Sit Down Comedy … July 10th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask

Please cease sharing anecdotal evidence which you believe would be helpful in trying to understand human souls.

By all means, refuse to accept those who are convinced they have found the missing link or the black and white yet-to-be-understood.

Your inclination to seek the truth may seem noble but if that proof does not produce freedom, then it is a lie, dressed up, pretending to be holy.

When sound is given volume and blares a stereotype, it may seem that the cacophony makes a point.

Silence is often the best place to find reality.

It is certainly a better home for tranquility.

Knowing that it happened or observing the actions of others to foster a conclusion that is less than fulfilling to our humanhood.

It is not the true pursuit of knowledge—rather, just gobbling up the available evil.

Don’t tell all you know.

Don’t ask for more.

Don’t read a post and repost simply because nobody can confirm it erred.

And don’t smirk when someone tells a joke that fans the flames of a childhood prejudice.

Education is a wonderful thing if it makes us smart.

But it becomes a dangerous weapon when it stirs our anger.

Don’t tell just because you think you have the sure-fire cure or the linchpin that has yet to be inserted.

Don’t ask those who are supposed to be experts, having traveled among the natives, and therefore should possess supernal insight.

For life is not about seeing and believing.

If that were the case, all of us would have moments when we would be viewed obscene.

Instead, it is the pursuit of the better, while allowing time for the fermenting of the wine.

Mercy must be our constant traveling companion.

Without offering it, we cannot obtain it.

Don’t tell what you think or ask what they know.

For it is grace that covers a multitude of sins.

Sit Down Comedy … July 3rd, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Waking up from my nap and sitting on the edge of my bed, I was listening to the muffled booming of the television trying to wiggle its way through my closed door.

After a few moments, I discerned that it was some sort of talk show, since there were two people conversing, and each one spoke too long for it to be a scripted program.

Trying to make out words.

It was a man and a woman speaking. Finally, after a few seconds of listening to the man, I made out what I assumed were three words: “admire a con.”

I winced but then snickered, realizing that this speaker had a bit of a Georgia drawl, and what he was trying to pronounce was “American.”

Almost immediately, the other person, the female, took up the cause and what I thought I heard her say was “a miracle can.”

Evaluating her accent—I guessed Bostonian—I once again had to chuckle, because this was her rendition of “American” also.

“Admire a Con” and “A Miracle Can.”

Remaining perched on the bed, I got to thinkin’.

As we round the corner to another day of Independence, we certainly, in candor, have to admit that our nation is often guilty of admiring a con.

Yes, we live in an environment where “Breaking Bad” is a good thing, where denying the truth is political magic, and refusing to take the blame for anything is deemed clever.

Those in power pretend they are surprised that the populous begins to turn on one another and cheat, lie, and attack. Then pundits comically insist they are trying to reveal both sides of the question.

So in this quagmire—where we “admire a con”—we find ourselves giving out, giving in and finally giving up.

We produce the best we can, only to be told there’s another way to do it which is not quite so expensive or meticulous. Therefore, we’re asked to give in to the common con, and after a while, because are hearts are hungry for some validity, we find ourselves giving up.

I don’t want to live in “Admire a Con,” even though the accent may be warm and fuzzy.

But on the other hand, “A Miracle Can” breathes potential.

As long as we don’t sit around and wait for God, gods and goddesses to perform their magic, miracles can be achieved through our efforts and glorified through celebration.

I could live in “A Miracle Can,” where I’m asked to bring my faith.

For you see, it’s too bad that faith has been associated with religion.

Faith is actually just an enduring belief—an insisting notion—a treasured principle.

So I could muster faith.

And then, with the rest of my brothers and sisters, we could all have a “come to Jesus” moment.

Not a revival, but rather, a renewal. A believing in one another.

Not a church service, but an inspiration to serve.

And once I brought my faith—that enduring belief—and had my “come to Jesus moment,” when time was still available for solutions—then I think I would actually be prepared to want to make things whole.

As long as things are broken, I can bitch.

If I contend that the world is hopeless, I can whimper and play victim.

But if I want to make things whole, I can get together with others, who bring their wit, will and willingness to join in.

I’m tired of living in “Admire a Con,” listening to mumblings through the door.

I need more than the promise of “A Miracle Can.”

Instead, I long to march together with newfound friends, as we bring our faith, have a “come to Jesus” moment and really, really want to make things whole.

Sit Down Comedy … June 26th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

It’s a statement I ferociously despise, even though I have kept quiet about it for many years, and in weaker moments have had its drivel tumble off my lips in an attempt to be relevant to my surroundings.

“There but for the grace of God go I.”

If there were a contest for the most arrogant proclamation, this one would certainly be in the running.

What ever gave us the idea that we could express humility, or even gratitude, by simultaneously acting as if we are preferred?

If God is no respecter of persons, then misfortune and blessing are not manifested in His mood swings.

The truth of the matter is, we don’t know what causes the pendulum to swing in our favor or the clock to turn its face from us.

This came to my mind when I was staring at a gentleman in line at the grocery store.

He looked like me.

He wasn’t my twin, but certainly gave me pause to consider myself and my position.

He was about six feet tall with a bald head, and obese—all like me.

His facial hair was much more overgrown than mine, and his clothes suffered from Goodwill.

He also had a slump to his shoulders, welcoming a hump in his upper back.

There were enough differences that I was not startled but there was enough about the man that resembled me that it caused me to consider the nature of things.

Even though I was only twenty feet away, he did not notice me at all. He was staring off in the distance with a slightly perturbed twitch in his brow. He was holding a six-pack of beer, some hot dogs and matching buns.

Before I knew it, he had put his items through the cashier and was heading out the door. I strangely felt compelled to say something to him, but timidity discouraged me. Or maybe it attempted to save me.

I don’t know.

But I clumsily remarked, “I like hot dogs, too.”

He turned to me and replied, “Do I know you?”

He didn’t. And I didn’t know him.

I was doing one of those things that we sometimes do, which seems like it should be done, but should have been left undone.

“No,” I sheepishly replied.

Perhaps fearing that he had come across terse, he added, “I cook the hotdogs in beer. It makes them seem like brats.”

I nodded my head, uncertain of what to reply. Fortunately, years of small talk helped me cough up an answer. “Nice tip.”

He turned, walked out the door and was gone.

I wondered where he was going.

Was he going to someone?

Was he fortunate, like me, and had found a lover who was tolerant to occasional fits of ineptness?

Did he have a collage of children who were grateful and revered him for his efforts?

Did he have a gnawing talent which refused to allow him to slip into the doldrums of mediocrity?

Was he giddy—just downright silly?

Was he stubborn enough to be cute but flexible enough to be giving?

Was he alone?

On my particular journey—not knowing which path to take, nor whether one was even less taken—I stumbled my way along and was salvaged by the love of many friends and strangers.

I did my best to return the favor.

Life is not about the grace of God being extended to one human traveler over another.

It really boils down to one thing:

As you press on and choices come your way, always select the one that excites you.

Even if it also scares the shit out of you.

 

 

Sit Down Comedy … May 22nd, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

I was a fully grown, on-my-own 34-year-old man before I held three thousand dollars in my hands that was mine and mine alone.

I mean, ours and ours alone. For the entire family had traveled for a year all across the nation—sharing our talent, our hearts and our simple message of common sense, to land in the month of December with a nest egg which we were about to crack open and turn into individual omelets.

But before we did, I decided to take my young sons to a halfway house for recovering alcoholics, where those whose “down and out” had finally brought them to the point that they needed human care.

I let my kids sit with these gentlemen and listen to their stories, messages of redemption. I was hoping my sons would understand how blessed they were to surpass survival and be granted bounty. It was an amazing experience.

Everyone was thrilled because one of the occupants, who had been hooked on liquor for years, was finally going to get to go home to Mississippi to see his family. It had been five years.

His name was Herbie.

He was mentally challenged—but still able to maintain a conversation and make sense.

I shared. I told the whole room about our magnificent year and how much God had sustained us and endowed us.

Unfortunately, I was carrying our whole financial bonanza in my wallet, simply because it made me feel good and I was obviously not cleared for prosperity.

So when I went to the bathroom, my wallet slipped out the back end of my pants, and one of the inhabitants of the house found it and brought it back to me. He was praised for his honesty, and I gave him twenty dollars for retrieving my wallet.

That was before I counted the money inside.

I knew exactly how much money I had. So when I counted it, and it was $810 light, I faced a problem. Aggravating the situation was that my nine-year-old son overheard a conversation between Herbie and his buddy, in which it was made clear that Herbie was our thief.  My boy had found a corner where he was unnoticed and happened to listen in on Herbie bragging to his bunk-mate.

I didn’t know what to do. I am much more comfortable being human than trying for sainthood.

I was pissed off that I had been pilfered.

I didn’t want to attack Herbie or hurt him in any way. He had much work to do on his journey, escaping addiction. I didn’t want to be the reason he returned to the bottle, but I also didn’t want this fellow to think he could receive kindness and give back evil.

So I asked Herbie to join me in a room—just the two of us. I talked to him for a good half-hour, opening the door for him to admit what he had done. I even offered to pay for his bus ticket to Mississippi and give him a hundred dollars to buy presents for his family.

Never have I seen a man so totally divided between purity and holding onto what he had stolen.

By the end of the half-hour, he had wiggled and squirmed all the way down into the “hog-squaller,” where repentance usually brings about mercy.

But he just couldn’t do it.

I have heard rumors that in hours of confusion, God will provide the grace to be gracious. Apparently, this applies to everyone but me.

I was infuriated. I was defensive.

I took every one of my childhood prejudices against the poor and spilled them out in my heart, trying to decide what accusation to pursue next.

The worst part? $2,160 is not $3,000.

Yes—the numbers bothered me. I was enraged that this fellow was going to get away with his crime simply because he appeared to be helpless, weak and beaten up.

We finished our visit at the mission by singing a song. Before we sang, I commented, “This was an amazing day. Amazing because I got to meet all of you. But also amazing because one of you stole money from me.”

There was a gasp. The chaplain of all the chaps turned white in horror.

It was a cruel thing I did.

It could have been done differently, and I suppose the next time (or at least the time after) when I have eight hundred dollars snatched, I will be more polished and organized.

But on this day, I was deflated and out to hurt someone.

It was three days later, when I was wrapping presents for my children, that I realized how much we had and how comfortable we were. I finally gave myself permission to consider a different ending for my story.

For the truth is, having good cheer means sometimes maintaining the cheer when the good runs away.

I’ve told this tale many times.

I’ve never lied and said I believed it was God’s will or that there was some good done with the money that was better than what our family would have chosen to pursue.

I don’t believe any of that.

But each time I’ve shared, the spirit of hope lights up a different part of the tale, making me think deeper about myself, money and Herbie.

Today’s revelation was that my son, who must have been terrified to hear the man confess to the thievery, trusted me enough to report instead of nervously hiding the truth for fear of being wrong.

Everything doesn’t work out.

Everything certainly doesn’t work out to the good.

But everything, in its own way, does work out.

Sit Down Comedy … March 20th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

The natural order did not feel that plaguing us with a Presidential election was enough. Apparently, what was needed was a virus, which has scared us all into our corners to ruminate. I don’t know about you, but I have found that rumination is a skill that demands tremendous effort, patience and a certain degree of intelligence.

So it will be difficult to assess how long we will all be able to sustain our positions—until, like all creatures great and small, we try to fight our way free because we’ve been cornered.

I rely on a practice which I’ve used daily for many years. It seems on point for this situation. I call it:

“The Ten Questions I Ask Myself Every Day.”

Honestly, on some occasions, I don’t spend much time musing over them. But I do have them written down, and I do take the space to respect the exercise, and at least afford some sort of answer.

I thought you might be interested in them, and if you aren’t, this is an excellent place to stop reading.

****

1.Why in the hell are you so afraid?

(Remember, I’m asking myself.)

Fear is one of those luxuries we afford ourselves, even though we know it has no value. After all, there are rumors that individuals have been scared to death, but never any reports of humans being scared to life.

2. Can you identify your prejudice?

This forces me to admit that I am still prejudiced, even though I’ve worked on it. But since my upbringing was mostly out of my control until my late teens, I accumulated a lot of misinformation that still needs to be rummaged through and placed in the garbage heap.

3. Can you work on your diet without cheating?

I’m a big, fat boy, so I am constantly dieting. But even if I were slender, I would still have to work on my diet to ensure I maintain my nutrition, so I could use my vitamins and minerals to fight off…viruses.

But can I do what I do without cheating? And by cheating, I mean making promises to myself that I know I will not keep.

4. Can you stop lying?

Of course I can.

Actually, when you boil down the hours, minutes and seconds it takes to maintain a life of lies, it is much more time-intensive to be a deceiver than a truth-teller. I guess the question is, can I finally convince myself that I’m always going to get caught in my lie.

5. Can you slow down without stopping?

I know this sounds a little weird, but often we feel we have two gears: a dead stop or a deadly speed. Sometimes it’s good to know how to do a little less but still make it look like it’s the same amount. It’s in the slow-downed times that we discover the things that are worth speeding up for.

6. Can you consider multiplying your talents?

The deadliest words that can come off anybody’s lips are, “I don’t have any talent.”

We all do. It’s just the difference between having a single stick and two sticks. One stick is usually a weapon. Two sticks can be rubbed together to make a fire.

Can I take my abilities to make more abilities, so I will have the ability to survive?

7. Are you always attempting to maintain good cheer?

It’s important to know what good cheer is. It’s not a facial expression, nor a giggle, nor a spate of silliness. Good cheer is honestly knowing that fear and bitching will get you nowhere. So you might as well manufacture a better outlook.

8. Can you avoid arguing with people and just live out your heart?

We argue because we want people to approve us.

I’m not going to argue with you. I know what’s in my heart. I know it’s not going to hurt anybody, and I have a pretty good idea how to live it out.

9. What does love look like today?

Love looks different every single day. Sometimes it’s stealing kisses. Other times it’s giving space. Frequently, it’s quietly respecting without inserting an opinion. And on occasion, it’s intervening.

Wisdom is knowing which love to use today.

10. And finally, did you murder, blame and shame?

I become completely useless when I blame the world around me for my circumstances. And I topple from useless into despair when I take all the shame upon myself.

I don’t care who’s to blame.

And I will not allow you to place the shame on me.

***

Now, I realize this is a lot of questions.

But the answers don’t have to be long, and when you finish, you will find yourself thoughtful.

And it is my experience that thoughtful never hurt anyone.

Thoughtless is the culprit.

 

 

Sit Down Comedy … March 6th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

What statement would best typify the attitude of the average American citizen?

“Freedom and justice for all?”

“Land of the free and home of the brave?”

“All men are created equal?”

These are terrific thoughts. Can I offer a fourth possibility?

“Don’t tell me what to do!”

Yes—this one seems to have universal appeal.

The adult American maintains fragments of adolescent rebellion through most of his or her life.

I focus on Americans because other countries are so embroiled in wars, survival, calamities and tyrants that expressing “don’t tell me what to do” could quickly put you in the position of having the muzzle of a gun thrust in your face.

It’s a luxury we Americans enjoy—to object at will.

After all, a speed limit of seventy-miles-per-hour is not a rule. In our minds, it’s more like a recitation of suggested daily specials offered by a waiter when we arrive at a restaurant.

A “no parking” sign is the only sure way to guarantee that all the parking spots will be filled.

And if you put a button on a wall beneath a sign which reads, “Do Not Touch,” statistics show that at least seventy-two percent of people will look to their right and to their left, and sheepishly walk over and push it.

This in itself would be a great subject for an article—but let us add an additional question.

Do we feel any different about being told what to do when it’s a woman instead of a man?

An amazing thing happens to the male of the species with the arrival of testosterone in his early teens. He begins to play team sports or joins the military—settings in which he is often ridiculed, yelled at or even kicked around by coaches or drill sergeants.

A woman, on the other hand, often has little opportunity for team sports, and unless she purposely tries to find a combat position, will usually never experience such radical treatment.

Because of this, none of us are accustomed to being challenged, questioned or ordered around by a female.

And if a woman does gain authority, the characterization is quite different:

  • Men are assertive. Women are bitchy.
  • Men are resolute. Women are stubborn.
  • Men know how to command a situation. Women are bossy.

Just consider the three people presently running for President of the United States.

What if Donald Trump was Donna Trump? She would be dismissed as a dirty old lady.

What if Bernie Sanders was Beatrice Sanders? She would be a nasty-tongued wench.

And how about Joe Biden as June Biden? A little bit slow—perhaps senile.

But because they’re men, they are assigned integrity for their positions and are taken seriously—simply because they have prostates.

Does this mean that all Americans are misogynistic or anti-female?

No, but the average American has little experience with women being in control—not since they were little kids listening to their mothers nag about the laundry and dirty shoes next to the door.

Harken to this:

We had a whole caravan of females running for President this year. What we need to ask ourselves is, if any one of them had been male, based upon her credentials, her platform, her debate skills, her energy and her patriotism, would she still be alive in the contest?

I believe certainly one of them would have survived.

But each one was eliminated because eventually a tear came into her voice at the wrong time, which made her sound weak, even though when Joe Biden does it, it’s called empathy.

Or in the midst of making a point, her speech became more of a shout than a proclamation—although Bernie Sanders makes his living ranting at everybody.

Or she was a little too off-the-cuff or maybe not quite lady-like—although we refer to Donald Trump’s comments as “spontaneous” and “just his way.”

You will never know if you are free of misogyny until you can listen to a woman disagree with you, or even be your superior, without thinking you are back at home being criticized by “Mommy Dearest.”

Sit Down Comedy … February 14th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

 

Donald John Trump is our President.

It is a position we are compelled to honor due to the tenacity of our struggle as a nation and the grace extended to us as a people.

In the fury of opinions and the peril of hurling insults, it is good every once in a while, to stop and acknowledge what is true and what is honest.

This gentleman won the election to be our leader in 2016.

With this in mind, and my heart full of compassion and dutiful propriety, let me offer the following observations:

Mr. President:

1. Dictators have no redeeming values.

To focus on their might pilfers our great arsenal of what is right.

2. They that live by the military shall die by the military.

Every nation, kingdom and territory over the centuries that tried to maintain its integrity through the use of force has eventually been cruelly overtaken.

3. The measure you measure out to others will be measured back to you.

There are some souls who have learned the value of being gracious, and other human beings who are barely out of the jungle—with blood in their teeth. It is good for each of us to remember that we increase our possibilities for survival and mercy by offering them first.

4. And speaking of mercy, the grace that we all often need to survive the tribulation and chaos of Planet Earth is only granted to the humble.

The whole system of Mother Nature is geared to resist the proud.

5. Not everyone who cries “Lord, Lord” shall enter the Kingdom.

With the profession of being a Christian comes the responsibility of following the lifestyle of the Master—Jesus himself.

6. Pussies don’t like to be grabbed.

If an invitation is not extended, it is an assault.

7. “Suffer the children to come unto me.”

This does not mean to make the children suffer, as they are separated.

 8. Alienating nations, races and people of the Earth is rejecting their Creator’s craftsmanship.

Building walls creates nothing more than anger—and saying that there are “no good Samaritans” may leave you by the side of the road, without aid.

9. It is truth that makes us free.

Therefore it stands to reason that lying steals our freedom.

10. It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

And when the mouth speaks, the hearts that receive the words begin to accumulate an abundance.

Thank you, President Trump. Thank you for listening to these observations.

You are our President. We offer you place.

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