Things I Learned from R. B. (April 5th, 2020)


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Episode 10

We decided to settle into Shreveport, Louisiana, where I took a job as a professor at a Bible college, teaching drama and also Music Director at the adjoining church.

The college was very small—only twenty students—and the church maintained a faithful fifty. But it garnered me living quarters and a small weekly stipend.

I took the opportunity because I thought “college professor” would look good on my resume.  I also speculated that it would give me several months to think things over before the evangelical church, which financially supported the college, grew tired of me and my creative ways.

R. B. accompanied us, but only in body—somehow absent the heart and soul which had once plumped him up into being human. The misadventure in Minnesota had left him defeated, devoid of confidence. So upon arriving in Shreveport, he found a young couple who had an extra room, and he moved in.

Although he was only ten blocks away from us, we gradually lost contact.

He despised the director of the Bible college and came to church services very infrequently. I did not agree with him about the founder of Hope Bible College,  even though the man wore cowboy shirts, bolo ties, boots and stabled two horses on his property. He and I were not a natural match, but still maintained a strange respect based upon the fact that he yearned for my youthful intervention at his dream institute.

And I certainly loved having my rent paid and enough money to fund my addiction to lunch meat.

There was a small dormitory on site which housed six students. One was the onsite janitor, whom the college touted as “recovering from mental retardation.” He was not really challenged—just a young kid with the shit intimidated out of him. There was also a black student, fulfilling Hope’s MLK moment. And then there were four gentlemen who certainly, in the real world, would have been prescribed anti-depressants, but were instead being sustained by prayer-healing.

Now, I knew my stay would not be long, so I launched.

I wrote two original plays and staged them in a small auditorium where we built a stage and I wired in two banks of overhead colored lights. The proctor of our “college-ette” was thrilled beyond measure when we presented the first play, and not only was the auditorium filled to the brim, but the local newspaper arrived to review it.

Yet R. B. only showed up when I asked him to play organ in the church. He arrived attempting to play with a black gospel-jazz flair. Unfortunately, R. B. was not black, nor jazzy.

In a nutshell, he was frustrated and confused.

He took up smoking, started to socially drink (which the congregation found quite unsociable) and he was touchy. I guess “touchy” was an old-time word we used when a human being was always ready for a fight. For R. B, a grimace had replaced his grin.

My stay at this institute of higher learning turned out to be seven months. It was eventful, troubling, and even though the president of the college loved my talent, he hated the challenge and the competition.

Truth of the matter is, so did I. I was weary of having ideas that had to come under the bar of religious prejudice.

So I left Hope on agreeable terms. R. B. gladly left with me.

I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was not madly in love with Shreveport, but even less inclined to pack up one more time and darken the road. My wife had a job; my kids had schools.

So I stayed—and so did R. B.

But it wasn’t a mutual friendship holding us together. Rather, it was the need to hold onto one another during a mutual disintegration.

Ask Jonathots … June 9th, 2016

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What do you think about the legalization of recreational marijuana? How do you think this will affect American society?

Clarity.

It is the action of clarifying the facts we possess, trying to ascertain how we should proceed. Clarity is a good thing.

So what is the clarity on the issue of marijuana?

First of all, I think we have to get rid of the term “recreational.” We tried to add an adjective to alcohol by calling it “social drinking,” but unfortunately, many of those who felt they were “socially drinking” got in their cars, drove tipsy and ended up killing. It is doubtful that any human being, on their own, can determine their limits.

So once you remove the adjective, you end up with marijuana.

In the pursuit of clarity, let’s not study marijuana from the mindset of those who oppose it, but rather, carefully look at the assessment of the individuals who have or are participating in using the substance.

In every movie I’ve seen, marijuana leaves people listless, uncaring, silly, non-functioning and certainly incapable of performing their best rendition of themselves.

That’s not my assessment. I’ve never seen a film in which someone smokes marijuana and then goes out and saves the life of a child through heart surgery. So if those who are imbibing in marijuana feel that it’s an intoxicant which incapacitates them for normal human participation, then we immediately have to factor this in when talking about legalization.

Are we going to develop Breathalyzers for marijuana use?

Are we prepared to add traffic deaths due to driving under the influence of grass?

Yet on the other hand, marijuana has proven to be a source of relief for pain and discomfort.

So what is the purpose of this plant that has been placed on the earth?

And how can we know that a pain-killer is for killing real pain, not for “recreational” use by those who have no pain?

How can we use marijuana in a productive way without taking our generation, which already has difficulty with comprehension, and making it more bland?

First, if someone wants to smoke marijuana in his or her own home, it should not be illegal.

But we already have laws against public smoking, and we have laws against participating in human activities while intoxicated. Even if marijuana were legalized, it would fall under the same restrictions as smoking and drinking.

You could go to a marijuana bar and smoke with your friends, but when you left there would need to be a designated driver to take you home. Unfortunately, unlike alcohol, your driver might be suffering from a contact high.

So I think the most important thing is for us to clarify the facts instead of stomping around, discussing “freedom and privilege.”

Case in point: I am a fat man. I have the absolute right to go out and eat three pizzas. But if I do, there are ramifications. Perhaps I should understand the boundaries before I eat the three pizzas.

So in conclusion:

1. Marijuana has a purpose because it’s on Earth.

2. It brings relief to those who are suffering.

3. It is an intoxicant.

4. It is mind-altering.

5. Therefore, it will have to be regulated in our society in some way, otherwise we will be endangering the lives of others.

6. It should no longer be criminal when used properly and privately by a person of acceptable age.

There you go.

Never look at a problem as if it’s an issue of freedom, but rather, clarify how that freedom affects the rights of others.

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G-Poppers … August 7th, 2015

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G-Pop is in the middle of a hard-boiled fussiness with a side order of grumble hash.

Listening to three well-known journalists, ranging from 45 to 60 years of age, he was astounded by the inordinate amount of time they spent discussing Lenny Kravitz’s penis.

For you see, apparently Mr. Kravitz split his leather pants, which made his private turf suddenly public domain. Rather than performing as investigative reporters, as they tout themselves to be, questioning whether this was a staged event–since how odd is it for someone to be handy with a camera trained on the crotch?–they instead spent a lengthy time postulating on the penis at hand.

G-Pop will not even discuss how inappropriate this might be for morning television. Instead, he poses the question: when is it important to notice that the train is speeding up as we’re heading directly toward the mountain?

Very often, G-Pop becomes frustrated because his children and grandchildren deem him a prude because of his stance on alcohol, marijuana and the absence of courtesy in human interaction.

G-Pop is not a prude. A prude is someone who looks at your life and says that you should not do that. G-Pop has a private conviction concerning vices which have gained voices.

For instance, you can call yourself a “social drinker” if you have a beer or cocktail when you’re out with friends. The minute you buy alcohol to put into our own home on a weekly basis, you are no longer socializing. You are materializing a habit.

Yet G-Pop is called a prude.

What G-Pop has are private convictions. A private conviction is when you say to yourself, “I’m not going to do that.”

This often leads to a practical mission. Is there a way we can do this better?

But the minute you question questionable actions, the fallback position of those who prefer habitual anarchy is to call you a prude.

  • Or maybe they call you prejudiced.
  • Or maybe they say you have a phobia.
  • You most certainly are out of step.
  • Or you are trying to curtail people’s freedom.

If Lenny split his pants and it was an accident, we shouldn’t be sitting around discussing his penis or how it was adorned. If he planned it, and wanted us to go on and on about his penis, then we should seriously wonder why this artist feels that his music is not strong enough to gain the interest of the market and that instead, he needs to offer additional allurements.

And when G-Pop sees a group of older men who should have the gravitas to offer a more intelligent perspective suddenly turn into gossiping ninnies and giggling schoolboys who just discovered their first Playboy Magazine, he is astounded and fearful that we’ve lost all sense of balance.

G-Pop is not a prude. He’s not trying to tell people they shouldn’t do things.

G-Pop just believes that privately, he chooses to avoid that path …and that the human race can do better things with its time than leering at a celebrity’s penis.

 

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Don’t Think So… August 12, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Thinking about Lansing 0 00 00-30God hates fags.

I just don’t think so

Speeding on the freeway is expected.

Likewise, not for me

War can be a good thing.

Unh-unh

  • Prejudice is gone
  • Abortion is a woman’s choice
  • Church is just to worship God
  • Marijuana should be legalize
  • Capital punishment works
  • Israel is always right
  • Courtesy is old-fashioned
  • A penny saved is a penny earned
  • Tipping is optional
  • Meanness is the only way to defend yourself
  • Men and women are just different
  • Republicans are righteous
  • Democrats care more about people
  • Orthodox Muslims can be gentle and peace-loving
  • Bad language is just a part of our culture–get used to it
  • Some people are better than other people
  • Social drinking is cool
  • Pornography is just a form of entertainment

Nope. I don’t see it.

Of course–I could be wrong. It has happened. But …

Don’t think so.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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