Sit Down Comedy … July 24th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

The Science of Séance

Jackson Coodabury was a fervent believer in spiritualism. He not only contended that it was possible to communicate with the dead, but had attempted it several times, gaining great soul satisfaction and insight through the experience.

His greatest hope—his aspiration, if you will—was to make contact with his great-great-great uncle, Homer Coodabury. Homer had fought in the War Between the States, dying from a bayonet wound in the chest on the bridge at Antietam.

Jackson was a fervent believer in states’ rights and an aficionado on both the Antebellum period and the Civil War itself. Even though Kentucky was a border state, the Coodabury family had forged its allegiance with the Dixon side of the line long before it went to war with Mason.

So Jackson decided to hold a séance.

He got together with two friends who were interested in contacting their relatives from the period and hired the most well-known spiritualist in all the tri-state area to conduct the event.

The spiritualist went merely by the name Hector, had written five books on the subject, and it was reported that he had once been able to conjure the ghost of Stonewall Jackson.

Jackson himself was named after the great General. So whether it would be his relative, Homer, or the great Stonewall made no difference to Jackson. He just felt disconnected from this present time, still holding a deep belief that black men and black women were inferior to the white race. This was not a popular idea—not even in a prejudiced community like Melrose, Kentucky.

Jackson didn’t care. He yearned to have a touchstone with someone from the era, who could explain in detail what it felt like to be on the battlefield, fighting for what he believed in.

A small room was selected. All the blinds were pulled, and black cloth was placed over the windows to make sure nothing from the outside world could interfere. A round table was readied for the four to gather, with a single candle and a letter that Homer had written to his mother, right after the first Battle of Manassas.  Jackson clutched the letter in his hands, hoping to drain the soul of his uncle.

The evening began simply, with some quiet music, which gradually Hector decreased as he began to recite information about the life and times of the soul he was calling forth from the cosmic realm.

Jackson sat quietly, trying to calm his nerves. He understood that there would be no physical presence of his uncle but the ghost of his kin would speak through Hector.

There were mumblings from Hector—requests. And finally, a sudden silence.

All at once, Hector began to speak with a strong east Kentucky accent.

“I cannot see you, but I can hear you.”

Jackson broke into tears. He was being addressed by his uncle—a regaling voice. Commanding, filled with authority.

Jackson spoke. “Are you Corporal Homer Coodabury, of the Fourteenth Kentucky Regiment?”

“I was,” bellowed the voice. The tone was eerie, with just a touch of echo.

Nodding his head, Jackson looked his friends, who were just as astonished as he. Probing on, Jackson said, “I understand you were seventeen years old when you joined up to fight the Yankees.”

There was no response.

“Am I right about that?” asked Jackson.

Suddenly, even louder, the voice replied, “Have you come here to confirm history, or to learn the truth?”

Jackson nodded, feeling impotent. Here he was, talking to a spirit from the other side and not sure about what to request. He gathered himself and formed a real question. “What is it like where you are?”

“It changes,” the voice replied. “When I first came, after the Yankee stabbed me with his bayonet, I found myself in a small room, where one corner occasionally lit up with a glow. And when it did, there was a question inside me being asked. And I, without words, was communicating the truth of my experience.”

The answer baffled Jackson, so he followed up. “Who was questioning you and what did they want to know?”

The spirit replied, “I don’t know who, and if I did, I would never be able to explain it to you. What was sought from me was an answer as to why I chose, at seventeen years of age, to give my life for the cause of the Confederacy.”

Jackson scoffed. He now realized that Hector was apparently some sort of Northern sympathizer, who was using the séance to discredit the cause of Dixie.

Jackson stood to leave and turned toward the door. As he did, the voice continued. “Did you come for answers, or did you come for confirmation? What I learned in those sessions in that room with the glowing light which illuminated my mind was that no one is better than anyone else.”

Jackson stalled and stiffened. He remembered those words. In the midst of a very prejudiced upbringing, he had a Grandma who constantly spoke that statement to him, over and over again.  “No one is better than anyone else.”

Jackson had rejected it—but now, here it was again, being uttered to him in a séance from the grave.

Jackson whirled around and blurted, “Where did you get those words?”

The spirit replied, “You know where I got them. She was your grandma, right?”

Jackson was horrified. He slowly walked over and sat back down. After a moment of reflection, he spoke again. “If you could fight—or could have fought more—would you do it today, for the cause of freedom?”

The answer came quickly. “I spent the first part of my time in eternity learning the value of human life, which I could no longer possess. I felt shame. I remembered as a small boy, making fun of the abolitionists because they believed the black man had a soul. Now here I was, dead and gone, dealing with my own soul, tormented by my choices.”

“It was a noble cause!” Jackson screamed. “It was for the glory of the South, the honor of tradition and the heritage of the white race.”

Through Hector, the spirit replied calmly. “Where I am, there is no honor in these things.”

Jackson pursued. “How about the monuments? The statues? The Confederate flag? Consideration of the lost lives? Shouldn’t there be a tribute for the courage of these patriots?”

There was a silence. Then the spirit spoke. “Courage is only powerful when it saves someone instead of hurting them. Don’t make any statues for me. Don’t remember my war record. Just understand that I was young and foolish, and that somehow God, in His mercy, has given me a chance to make amends.”

Jackson still had questions, but Hector shook his head, rubbed his eyes, and emerged from the trance.

Jackson thanked Hector for leading the gathering, and he and his two friends went out for a drink at the local bar.

His two buddies were unimpressed with the whole process—figuring that Hector was a fraud.  Jackson, who had originally been quite impacted by the encounter, gradually lost his fervor, taking on a cynical outlook. “I don’t care what anyone says,” he declared. “Let’s lift our glasses to the glory of Dixie.”

The three drank a toast to the Confederate States, put their glasses down and headed for the door. The waitress arrived with their bill.

As they were paying, she explained that drinks on this particular night were supposed to cost twice as much because there was a convention in town and the proprietor had raised the prices. She further stated that she knew they were regulars and were unaware of that situation, so she charged them the regular cost.

The three of them were grateful and offered her a large tip, which she refused. “No, that’s not necessary,” she said. “We need to do good to each other. Because no one’s better than anyone else.”

Jackson grabbed her arm. “What did you just say?”

She replied, “I said we need to do good to each other.”

“No,” Jackson interrupted. “The last part.”

“I don’t remember,” she replied, a bit startled by his reaction.

Jackson prodded her. “You said ‘no one is better than anyone else.’”

She shook her head, frowning. “Did I? Huh. I don’t remember.”

The waitress escaped his grasp, a bit unnerved. Jackson looked over at his friends, who were nearly as startled as he was.

Jackson took a ragged breath. “Maybe Hector was better than we thought.”

1 Thing You Can Do to Gain the Lasting Respect of Others

Be Straight

Stop trying to make the facts conform to your conviction.

Don’t merely pull out statistics to support your assertion.

Don’t quote the scriptures to confirm your theology.

And stop smirking because you’re convinced that the word “straight” cannot be used for anything other than the opposite of “gay.”

Come with me and we’ll practice:

Abortion kills something.

Religion has very little to do with faith.

Brain injuries are horrible and shouldn’t be marginalized.

The founding fathers warned against religion as much as they praised it.

Guns don’t control themselves.

North Korea is not a Superpower.

Climate change is real enough that we need to get real about it.

Drugs are dangerous—all drugs.

Poverty will not go away. Do what you can.

Wealth is all in who has it.

As far as gender, it does take two to make one.

Concerning race, no one is better than anyone else.

The truth is not here to confirm your theory, politics, theology or prejudice.

The truth is here to free us from stupidity.

Sit Down Comedy … May 24th, 2019

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I thought I would send along today the ideas that give me the spine and create the backbone for my faith and human journey.

There happen to be ten of them—but this has nothing to do with the original Commandments, just more or less my relentless respect for the symmetry of a good essay.

  1. Don’t be so shitty.

  2. Create instead of bitch.

  3. My opinion sucks.

  4. Don’t speak in God’s name.

  5. Politics makes assholes. Flee!

  6. Get good enough that you can be humble instead of needy.

  7. No help is coming. Learn to laugh!

  8. No one is better than anyone else.

  9. Pick up your trash.

  10. Don’t try so hard.

That’s about it. I could elaborate, but I think that might be best left to you.

So here it is:

The Ten Principles in “My Heeling Dogma.”


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3 Things… September 20th, 2018

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To Follow That Lead

1. No one is better than anyone else

 

2. Revenge is useless

 

3. Be of good cheerDonate Button

 

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G-Poppers … June 22nd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children came to him with great concern.

She was troubled about two gentlemen she knew who were in the midst of a contentious and vicious argument over politics. They were both good men, good fathers and they were both Christian.

But the climate of division had overcome both of them, and they began to take it out on each other, leveling nasty insults in the direction of the other person, once a dear friend.

One man was a Republican and one man was a Democrat. But they both were Christian–shall we say Jesonian?–followers of the heart of Jesus.

Like many people in the lifetime of Jesus, they were looking for political solutions rather than personal revivals in their own hearts.

These two gentlemen had taken their eyes off the personal prize of discovery and placed their faith into the knowledge and politics of the day.

They were arguing about President Trump.

The Republican brother found himself in the defensive profile, trying to explain what was happening in our country the best he could, while the Democrat brother was using insults, derogatory statements and anger to attack the leader of our country.

It is affecting their friendship.

It is taking what was meant to be unified and breaking it apart.

Each one of them is convinced that the other couldn’t be a Christian and maintain the feelings he has about President Trump. They fail to understand that there are three principles set forth by Jesus of Nazareth.

If the Republicans ignore any of the three, then for a season we must walk away from the Republicans. Likewise, if the Democrats set any one of the three to the side, that party has to be negated in favor of greater words.

The three principles are:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

2. Judge not or you’ll be judged.

3. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These can’t be compromised just because we want to promote a candidate, and they certainly can’t be ignored to maintain affiliation with a political party.

Two good men are fighting because both of them are sacrificing their Jesonian beliefs to support an earthly power structure.

So G-Pop says to his children, don’t speak evil of the President of the United States. Keep your hand on the plow and follow the three principles listed above. And where you see problems come in, don’t resort to cheap insult and vulgar retort. Hang on.

The words of Jesus have lasted much longer than any ideas from any politician, and they certainly will be around long past the next election.

 

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G-Poppers … March 23rd, 2018

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G-Pop admits that it is possible to actually see in dim light. Unfortunately, it makes it more difficult for one to be enlightened. Reading is diminished, and enjoying the surroundings, greatly inhibited.

And so it is with the lack of light in our culture. We insist on getting used to viewing one another, making our decisions and functioning in the dim light of misunderstanding and prejudice.

G-Pop wants his children to understand that life is not about good and bad, or right and wrong. It really boils down to what works and what destroys.

A great man of faith once said there are only three things that truly abide on Earth. G-Pop thinks that by “abide” he meant having the energy to create growth and prosperity.

Faith, hope and love.

Faith: the realization, deep in one’s heart, that there is something bigger than any of us.

Hope: when we decide to discover and pursue our portion.

And the simple definition of love remains “no one is better than anyone else.”

Living in faithless, hopeless and loveless times makes us believe that these “abiding forces” are part of mythology–or worse, that they are dangerous because they give us a false sense of security.

Yet mean people don’t last. The arc of their success is brief and then disappears.

Dictators never actually get to see what they dictated.

And bigots eventually are exposed for their ignorance and stumble upon their own social landmines, and are blown up.

G-Pop wants his children to know that faith, hope and love aren’t going anywhere.

They’re merely waiting for the champions who want to carry the truth on their shoulders to the next triumph.

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Catchy (Sitting 37) Wishes… February 25th, 2018

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Turns out the Iowa State Fair is held in Iowa–Des Moines, to be exact.

Matthew was anxious to connect with Soos and find out what was going on with all of the articles sprouting up about movements and changes in the church.

He discovered the team was heading to Iowa, and decided to fly out and catch up with her. She suggested they make a day of it and walk around the Iowa State Fair, enjoying the visual treats and “all the yummy eats.”

Soos said she would meet Matthew at the food truck that advertised red, white and blue cotton candy. This made him grumpy–it wasn’t exactly GPS.

But upon arrival he quickly recognized that this particular truck was right in the middle of everything and very easy to spot. He looked around for a moment and then saw her, walking toward him with a huge funnel of something-or-other.

Like a twelve-year-old girl, she ran up, hugged him and handed over the concoction.

“It’s called a cheesy-fried-enchilada funnel cake,” she explained. She thrust it into his face, and Matthew found himself eyeballing instant cullinary death, but bit into it anyway.  As with most foods geared to kill the human race, it was absolutely scrumptious.

Soos had found a picnic table nearby where they could sit and talk–a stone’s throw from the hog pens. They sat down, and by the twelfth bite of the funnel cake, Matthew felt a bit queasy at the mixture of Mexicali and pig stink.

Begging off the rest of the treat, he said, “I traced all of these reports and stories about the churches back to you.”

She looked up, a little surprised but with a twinkle in her eye.

He continued. “I just had to come here and find out what’s going on.”

Soos stuck a huge bite of red, white and blue cotton candy in her mouth, and told her story.

It turned out that right after Morgan’s death, Jubal decided it was time to step out–be bold and not just repetitive. He explained that “good things stop being good if they don’t get better.” So one day after a rally, the team, which had now grown to eighteen travelers, was asked a question. “What do you think a Jesus wish list would be?”

Soos continued to explain that this stimulated a five-hour discussion. About halfway through, somebody started typing up the ideas, and the gathered accumulated twenty possibilities. After much discussion, they honed it down to a holy seven, which they called “The Seven Wishes.”

  1. Jesus would wish to bless children.
  2. Equality for women.
  3. Expose what’s fake.
  4. Heal the sick.
  5. Bring good news.
  6. Reward the truth.
  7. No one is better than anyone else.

Matthew sat and listened quietly as Soos shared her story.

“After they finished the list,” Soos explained, “Jubal said that if we want to address this effort, we need a little army, not just their soul patrol. I thought it was time for me to speak up, so I suggested that ‘good news stories’ should be planted on the Internet and other publications, discussing eye-opening, ground-breaking ideas that reinforce these seven wishes.

“Here was my thought. If people believed the churches were thinking about Jesus’ wishes, maybe the masses would be more likely to consider the churches.”

Matthew interrupted. “Well, how many did you do?”

“Let me see,” said Soos. “A story was released that the Catholic Church, along with considering women for the priesthood, would announce all the names of the priests who were pedophiles, promising to remove them from the ministry, and set in motion a deep healing for the victims.”

She went on. “Another story was that the Mormons, who for years quietly maintained a doctrine of the inferiority of the black race, were now developing a new slogan for the Latter Day Saints: ‘no one is better than anyone else.'”

Soos clapped her hands. “Here was one of my favorites. The Southern Baptist Church of America was offering an apology to the descendants of the slaves.”

“And,” she added, “the Unitarians, who historically did not believe in miracles, were commencing a new program for laying hands on the sick, to see them healed.”

Unfreakingbelievable,” said Matthew, shaking his head.

Soos continued. “Each story was carefully worded, cushioned with an opening statement such as, ‘rumor has it…’ or ‘sources say…’ or ‘notables within the denomination report…’ while never actually claiming that the information was solidly grounded in fact. The stories were so filled with goodness…”

Matthew jumped in. “You can’t tell me that Jubal went for this.”

Soos shook her head. “No, he didn’t like it at first. Matter of fact, he was standing strongly against it. Then I explained that as long as we were presenting the purity of what these churches say they believe, challenging them to follow their own doctrines, we were merely beckoning them to their own spirit.”

Matthew roared. “What bullshit double-talk.”

Soos was offended. “I don’t need your cynicism. I would like you to consider what’s happened. These churches found themselves in a position to deny the reports, but if they did, they were forced to explain why they were against the concepts. Or they had to make a claim that such movements were under advisement–and in so doing, open the door for their congregants to discuss freely.”

She reached over and touched his hand. “Do you get it, Matthew? People are discussing. People are questioning now because they care. Nobody cared before. Now it’s actually a topic–able to be discussed instead of the forbidden religion which should never be brought up during table talk.”

Matthew listened, unconvinced. What was the possibility of law suits? What if the plan were exposed, called them out for being the charlatans they supposedly were fighting?

Then all at once, Soos changed the subject. “I want you to try something before you leave the fair. It’s just around the corner, over next to the pig barn.”

Matthew was a little taken aback with the transition but played along. “Okay. What’s this special thing next to the oinkers?”

“It’s a huge roast pig leg on a stick,” said Soos.

Matthew winced. “Let me get this straight. So while I’m sitting, staring at living pigs, you want me to munch on a roast pig leg that’s been cooked?”

“Barbecued,” corrected Soos.

“Oh–barbecued,” said Matthew. “That’s different. I’m just curious, Soos. Would you be comfortable sitting in front of a daycare filled with children, chewing on a barbecued leg from a little girl?”

“How good does it taste?” she said, smirking.

Even though Matthew never partook of the pig leg, they talked on for another couple of hours, just catching up.

Soos had changed. She had probably hoped Matthew had changed also.

He hadn’t. The whole project was just a gig to him. He wasn’t ashamed. Somebody had to keep his feet on the ground while the others floated to heaven. That was his job–to be the grownup in La-La Land.

But there was something contagious about Soos’ spirit. As she told stories of city after city, where human beings joined together to escape the dusty sameness, she grew more and more excited.

It was nearly erotic. Of course, Matthew viewed everything through the sunglasses of sexuality.

He realized how much he had missed her. He had never found her especially romantically attractive, but on this day, the gleam of her skin, the sweet smell of her sweat, and the mustiness of her breath left him curious.

After the lengthy conversation, filled with laughs and thoughtfulness, Soos excused herself to leave. Matthew was waiting. He knew that if there was a connection with her–if she was interested in him, or if there was a possibility for a sweet fling–she would inquire as to when she would see him again.

It’s just what women do. At least, that’s what Matthew assumed.

Soos hugged him, kissed him on the cheek, whispered a verse of scripture in his ear, grabbed the rest of her huge Slurpee and jogged down the Midway, in a hurry to get back to what was her real love.

He watched her run away as the growing distance between them fostered a deep sense of loneliness. He had never considered Soos to be beautiful, but all at once, he could easily envision himself ravaging her in bed.

There was no doubt about it–she was going to make some man a wonderful companion, and one hell of a lover.

 

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