Sit Down Comedy …March 22nd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I bought a loaf of bread. I didn’t eat it all.

So on the eighth or ninth day, I visited the cupboard to see if I could get another slice of life and discovered that the bread had been overtaken by mold.

I paused.

I considered removing the wrapper, cutting the mold off and eating the rest, but the mold also came with a smell—actually, similar to beer. So reluctantly—maybe even a little aggravated—I took my last five or six slices, now moldy, and tossed them into the garbage.

I was a little surprised how fussy I was about it. I don’t know if I just had my heart set on a sandwich or if I felt cheated because my bread gave up.

But I knew this: mold does not get better. I couldn’t do some “treatment” to my bread and return the next day and find it unmoldy. Once mold arrives it takes over. Quite aggressive. And it isn’t pretty—grayish-green with little hairy arms.

It’s a nasty substance and it turns bread into shit. (You can hear by my words that I was really put off.)

Welcome to America.

I’ve heard us called “the breadbasket of the world.” I was told as a youngster that our farmlands could feed the nations. Not much talk about that of late—nowadays farmers are trying to survive and make their beans and corn cover their budgets. No one trying to feed the four corners.

But we once were the breadbasket. Then one day, we reached into our souls, our mind, our heart and into our principles and pulled out moldy bread. Really bad mold.

And as I told you earlier, mold doesn’t get better. You can’t reform mold. You can’t try to find a way to accept it and develop a taste for it. You have to throw the whole damn thing out.

That’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate but it’s necessary.

Truth is, one apple does not spoil the whole bushel—but one little piece of mold does spoil the whole loaf, because the climate necessary to breed that mold permeates all the way to the crust.

Likewise, the insolence, selfishness and meanness that have brought about the present American way of dealing with each other has spoiled many of the treasures we used to hold dear.

Some things have just got to be thrown out. There isn’t a choice. It’s because the mold has taken over the “bread of life” in America and the mold is a simple poison. Here it is:

  • “My ideas are more important than you.”
  • “My faith is more valuable than your freedom.”
  • “My politics are divinely inspired, while yours are evil.”
  • “My lifestyle is superior.”
  • “Even my dog is more human than any of you.”

And,

  • “I and those who came out of my orgasm of procreation are much higher in quality, and it’s difficult to tolerate you anymore.”

There’s the mold. It’s gotta go.

You can try to save some of the stuff, but the arguing that we call politics has to be thrown in the trash, even if we lose some “debate.”

The beliefs we call religion have to be dumped even if we ignore a verse or two of holy writ.

And the definition of family needs to expand to include everybody twenty-five thousand miles in any direction throughout the entire Earth.

If we don’t do this, we’re going to start believing that the worst parts of the bread can be cut off, and the rest will be just fine, even though it tastes a little pukey.

We are permeated with the mold of those who are too old, too bold and too cold. Some things must be thrown away.

I, for one, am going to go into my cabinet, where I keep my soul, and start clearing out the nastiness. Anything that makes me believe that I’m better than you, or that my ideas are more God-like, or that my politics have the touch of grace while yours are imbedded with the sinister, will be dumped into the trash.

Buy fresh bread. Don’t get more than you need.

Matter of fact, start thinking of it this way:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

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G-4: Stay or Go? … December 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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clayI did it.

I made something.

Like every endeavor known to man, I felt greatly fulfilled upon completion, and a little disappointed with the inadequacy of the final product.

You see, in my mind, it should have been much better. But when I was finished, there were flaws. To my comprehension, glaring.

It was time for a decision–a very important one, may I add.  Do I stay or do I go?

Do I step up to what I have produced, proudly taking ownership, and begin to work with it until it becomes better, or do I distance myself from the project, expressing my displeasure and pretending that it wasn’t my fault?

Being creative does not guarantee perfection. Matter of fact, it usually presents you with the opposite: imperfection that yearns for your abiding, loving touch.

There is nothing I have ever done which possessed the qualities of my vision when I finished the first prototype.

That’s just life.

Where we develop a sense of purpose, devotion, loyalty and perseverance is in the extent to which we take responsibility for our labors, and nurture our creations to better forms.

  • No family is perfect.
  • No song is perfect.
  • No nail in a board is perfect.

Everything in life requires a second visitation, demanding that we take personal responsibility.

Is there a time to go? Is there a time to walk away from what hatched from your egg and emerged as a big disappointment? Here’s a guideline:

  1.  If it resembles what you want, but merely needs some work, stay.
  2. If its existence is proven to be a hurtful thing to those around you and yourself, go.
  3. If it is full of promise but ugly, stay.
  4. If it’s ugly, lacking promise, go.

The most valuable concept to possess in the human brain is the knowledge that nothing we touch is birthed in perfection. You have to come around, take a look, find out what needs to be fixed … and produce the good humor that makes correction process tolerable.

 

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Dirty Bowl… January 28, 2012

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From Miami, Florida

I had a hankerin’ for some oatmeal. (I don’t normally say “hankerin’,” but since it’s an election year I thought I’d follow the leading of the political candidates and try to “rural up” my language.)
 
As I was saying, I wanted some oatmeal. I don’t buy my oatmeal in those round containers with the picture of the austere Quaker, with a bit of a grimace on his face. I get the pre-packaged kind, usually in flavors, so I can just pour it into a bowl, add some hot water, and let the magic begin. So I did just that. I grabbed a bowl, poured my package into it, dumped in water, stirred it up and started to eat. It was delicious. I was more than halfway through my delicacy when I noticed there was something black at the bottom of the bowl. So I pushed the remaining oatmeal to the side and discovered a huge dirty spot.
 
It was a little disgusting. I’m not prissy, but eating out of a dirty bowl isn’t my idea of macho fare. So I dumped out my oatmeal and discovered the black splotch, stuck it under the faucet and tried to clean it. I was strangely relieved to discover that it wouldn’t dislodge itself and actually was not able to be scrubbed away. It was a permanent blotch. Matter of fact, you couldn’t even refer to it as a dirty bowl anymore. Perhaps you could call it stained. Scorched. Burnt. Discolored. Marred.
 
But I was no longer ill at ease, thinking I was consuming some sort of bacteria experiment from the depths of my oatmeal. I no longer felt like the guy who, having eaten half of his apple, suddenly discovers a half-eaten worm. Or like that one time when I reached in a package of luncheon meat and pulled out a slice that had green around the edges, foretelling of mold. (Unfortunately, I had already consumed two previous slices from the same package.)
 
No, this was different. This was a bowl which, in the process of doing bowl-like activities, had encountered some injury. My bowl was wounded. Its particular infection was not contagious, but rather, a lasting reminder of a poorly chosen activity. It was an amazing transition. I was happy that I could finish the remainder of my oatmeal without too much intimidation (though I was a little squeamish). There was really only one task that remained. Well, not really a task. More a decision.
 
Do I take my marred, discolored, stained, burnt, scorched bowl and throw it away–or keep it? I probably don’t want to eat oatmeal out of it again, but I could put a paper towel in the bottom and serve some grapes or potato chips. It is still able to encircle a food product, holding it in one place. It has not outlasted its complete usefulness. Honestly, it was too much for me to think about, having merely consumed a bowl of oatmeal. So I put it on the shelf, where it remains today.
 
I did not cast it away. I did not reject it. I did not try to make it totally clean by bleaching it and utilizing every cleanser known to man. I realized that sometimes, if you’re a bowl, and you’re in the midst of action of the kitchen sort, you just might get damaged. And if you were able to speak, you certainly would desire mercy.
 
Now, I know this is a little too much thought to give to the rights and privileges of a cheaply manufactured plastic unit. But still, it’s just nice to know that the bowl wasn’t dirty. 
 
Just … well-traveled.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Except… December 27, 2011

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Jonathan in Miami

Yesterday was the first time this year. 

 “Happy New Year!” someone called. It was jubilant, optimistic, caring and filled with good cheer. I liked it.

But it got me thinking. Forgive me for that–I spend a lot of time trying to think because when I don’t, I find myself just reacting, which drudges up memories of childhood disappointments, failures, misgivings and a few grudges I still hold against people who ended up being better than me. Yuk.

Thinking is better than reacting. And the thought that came to my head is this: the word “new,” in reference to the year, is only significant if we’ve actually dealt with our “old” things.  Here’s my contention: nothing is old as long as it still works. I, for instance, have just turned sixty years of age but I am not outdated, irrelevant or without a sense of history and an awareness of the present. So candidly, I don’t feel old, nor do those who meet me attribute any agedness to my persona.

Nothing really becomes old until it doesn’t work anymore. And honestly, calling something “new,” if it’s just warmed-over hash, is equally as useless. In that case, “new” is just the replacement for the old lightbulb in our brain that doesn’t work anymore. Because “old” is the acknowledgment that we are pursuing a way of living, a plan of action or a style of belief that just doesn’t work.

If we continue to cling to it, it becomes “cold.” I do meet some cold folks as I journey across this country! I would characterize them as looking me straight in the eye and saying, “I don’t care if it doesn’t work–I still like it!” I am not so sure what to call this particular mindset. The liberals would attribute it to the conservatives and they would certainly toss the hot potato back the other direction. But it is a chilly way to walk through our lives because we’re never enriched with the sensation of doing something that’s really successful, but rather, repeating traditions that leave us unfulfilled, while we insist that life is meant to be miserable and hard.

But I’ve even seen people change when they turn cold.  It’s all about the word “repent.” We don’t use it much because it sounds Biblical–and God knows, the less we quote the Bible and Shakespeare, the more likely we are to draw friends our way. But “repent” is when you  come across something that IS old and doesn’t work–and even though you stubbornly wish that it did, you soften your heart in a kind moment to consider a better option. Because if you don’t repent, what was old and didn’t work, which turned cold through your determination to do it anyway, can turn into “mold.”

And oh, this is where it gets really nasty. This is when old people who don’t have anything going on that’s working, become really frosty, insisting that they like it anyway, and then become aggressive and defend the failure.  Yes–mold is when you defend the failure and leave it hanging on the ceiling, even though you’ve heard it makes you sick.

It’s WHY we repent–because if we don’t, Jesus says we will perish.

I sat at breakfast yesterday morning with a spread put out by my son and daughter-in-law from Miami. Ham, Quiche, bagels–well, the list goes on. I had a half a ham sitting right in front of me, and being the weak glutton I tend to be, I peeled one slice and another off of that former porker. I have no power to restrain myself from devouring such a product. I walked out to my car–or perhaps, “rolled out” would be a better term–knowing that I had something old in my life.

Overeating. It doesn’t work. It makes my legs want to sue me for cruelty, my heart choke up with cholesterol and my sugar rise in protest.

I also had to admit that this year I had turned cold on the issue. I didn’t really care about my weight. I rather liked the process of enjoying food and hell to pay. Fortunately for me, I did stop short of mold and did not defend my failure at weight loss. So as I drove down the road toward Fort Myers, Florida, I decided to stop being cold and deal with the old year. And what made it old? As far as me getting leaner–it just didn’t work.

I’m not so sure I’m going to be a roaring success, but I do know this–I have identified the old. I am ready to repent, which will make room for the new. Because except we all do, we will begin to perish. And economic problems, bad politics and stagnant religion are merely symptoms of the disease of unwillingness to deal with our inadequacies.

Except you repent … Well, I guess that’s when you can add “Happy” to “New Year.” Because the old that didn’t work and the cold that caused us to insist we liked it, turning into the mold that enabled us to defend our failures, is suddenly exposed by turning a light on in the room. Now the question is–what do we do next?

For me, the first step is trying not to sit so close to ham.

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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