Sit Down Comedy … August 23rd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Carefully selecting the pen name Barton Marshall, he had just received the opportunity to pursue an article for Flog Blog, International: “No more than 5,000 words—a nickel a word (edited).”

He was to do a feature story on a group of young citizens meeting outside San Francisco, California, who referred to themselves as assholics.

He was certainly intrigued. He made some calls and set up a time to come and be “a fly on the wall” at one of their joinings, and interview some of the participants after snacks.

The traffic on the freeway was so heavy that he arrived fifteen minutes late—thinking he was going to make a horrible first impression—only to discover that he was the second person to arrive, and that the folks trickled in at their own whim.

About forty-five minutes later, when there seemed to be a quorum of twenty-five or thirty people, mostly male, the meeting was brought to as much order as was able to be achieved without a gavel.

A young fellow stood to his feet and said, “My name is Henry and I’m an assholic.”

The whole room burst into laughter, shouting. “Ho, Henry!”

He continued. “I’ve spent the better part of my younger years trying to tolerate the bitter taste in my mouth from being forced to expel thank you’s and vomit excuse me’s.”

(Uproarious laughter.)

He pushed on. “Unlike the alcoholics, we are not anonymous. We are proud. For us it is not one day at a time, but rather, the glory of one insult at a time. I have no need to search for a higher power, for no one is higher than me. And though it’s taken me time, I have finally learned how to trample on the weak, while trumping the losers.

“It began one day on a bus—one of those city buses teeming with the wretched refuse. You know what I mean. The bus was full, and I was tired, when a pregnant lady—very pregnant; obtusely large, gross in magnitude…”

(With each insult the laughter increased.)

“Well, she got on the bus and there was no place to sit. My retarded inclination was to stand up and give her my seat. You know what the problem with that is? Then I don’t have a goddamn seat! I did what everybody else did. I stared into my phone and let the prego stand, just glancing over every once in a while to watch her ankles swell. After that first encounter—that glorious elixir—I began cutting in line at concerts, grocery stores and even bravely did it at the DMV.”

(Everybody was hooting and hollering.)

“Nowadays my morning commute is spent counting how many fingers I give to people in traffic en route to my worthless job, where a bunch of no-good foreign workers struggle to keep up with my exceptional, beautiful American ass.”

(Applause, applause, applause.)

For a moment, Barton thought it was merely an impromptu comedy troupe, meeting with a different weekly theme—this week being rudeness. But when Jack, Brian, Sandy and even Sue followed suit, with wild tales and vicious epithets against humanity, it became obvious that the assholics had actually discovered a perfect name.

They seemed to be intoxicated on cruelty and drunk on self-confidence, which was producing a slur against everything and everyone in sight.

There was mocking of the straight line and cursing those heretics who had escaped the club—going out into society with their anemic apologies, detoxing on civility and swearing that the key to escaping assholic is “one thought at a time.”

The meeting rolled on and rolled on, for nearly an hour, until the members began to be so critical of each other that it nearly broke out in a fight. Sensing danger, Barton left the room and climbed into his car, went home and sat behind his computer and typed his article, which he entitled, “Assholic Abominabus.”

He finished it off, put it through word count and discovered it was 3,823 words. One more read-through, a couple of quick changes and he sent it off to Flog Blog, International.

Five days later a note came back, reading, “Although the writing was passable, we felt that your title lacked impartiality. We asked you to write an article about the club—not a review. Better luck next time.”

Barton Marshall sat back in his chair and thought about what he had learned. He considered reacting to the rejection with the same acidity as the assholics. How comforting it would be, for a moment, to be pissed at the whole world and convinced that all the people at Flog Blog were pedophiles.

Yet all that ferocious fussiness would not grant him an opportunity for publication nor a few dollars for his bank account.

So Mertland Michaels sent out a query to a magazine which was looking for someone to write a feature story on the decline of interest in squirrels.

 

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Ask Jonathots … September 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It seems to me that you only win in life if you’re aggressive. For instance, Donald Trump, who is extremely defensive and cutting, leads in the Republican polls. I’m not asking you to talk about politics, just answer this question: how can Jesus suggest that we get anywhere by “turning the other cheek?” Or is he just talking about the afterlife?

I think the problem in most people’s thinking is that they like to characterize certain words as positive or negative. Putting it in simpler terms, most folks would consider passive to be the opposite of aggressive.

But the issue is not whether we should be aggressive. The issue is, to whom?

You are absolutely correct–aggression expressed to others as a means of domination or for generating payback is not only non-spiritual, but also generally considered, in the long run, to be a lame choice.

Yet we are certainly supposed to be aggressive to ourselves. Intertwined in the teachings of Jesus is a strong motivational message to go the second mile, be perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, and take care of the beam in your own eye instead of worrying about the mote in your brother’s eye.

The foible in humans is that we would much rather be aggressive toward other people’s weaknesses than our own.

Donald Trump is characterized as aggressive, but he isn’t alone. There is a general consensus in our society that we can achieve success by–pardon the expression–“trumping” others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After all, insult may be the only word that never requires a period. As long as an insult is hanging in the air, it’s just awaiting the arrival of the next insult.

So what does it mean–to be aggressive to yourself?

1. Take an inventory.

Consider what you actually can do instead of what you want to do, and then work on those talents.

2. Practice what you want to achieve until you reach the point that you don’t have to make excuses for your shortcomings.

There will still be failures but you want to make sure they are not caused by your lack of perseverance.

3. Don’t compare your work to the work of others.

Compare it to your own vision and what you desire to achieve.

The Jesonian life–a life following Jesus–is an aggressive one–but not in relationship to our judgment and critique of others.

Rather, in our own passion to perfect our ways … and learn how to go the second mile.

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