Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3952)

Sitting Six

It took Iz and Pal a good solid two minutes to figure out where they were when they woke up in the desert, and another good five minutes to negotiate what direction to roll, to untangle themselves from their cocoon.

It was already hot.

Sweat was beading all over their bodies, and after two days absence from bathing, odor was aplenty. After all, when stink is near, grumpy will appear.

“You roll this way and I’ll stay still.” Iz was already sporting some attitude.

Pal objected. “I don’t know what you mean by ‘this way,’ because you have no hands to show me. They’re stuck in the tent.”

Iz heaved a deep sigh. “Look at the direction my head is nodding.”

“Would that be roll towards your nod, or opposite your nod?” replied Pal with a bit of whine.

Iz was done giving direction. He began a series of frantic twists, turns, shimmies and shakes, until the tent ripped, and he slithered his way to the safety of freedom.

Pal was angry. “Now look what you’ve done. You ripped it. What good is a ripped tent?”

“What good are two guys trapped in a tent?” Iz said, standing to his feet.

Pal wiggled two or three times and stood up as well. “You stink,” he stated.

Iz rolled his eyes. “That’s good,” he said. “It was difficult to believe you were producing all the odor.”

They jumped at each other and commenced to wrestling, at first with a bit of anger, and then, as the heat took over, with more pure silliness. They finally fell to the side in choked laughter. Pal was gasping for air.

“Oh, yes, this is really smart,” he said. “When you stink, don’t have any water, it’s always good to wrestle, get sweaty and thirsty.”

“I have a little water left,” said Iz coyly.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” shouted Pal. “Where is it?”

“I wasn’t holding out,” said Iz defensively. “I just didn’t know how to divide it. I don’t know when we’ll get water again.”

A quiet fell over the boys. How could they continue their adventure without food and water? Yet how could they ever go home without looking weak and stupid?

Iz considered. “Maybe your parents will bring some water.”

Pal shook his head. “It’s just my father. And as I told you, my father will never come here.”

“I really don’t want to die,” said Iz with a whimper.

Pal patted him on the shoulder. “Let’s just make a plan for the water.”

What followed was a rather in-depth discussion on the difference between a sip and a gulp. After finally overcoming the semantics, Iz and Pal determined that they had fourteen sips and eight gulps left—perhaps enough for the day, if they stopped wrestling and were not trapped in any more tents.

They tossed the ball back and forth and just talked as the hours passed. They saw no one. Perhaps no one saw them—unless lizards counted.

The day wore on and hunger pangs set in, with aggravation not far behind. Still, they focused on talking, living, loving and matters that concerned them as young boys.

But after a particularly long moment of silence, Iz presented a new topic. “Mine’s different,” he stated slowly.

“Your what?” asked Pal.

“It’s because I’m Jewish,” explained Iz.

“I know you’re Jewish,” said Pal. “But your what?”

“Think about it,” said Iz, lifting his eyebrows.

So Pal did. It took a moment or two, but he finally came up with the answer. “You mean circumcision,” he said proudly.

“So you know about that?” Iz was a bit surprised.

“Yes,” said Pal. “I guess that’s one of those many things that our religions fight about.”

Iz frowned. “Why do they make such a big deal about that?”

“Why do you think God wants you to do it?” Pal challenged.

“Why do you think God doesn’t want you to?” countered Iz.

“Geez,” said Pal. “I feel stupid even talking about this. Grown-ups make such a big deal about us not touching it or talking about it, or even naming it, and then they end up making it one of the big parts of religion. Which is it, Iz? Is it dirty, or is it holy?”

“I know what you mean,” said Iz. “I remember, in my house, I didn’t know what to call it. You know…what we’re talking about. Like, when I was talking to my Pada, how should I refer to that thing? So I decided to come up with a name, and he got really, really mad at me because I said the name out loud.”

“What was the name?” Pal asked with vigor.

“Oh, it was stupid,” Iz replied shyly.

“Even better,” said Pal. “What was the name?”

“I once found a pet snake,” said Iz. “And before Pada made me get rid of it, I named the snake Ulios.”

Pal frowned. “Ulios? What does that mean?”

“Nothing,” said Iz.

“Exactly,” agreed Pal.

Iz continued. “So once, in front of Pada, I made mention to him of my ‘Ulios’…”

Pal paused, letting the idea sink into his brain, and then burst into laughter. “My father was so nervous,” he said, “I mean, about discussing it with me, that we finally decided to refer to it as my ‘man-dilly.’”

Iz laughed uncontrollably. Gaining some breath, he cited, “It’s all so stupid. They tell us that what we feel and believe is the most important thing, and then they make such a fuss about… Well, you know. Ulios and man-dilly.”

Pal became serious. “Maybe that’s why things are messed up. If grown men are so nervous about such a simple thing, how do they ever expect to understand more important things?”

Iz took a quick sip of water. “I don’t care what you call it. I don’t care what it looks like. I don’t care if it’s circumcised. I would trade it all in right now for a big, cold frosty bottle of Coca-Cola.”

The boys nodded in holy agreement. Then they sat in silence, a bit uncomfortable over their discussion, but also wiser from what they learned.

The heat pressed down as the time passed. There was a great temptation to change sips into gulps, but amazing restraint was maintained. They breathed deeply, looking at the surrounding desert.

Never would they ever have such experiences again.

Never would friendship be so precious.

Never would it ever be so hot.


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Jesonian … October 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3473)

jesonian-cover-amazon

It’s called a non-sequitur.

Jesus was downright a master at it.

It’s when folks are talking about a particular subject, and you come along and insert a completely different idea, which takes the conversation in an unexpected direction.

Once, when confronted with a cynical young man named Nathaniel, who had pompously posed the nasty question, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Jesus popped off with a non-sequitur. Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

Was it true? Was it an accurate representation of Nathaniel? Who knows? It was a non-sequitur. The boy thought he was going to say something stinky, and Jesus freshened it to something different.

Just like the woman at the well, who thought she was going to get into an argument with a Jew about how they treated Samaritans, and Jesus replied, “I can give you living water.”

You see, it wasn’t on point. But it chased away the stink.

Likewise, when he was conversing with a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who wanted to exchange compliments about being teachers of God, Jesus commented, “You must be born again.”

And he did it again with a bunch of people lamenting a tower falling on innocent people and killing them. Jesus’ non-sequitur was, “If you don’t repent, you will likewise perish.”

He frustrated his critics by refusing to allow them to control the topic.

A bunch of angry religionists brought a woman caught in adultery, quoting scripture about how she was to be killed. Jesus inserted a non-sequitur. “Well, I guess the person who throws the first stone should be without sin–otherwise, it wouldn’t be proper.”

The use of the non-sequitur peppers the ministry of Jesus, allowing him to spice the hot topics.

It is his way to chase away the stink.

Rather than talking about how crappy people act, or how negative the thinking may be, simply having the ability to steer the conversation in a meaningful motion by using a non-sequitur, without making apologies for diverting the subject, is truly an act of brilliance.

If you want to be Jesonian, you’re going to learn how to use the non-sequitur.

What non-sequitor would you use when somebody wants to talk about the end of the world and nuclear annihilation?

How about a non-sequitur when someone wants to grump, complain, or even brag about President Trump and Washington, D. C.?

Can you come up with something to chase away the stink of those who insist they hate change while living in a world that does nothing but evolve?

Jesus did not come to bitch about the bad attitudes that surrounded him. He ignored them by enlightening the mindset, using the non-sequitur, and in the process, chasing the stink away.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … June 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2955)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: You scare me.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: I mean, you frighten me. Is it natural? Was this terror taught to me or is it legitimately part of the evolution of our species–to keep a certain amount of friction between the genders?

 

Dear Man: Since we’re being honest, I’m scared too. Scared of myself. But mostly when I’m around you. Why do you think women put ten or twenty different fragrances all over our bodies everyday? We’re afraid we stink. Stink to you. I don’t know where I learned that. It’s hard for me to believe that I have a genetic code that makes me want to use lotion.

 

Dear Woman: While we’re on the subject–I’m supposed to smell like a man. What in the hell does that mean? I feel like there’s a role I need to play. Sometimes it feels natural, but other times I think you just need me to be manly so you can feel womanly.

 

Dear Man: So what does it mean to be womanly? Does it mean I feel more than I think? It’s so confusing because we say that women are more emotional, but then we turn around and say women are smarter than men. Which one is it?

 

Dear Woman: And is there any spirituality to this whole mess? Is there a Creator who sees us as equals? Or is He intent on us camping out in our genders and remaining separate?

 

Dear Man: It started when I was a kid–trying to avoid “handsy” male cousins and being quietly warned by my mother about certain uncles. I felt like an object. I was in the room but I wasn’t seen unless I was pretty, or unless someone noticed how fast I was growing. None of my relatives ever asked how I was doing on the basketball team. It was always some reference to my beauty or my training as a young woman.

 

Dear Woman: So no wonder we’re terrified of each other. But I will tell you this–I certainly think it would be worth the time to find out how much of this horror was infused by our training and if any of it is legitimate tension brought on by our differences.

 

Dear Man: And here’s the kicker. You’re supposed to be my best friend while simultaneously I am led to believe that a man can’t really be my friend at all.

 

Dear Woman: So I come back to my point. I’m nervous around you, which sometimes makes me not want to be around you, so I can avoid being nervous.

 

Dear Man: I totally understand that. When I want to be myself, I get away from men because I’m afraid if I reveal my real desires, they will either be apathetic or turned off.

 

Dear Woman: I can’t live my life wondering what a woman thinks about me. It will drive me crazy and make me hate her.

 

Dear Man: Likewise for me. There has to be a soft place to be in life–where you don’t have to try too hard, as you do try to improve what you can, without fear of being criticized.

 

Dear Woman: Shouldn’t that be with me?

 

Dear Man: It should, but not as long as I am convinced by society that you’re my enemy.

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Untotaled: Stepping 13 (June 23rd, 1965) Old Lady Dickerson … May 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2227)

(Transcript)

A nickel is five times more than what you need if you don’t have a penny to your name.

That’s where I found myself in the summer of ’65. I was an unemployed, untrainable, unteachable, unworkable, unadult young teenager.

What I did have in great abundance was need.

I had reached an age where money was suddenly important but totally unavailable. A simple principle was explained to me in vivid but boring detail: “If you want money, you gotta work.”

This was new. Since birth, food had been provided–trinkets, toys and even occasional trips–without me having to expend any energy except the occasional complaining whine, “Are we there yet?”

But now, when I requested money, my parents were suddenly a dry well, asking me to pursue odd jobs in order to procure some personal finance.

Now, there’s a reason they call them “odd jobs.” The jobs are odd–low paying, ridiculously stupid and generally speaking, hot and sweaty. I will not go into vivid detail about how I hated each and every one of these elements, but since I needed to raise five dollars for a gift I wanted to impart to myself, it became obvious that I was going to have to walk down to the end of our street and ask Old Lady Dickerson if she had any chores she needed done.

She always did. None of the other kids wanted to work for her. She was cheap and waited too long–thus making the task she requested even more difficult.

For instance, she didn’t mow her grass until it looked like an African Serengeti. And because she had a house full of cats, on those rare occasions when you needed to go in for a drink of water, you had to hold your breath–otherwise you would faint from the deadly feline perfume.

There were also rumors that because the grass was so high, mowing the lawn put you in danger of encountering snakes. Granted, they were just garter snakes, but that’s like saying, “These are only criminals that commit non-violent crimes.”

Yet I found myself making the trek down to her house to ask for work so that I could garner my five dollars.

Please understand–to get five dollars out of Old Lady Dickerson required that you work all week. She paid in quarters, which she squeezed out of her wrinkled, bony fingers, holding tightly to them, forcing you to nearly yank to acquire your payment.

This particular week of torture included mowing the lawn, where I did discover a garter snake, and like a frightened little girl, jumped back and pushed the mower really hard, over the top of it, spitting the slimy thing out the back end. I don’t know if I killed it, because I refused to mow anymore that day.

She also wanted to have her thistles removed. She wasn’t satisfied with having them mowed over. You had to get out there and pull them out with your hands. (There is a reason, you know, they are called thistles.)

And for some reason she had decided to clean up some old newspapers in her house which the cats had used as urinal pads. I literally put a clothes pin on my nose to perform the duty.

At the end of my five days of hard labor, she decided to pay me all at once instead of in quarters. Would you believe that old lady stiffed me a buck and only gave me four?

It was fine.

Many years later, she died, and one of the richer members of our community bought her house. I was told they had to tear out the walls and pull up the floors to get all of the cat stink out.

Did I learn anything from working for Old Lady Dickerson?

Yes.

I learned that I did not want to work with reptiles at the zoo, that thistles can pretty much have their way in my yard and that it is always a good investment to find a young man or young lady … to mow your lawn.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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