Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4064)

Sitting Twenty-Two

Karin was embarrassed.

She had promised “the boys in the sand” that she would come up with some answers—or just do anything contrary to their belief that she would do nothing–so she took some time to gather together a sampling of the gifts donated during her phone solicitation. Matthew stared at her in disbelief—partly because of the frenzy of nerves that had overtaken her in accumulating the items, but mostly because he couldn’t figure out how this particular collage of “things” had any central theme.

They drove until Karin was able, through trial and error, to remember where the encampment was. Then, much to her surprise, she saw that many other of the gifts had been delivered to Iz and Pal, including the portable toilet, orange construction cones, fruit baskets, and what appeared to be bags of hamburgers. She shook her head, unable to conceive how anybody had been able to find the location.

As she climbed the hill with her trinkets, she observed the boys opening and closing the door to the toilet, poking their heads inside and giggling. “It’s a toilet!” she shouted.

They jumped back, startled. She covered the remaining distance quickly, and gently patted Iz on the shoulder. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” she said tenderly. “So, what do you think of your new toilet?” She stood back, holding out her hand as if introducing royalty.

Iz shook his head, perplexed. “Why do we need a toilet?”

“Well,” said Karin slowly, “don’t you get kind of tired of, like, burying your stuff in the desert?”

“No, actually it’s kind of fun,” inserted Pal. “I mean, every once in a while you forget, and you dig up one of your old…”

Karin interrupted. “I got the idea!” She lifted her hand to stop any further explanation. Suddenly remembering her guest, she turned to Matthew, who had just arrived. “Iz and Pal, this is Matthew Bradley, and he is here to take your picture.”

Matthew stepped forward. “Hey, dudes. You see, I’ll take this box and point it at you, and what you look like will come through this lens…” He paused to point at the front of the camera and continued. “And from this lens it goes onto what they call film, and makes a picture of your faces.”

He said each word slowly and deliberately, like a missionary schoolteacher. Karin intervened. “Matthew, they are not Aborigines. They have seen cameras, and they’ve had their picture taken. And by the way, they don’t think you’re stealing their souls. Just tell them how you want them to stand.”

Matthew paused, rubbing his chin. “Karin, what is the theme of the picture?”

Karin rolled her eyes, trying to make sure that Matthew didn’t notice. “Theme? There is no theme, Matt. I need a picture of these boys so I can get more attention for their situation.”

Matthew signed, impatient with her ignorance. “Well, if you just wanted a picture you could have picked up one of those disposable cameras,” he said, disgusted. “Listen, Karin, I’m more than a ‘photo guy.’ That’s your problem. You see me as so, so, so very small…”

Karin realized that what she deemed logical he felt was unappreciative. She eased over and gave him a sideways hug (so as to avoid his breath) and said, “Matthew, I’m sorry. I just don’t know about picture themes. What do you think?”

Matthew, immediately healed by the gratuitous apology, was elated. He suggested the two boys embrace as a symbol of their friendship, but since the boys had never really embraced before, it looked terribly awkward. Then, in a brief flicker of pure dumb luck, they managed to hug each other and turn to the camera with huge, cheesy grins.

It was an inspiring moment.

“What are you going to do with the picture?” asked Pal.

“I’m going to try to make your picture famous,” Karin replied, “so you don’t have to be.”

The boys nodded (the way twelve-year-olds do when they don’t really understand adult talk, but also don’t want to hear any more.)

Truthfully, Karin didn’t really understand herself.

Yet several hours later, in a small darkroom, Matthew developed the photo and presented it to Karin. Never in her journalistic life had she seen a picture reflect such clumsy warmth and genuine homespun tenderness. A tear came to her eye, which she reached up and dried quickly. It was no time to be sentimental.

There were still cows to get into the barn.

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Untotaled: Stepping 28 (September 14th, 1966) Cindy Kerns… August 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2330)

(Transcript)

Fat boy, locker room, peer pressure, fear of inadequacy, dirty jokes, girl talk, not enough information.

This was my life on September 14th. I was in search of bragging rights. Very simply, I needed a girlfriend.

Even though I was just a kid, I had reached an age where if I didn’t get some experience with the girl crowd very soon, I would be considered queer in every way.

So I picked Cindy Kerns. She was a year older than me, from another school and attended my church. The best way to describe her is to tell you that her mother called her a “flower.” The pastor’s wife referred to her as a “late bloomer.” But I knew the guys on my football team would think she was stink weed.

(All the terms have a botanical source, but certainly different interpretations.)

I knew I could get Cindy interested in me. I was no expert with girls, but because she followed me around and swooned a little bit when I was present, I figured she was interested. She was sweet.

So here was my plan: make my boast after showering, tell them about Cindy, and then acquire a picture from Cindy of one of her other friends from school–a cheerleader–which I could show to my friends instead of the real picture of my actual girlfriend. Then I could make lots of claims and look cool.

Amazingly enough, it came off without a hitch.

I don’t know why Cindy didn’t get suspicious about me requesting pictures of other girls from her school. I guess she just thought I was interested in her friends. She only asked for one picture–mine.

It made me feel bad, but not as bad as I would feel if I had to show my friends a picture of Cindy instead of some unknown beauty from down the road.

Once football season was over and I didn’t have to deal with these guys with their macho jargon on an everyday basis, I dumped Cindy.

But in that brief two-and-a-half month period, I grew to like her. I learned when to kiss, how to kiss and things to say to a woman at just the right times.

Adolescence is a terrible time to try to be a human being. In an attempt to become something that you probably will never be, you can really hurt other people from becoming what they could be.

So I would like to apologize to Cindy (who I am sure by now wouldn’t even remember who I am). And I would also like to apologize to the girl whose picture I used to impress my friends.

After all, it’s unfair to carry on a relationship with a stranger by photograph.

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G-10: Surrender or Defender … February 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2144)

dad and johannPictured is my son, Jasson, mercifully and tenderly holding his ailing boy, Johann.

When the photograph arrived, I was not only moved because of the closeness of family connection, but also in the fact that I realized that it was a snapshot of humanity.

For to become a complete person, you must understand that you will play both roles at one time or another. You will need to be the comforting father, concerned for a struggling friend, holding him close to infuse strength. Yet you also need to be prepared to become the tired, limp, struggling child, who collapses into the arms of a heavenly Father, or an earthly surrogate.

I believe the reason that many people fail in their human journey is because they become reticent, determined not to move freely between these stations. It is a truth that I will find myself needing to be a defender of others–protecting them from the onslaught of the angry horde, but it is equally as powerful to understand that at times, through my own weaknesses, I need to be protected, sheltered and isolated from the avenging crowd.

The world tells me to be strong and never show weakness. In doing so, I am unable to overcome my demons, but merely discuss wrestling with them until they pin me to the ground and destroy me.

Religion promotes the doctrine of weakness, hoping to magnify the strength of God by displaying the useless efforts of our human talent.

Damn them both.

Damn them to the hell they have created for our species. Because sometimes I am a defender; other times I must surrender.

I consider three ideas:

  1. Do I have anything to contribute or offer, other than my opinion or ego? If not, then please, let me sheath my sword and step back, allowing others to lead the charge.
  2. Can the acknowledgment of my weakness end up making me stronger? Yes, do I gain credibility in the earth family by being honest, and therefore worthy of being considered a defender of the truth?
  3. Can I move freely between surrender and defender without feeling lessened or overly self-important?

As life moves, so must I.

At times the blowing of the wind will fill my sails and push me forward. At other times, the same wind will just be a storm.

What a beautiful picture of us as people, as my son tears up over his fragile offspring and the little boy, equally as intelligent, gives over all need for resistance to protective arms.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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