1 Thing That Makes Sense All the Time

 

REPENTANCE

“Don’t you just hate change!” he said with a huge bobby-bubbalicious smirk, looking across the room at what he knew to be adoring fans to his wit and humor.

Although an older gent, he was confident in his attractiveness and the sway he held with the little conclave. He paused, allowing time for the “amens, attaboys,” and “you-said-a-mouthfuls” to pour through the room, and then turned to me, awaiting my appreciation for what he considered to be an obvious observation about the nastiness of change.

I probably should have kept my mouth shut.

I certainly would have been more popular. But instead, I replied, “Mark my word, dear friends, death and taxes are not certain, but change is—and those who try to stall its purpose will find the wheels of progress rolling over their sensitive toes.”

I received no support for my position. After all, if the human race did not have an explainable ignorance, we would have to conclude it was pernicious.

Repentance should always be at the ready, or you may very well find yourself doing a “perish in your parish.” Therefore, as each new day begins, and you realize that neither you nor I created the universe—rather, we are permitted to remain on a very tentative lease—try to follow the spirit of common sense wherever it goes. That spirit will tell you:

  1. Change is necessary.
  2. You are necessary.
  3. Therefore, you will change.

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Sit Down Comedy … April 26th, 2019

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It is completely unlikely that anyone over the age of seventy in the United States of America has not heard, spoken or nervously laughed at a joke containing the “N word.” As painful as this may be, we were a country that was comfortable with bigotry.

Likewise, is there any chance that there’s a human being over the age of fifty who hasn’t stated, repeated or stood silent when the word “fag” was offered in an adult conversation? For years, this was the way we described anyone we deemed incapable of the tenacity, strength and energy to succeed.

And dare I say, there is probably no one over the age of twenty-five who has not referred or heard a reference to the female of our species as “bitch.”

It’s just the nature of our journey. We are born without the ability to walk, talk or use a spoon. We graduate from high school and enter grown-up land unable to solve problems, and therefore often opt for selfishness, in order to protect the little we have. As the old song says:

I wish I knew then what I know now.

But do you?

Do you really want to be the first white person in Montgomery, Alabama, who comes to the conclusion that Jim Crow laws are evil and must be overturned?

Do you desire to be the straight person, who during the AIDS pandemic of the mid-1980’s, decides to defend the gay community instead of insisting they brought a plague down on mankind?

And even more recently, do you want to believe the stories of women who were subjugated by domineering men, when it seems more popular, or at least politically acceptable, to come to the side of the accused, dominant, masculine figure?

There are no rewards for those who think ahead of their time.

Society has a history of putting to death those who finally clarify their message, especially when that proclamation is contrary to cultural standards and mores.

You can be popular—or you can be right.

You can’t be both.

It wasn’t even popular in 1863 to free the slaves, even though supposedly we were fighting a war to do so.

It wasn’t popular to take those same slaves—after the war was already over—and give them human and states’ rights.

It took us until 1919 to allow women a chance to vote—and even after that “lightbulb decision” was enacted, there were many places in our country where females were not allowed to serve on juries.

Being spiritually insightful, emotionally empathetic, mentally progressive and physically fit never places you in the forefront of anything.

BEING A LEADER MEANS…

If you decide to be a leader instead of a follower, you will lead alone—since the followers have already pledged their allegiance. Yet we, as a people, count on certain souls to walk a lonely path, pursue through resistance and overcome public opinion to bring us the solutions which lead us into a spirited life instead of rendering us dispirited.

As we judge candidates, senators, congressmen, President and judges, let us keep in mind that they gain their positions by either being voted in or approved. In order to get a vote or be approved, you have to get the blessing of those who walk in the present—not those who have the presence of mind to know where history is walking.

If I knew then what I know now, I would either have to forget it so I could still be fairly popular, or else decide to take the path untraveled—alone.


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G-Poppers … June 8th, 2018

G-Pop wants his children to know that if you’re going to follow what is right and do what is consistent with sanity, you will sometimes find yourself looking not cool, and even being considered not very smart.

It is the whole instability of a fad.

A fad is a decision to depart from the norm, if for no other reason than to escape what is perceived to be a restrictive situation.

Because fads have no future, they don’t really consider all of the ramifications of their practices. You can follow such trends, but when they fall apart–and they do–you will be counted among those who got duped.

There’s no need to be picky in life and try to be a stick in the mud, but certainly there are truths that cannot be altered, and should not be set aside simply because we want to experiment with a novel approach.

Here’s a simple way to view it:

1. Is it something that needs to be done?

2. Is it something that Abraham Lincoln had to do?

3. Is it something you want to teach your children to do?

Then do it.

It might sound a little silly–and I used Abraham Lincoln because he stood against some very strong, convincing fads, but stayed on the game plan that “all men are created equal.” It was not so popular to believe that. He was the kind of fellow who didn’t care. (You notice I did not say to use Richard Nixon as an example.) Abraham Lincoln did unpopular things because they were lasting and true.

So there’s your three-part process. If you really know what needs to be done, and you know Abraham Lincoln did it, and you know that as a parent you would teach your children the right way, then do it.

Don’t get tempted to follow a fad that fades.

For…they always do.

 

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Salient…June 4th, 2018

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

You can “go crazy” or you can “stay sane.” One requires you go and another suggests you stay.

If you intend on spending your life chasing what is popular, convinced that the numbers, profit margin and adulation is proof of its value, then you will end up constantly finding yourself splashing down into a pool of disappointment.

After all, consider the word popular–it “pops up,” and then, when it’s proven to be insufficient for human growth, it pops again, like a balloon, and goes away.

Here is a statement: virtue, love, tenderness, creativity, gentleness and honesty will never be popular.

You will never get the majority of the people to agree at any single moment to swing their weight in the direction of faith, hope and charity. These attributes are enduring.

Those who stay and follow them, when the “crazy” goes away, will find themselves positioned to be of help for friends and family who were wounded by the latest failed fad.

You might ask, what’s the difference between crazy and sane?

Crazy is any movement that suggests that the absence of mercy will achieve progress.

Sane is understanding that the greatest progress we can make is to apply mercy to every situation.

It’s all about mercy. There is no kindness without mercy. There is no love without mercy. Mercy is realizing that even if things don’t get better, we can work with what we have to find some good.

This will never be popular.

There will be more screams for revenge, vindication and violence as the years go by.

You can “go” after these causes, but you’ll end up crazy. Or you can “stay” with the power of mercy and remain sane.

So here is your salient moment:

There will be many voices in the wilderness. If you follow them you will go crazy.

There will always be an opportunity for mercy. If you embrace it, sanity will be your prize.

 

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G-Poppers … December 8th, 2017

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G-Pop is a bit alarmed that his children have become obsessed with reality:

Reality TV

Reality supposedly showcased in movies.

Reality in politics.

And reality even in relationships among human beings

These darkened perceptions, focusing on the more base and sinister aspects of humanity, have allowed for a quiet cynicism to emerge, coaxing us to resign ourselves to a bit of doom mingled with gloom.

It revolves around a false premise: what is, is.

Once we become thoroughly convinced that the present climate is the norm, we cease to pursue standards which historically have proven themselves essential to the human race.

There was certainly a point in antebellum American when slavery seemed to be entrenched in the culture, never able to be removed. Realism would perhaps have been to accept a North and South United States–one slave and one free.

For those living in Germany in the 1930’s, it absolutely appeared that Nazism was the trend of the future, since they were touting that the dynasty would be around for a thousand years. It would have been easy to say a quiet “Heil Hitler” because you’d given up on the notion of something better.

Yet reality is actually what sane people decide it’s going to be.

When the insane members of our society are promoting virulent and extreme lifestyles as “cutting-edge trends” of natural social evolution, we bog down in apathy and eventually are overtaken by our foolish appetites.

Quite bluntly, I think it’s fine if the Kardashians want to have a television show, as long as they don’t lead people to believe it’s reality.

If you want to watch a bunch of Netflix programs that paint the condition of your fellow humans with blacks, dark grays and navy blues, feel free–as long as you don’t insist it’s “trending.”

We presently are in danger of sacrificing three essential pieces of truth, which hold our species together. Under the “what is, is” philosophy, we now contend:

1. Lying is inevitable

2. Prejudice is a part of our make-up

3. And “mean” is the best way to protect ourselves from being overtaken.

Matter of fact, if you were to talk to anyone under the age of thirty in this country, they would say it is pure idealism to seek truth, overcome prejudice or make a lifestyle of kindness. Any character in a drama who chose such a path would be executed by the writer in the first act.

G-Pop wants his children to know that evil is temporary. It always has been. It blows through town, creates a storm, and when it’s unable to sustain growth, love and talent, it is exposed for the fallacious piece of shit it is.

Read a history book. You’ll find out this is true.

It’s time for G-Pop’s children to rise up and say, “What is, isn’t.

  • It isn’t alright to lie.
  • It isn’t natural to be prejudiced.
  • And it isn’t of any benefit whatsoever to be mean.

Reality is when we take what’s good–and find a way to make it popular.

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Catchy (Sitting 23) Dorbe and Candy … November 19th, 2017

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Matthew was elated.

Not only did the great hamburger give-away get coverage from all the major networks, but McDonald’s chose to throw in 5,000 free hot apple pies in appreciation for the large order. Every newspaper carried the same picture–a little four-year-old boy sitting on a curb eating a hot apple pie, Coke next to him, with a huge smile on his face.

It was epic–the fresh burst of optimism which had been absent in the media for years. There had been attempts to create positive stories, but rarely did one seem to fall from the heavens, right into the laps of weary journalists.

Matthew wanted to do something special for Jubal, so while Carlos finished up at the rally, Matthew raced back to the complimentary suite that had been provided and made a few phone calls. The last contact was to the GG Escort Service.

So when Jubal Carlos arrived at the suite a couple of hours later, Matthew greeted him at the door, giggling from the effects of two slurped-down martinis.

“I’ve got a surprise for you, my friend,” said Matthew.

Jubal smiled. “I don’t know whether I can take any more surprises.”

Matthew chuckled. “I think you can take this one,” he said, with a slight slur in his speech. “You see, what I did was I called the GG Escort Service. Do you know what GG stands for?”

Jubal was surprised, but played along. “No. What does it stand for?”

Matthew patted Jubal on the back. “It stands for ‘Good Girls.’ You see, they promise that all their ladies are good girls. And I thought a good fella like you and a good fella like me deserved a couple of good girls.”

Jubal crossed the room and sat down on the plush couch. “I don’t understand. Why did you do that?”

Matthew, still standing at the door, responded, “I thought you might like to relax. Sit back. Have some fun.”

“Didn’t we have fun today?” asked Jubal.

“I meant you have fun,” said Matthew.

“I did,” replied Jubal.

“Are you gay?” asked Matthew.

Jubal stood to his feet, angry. “No, I’m not gay. I just don’t know why we’d want to end this day with women that you’ve purchased.”

“Sorry,” said Matthew. “I’ve already paid for them. They’re in the other room, waiting for us.”

“They’re here?” inquired Jubal, panic in his voice.

“Yes,” Matthew answered. “And calm down. You’ve had sex before, haven’t you?”

Jubal stepped across the room. “Yes, I’ve had sex before. I’m a Las Vegas musician. Are you an idiot?”

Matthew tried to lighten up the moment. “Yes, matter of fact, I am an idiot. I thought you might like to have some female companionship.”

Jubal stepped closer to Matthew. “You don’t get it, do you? This is just a game to you. It’s like you’re playing with Mommy and Daddy’s money. Or worse, it’s Monopoly money, so what difference does it make? So you think you can go out and buy whatever you need.”

Matthew was pissed. “Hey, back off, fella. You don’t know anything about me.”

“I know you think you can buy love,” spit Jubal.

“I’m not buying love, and we’re not little boys in grammar school,” said Matthew. “It’s just sex–and a chance to have it without having to apologize, explain or woo.”

Jubal returned to the couch, sat down and turned away from Matthew. “This is not my life. This is not what I would do. I thought we would come here, order some steaks, celebrate our independence and maybe even be grateful for what happened. Do you get it? People came together today. It wasn’t a mass shooting. It wasn’t a hateful demonstration. It was people eating hamburgers, listening to music, believing.”

Matthew shook his head. “You worry me, buddy. I thought you were a professional. You know–someone who had been around the block a few times. But you’re acting like you buy into this.”

“I’m not acting,” said Jubal.

As he finished his thought, the door of the bedroom opened and in walked two lovely women in their early twenties.

“What’s the holdup?” said one of the girls.

Matthew spoke up. “I’m sorry. My friend is just a little tired.”

The second girl walked over to Jubal, rubbed his shoulders and said, “That’s okay. I’ll do all the work.”

Jubal slowly turned around and looked her in the eyes, and asked, “What’s your name?”

Matthew interrupted. “I named this one ‘Yes’ and this other one ‘O-h-h-h, yes.'”

Matthew laughed uncontrollably, apparently having consumed more than two martinis. Jubal ignored him and took the young lady by the hands, and asked again, “No, what’s your name?”

She squinted, and then cautiously replied, “My name is Dorothy Beth, but my friends call me Dorbe.”

“Where are you from, Dorbe?” asked Jubal.

“Yankton County, South Dakota.”

Jubal motioned for her to sit down and she eased her way onto the cushion. “I’ve never been to South Dakota,” said Jubal. “What’s it like?”

Dorbe thought for a second. “Well, it’s like North Dakota. Just a little further south.”

Jubal laughed. “You are very funny, Dorbe.”

He stood up, walked over to the other young lady, took her hands, and said, “What’s your name?”

She glanced at Matthew, who just shook his head, so she replied flatly, “My name is Candy Cane.”

Matthew rolled his eyes. “No, your real name.”

She placed her hand on her hip and blurted, “It is my real name. My mother loved Christmas.”

Jubal thought that was funny, too. “My friend, Matthew, tells me you’re good girls.”

“No, that’s our escort service,” said Dorbe. Candy Cane threw her a darting glance.

Dorbe stared back, and said, “He’s a nice guy. I thought I could say ‘escort service.’ I don’t think he’s a cop.”

Jubal motioned for Candy Cane to sit down, too. She complied.

“No, I’m not a cop,” said Jubal. “But I do try to be a good guy. And so does my buddy, here. He’s just like all of us–he gets some things mixed up. You see, he’s the guy that’s thinking about starting a campaign to make Jesus popular again.”

“I read about that in the newspaper,” said Dorbe.

“When did Jesus get unpopular?” inserted Candy Cane.

Jubal stepped toward Matthew. “You see, my man? These ladies don’t think Jesus is unpopular. You know why?”

Matthew shook his head, like he was caught in a bad dream. “No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

“It’s because they’re working people,” replied Jubal. “They’re the kind of people who not only know Jesus, but they want to be friends with him.”

“You do know what we do for a living?” interrupted Dorbe.

“Hush, bitch,” said Candy Cane in the nicest way possible.

“Yes,” answered Jubal. “I know what occupies your time. But not tonight. You see, my friend and I were about to order some steaks. Or was it lobster? How about both? And we were wondering if you lovely ladies would join us?”

“You know we’re already paid for, right?” asked Dorbe.

“I suppose,” said Jubal. “But I want to give you a choice. You can keep your money and leave, or you can stay here and eat a delicious dinner with us and join in conversation.”

Just conversation?” Candy Cane asked, suspicious.

“Just conversation?” Matthew repeated.

“Yes,” said Jubal. “There is so much to talk about, so much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for that we don’t have to go weird to have our fun.”

Dorbe shook her head. “You are an odd man. Are you a preacher? Don’t get me wrong–I’ve been with a lot of preachers.”

“No, Dorbe, actually I’m a drummer. Congas.”

Candy Cane stood to her feet and clapped her hands. “Oh, I love congas! They’re just so … drummy.”

“I couldn’t have said that better myself,” said Jubal.

“Yes, you could,” said Matthew.

“So what do you say, Matthew? Shall we order in some dinner for our ‘Good Girls?'” asked Jubal.

Matthew stood quietly in the doorway, where he had been stuck the entire time. He was still waiting for an exciting evening of pleasure, and was being offered dinner and talk.

He didn’t understand Jubal. He was aware of people who were self-righteous, or just hated sex–but Mr. Carlos didn’t seem to fit into either of those categories. There was something mysterious about the story of this man that he knew he would have to uncover so as to protect himself–and the money.

But not tonight. Tonight belonged to Carlos. Tonight was a time to submit to the common good.

Tonight was a celebration with two good guys and two good girls.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … July 30th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: You didn’t ask me my opinions about the political conventions.

 

Dear Woman: Well, no, because I know you really don’t like politics.

 

Dear Man: That’s true, but there is one incident that grabbed my attention.

 

Dear Woman: What was that?

 

Dear Man: Thursday night, when the Muslim father who lost his son in the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Kahn, spoke to the gathering.

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, I saw that. Very moving.

 

Dear Man: I know that’s the popular view, but it bothered me.

 

Dear Woman: What troubled you?

 

Dear Man: He came on the stage with his wife. She did not speak for the whole duration of the event. She remained turned toward him in submission, wearing a hijab.

 

Dear Woman: You mean that head covering?

 

Dear Man: Yes, exactly.

 

Dear Woman: It’s just a Muslim thing.

 

Dear Man: I disagree. It’s not a Muslim thing. She stood in submission, did not speak, with her head covered, as he railed against Donald Trump, in support of Hillary Clinton for President. It was a massive contradiction.

 

Dear Woman: I disagree. You just need to be more tolerant. We need to give religious freedom to people–to have their traditions and honor their culture, otherwise our country becomes bigoted and self-centered.

 

Dear Man: I know the spiel. But when a man, who, by the way, was extremely intense, with angry gestures, stands beside a woman who is not speaking, who is looking on adoringly with her head covered…well, I get nervous. I feel it’s good to give spiritual leniency to people, to worship as they deem appropriate, but our country should not allow oppression to exist in the name of God. For instance, we certainly didn’t honor the traditions of the South and give them cultural “roominess” when slavery was at stake. I’m sure they could have made the point that no slaves were rebelling and that everything was working fine, but we still fought the Civil War to relieve the stupidity of a bad culture.

 

Dear Woman: I see what you mean, but I don’t think it applies in this situation. This is part of their religion

 

Dear Man: No. It’s not. It’s part of their tradition. Tradition is the way that people decide to conduct their religion. It has nothing to do with faith. It has nothing to do with a God who created all men equal, and that includes women. What happened on that stage was wrong. If we want to condone it because we’re afraid of speaking up to a religion’s tradition, and demanding equality, then let us call ourselves cowards. But if every Christian church in America suddenly decided that women should not be allowed to speak and had to wear head coverings, we would remove their tax exempt status. We can’t have two different standards. If he wants to support Hillary Clinton for President, he needs to let his wife be his equal.

 

Dear Woman: Maybe he does. Maybe it was just a decision on their part to have him talk because she was nervous.

 

Dear Man: Then in my opinion she shouldn’t come on stage. Standing next to him, turned in his direction, staring at him with her head covered, communicates subservience. Doesn’t the Democratic Party want equality? Or are they just looking for a bump in the polls from an angry Muslim man speaking against Donald Trump?

 

Dear Woman: You realize, nobody agrees with you. Everybody thinks that Mr. Kahn was one of the highlights of the convention. They think that allowing her to appear on stage in the head covering showed tolerance.

 

Dear Man: Tolerance becomes cowardice when everyone is not included. There were many people during the Civil Rights movement who were angry at Dr. King because he came into a situation that seemed to be peaceful, and stirred up trouble. But had he not pointed out the inequity of Jim Crow, the South more than likely would still be arguing about “colored restrooms” instead of transgender ones.

 

Dear Woman: I see your point, and I guess by your standards I’m a coward, but I think that sometimes you just have to leave well enough alone.

 

Dear Man: You see, my point is that “well enough” is never achieved by leaving women out of the equation.

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