Catchy (Sitting 8) Cleanly Rich … July 30th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Paul didn’t waste any time.

Before blankets could be spread, cushions situated and all snacks and drinks divvied among the three, he had already begun to drone out his story. It could have been a very interesting tale, but Paul seemed unimpressed with his own reputation.

He had married three years after college–only the fourth lass he had ever seen naked. They had two children who apparently were soldiering on to do their best with the process of growing up to join the ranks of those in file. Paul did not have many hobbies–actually, Paul had no hobbies that he shared. But as he sipped on a bit of diet root beer, he popped off a question.

“Don’t you think there are better ways to spend two hundred and fifty million dollars than propagating the myths of Bedouins who seem to have nothing better to do than kill one another in the name of their mythical gods?”

Matthew chose not to answer. After all, it wasn’t a question. It was a statement of disbelief. Somewhere along the line, Paul Padwick had consumed a sour communion wafer and was still wincing from the experience. Realizing that he was the killjoy of the little airport soiree, Paul rolled over on his Cornhusker cushion and went soundly to sleep.

That left Jo-Jay and God-guy–otherwise known as Joanna and Matthew. The two of them had briefly been a number back in college–a three-week period when neither of them was sexually ravaging or being ravaged–so they cast a glance each other’s way. They made it all the way to the bedroom and even to breakfast the morning after, but then, without any treaty, discussion or negotiation, the accidental collision was never spoken of again by either party.

So Matthew was curious about what would initiate their chatting and was relieved to discover that Joanna had planned all the dialogue, with most of the lines written for herself. She launched into her story.

Two years after college, she met a young fellow who showed great promise–except when it came to keeping promises to her. He had been a rather quiet student in college, but once he got married and realized there were many vaginas in the world, like Columbus of old, he launched his ship to discover new worlds.

Jo-Jay put up with it for a while and then asked for a divorce. She was a little disheartened that he immediately agreed. Because of his unfaithful status, she was granted alimony.

So she tripped along and cavorted for a couple of years, even considering trying to transform herself into a lesbian–but found the experience rather distasteful.

Four years ago she met The Duke. Duke was not his nickname, but rather, his title. He was a Duke of Something-or-other that she could not remember–but it came with much bearing and money. He was thirty-two years her senior. She said that she didn’t really marry her father, but rather, his father.

But he was gentle. He was kind. Generous to a fault, if such a thing is possible. And just about the time Jo-Jay’s hormones were beginning to itch for a scratch outside the mansion, he just up and died, leaving all of his earthly goods to a very earthly Joanna Lawrence. She was actually very surprised at how much she missed him.

She decided to play a game with herself. Every time she withdrew a stack of one-hundred dollar bills from the bank, she pretended it was his face instead of Benjamin Franklin’s.

“So you’re filthy rich,” said Matthew with a tinge of sarcasm.

Jo-Jay smiled. “Actually, I’m clean rich. The difference is, when you’re clean rich, you enjoy the money but you’re constantly trying to do penance by giving much of it away, to apologize for being financially over-nourished.”

All the time that Jo-Jay was sharing, it appeared that she was becoming more intoxicated (though she was gulping nothing more than club soda and orange juice). She was an exciting person. She had the quality of a young girl–the kind of little miss you know isn’t very attractive right now, but someday would be a hellcat.

Finally, Jo-Jay wound down. Or at least, Matthew assumed she did–because he passed out on his cushion in exhaustion.

The next afternoon, the Lincoln airport was opened. Matthew looked for Paul, who apparently had already departed.

So he reached over to hug Jo-Jay and asked, “Where are you off to?”

“San Francisco,” she replied.

Matthew crinkled his brow. “Well, that’s where I’m going.”

Jo-Jay jumped up and down like a little girl and said, “I know, I know. I bought the seat next to you.”

“Don’t you have somewhere to go?” asked Matthew.

“Now I do,” said Jo-Jay. “You see, one of the things about my Duke is that he had a fascination about the Galilean.”

“Galilean?” asked Matthew.

“Jesus,” replied Jo-Jay. “He never called him Jesus. He referred to him as the Galilean because most of his life was spent near the Sea of Galilee. The Duke believed that this Galilean had the solution to mankind’s problems because he refused to let us escape the philosophical juggernaut statement, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Matthew peered at her. “So you’re coming with me to. . .?”

“To. . .” Jo-Jay paused also. “To see where it goes.”

Matthew gave her a quick hug, then pulled back, admiring her like she was a kid sister. “So here’s to wherever the hell it goes.”

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Dudley … May 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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DUDLEY

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*******

To our friends at Roseland: click the piano for information on Cring & Clazzy

 

 
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When I Grow Up … January 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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IsabellaAs a teenager, one of the greatest horrors was having relatives visit, and feeling the need to communicate with me, they landed on one of two awkward questions:

  1. How’s school?
  2. What do you want to do when you grow up?

Concerning the first question, how’s school?–it’s similar to asking an inmate about his progress in the prison.

And the second question is a bear trap lest you answer incorrectly, with an occupation they deem unacceptable … well, you may end up becoming part of a beheading.

I finally got fed up with the inquiry and told my stuffy Presbyterian aunt that I had aspirations of becoming a Buddhist monk. Gasping, barely able to catch her breath, she turned to my parents in alarm and said, “Did you know about this?”

I quickly retracted my statement, explaining that although I had the waistline of the Buddha, I did not share his politics.

Now, I have a granddaughter who will become fifteen years old on Monday. A recent survey of fifteen-year-olds asked the question: what do you want to be when you grow up?  The top five answers: (1) Rich (2) Famous (3) Powerful (4) Beautiful (5) Sexy

So to my fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Isabella, let me say that when I grow up, I do want to be rich–possessing one more dollar than I need.

Certainly famous, in the sense of dazzling the handful sent my way.

Powerful? Yes. I fully intend to bring energy to wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, to make it more productive and joyful.

Now we come to beautiful. I guess  my definition of that would be to bring along a complete package of myself that makes people want to be with me.

And finally, sexy. Yes, it is truly sexy to find one person who continues to yearn for your touch.

I do not know whether it is possible for someone in their teen years to grasp all these concepts. Shoot, I don’t know whether I do.

  • But there are riches available–and they are more pleasurable with contentment.
  • And fame is not everybody knowing your name, but rather, in having your name bring something of integrity to those who know it.
  • Power is something we possess, not somewhere we are.
  • Beauty changes with time, but as long as it’s radiating from within, it maintains a certain consistency.
  • And I don’t know if there is anything sexier than someone who can carry on a good conversation, while inserting humor.

So there you go. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.

You can see why I decided not to be a Buddhist monk.

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Texas Two-Step… September 28, 2012

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Everybody in America is religious.

If you don’t understand this, you will find yourself looking from the inside out or from the outside in–completely incapable of relating to your brothers and sisters in the red, white and blue. Even those who insist they are atheists or agnostics carry around the specter of religion from their upbringing, still haunting them with memories of ritual and practice.

Yet to gain true spirituality and the realization that you are fathered by God requires that you abandon most of what you revere and cling to what is real and authenticated. That’s not easy–especially when you’ve been raised in the great state of Texas.

I love Texas, but Texas is the biggest mish-mash of faith, fantasy, foolishness and fables that you will ever see compressed into one single land mass. Catholicism, Tex-Mex, Southern gospel, Bible-belt, cowboy, bigotry, enlightenment, culture–and rodeos all collide within the confines of one state, which though quite large, still seems to bulge with an over-activity in contradictions.

So you can imagine–when I arrived in Texas with my simple, little saying, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” the Lone Star folk were ready to debunk my gunk.

Two-Step One: Brother Jonathan, if no one’s better than anyone else, why does the Bible say there are ‘weaker brothers’ amongst us?”

I never quite know why holy words are misquoted, misunderstood and misrepresented, always for the purpose of establishing that one group is better than another. Honestly, the Bible does not consider the word “weaker” to be a negative. We are the ones with the jungle philosophy, insisting that sprouting any kind of lacking is detrimental.

The people of Texas believe that some individuals are unique by ability–just better because they do things better–they think better, they move better, they raise cattle better, they tap oil wells better and they play football better. Everyone else, who can’t do that or who doesn’t participate in those activities is often deemed “weaker.”

But you see, the beauty of true spirituality is that it creates a sensitivity in us towards people who have weaknesses in a particular arena, so that we have sympathy for ourselves when we also demonstrate a shortcoming.

Here’s the truth: we are all weaker brothers. All we have to do to prove that is be put in a vulnerable position, where our deficiency can be aptly demonstrated.

Let me give you an example. When I arrive at a church for a presentation, after all my years of travel and being sixty years of age, I am not able, physically, to carry in all of my equipment and tote my necessary belongings. I require assistance. Fortunately for me, I meet the most divinely inspired human beings walking the face of the earth, and they give this grace to me. I’m not sure–maybe some of them deem me very weak when they first meet me because I am not “muscling” my way into their lives. But later on, when I am able to do the things God has given me to do, demonstrating my abilities, and my strengths come to the forefront, there is a look of comprehension on their faces. They realize that just because I am weak in one area, it doesn’t mean I should be cast aside. And likewise, just because they may be weak where I am strong, I am not their superior.

Each one of us is given a weakness to make sure that we acquire fellowship. Without acknowledging the weakness, we tend to claim self-sufficiency, which obviously becomes destitute in its conclusion.

The reason the Bible tells us that there are “weaker brothers” is that we all take our turn, and if those stronger in that moment do not have an eye on their own rear-view mirrors of inadequacy, they will have a tendency to reject us instead of assist us.

Two-Step Two: “Brother Jonathan, if we don’t place ourselves in a position of ‘better’ by our deeds and excellence, how can we ever help others?”

In other words, “If I had a million dollars, I’d give half of it to the poor.”

Matter of fact, that exact thing happened to me one night after a performance. An extremely excited audience member came to my table and said, “Mr. Cring, if I had a million dollars, I’d give it to you.”

I said, “Well, I wouldn’t know what to do with a million dollars…but do you have twenty?”

He froze. He nervously giggled and walked away–as quickly as possible.

We have a nasty rendition of capitalism in this country, choosing to believe that some people have a unique prosperity. In other words, they were “born to be rich.” They have a knack for being rich–and they take great pride in giving a certain amount of their income to the less fortunate–of their acquaintance. You must understand, the “less fortunate that you know” as a wealthy person may not be less fortunate at all. Your circle of friends may not be the ones God wants you to help.

Jesus refers to the truly needy as “the least of these.” By his description, they are people who are terminally sick, running around naked because they likely are mentally ill, or in prison. It is rather doubtful that the average prosperous individual who gives a carefully selected percentage of his or her income to charity actually encounters this particular segment of society. So it doesn’t do any good to give more money to rich people when they have already decided that their form of donating is adequate to the need. Here’s the truth–any money above what is absolutely required to live and sustain oneself that ends up in the bank is a wasted opportunity to bless those who just might be a dollar short of their miracle.

This was the principle of Andrew Carnegie. He said that any wealthy man who dies with money in the bank is foolish. To have more than you need and tuck it away for a rainy day, when most rainy days are spent inside anyway, is to audaciously lack faith in your own abilities to make more and God’s promise to bless generosity.

There is no such thing as a unique prosperity.

If you have five dollars left at the end of the week and you don’t give something to someone out of your abundance, you would never give even if you had a million dollars. This is why  “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Because each one of us has to deem whatever we have to be our prosperity–and from that sum, joyfully relinquish a gift to the “least of these, my brethren.”

It doesn’t make us better. It puts us in line to be blessed by those who possess a little more than us–right above our financial heads. You see, the “trickle down” theory propagated by political pundits only works when we have accepted the axiom, “NoOne is better than anyone else.” If you believe your prosperity speaks for itself and grants you license for discretionary generosity, then you will certainly end up being tight-fisted and selfish.

So I’m sorry, Texas–we do not possess a unique ability. All of us, at one time or another, are weaker brothers and require strengthening in an hour of shortage.

And we are not unique in our prosperity because we have stumbled on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Rather, each one of us is required to give of our substance to the least of those around us, to confirm in our own minds that we are part of the human race and also a part of the human need.

I love Texas. But Texas has a tendency to reflect a silly pride that permeates our nation from time to time with a self-righteous cheer over our own excellence.

The purpose of prosperity is to give me a chance to lay up treasure in heaven, while securing for myself enough treasure on earth to keep the wolf from the door.

So I left Texas and headed off to the place of my birth–the state of Ohio. I was very curious how this native-born son would fair with his little motto in the Buckeye State.

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Two Speeches (not from the stump) … September 23, 2012

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I don’t agree.

Political parties and pundits tend to aggravate some little open wound in my soul which refuses to heal, becoming calloused to the bizarre. I guess the popular thinking is that a certain amount of lying, cheating, attacking, fussing and maneuvering of truth is necessary to win an election. I not only disagree with this premise, but I wonder if anyone has actually ever tried to utilize the facts faithfully to a conclusion before giving up early in the pursuit to strike back over a recent smarting smack.

What I will share with you today are two speeches–one from each of the men running for President of the United States. These discourses don’t actually exist, of course. They are what I feel each individual candidate might want to express if he was intent on winning the job on both merit and humility. I will begin with the incumbent:

My name is Barack Obama. I would like to continue being your President. I guess, in a manner of speaking, you could say that I won the job four years ago. I have learned that there is a difference between winning and succeeding. I was not ready for all the surprises. No one can be prepared–because, dear folks, there is a world of problems out there in what we call the world. It is impossible to understand that in entirety until you actually get in the position where you need to make decisions that affect the lives of millions. But I have learned. May I tell you this–it is not easy to learn. You are tempted to explain your mishaps and trumpet your victories. Here is an assessment: some of my decisions were good. Others are still working out. Some of my choices, though, didn’t completely address the need. Once again–learning. To be President of the United States, in my opinion, means you have to know the difference among those three conclusions. I will tell you, after four years, I understand so much better what is going to be effective and what is a waste of energy. So let me tell you what I would like to do, should you grant me four more years:

1. Abandon all bad choices and pursue the path that is fruitful.

2. Listen to all people who actually want to help the country, no matter what affiliation or what party.

3. Be a President of the conservative, the liberal, the independent and anyone else who is blessed to be an American.

4. Tell you the truth, even when it makes me look bad.

I ask you to give me a chance to use what I have learned. Thank you for your trust.

Another offering:

My name is Mitt Romney. I want to be President of the United States. I have no experience in this job. I have lived a full life. I have a collective understanding of business and commerce, discovered through my work,  family and adult journey. I am rich. It doesn’t make me better. It also doesn’t make me the enemy. I understand that when you are given much, much is required of you. I realize that I will be taking what I have experienced and using it the best I can, while learning how to be a good President. I will need help–not because I am helpless; it’s just that some of the assistance will need to come from Republicans, Democrats, independents and Americans of all types. I will need to listen to all of these voices because they are you. I will:

1. Abandon all bad choices and pursue the path that is fruitful.

2. Listen to all people who actually want to help the country, no matter what affiliation or what party.

3. Be a President of the conservative, the liberal, the independent and anyone else who is blessed to be an American.

4. Tell you the truth, even when it makes me look bad.

Thank you for your time. I can’t promise you an easy solution–I can tell you that we will be able to do this together. I will bring all I know and a heart to learn more. Thank you for your trust.

The pundits would not like with these two speeches. They would insist that showing vulnerability is displaying weakness, and since they believe that politics is a jungle, that such openness would turn a candidate into a lame antelope instead of a roaring lion. Maybe they’re right. But see–we don’t know. There is no way to be sure, because no one has ever had the guts and determination to stay faithful to the understandable truth throughout an entire campaign. I will tell you this–without a heart filled with simplicity and a humble spirit, the responsibility of guiding human beings is carried out by a fool instead of a righteous king.

Two speeches–it is my offering for today. I guess my only counsel to you would be that the more you hear of these admissions from which ever candidate, the better prepared he will be for the inevitable struggle of leadership.

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You Can Be … May 8, 2012

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You can be many things.

Limitation does not lie in the spectrum of your ability, but rather, in the perspective you hold about the world around you. All you have to do is respect Mother Nature, honor your creative Father and understand that life is neither a debate nor a popularity contest. It is a well-oiled, yet unpredictable piece of ongoing evolution, requiring humility, flexibility and perseverance.

You can be …

SMART–If you catch your dumb mistakes and begin to correct them before other people hone in on your weakness.

RICH–If you make more money than you spend for the rest of your life.

FUNNY–If you spend more time laughing at yourself instead of others.

POPULAR–If you’re willing to speak the truth with love and hang around until it’s proven to be true.

You can even be …

GROUCHY–If you’re willing to stubbornly continue your complaining, even when evidence has proven you to be outdated.

TALENTED–If you stop fussing about your lack of ability and begin to work with what you have.

SEXY–If you’re satisfied finding one person who is excited by your presence instead of needing to be enticing to everyone.

GENEROUS–If you accept the fact that the top dime of every dollar you make belongs to somebody else.

LOVED–If you are wise and do not demand that the folks around you give you attention, but rather, appear to be self-sufficient in a gentle way.

SPIRITUAL–If you have the gumption to cease and desist from being religious.

BEAUTIFUL–If you find the one thing that sets you apart and convince yourself that it’s a good thing.

You can also be …

PRESIDENT–If you can abandon your liberal or conservative agenda and allow yourself to become the spokesperson for all the people.

And you can be …

IMMORTAL–If something you are, believe or create can live on without the beating of your heart.

You can be many things. You must reject the foolishness of destiny, the limitations of discouragement and the fear of the unknown Because honestly, it is not that God has a wonderful plan for your life.

In His majesty and glory, He has provided a wonderful life … for your plan. 

  

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Tabling the Talk … March 16, 2012

 

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Martin wasn’t sure whether he had died or was just experiencing a dream brought on by consuming an extra-large pizza from Fatty Joey’s with pineapple, green olives and extra anchovies. Whatever it was, it happened in a quaint coffee shop. (“Quaint” used to mean a comfortable sense of being homey–but now has been demoted and refers to anything perceived as sub-standard.)

In the rear of the coffee shop was a booth with a person sitting, back to Martin, waiting. Well, at least, in this particular vision, he felt this individual was waiting for him. So he strolled back, looking around and found himself staring into the face of a beautiful woman–long blond hair, youthful, voluptuous, and quite engaging.

She reached out her hand and said, “Hello, there. I’m God.”

Martin demonstrated a bit of trepidation over the introduction, so the woman laughed at his reaction.

“What?” She-God asked. “You didn’t think I would be a woman? Do you have a problem with that?”

Martin mused for a moment and replied, “No. Not that you’re a woman. I’m just a little afraid for myself–that I’ll end up staring at your legs.”

The feminine Divinity replied, “Would you like this better?”

Suddenly, before his eyes, “she” transformed into a “he,” now resembling the forty-eight-year old son of the pairing of Danny DeVito and Margaret Thatcher. “Is this better?”

Martin slid down into the booth and said, “Well, at least no danger of lust.”

God continued. “What is it you want, Martin?”

Martin was prepared for the question–because Martin spent much of his time contemplating what he wanted. The unfortunate by-product of that process was that he was often discontented and fretful about what he didn’t have. “I want to be rich.”

“Good,” said God. “What are you presently doing with your money?”

“I don’t have any money,” Martin replied.

“Oops,” said God. “We  just started lying. You have money–you just don’t think it’s enough, so you kind of pinch your pennies until they scream at you. Is that about right?”

“I would do better if I had more, ” said Martin.

God smiled. “That’s what everybody thinks. But actually, human beings don’t do any more with much than they’ve already done with less. So what else do you want?”

Martin paused, partially because he wasn’t sure what to bring up next, and also a bit stung by his first request being dismissed in such a cavalier way. “Okay,” said Martin. “I want to be famous.”

“How do you bless those who already know you?” God asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” said God, “I would assume you would want to use your fame to make the world a better place, so I was wondering how you are making the world a better place for the people you already know, before I put millions of people at your mercy.”

“Forget that,” said Martin. “I just want to be more attractive. If I were more attractive, I could probably handle getting the fame on my own.”

God squinted and then queried, “Have you ever thought about bathing and combing your hair?”

“What!?” Martin replied, deeply offended.

“No, don’t get me wrong,” God said, “I am not suggesting you are absent of hygiene. Just how wonderful it feels to be cleansed and straightened up. Makes us all feel more attractive, don’t you think?”

Martin sighed. “Okay, Mr. Picky. You probably won’t have any trouble with this one. I would just like to live a full, long life.”

“Well, let me ask you a question,” God said. “Why do you get so tired?”

“Well,” said Martin, “I guess I get tired because I’m getting older.”

“I see.” God massaged His chin. “So you think you could live a long life without getting older?”

Martin was perturbed. “Are you just here to annoy me?” he asked. “What’s wrong with being rich, famous, attractive and given longevity?”

God fired right back. “Why don’t you want to be creative, generous, loving and funny? These are actually preferable.”

Martin scooted forward, with a burst of sudden confidence. “Listen, Mr. Almighty. If I lived a long time and was very attractive, had fame and great riches, don’t you see? Then I would have time and resource to BE creative, generous, loving and funny.” Martin leaned back in the booth, satisfied that he had scored a point.

God sat quietly, took a sip of His coffee, and said nothing. Martin smirked. “So I gotcha, right? I have made a case which you can’t respond to.”

“I can respond,” said God. “It’s just that you won’t like it.”

“Well, I haven’t liked anything you’ve said so far, so why should that stop you now?” said Martin nastily.

God took a deep breath and began. “Riches make you worried and selfish. Fame makes you defensive. Being attractive makes you insecure because you never know why people truly do love you. And living a long time just increases the number of days you have to be with yourself. They are all curses unless they are enhanced by you being creative, generous, loving and funny.”

God paused for a moment and then concluded, “I’ve enjoyed our talk. I was wondering if you would mind picking up the check on the coffee, and I also ate one of the crullers. I don’t have my wallet with me.” Martin nodded. Part of him knew that God was right, even though he was a little surprised that the King of Kings stuck him with the check. 

A bit of whirling of the head, some achiness of the body, and Martin found himself awakening his own bed–it had all been an apparition of the night. He belched, revisiting a bit of fishy pineapple from the previous evening’s escapades. He rose from his bed, took a shower, combed his hair and started down the stairs, whistling a tune from an old Dave Clark Five record that just popped into his memory.

He was off to begin a new day … wanting nothing.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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