that destruction, I will frustrate them from ever wanting to be around me. Finding their point of excellence is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself AND them. If they are mentally challenged, it may just be discovering that their excellence is being able to perform simple duties and take care of themselves. For some young people, excellence does not mean going to college, but rather, developing a trade or finding a way to apprentice into a business, to secure a sense of accomplishment and wage. Take a few minutes and find what the point of excellence is for your acquaintance in need–or do them a favor and leave them alone.

2. How can I help my friend get started? Don’t give people a plan. It is condescending and often mean, especially if they are unable to follow the intracacies of your pattern. Help folks find a way to get started. It’s the greatest thing you can do. Once they are started, let them find the impetus, the evolutions, the direction and the energy to continue–or walk away from the start-up.

3. How should we celebrate weekly progress? I will tell you that many a venture has been destroyed by celebrating too soon–or failing to acknowledge the increments of movement forward. They have to decide when to celebrate. It won’t be, up to you, but rather, up to the people participating to determine when they feel they have achieved a level of credential that is worthy of a party.

4. And finally, when do I back off and when do I back up? As you can probably tell, this one is huge. To everything there is a season. If they are trying to quit smoking, reminding them every week of their plight will certainly drive them back into the pits of tar. By the same token, failing to notice the signals of when our friends are yearning for support and exhortation can be discouraging to them, making them wonder if you have stopped caring. Actually, the answer on when to back off and when to back up from a project is fairly easy to understand. If there is no question in the air, an answer should not be provided. If your friend is not requesting new information or sharing his plight and seeking counsel, offering such advice will certainly scare him away from pursuing his dream, and will end up making him feel diminished. I often receive emails from people explaining their present circumstances, but nowhere in the message will there be a question. To offer counsel without inquiry is not only to intrude, but also to frighten people away from mountain-climbing.

So returning to my original, comical suggestion about weight loss, I will tell you this: like every other human being born since Adam, I will finally get to the business of changing my life when I am weary of my life unchanged. What you can do for me is:

  • Help me find my personal excellence.
  • Give me a place to start.
  • Celebrate with me when I have small victories, even though you may not understand them.
  • And back off when I’m frustrated; back me up when I’m trying my darndest.

Becoming valuable–it really is the practical application of the philosophy, “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

 

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