Untotaled: Stepping 41 (July 14th, 1967) Needing Change… November 22, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

It had never happened before.

There was going to be a carnival set up at the Westerville Shopping Center, right across the street from Redman’s Hardware.

Even though that in itself was cool, even cooler was that this cavalcade of amusements was advertising unlimited rides and midway games for five dollars for the whole day.

It was great.

The only trouble was, Randy and I didn’t have five dollars apiece, so I was ready to do my usual small-town plan of giving up and spending my carnival time complaining about missing the parade.

Randy, on the other hand, had an idea.

He went down to our local phone booth, sitting on the north corner of the Town Commons, and stuffed a bunch of Kleenex into the change return, so that when people missed a call or had money coming back their way, it would get caught and would not return to them.

I thought it was the dumbest idea I’d ever heard.

I wasn’t so concerned that it was dishonest as that I didn’t think we would ever get ten dollars out of such an adventure, with the money coming out in increments of ten cents a throw.

But Rand did it anyway, and three days later, when he pulled out the Kleenex, we ended up with a haul of $10.75.

Apparently a very popular phone booth.

We could not have been more giddy. We went to the carnival and had a fabulous time, never once feeling guilty about how we acquired the funds.

No, for me it was four days later.

I was sitting in my mother and father’s loan company, and I peered out the window and saw there was a policeman inspecting the phone booth.

It scared the crap out of me.

I had to do something–not out of guilt over my misstep, but rather, because I didn’t want to go to Juvenile Hall, where I heard they only served partially cooked pot pies.

So when my parents weren’t looking, I snuck into the safe of the loan company and grabbed a roll of dimes. I quietly stepped over to the phone booth, trying to pretend like I was going to make a call, and as calmly as possible, stuffed that whole role of dimes back into the slot, one at a time, to do recompense for my sin.

Once again, it never occurred to me that I stole from my parents to cover my previous thievery.

It was nearly three weeks later, when my uncle gave me five dollars for school supplies, that my conscience finally showed up.

I determined to go to the bank, purchase a roll of dimes and slip them back into the safe, no one the wiser.

Unfortunately, my plan was foiled by the fact that my parents hung around all day long, never giving me the chance to do penance.

I decided to try again the next day, but on the way home I passed by the local five and dime, and they were advertising candy bars–six for 20 cents.

Well, the only 20 cents I had was in the roll of dimes, and I thought, what the hell? What difference would two dimes make?

The next day I forgot to return my dimes to the loan company, but I did stop off at the Dairy Queen to get a hot dog and a coke, which took another seven dimes.

Long story short, within a week I spent all the dimes I had planned to return.

I didn’t feel bad–I felt stupid.

I did make one determination, and that was to never steal from the phone booth again. And when Randy tempted me, I changed the subject and refrained from further iniquity.

From then on, I went on a personal journey in search of my own integrity.

It was ten years later, long after my dad had died.

I was visiting my mother at her home, and I walked up to her and gently placed a roll of dimes into her hand. She looked up at me, quizzically.

I patted her on the shoulder and said, “It’s a really, really long story…”

 

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Fun Must Be Done… January 7, 2013

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kids textingAs I emerged from the sanctuary yesterday morning at Hope Lutheran Church in Port St. Lucie, Florida, I noticed a young man sitting behind a table in the lobby, busy working his phone, punching buttons furiously, almost to the point of breaking a sweat.

Now, there was a time in my life that I would have been upset that this eleven-year-old specimen of humanity was perched outside of the hearing of my show, involved in his social media. But yesterday, what crossed my mind was, “How can I come up with an app for his phone using my philosophy that will be interesting enough to this young fellow that he will savor it with the same intensity he is presently using with his preoccupation?”

We spend too much time trying to turn people into grown-ups, hoping they will share our misery and therefore, lighten the human load. I told you–it’s all about becoming like little children, and it is no different when we approach work.

Here are the three things I know about children–and since I’m trying to become one this year, it would be a good idea for me to study these carefully: (1) Children need purpose. (2) Children find purpose in work. (3) Work must be fun.

Here is the interesting fact: we never outgrow those three principles. We just attempt to ignore them by masking them with a frown.

I need purpose. In other words, I need at least two reasons for doing anything. If you give me just one, I will end up grumpy. But if there are two reasons to stop off at the shopping center to get something, then it has the potential to be an adventure instead of an inconvenience. Don’t tell me to love my neighbor as myself–I will act like I’m some sort of noble knight on a quest for the king. Explain to me that humanity is out there, ready to make my life easier. They make my purpose more purposeful. Intelligently teach me that people have the capacity for lightening my load.

We find our purpose in our work. If you are miserable on your job, you are not only losing precious moments of human enjoyment, but more than likely–through stress, apathy and complaining–you are shortening your life. Nothing is worth that.

My job was created by me to answer a calling I felt in my heart, and is constantly being retooled to be simpler and more enjoyable all the time. I will not do any work unless you can show me a way to accomplish it with fun.

Feel free to call that “childish” as you grumble your way through your daily activities. But know this–there is always a more pleasant way to accomplish any task that leaves us feeling satisfied and tired instead of exasperated and exhausted.

Here is my suggestion: link all the aspirations of what you do with your heart’s desire.

For instance, my heart’s desire is to be creative and bless as many people as I can while living comfortably. I have conjured a lifestyle that affords me that privilege. It’s why I am deliriously happy.

Now, instead of saying, “It must be nice…” start duplicating that in your own life. Don’t change your flat tire until you realize that after it’s changed, your vehicle will roll again and you can go out and reward yourself with a lovely treat.

Link your work with your heart’s desire to establish your purpose, and then find a way to make it fun.

It’s what children do. You don’t have to buy them toys–give them four rocks, six sticks a broken cardboard box and five minutes. They will create a fort and begin to launch into a fantasy of frivolity.

I want to be that child. Don’t tell me how difficult it is to be an adult–I will laugh at you. In my heart, I will mock your silliness, hoping that you will outgrow the notion that life is meant to be arduous and difficult.

  • We are children.
  • Children need purpose.
  • Purpose is found in work
  • And work must be fun.

Without this, Congress makes passing a bill to bless our country with financial gain and prosperity look as if they’re climbing Mt. Everest with a broken leg.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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