Cracked 5 … May 25th, 2019

 


Jonathots Daily Blog

(4056)

Cracked 5

Five Characters That Would Make Terrible Presidents

 

A.  Scrooge McDuck

 

 

B.  Darrin Vader (Darth’s oldest son, who is presently governor of South Dakota)

 

 

C.  Wiley Coyote

 

 

D.  Andy Amoeba (a single cell living in my toilet bowl)

 

 

E.  Any one of the Munchkins (a personal prejudice)

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 19) The Writing on the Wall … September 4th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

Running ten minutes late, Meningsbee motored his way through some of the back streets of little Garsonville, on his way to the high school to speak to the creative writing class about “what’s it like to be a writer.” He was late to the appointment because Matrisse had entranced him with a tale of foolishness and woe.

When Matrisse first arrived, she referred to Kitty as “Sassy.” Meningsbee didn’t think much about it. But as she related the events from her homestead, he realized that she had no great affection for the young girl he had befriended on his overnight trip to South Dakota.

It seems Kitty had quickly become antsy hanging around home with Matrisse and Hapsy, and slipped away to the only bar in Garsonville–an establishment with nine stools, a pool table, which offered extra-hot buffalo wings to any brave takers. There, Kitty met up with a young man named Tarbo. Although Matrisse was pretty certain this was not his given Christian name, it was the only one Sassy–or Kitty–would provide.

Matrisse explained that Kitty was in tears because she wanted to go with Tarbo to Chicago, where he intended to sign up to join the Navy, to become a SEAL. Kitty was afraid if she didn’t go with him, she might never see him again, as he would certainly be sent off to fight the terrorists in foreign lands.

Long story short, Kitty wanted Matrisse to watch Hapsy for a couple of weeks so she could go chase this dream–which seemed to be ordained by God, Himself, since they met under such supernatural circumstances down at the pub.

Meningsbee had listened intently, knowing that eventually Matrisse would close off her tellings with some sort of question–that probably being, “And what are you going to do about this?”

Fortunately, he was able to make an escape because of the speaking commitment at the high school, telling Matrisse he would call her later so they could cap their conversation.

She frowned, looking at him with an old witchy evil eye, and said, as she departed the house, “It ain’t no good, Reverend.”

So still having the whole fiasco on his mind, Meningsbee arrived at the high school creative writing class to discover that four of the students had asked to be excused from the lecture, because their parents were former members of the church, and didn’t think it was right to have the preacher come to teach the children. This affrontation was more distressing to the instructor than it was to Meningsbee. He just smiled and said, “Let’s go.”

He didn’t talk long to the class–about ten minutes.

He explained to them about writing his book, The Jesus Church, what it meant to edit, how to realize when you were finished with a book, and some of the inner workings of publishing.

At the end of the class, he opened it up for Q and A–the teacher’s request. Meningsbee was pretty sure none of the kids would be very inquisitive.

After what seemed to be an interminable silence (probably only about fifteen seconds), one student raised his hand, and with a huge smirk on his face, said, “I don’t think I would like your book. I don’t believe in God.”

The classroom offered up a mixture of gasps and giggles. The teacher stepped forward to scold the boy.

Meningsbee interrupted her.

“Thank you for your question,” said Meningsbee. “Or whatever it was. I write about God because God wrote about me. It seemed the right thing to do. Polite, you know. Like coming up with a legitimate question for a guest speaker when he takes the time to come to your school. You see, God is either our Creator–or He’s nothing. If He’s nothing, He’s been really successful at extending a myth for thousands and thousands of years. If He is our Creator, then He knows how we are made. I don’t know how I’m made. Do you?”

Meningsbee didn’t wait for the boy to respond. “Didn’t think so. So I read what God wrote about me, and basically, my book is writing back what I think about Him. You see, it’s a combination of appreciation and doubt. First, I appreciate the fact that I can live. I especially like eating. I could do without bowling.”

The class mustered a giggle.

“But also, I have questions. I wonder why, since we’re all children of God, we can’t get together and find what we have in common instead of constantly harping on our differences. I wonder why my Creator tolerates idiots preaching for Him, who don’t care about anybody else, and do nothing generous in His name. And most of all, I wonder how sad He must be that an intelligent young man sitting in a schoolroom has to deny he believes in Him to look like he’s smart. So even though you didn’t ask, that’s why I wrote the book. Any more questions?”

Meningsbee quickly grabbed his papers and headed for the door.

“Didn’t think so. Thanks for your time.”

As he scurried down the hallway of the school like an alien from outer space escaping a NASCAR convention, he chuckled to himself.

He was imagining what the students must be thinking…or maybe he was just hoping he got them to do so.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 14) His Eye Is On the Sparrow… July 31st, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

It was a merciful Monday.

The phone didn’t ring, no one visited and Meningsbee had a chance to sit alone in the parsonage and muse the happenings in his life.

He kept thinking about that scripture: “God sees the sparrow and we are worth many sparrows.”

He roamed the house talking to himself, allowing the ideas stuck in his head to gain air instead of suffocating in his brain or struggling for dominance.

He sorted through things. He opened the door for some healing.

After the cleansing Monday, he was ready for a terrific Tuesday.

Phone calls came from congregation members, saying how much the service had meant to them and how freeing it was to realize that it’s all right to have doubts–as long as you don’t lie about them or assume they are true.

But then came worrisome Wednesday. It began with a knock on the door. Patrick Swanson was there, accusing Meningsbee of sharing their private conversation about the finances of the church with his new congregation out at the Holiday Inn Express.

Meningsbee was so glad that he had remained faithful to his mute position. He could honestly say that he had said nothing to anyone.

Patrick did not believe him. He explained that he had a mess on his hands, because somehow or another, the church folk had discovered his feelings about the old church and were not very appreciative of his plans.

Meningsbee listened quietly but didn’t respond. It wasn’t his business.

At length, Patrick gave up and turned to walk away, only pausing to say, “Word has it that you don’t even believe in God. Is that right?”

It seemed that this dear brother wanted a fight. But thanks to merciful Monday and terrific Tuesday, Meningsbee was more prepared for worrisome Wednesday.

He replied, “My dear friend, my beliefs are a matter of public record.”

With this, Meningsbee quietly shut the door and resumed his life.

The rest of the week was blessed with happenings and intervals of joyous nothingness. That is, until Sunday morning arrived.

Meningsbee was excited–because last Sunday, he had handed out little notes to twenty-two members of the congregation. When they peered at him, wondering what it was all about, he had replied, “Read the note. It’ll tell you what to do.”

So he quickly dressed, ate a light breakfast and headed out the door, pausing as he gazed at the porch swing.

And there she was–the young girl he had met at the motel in South Dakota, cuddled up on the swing with her little daughter, sound asleep.

“Kitty?” he said quietly, hoping he had remembered her name correctly. She woke up, rubbed the sleep from her eyes, eased her feet to the ground, and launched into her story.

She had lost her job and therefore could not afford the motel anymore. She got his address from the front desk clerk, and since he was the only person who had been nice to her, she grabbed her daughter, Hapsy, and hitch-hiked to Garsonville.

She didn’t know what to do, so she chased the last place that she felt love.

Likewise, Meningsbee didn’t know what to do.

He explained that he was on his way to church and invited her. She replied, “If they don’t mind my old, stinky jeans…”

Meningsbee laughed. “I think they’re just old.”

They headed off to his car. Meningsbee held the door and welcomed the two of them inside. He picked up a couple of treats at the Donut Barn on the way.

As they munched, he wondered to himself whether this was a gift from God … or a mis-delivered package.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 11) Bible-less Study… July 10th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

The answering machine was full.

Meningsbee had taken the precaution of turning off his phone for the Sunday afternoon drive which landed him in South Dakota, and now checking it for the first time, he realized that his “professional preacher profile,” which he had selected the previous Sunday, had not fooled any of his congregation.

He had at least thirty messages, all basically intoning a recurring theme: “Are you all right?”

He was in the middle of the eighteenth inquiry when there was a knock at the door. He opened it to discover Sammy Collins, a deacon who had been part of the great exodus from the Garsonville Church. Meningsbee invited him in but Sammy explained that he was in a hurry.

He said, “I have a Bible study at my house on Monday nights, and I would like you to come and see if we can’t make this thing right.”

On any other day, Meningsbee would have been reluctant, but he remembered Kitty’s words at the Four Heads Motel. Maybe he did need to listen.

So he agreed to come–with the stipulation that it would be a secret. Sammy agreed and departed. The following Sunday, Meningsbee was shocked to discover that everyone knew about the upcoming Monday night Bible study. They were thrilled, apprehensive, overjoyed–but mostly wanted to pray for him. Some wanted to come and give moral support, but he declined.

So all through Monday, Meningsbee fidgeted and wondered what his approach should be with the former congregation members.

He knew he didn’t want to be defensive. He knew he didn’t want to take too much time–and mostly, he knew he didn’t want to get there early.

Since it was a pot-luck dinner, which was served after the Bible study, he made his famous hot dog and beans for the occasion.

He arrived promptly at seven o’ clock, to discover that nobody was there. No one but Sammy Collins, his wife and Patrick Swanson, who was formerly the worship committee leader at the Garsonville Church.

Sammy was humiliated, frustrated, and just could not figure out what had happened.

In the midst of Sammy’s attempts at an explanation, Patrick interrupted and said, “Sammy, would you mind giving the Reverend and me an opportunity to chat privately?”

Sammy agreed, took Meningsbee’s casserole dish and headed off to the kitchen. Meanwhile, Patrick motioned for Meningsbee to come and sit down in the living room. Once seated, Mr. Swanson began his discourse.

“I need to be candid with you, Meningsbee. I told the congregation not to come this evening.” Swanson paused to see Meningsbee’s reaction. He offered none, so Swanson continued.

“You may wonder why. It’s because we aren’t coming back. There isn’t going to be a reconciliation, because we need our church out at the Holiday Inn. I know you think that you broke up the Garsonville Church through your policies. I’ll have to admit–they were pretty heavy-handed, and you didn’t really seek anyone else’s confidence, but I had decided months ago to abandon the property. I hadn’t said anything to anyone else, but two years ago I thought the new bypass was going to come through, and we’d be able to sell at a huge profit. But when they picked another path, I realized that the church basically had no financial worth. Simultaneously, the building’s getting old. The roof’s rotten, carpet is threadbare–I even had a guy come in who told us we have termites. Plus, after all my years of being at the church, I was tired of the flow of pastors. Most of them gave hapless attempts at being administrators, with no real business sense of their own. And then you arrived, on some sort of Mt. Sinai mission, to make us into something else. Well, it was enough. I made my move. My prayer was that all the old people would stay with you and all the young couples would come over to the new church, where we could talk about current events, politics, and plan excursions. You know–trips where we could fellowship and have fun. The church was dead, but I didn’t have the heart to kill it–and then you showed up. You became my gun.”

Swanson paused. Perhaps he was expecting an explosion of anger, a retaliation or a threat or two, but Meningsbee remained silent.

Swanson concluded. “Any questions, Reverend? What I’m saying to you is, you can try to keep that church together, but I will fight you.”

Meningsbee stood to his feet and stated, “Will you tell Sammy I’m going to pass on dinner?”

He headed to the door, leaving Patrick in the living room by himself. His hand was shaking as he reached for the knob.

Walking down the stoop to the sidewalk to his car, he felt like someone had taken a knife and hollowed out his insides.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 10) “Ketching-Up” … July 3rd, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

“Maybe it’s your job to go talk to them.”

These were the words of Kitty Carlson, as she sat on the patio at the Four Heads Motel, talking to a bewildered and bleary-eyed Richard Meningsbee.

The previous day he had driven two hours when he passed Chadron and decided to keep going, ending up in South Dakota, very near Mt. Rushmore. He found an outdated Mom and Pop motel and decided to spend the night instead of braving the drive back to Garsonville. He was in no hurry to go to a home that no longer felt homey.

Shortly after arrival there was a knock on his door. He opened it to a young girl in her twenties–blue-jean shorts, t-shirt, long brown hair pointing to the ground, barefoot. She held out a styrofoam cup and said, “I was wondering if you might have some ketchup I could use.”

Sensing Meningsbee’s oblivion, she continued. “My little daughter…well, I microwaved her some french fries for dinner and she’s desiring some ketchup for dipping.”

Since Meningsbee didn’t have any ketchup and still had shoes on, he offered to drive to a convenience store he had passed on his way to the motel, to see if some of the good stuff could be acquired.

Sure enough, the folks at the Jiffy Thrifty Mart were happy to sell him a small bottle of ketchup, at $5.63.

Upon returning, he handed the bottle to her and she started to walk back toward her room.

Meningsbee was nervous. After all, he was a stranger.

So he called after her. “Maybe I’ll see you at breakfast in the morning. Do they have breakfast here?”

Kitty turned around, walking backwards, and replied, “If you like stale Danish. By the way, my name is Kitty Carlson. I’m not from around here. I grew up in Crosstown, Kentucky.”

She continued her backward walking. “My daughter’s name is Hapsy. It’s a blending of Happy and Sassy. I liked it.”

Then she turned facing forward and headed off.

Meningsbee called after her. “Richard. That’s my name.”

Over her shoulder she replied, “Good night, Rick.” (Meningsbee hated being called Rick but chose not to be fussy.)

The next morning he went down to try one of those infamous Danish with some lukewarm coffee and sat down next to Kitty and her daughter. The little lass was frightened in that Southern-child way, connoting that all strangers need to run away or learn the customs more quickly.

Kitty told her story. She was married at seventeen, divorced at nineteen due to domestic violence, and couldn’t seem to get away from her oppressor. So she had moved to this little village, where she works at a diner during the day and does a desk shift at the motel in the early evenings, which covers her room. The managers were gracious enough to allow her to bring Hapsy along, who, by the way, appeared completely thrilled with stale pastry.

“No, really. You haven’t given these people a chance to get used to you, but instead, you came into their town like an unwelcome tornado.”

Meningsbee–or Rick, as she knew him–had shared his dilemma with her, careful not to mention too much “God stuff,” to scare her away.

“No one wants to hear from me,” he droned in self-pity.

“Well, if that’s the case, then they probably don’t want to hear you preach either.”

The statement stung Meningsbee. She of course was right. Since preaching was the last thing most people wanted to hear, it might be good to learn how to chat them up.

She rose to her feet, determined to leave. She stuck out her hand, with a piece of Danish dangling from her teeth, and mumbled, “Nice to have met you, Rick.”

He shook her hand and then reached in his pocket to retrieve the twenty-dollar bill he had set aside as a gift for Kitty and Hapsy. She shook her head.

“No, thanks. We’ve got enough. If I start taking twenty-dollar bills, it just makes me think about what else I don’t have.”

She smiled, waved, took Hapsy’s hand and walked away.

Meningsbee watched them as they headed back to their room. How much had he taken–and still wanted more?

He turned in his key, grabbed a cup of coffee for the road and headed for his car. He pulled out onto the highway and began his drive back to the source of his struggle.

He had a lot to do.

This time, the drive seemed longer.

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