The F Word … March 12th, 2019

THE

WORD

I was there, live and in person, when “golly” surrendered, without a shot, to “OMG.” Oh, My God.

Likewise, when “Geez” transformed into “Jesus H. Christ.”

Darn it, after that, “heck” didn’t have a chance. “Damn” and “hell” reigned supreme for quite a season.

Then people stopped referring to the “butt of a joke” and screamed at you to “get off your ass.”

Time passed.

It seemed like “give a shit” would hang around, but the times, they are a’changin’.

Here comes “what the fuck.”

“Fuck” is like an old friend who got lost in the wilderness but came back into the house, was ready to sleep on the sofa and willing to throw in a few bucks for pizza.

It stuck closer than a brother.

It became a noun, an adjective, a verb, an interjection—and I do believe I have even heard it used, from time to time, as an adverb: (“…he said fuckily…”)

This disturbs many people, who yearn for the time when language was carefully watched by censoring forces who desired that anything untoward would not cross the ears of young children, or even mature adults.

We most certainly know that Rhett Butler would never say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” if he was able to let Scarlett know that he didn’t “give a fuck.”

It is not the profanity of f-u-c-k that makes it particularly nasty. Although overused, it is not the foulness of the word that creates a problem. It’s just that on the journey from “golly” to “fuck” we got angrier.

We’re not using the language to be clever or cute. We’re using the word because we’re more pissed off than we used to be.

We even tease with a friendly “fuck” to remind people that just beneath the surface is a bubbling oil, ready to spill out and burn anyone in sight if they dare cross our path.

It would be absolutely fine if we could “fuck this, fuck that” and “fuck the other” if it was accompanied by a smile instead of gritting teeth.

It may be necessary to back off the language just to give us the chance to regain some civility. Because you can tell me I’m dumb all day long and I may not like it, but if you tell me to go fuck myself, we’re at war.

So let us not be childish.

First, let’s not be Puritans, pretending that language can be controlled and taken back to an 1853 purity.

But also, let’s not be so idiotic as to assume that the rampant use of more and more “fucks” in our society does not mean that we’ve lost control and no longer have the ability to deal rationally with each other, without tempers flaring.

So the F word is “fuck”

This is not because it’s particularly profane, but because it is a precursor to violent behavior.


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G-Poppers … July 20th, 2018

G-Pop was nine years old when Bobby moved into the village and started attending the little elementary school.

At first the parents thought he might be a Negro, since he had skin a couple of shades darker, and curly hair. But on careful inspection and tracking down some details, it was confirmed that he was Italian. This allowed him to be suitable for playtime and interaction.

But Bobby was different.

He wasn’t like all the scared children from our burg who were frightened to death to displease the grownups who held the key to play-time and candy. Bobby didn’t care.

When the teacher came into the room, the rest of the students fell silent–like attending a funeral. But Bobby just kept chattering, glancing up at the teacher and smiling back at all the other terrified third-graders.

He was the same way during recess. He played hard, rough and mean. But at the same time, he was sweet-talking to the girls, so they liked him. In no time at all, he developed a reputation among the teachers, staff and some of the parents of being a brat.

Yes. Bobby the Brat.

What concerned them most of all was that there seemed to be a breakdown of discipline across the board–because other students began to feel the liberty to be curt, selfish and overly aggressive.

There was so much pressure on Bobby that when the time to begin fourth grade rolled around, he was gone. His parents left town.

Bobby the Brat had departed, so things went back to being orderly. Even though we all denounce the blandness of being orderly, disorderly comes with a nastiness which spews out poison which has been deposited in our “mad hole.”

Yes. All God’s children got a mad hole.

It’s a space deep inside where we stuff all of our frustration, misgiving and prejudice, thinking it’s a garbage can–but really, it’s just a container where our bigotries decay.

And then one day, we reach a point of rage when this poison is vomited out of our mouths.

It’s a mad hole.

It’s never cleaned out–ignored.

People try to freshen it–try to put a lid on it, so to speak, but as long as it exists, it will eventually erupt.

G-Pop wants his children to know that the truth is, you can’t get provoked unless you’re already pissed.

Nobody pissed you off. They just provoked you until you finally spilled all the putrid contents of your mad hole.

Often all it takes is for Bobby the Brat to come along and tease us with the notion that we aren’t crazy and we should speak out our stupidities loud and clear, for everyone to hear.

So we do.

Civility dies, kindness is mocked, being nice is deemed weak and the only distinction we have seems to be in the horror of our mad hole.

Mad hole

In my soul

Take it in

Make it sin

First the hate

Of your fate

Rots your brain

With things insane

It’s begun

Load your gun

Me against you

Us against them

Don’t wonder if it’s true

Repeat it again

Mad hole

Leaves a space

For me to despise

The human race

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Good News and Better News … January 29th, 2018

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Somewhere stuck between pissed off and tuned out, I waddle and wheeze, waiting for a needful kick in the butt, which I pray will actually be a whack of love.

For I am a human being. I look a lot like a monkey, but my Daddy is the King of the Universe (paternity test yet to be performed).

While we wiggle and struggle over the language of piety, politics and purpose, most of the human race is looking for a pleasant path to eating a good meal, while trying to get along.

Everything is too damn complicated. Matter of fact, writing this essay creates the risk of heaping another helping of opinion onto the stinky pile accumulated behind the house.

Can we simplify?

As far as I know (and I could be wrong, but not just because you think so–there would have to be some merit to your objection) every one of us needs:

1. A start of heart.

If we don’t feel, we don’t have any feeling. If we have no feeling, we have no empathy, and without empathy we start treating people like dogs (or even worse, because we kind of like dogs).

2. A goal of soul.

Even if there were no God we would have to invent one in order to lift our behavior above eye-gouging and tooth extraction.

I need a soul. I need to know you have one. Otherwise, if you get in my way, you could start looking like a cockroach and I might be tempted to strap on my killin’ boots.

3. A lane for the brain.

Parents, culture, family, schooling and misgivings have built cement freeways in our cranium. Unfortunately these roads don’t always take us to a healthy place. We need a lane in the brain to keep us from being insane.

4. A wealth of health.

I’m talking about your best health. If you’re like me, you’ll probably never be as well-structured as an Olympic athlete. But you can be the best pudgy, healthy rendition of the model that’s been provided for you.

These are the four things we’re all concerned about when we aren’t bitching. Once we begin to complain, life becomes too pat. “It’s your fault because it couldn’t be my fault because I have no fault.”

As you see, this is not a very fruitful profile.

So the good news is, if we will stop trying to change the world by preaching, the better news is, we might just start finding so much commonality that we are sympathetic to one another.

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Good News and Better News … October 31st, 2016

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coldwater-back-wall-1From everything I hear in the news media, our country is “angry.”

People are mad.

I’m not really sure what they are so upset about, but I guess that’s why pundits get to dress up and over-explain.

Yesterday when I arrived at the Coldwater United Methodist Church, I met people who are trying really hard to be kind and gentle in an atmosphere of crudeness and despair. Even the pastor of the church is beginning a new phase of her life, expanding the horizons of her ministry–completely and totally by faith.coldwater-set-2

Even though we accept the veracity of the reports about the frustration in our country, the constant repetition of complaint does nothing to alleviate the pain.

But it really revolves around a three-step process:

1. Stop being mad at me.

Yes, I need to stop being mad at myself. Most of the antagonism I feel toward other people is centered in my own dissatisfaction with my choices–especially when it comes to lying. For after all, once we start deceiving ourselves and others, we’re grouchy and fussy because we fear there’s the chance we’ll be challenged or get caught. So the best way for me to stop being mad at myself is to set in motion no lying–and that goes for exaggeration, too.

2. Stop being mad at others.

No grudges.

The grudge is always a piece of pride we fester because we’re not willing to discuss our feelings, fearing that we just might have to compromise. When we no longer insist that other people are “just so stupid that we couldn’t possibly reason with them,” we begin to address the animosity we have with mankind as a whole.

3. Stop being mad at God.

Most Christians would insist they feel nothing but love for their heavenly Father. But since He is our Dad and we are His children, there’s a good chance that occasionally we’ll be pissed off over the household rules–especially since religion comes along and puts the doctrines in stone. You can’t have a relationship with God through religion.

So–no religion.

Religion will not make you closer to God. It makes people prejudiced, self-righteous and nasty.

So I contend that a good portion of what I am called to do is remove the arrogance of anger so that the congregation can manage to forgive themselves, others and God.

That’s the good news.

The better news is: when you have no lying, no grudges and no religion, you find it much easier to relax and enjoy your relationships.

coldwater-jesus-note-3

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Ask Jonathots … February 25th, 2016

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My parents and I got into a fierce argument in which they claimed that the Baby Boomers were the best generation–the most politically aware, socially progressive, and creative. I said they were sell-outs who only protested because they didn’t want to get drafted. What do you think?

And on the other hand, the Baby Boomers were greatly pissed off that their parents believed that winning World War II made them a superior generation.

I think there’s only one criterion for determining the quality of any group of people.

How well did they avoid distractions?

Distraction is what causes us to believe that the temporary situation will become permanent.

Saying that, I will tell you that technology and pseudo-intellectualism has distracted us more and more into believing that we are smart and non-prejudiced.

There has never been a greater amount of bigotry, racism, clamoring for war and intolerance than there is today. Yet the Baby Boomers had an opportunity to free our culture of much of this foolishness, but instead, mimicked their parents’ materialism just as soon as the threat of blood and mayhem in Vietnam had passed.

So the question is, can our generation–the new generation–avoid distraction?

Can we refuse to allow Facebook to be the well of our understanding?

Can we rightly judge within ourselves what still remains of selfishness and superiority?

Because if we can’t, the distractions will take this generation and cause it to sell out just as much as the Baby Boomers and the WWII heroes.

So how do we avoid distraction? Everything in our lives needs to be run through the prism of two ideas. If it is run through this prism and comes out with flying colors, then it is worthy of our consideration. If not, it’s a distraction.

  1. Does this new thing, new idea or new approach cause us to love people more?
  2. Does this possibility make us want to do better with our lives?

If the answer to these two questions is yes, then it is not a distraction. It is a pathway to progress.

If the answer ends up being no, then it is a dangerous detour which will only take us further away from understanding and peaceful coexistence.

  • The WWII generation thought owning a house and having a family was the most powerful thing in the world.
  • The Baby Boomers were convinced that a blending of social consciousness and financial prosperity was the key.

Today’s question is this:

Can we find our hearts, to touch our own souls, to renew our minds to grant us legitimate strength?

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Cracked 5 … March 17, 2015

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Reasons for Daylight Savings Time

A. An attempt to control time, since we know we truly can’t.

B. To give another reason for employers to work all of their “salaried” employees longer, since the sun has not yet set.

C. To give focus to the clocks in our house, which usually don’t receive our tender loving touch.

D. So Mr. Daylight can go to a Dave Ramsey seminar and learn how to save time.

E. To further piss off already pissed-off people.

 

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 51 (September 17th, 1969) I’m Already Gone… January 24, 2015

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(Transcript)

For nearly a week I had been having nightly dreams, similar if not identical.

The root plot of each one of these mini-movies in my mind was a sense of being displaced.

In these visions, I usually woke up late and realized that school had already started. I found myself rushing around to dress, only to realize that I had no need to do so because I had already graduated from the institution and was merely attending for lack of anything better to do.

It was the strangest sensation, mingling freedom with anger, throwing in a dash of craziness.

I was never a great fan of the schoolyard, nor of the classroom that was inevitably attached. But now I felt like a prisoner.

I didn’t know if it was the death of my father, the incident of being caught lying on my job in the summer or the fact that I was dating a girl, but I found myself completely disinterested and even annoyed with all the little trinkets of childhood they tried to throw my way.

The music group I had started years earlier had evolved into some sort of creature I no longer recognized and was out of my control, so I avoided practices, and had my friends chasing me down to find out where I was.

The church I attended seemed more critical of me and my ways than critical to my spiritual well-being. The singing was flat, the preaching was judgmental and the folks I once respected now looked like they belonged in an old folks home.

I was generally pissed off, but covered it up pretty well with a sardonic attitude which occasionally sprouted sarcasm.

So when the sociology teacher told us we needed to read a book that addressed the transitions of our present time and give a report on it, I was oblivious and completely unmotivated with the project–so much so that when the day arrived to give the report in front of the class, I had neither a verbal explanation about my book or why I read no book.

So giggling a bit in my innards, I stepped to the front of the classroom and delivered an impassioned commendation of a volume entitled “In Search of the American Soul.”

It was so well-received that at the end, the class and the teacher gave me a huge round of applause. I even fielded a couple of questions from my instructor about the book and answered adeptly before sitting down to the admiration of the entire room.

Of course, the only problem was there was no such book.

And two weeks later, when the written report was due, and it was required to place on the completed paper the Library of Congress number of “In Search of the American Soul,” I had no such available data.

So when the teacher asked me where my written report was, I was forced to explain to him that there was no book and that the oral report I had given was improvisational.

I thought he might give me a few points for originality, but he was so upset about being duped that he flunked me.

This caused the National Honors Society, of which I was supposedly a member in good standing, to contact me and tell me that my grades had fallen below acceptable levels for their revered organization.

I didn’t care.

I was already gone.

Looking back on it, I don’t know what anybody could have done to revive my interest in adolescent concerns.

It’s just that I graduated before graduating day, so I was going to have to hang around and wait for my class to catch up.

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