Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sitting Twenty-Nine

A priest, a rabbi, a mullah and a professor of psychology went out into the desert.

Although it sounds like the setup for a joke, it was the actual makeup of a committee which had been formed to handle the situation created by an Israeli boy, dubbed Iz, and a Palestinian lad, Pal.

It was Tuesday—two days before the rally—and the four gentlemen of distinction, who had received permission from the town council to go out and try to reason with the boys so as to avoid a public display of confrontation, lending itself to shame, prepared themselves for what they might encounter.

Everyone agreed it was a noble venture. Blessing was given to the team, a few prayers uttered, plans made, provisions collected, and a scheme devised.

On that same Tuesday morn, Iz and Pal woke up to view four over-dressed grown-ups ascending their hill, breathing heavily and already perspiring in the heat. One was wearing a black shirt with a little piece of white collar. Another, a robe and turban. There was a younger one in blue jeans and a loose-fitting t-shirt, and the final gentleman sported a navy-blue suit with a striped tie.

When the entourage was within ten feet of the boys, the suit and tie spoke up. “Good morning, young men.”

Staring at the four intruders, trying to restrain a giggle because they all looked so very serious, yet appeared like a quartet of Frosty the Snowmen melting in the sun, all the two young fellows could do was shake their heads. They said nothing, so the robe spoke out.  “We’ve come to talk with you boys about what you are doing here.”

Pal held up a banana. “What we were doing was having our morning fruit. Did you know that this one has potassium?”

“Fruit, huh?” said the blue jeans. “What do you guys like to eat?”

Iz chuckled. “Are you here to become our friends, so you can talk us into going back home?”

“Why would home be such a bad thing?” asked the white-collared one in a soft voice.

Pal piped up, tossing his banana peel to the side. “I suppose yours would be just fine. So feel free to return any time you’d like. To your home, that is.”

Both of the boys laughed and gave each other high fives. There was a tightness—an inflexibility—in the air. Iz and Pal were gleeful over their tart responses and precocious language, but the foursome of invaders seemed less than impressed, and absolutely determined to demonstrate their control.

Blue jeans spoke again. “Hey, guys. My name is Mel Rollins, and I’m a professor of psychology at the college.”

“A head doctor!” Pal poked in an attempt to keep things salty.

Mel paused. “Okay,” he said. “That would be fine. I just want you dudes to know that I’m not here to change your minds or get you to do anything you don’t want to do.”

Iz smirked and nodded his head. “Good. Then this should be easy. We want to stay here. We thank you for coming, and please pass the message along that we’re just fine.”

The robe interrupted, absent any civility in his tone. “You children know we can’t do that. I am the mullah at the mosque, and I have a responsibility to carry out the wishes of our people. We cannot allow wayward sons to do as they please.”

“Why not?” asked Pal. “You certainly allow grown-ups to do as they please.”

“Listen, I am Rabbi Molstoy,” spoke the shirt and tie. “What has possessed you boys to do this?”

“Where do you get ice cream?” asked Pal.

The one with the white collar spoke. “Well, first you get milk and sugar…”

Pal interrupted. “No, no! I didn’t ask you how to make ice cream. I asked you where you get it. You see, that’s the trouble with you guys. You want to find the hardest way to do everything—anything that makes you feel miserable enough to appear like you’re really smart. We’re kids. We know you go to the store and buy ice cream. Our goal is to get the ice cream, but not have to make it, or even wonder if it’s got too much sugar in it. That’s you. We just want ice cream.”

Blue jeans eased in. “So, this is about ice cream?”

Iz burst out laughing. “No,” he said. “Get a grip. It’s about us. We want to be friends. Our families won’t let us because one of us is a Jew and one of us is a Palestinian.”

“Now, that’s not true,” said the shirt and tie. “Mullah Tianza and I talk together all the time. Enjoy a meal.”

Pal clapped his hands. “Great, Iz! Did you hear that? We can go home, because there’s no longer a separation between our faiths! There is no mosque and synagogue. There is no killing in the street. The rabbi and the mullah are eating together! So everything has changed. What are we thinking? Maybe we are just crazy boys. Maybe the sun has scrambled our brains. While we’ve been out here the world has reformed and everyone loves each other. How foolish can we be? We should listen to them. Right? Right, Iz? We are absolutely out of our minds.”

Iz looked over coldly at his sarcastic friend. “Wrong,” he replied.

There was a moment of silence. The committee which had come to gather up foolish boys was left standing in the desert heat, staring at one another. Now they had a choice.

Were they going to listen, or had they just come to talk?

 

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Sit Down Comedy … June 28th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4091)


What it takes to be a:

PoliticianFinding yourself unexplainably interesting

MotherStill not crying over spilled milk

FatherHanging around to plan birthday parties

Football playerSurviving the hits

FarmerFirst, plant yourself

ChauvinistAct like a pig

ChristianHate religion but love Jesus

SoldierTake orders

BankerBe-A-Count-Able

ButcherA real cut-up

BloggerKeeping your parents’ basement reasonably clean

HousewifeA house, a husband…a kitchen

ModelCat-walking (no fur)

SingerCroon in tune

DancerStepping up to the routine

ProfessorBe noteworthy

PoetMaking rhyme with your reason

CarpenterNailing it down and not screwing it up

PilotStaying high at all times

SalesmanSelling out

Uber DriverUnoffended when angry people tell you where to go

AuthorFinding the words, editing the turds

DoctorSmooth operator

LawyerMaking a federal case out of everything

MatadorSwooshing through the bullshit with your glorious cape


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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … July 2nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2990)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: Premise: Six couples on a ship, cruising through the Caribbean, participating in a couple’s retreat…

 

Dear Man: What are you talking about?

 

Dear Woman: Just be patient. Follow the premise. Do you see the six couples?

 

Dear Man: Are they squabbling?

 

Dear Woman: Each one on the verge of divorce. So they have all decided to take this last step in an attempt to save their marriages, even though all six are pretty well convinced it’s over.

 

Dear Man: So why are they on the cruise?

 

Dear Woman: Propriety. Maybe it just sounds fun to go on a cruise. Who knows? But they’ve agreed to do the therapy for three days, mingled with daiquiris and fresh crab.

 

Dear Man: OK. I can see it. So what’s the point?

 

Dear Woman: In the midst of the journey, the ship, although a pretty large yacht, is struck by a tsunami.

 

Dear Man: Wait. There are no tsunamis in the Caribbean.

 

Dear Woman: Work with me here. Let’s say there are. It’s huge. The tsunami, I mean. It destroys the ship and all the crew and counselors are lost except for these six couples, who wash on the shore of a desert island.

 

Dear Man: Is one of them named Gilligan?

 

Dear Woman: No. There’s no Professor or Mary Ann, either. Just six couples who went on a trip in an attempt to save their marriages–kind of.

 

Dear Man: You got my interest. So what happens next?

 

Dear Woman: That’s the point. Suddenly six couples who were fighting and arguing discover that they are marooned and in need of cooperation.

 

Dear Man: Don’t you think they would just keep fighting?

 

Dear Woman: Not if they want to survive. You see, I think that’s what keeps the gender wars alive in America–the luxury of laziness. Because we have so much time on our hands, and we’re not trying to raise crops and fight off Indians, and keep the drought from destroying the cattle, we have all this extra energy that we spend finding reasons to dislike each other.

 

Dear Man: That’s a little weird.

 

Dear Woman: Maybe. But think about it. If six quarreling couples suddenly found themselves trapped on a desert island, needing to interact to live, would there even be any discussion about who’s spending too much time at work or who needs more space?

 

Dear Man: Of course not. They wouldn’t even talk about man and woman issues at all.

 

Dear Woman: Here’s where it gets exciting. I think four things would immediately come to play. First, what do we really need? Not “what do we want?” or “what can we complain about?” What do we really need to make it through this day and maybe tomorrow?

 

Dear Man: I get it. Can I do a second one? I would want to know what you can do. After all, we have suddenly gone from being six couples to twelve people. So what can you do?

 

Dear Woman: And you would want to know about yourself–“what can I do?” Which leads to the fourth point: “What can we do together?”

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying, as men and women, we are much better off when we’re in survival mode instead of arguing about Netflix and PTA meetings.

 

Dear Woman: Absolutely. If our lives revolved around “what do we really need, what can you do, what can I do and what can we do together?”–we would embrace compliance.

 

Dear Man: Because on a desert island there is neither male or female. You are either a contributor or you are a drain on resources.

 

Dear Woman: Well said. So what happens if we simulate this in our everyday lives and look at each other as contributors instead of competitors?

 

Dear Man: That could be truly amazing.

 

Dear Woman: And amazing is exactly what we need to survive.

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Ask Jonathots … October 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am a senior in high school and they want me to declare my major for planning my college career. I can’t make up my mind because there are too many things I like to do. I play piano and french horn, I’m very good with computers, and I also love to write. How do you decide “what you want to be when you grow up?”

If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you two parts to this answer.

First of all, it’s difficult to know, when you’re a senior in high school, that the reason family and adult counselors are trying to push you to discover your major for college is that they want to brag to other people about it.

It has little to do with you. The relatives want to say, “Well, Brian is going to be an attorney…a doctor…a professor…an engineer.”

It allows for the “oohs” and “aahs” which cause grown people around you to feel they have succeeded in raising you up to be a fine young person.

Yes, I’m asking you to be a little suspicious of people who are in a hurry for anything. You’re on the verge of making two major decisions which will determine your peace of mind and your sense of soul satisfaction:

  • How do I make a wage?
  • Who am I going to live with for the rest of my life while I make that wage?

Making the wrong decision on either of these proposals is the main ingredient in unhappiness.

So don’t be in a hurry. There are people who do not declare a major until they’re juniors or seniors in college, and as long as they’re willing to buck up to the course requirements, it doesn’t make any difference.

But as to the second part of your question, “What do I want to do when I grow up?”–that is a bit more intricate and a deeper issue.

It’s a good idea to peruse what you enjoy, but I believe there are three things that go into picking an occupation or answering a calling:

1. Can I do what I want to do for long periods of time without complaining, while still finding new ways to enjoy it?

Boredom is your worst enemy in life. It is the source of poorly timed accidents, and bad choices which can lead to all sorts of misfortune and sin. Make sure that what you choose to do evolves enough that it keeps you interested.

2. Is it going to help anyone else?

If you are able to make money and make blessing for other people at the same time, you will never have any trouble sleeping or have any misgivings about your choice of work.

3. Does it offer a branch?

Here’s a fact: if you go into a line of work that allows you to branch out into other aspects of your interests at the same time, it is most excellent.

So of the things you listed–music, computers and writing–use your great intelligence to find a direction for your efforts, where all three of those might come into play.

Just a thought.

But since you’re in the thought process, also remember: thinking, by its very nature, requires that you slow down and not be in any big hurry.

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Untotaled: Stepping 14 (July 22, 1965) Getting Over the Hump… May 17, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

It was a summer when my raging hormones were doing constant battle against my entrenched morality.

I was a good boy with a head full of bad ideas.

So when church camp rolled around, I had lost my earlier childhood passion for scripture verses and vespers, and was more intently interested in swimming at the lake and eyeballing the fruitfulness of the blooming damsels.

This year the church had decided to draft two older teens to act as counselors for us young’uns. They were named Jack and Jill.

Really.

They were three years older, which made them both extraordinarily intimidating and elevated them to the status of Olympian gods. They were so cool. Everything they did was cool.

So one day when they went up the hill together (not kidding) I decided to follow at a distance, careful not to be seen, to ascertain what such dynamic human specimens did in their free time.

They must have walked for about fifteen minutes before finding a very private clearing in the woods. Going over to a nearby maple tree, Jack lay down and Jill climbed on top of him, fully clothed–and then he rubbed his against hers to create theirs.

I was shocked, befuddled and completely titillated.

It was like watching zoo animals, except they knew algebra.

Trying not to stumble, I exited the scene, running back to camp to ask my friend (whose father was a doctor in Columbus and who seemed to know everything about everything) what exactly my eyes had beheld.

With the calm and studious nature of a professor, he explained that Jack and Jill were “humping.” I was a little put off by the term, yet everything I came up with–for instance, “rubbing” and “entangled”–seemed no better.

He said my particular viewing of humping was of the “dry” variety.

I was enraged.

I was engorged.

I was torn between my envious nature over their pleasure and my Biblical knowledge of the perils of fornication. So blending the two together–envy and disdain–I went to the pastor in charge of the camp and squealed on them.

He promised that no one would ever find out that it was me, and a meeting was planned to dismiss the two from camp due to their immorality.

Sensing their ultimate betrayal, Jack and Jill went on the “lamb” and Splitsville.

I felt bad.

Two reasons: I realized that I hurt two people to make myself look good, and secondly, I couldn’t get the humping vision out of my mind–not because it was unpleasant, but because secretly I wished it was me.

I learned a valuable lesson that year at church camp. It had very little to do with the Law of Moses or the major doings of the minor prophets.

I learned that it is my job to pay attention to concerns that pertain to me and to try to leave other people alone.

After all, we humans are a jumbled mess of emotion, spirituality, mentality and physical urges. To sit in judgment of one another sets up the scenario for our own comical fall from the throne of self-righteousness.

Because … when Jack goes up the hill and falls down, Jill often comes tumbling after. It’s just the way we are.

It’s all because deep inside of us, we are trying to … “fetch that damn pail of water.”

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I am bad enough to be good … June 20, 2013

(1918)

Bad im goodI’ve never wanted to be called “Reverend.” It makes people want my “thou” to be “holier.”

I really never had a desire to be a doctor. The notion of a bunch of sick people asking for free advice never appealed to me. Also, just think how embarrassing it would be to get a cold–a bunch of individuals walking up with smirks, saying, “Physician, heal thyself…”

I don’t care for the idea of being a professor. I am comfortable in my britches and don’t need to be smarter than them.

The ideal position in life is realizing that you’re bad enough to be good. In other words, I am completely capable of doing stupid things. So please note my effort to avoid such nonsense–and acknowledge when I escape the mediocre.

When you live your life believing that a certain quotient of goodness must be assessed to you before you even begin the game, you will do anything in your power to maintain that image.  Even lie. Or maybe I should say, especially lie.

Here’s the major problem with lying. It’s not pleasing to anyone:

  • It doesn’t please God, because God demands truth on the inward parts.
  • It doesn’t please other people–because they can’t trust you.
  • And it doesn’t please yourself, because even in those  times when you get by with your lie, deep in your heart you know there’s absolutely no validity to what you claimed.

Lying is the most dissatisfying experience, pursued by the largest majority of people–to no conclusion.

I became a human being of value the day that I admitted I was bad enough to be good. For after all, I must confess ten faults before I’m worthy to claim one victory. If I feel that I lose “soul” or “purpose” in the process of repenting of my dopiness, I will probably avoid doing it and end up getting caught in a lie that I conjured to protect my sense of personal holiness.

Lying is what human beings do when they believe they really aren’t enough, while simultaneously protecting what they think they possess.

It’s just a mess.

I will never achieve anything of goodness until I am adequately able to identify what is truly useless. Since I am not a magician, when I try to make useless things appear to be good, I end up holding the wrong cards in my hand, looking like a klutzy conjurer.

And since I’m not a Reverend, a doctor or a professor, I can afford to be just ME–capable of great error–therefore also enabled to surprise you with an occasional blessing, as I actually land on an appropriate response.

I don’t know if I can convince you in this short essay of the value of realizing incompleteness. But if you can begin to comprehend that what we fear the most is being abandoned, then you can begin a journey toward great friendships based on honesty, instead of precariously perched on a pedestal of mis-truths.

I am bad enough to be good.

It’s obvious that I’m good enough to be bad, but because I am not afraid of my shortcomings and I’m willing to be long-suffering with the errors of others because I understand my weaknesses, I can land at a happy medium of never being too intense to prove my point or too afraid … of being alone.

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