Sit Down Comedy … November 15th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4229)

Sit Down Comedy

Life is like a bucket of bolts without a wrench.

Of course, it isn’t. It’s just one of those attempts at cleverness by an over-reaching writer trying to capture your darting attention to his overwrought work.

It’s kind of like when one of these hacks writes:

If everything has purpose, then God is one sick mofo.

You see what I mean? Trying to walk that fine line between street language, to make you think that he or she, typing the words, is in step with present-day pop culture, while also making you wonder if what’s being expressed is a squirt of agnosticism or a splash of raging against religious profanity.

Of course—maybe it’s just dumb.

Because I will tell you:

I saw an ant pushing a crumb of bread back to his hill. I thought, why doesn’t he eat the damn crumb, and then come back to his buddies and say he couldn’t find anything?

Ah, yes.

A gaggle of giggles to gurgle up an emotion emitting from every man, as alliteration is always alluring.

Of course, it isn’t really. It’s just an overuse of a practice that could benefit from some underuse.

Truth is: Life is a bowl of cherries that somebody already ate, leaving you the pits.

Yet we must not be too critical of those who at least try to make us smile while simultaneously offering food for thought. Granted, the food for thought is often Cheetos and candy bars, but as we all know, those can do quite well in a pinch.

Don’t you sometimes feel like standing on a mountain, or maybe a small hill in Kansas, and scream:

Excuse me, life! It’s your turn to have a good attitude!

But does the author really feel that? Or is the penner of the words merely pointing out that life is taken too seriously for how ridiculous it ends up being?

Because talking to a friend the other day, he said this to me: Life is meeting a beautiful woman and suddenly remembering you are gay. (Of course, this didn’t happen. I don’t have any gay friend.)

Now, there was a surprise, right? And the line is pretty funny. It might even tickle the bone until funny comes forth.

But my discovery is: Wisdom is when knowledge stops planning and starts working.

Wow. This kinda reads like the phrase a philosophy teacher might write on the chalkboard during the first class on the first morning of the first semester of the first year of an overly lengthy education.

So what is life? Or should that question even be asked? Is posing it just a setup for over-inspirational ideas or sardonic punchlines?

Does it cause us to come with a phrase like: Life is like getting a knee replacement and then breaking your leg.

At least there are layers. Gives you pause. Makes you twinge a bit in sympathetic agony.

One of my favorites is: Life is a beautiful bouquet of flowers that smells like poop.

Now, that could get some conversation going if you were really bored, had nothing to do and happened to be hanging out with a geek.

I don’t know—what do you think works? Do I really care—what works, and what you think?

Would you agree with me that we can’t be trusted on our own?

Human beings are too intelligent to be released with their flakey attitudes.

Here’s what I think:

We need a god if for no other reason than to keep us from worshipping ourselves.

And all the people said, “A-men.” (Did you say it out loud? Do you now feel stupid because I asked you?)

Our journey is a strange one.

Quite candidly: Life is a fork when you’ve been given a plate of peas.

Yes. That’s somewhat like it, isn’t it? Not.

Life is like a railroad, except there’s no train of thought and it’s hard to get on track.

Huh. I guess it’s not like a railroad at all.

 

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Not Long Tales … October 8th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4191)

9.

Write Before My Eyes

At age twenty-five, just shortly before his wedding day, Nathan Merced decided he wanted to write a novel. Energized by his romance and a bit greedy for some notoriety and profit, he envisioned a book showcasing all of his art and much of his heart.

Now, nearing his fortieth birthday and a father of two, he returned to the dream, determined to once and for all pen a lasting tribute to immortalize his name and offer credence for his time on Earth (or words to that effect).

Staring at the page, with the working title, “Monstrous,” Nathan paused, considering his byline. What name should he use for his book? He had never favored pen names—how would people know it was you who wrote it? Nathan Merced was a solid handle, he thought, but it didn’t have that three-name flow common to writer—like Edgar Allen Poe.

He thought about using all three of his names: Nathan Edward Merced. But suddenly, Edward sounded very common. He decided to transform Edward into Edvard. So now typed on the page in front of him was:

Monstrous

A Novel

By Nathan Edvard Merced

And the morning was the first day.

Coming back after a lunch (which he tried to make continental and light, so as not to bulge his brain with fat grams) Nathan felt his best approach was to conceive a work with a popular theme—of course, nowadays that would be science fiction or a graphic novel. Bringing up something about the Apocalypse would be a plus. Bouncing a few ideas around, he decided to write them down, just in case one of them fired up the ferocity of his writing thrust.

How about a book where a human becomes a monster, while simultaneously, a monster from an alien planet becomes a human? Yes, yes…then they mysteriously meet somewhere in the middle of their transition, and in those few hours of complete similarity—one being half monster and one being half human—they fall madly in love, only to move away from each other as the human becomes more monster and the monster more human, until finally, the human (now monster) kills and eats the monster (now human) whom he or she had once loved.

Nathan sat back and considered. It could work. It could really work.

But did he know enough about monsters to write about one? He laughed. Since there really weren’t any monsters, anything he made up would be fine. No one could challenge him, citing the “Book of Monsters.”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. He had told his wife he needed to be left alone, so assumed she would answer, running interference. But the knocking continued. Finally, Nathan’s next-door-neighbor, Jack, was standing outside his bay window, pointing to the front door. Nathan heaved a sigh of despair. Apparently, his wife got caught up in some temporary difficulty and failed to be the watchman required.

So Nathan waved at Jack, slowly stood to his feet and walked to the front door. He welcomed a man who was obviously agitated. He invited Jack into the study where Nathan had just been involved in writing the Great American Tome. Before he could offer Jack drink or even seat, the man launched.

“My daughter Cynthia,” he began frantically, “I need help. I need wisdom. I came to you because you have more education than me. You’ve got some sort of degree, don’t you?”

Nathan sat down slowly in his desk chair. “Well, I’ve got a bachelor’s in fine arts.”

“Perfect,” Jack said quickly. “That’s more than I’ve got. I thought you maybe could help—here’s the problem. In high school, my Cynthia’s history class has been studying the 1970’s and she has become obsessed with Patty Hearst.”

Nathan frowned, trying to remember the name. Jack, seeing his confused face, offered, “You remember her, right? That rich girl that got captured by the Symbionese Liberation Army.”

Nathan’s eyes grew wide. “Listen, Jack—you obviously know more about this than I do.”

Jack objected. “That’s only because I looked it up. I thought I should at least know the name of what was destroying my daughter. Do you understand? My beautiful, young daughter, Cynthia, came to me today with a headband tied around her head and insisted that from now on, we should address her as ‘Scratchy.’”

“Scratchy?” repeated Nathan, trying to keep up.

Jack shook his head. “I don’t know. I don’t know why she wants to be ‘Scratchy.’ She’s read up on all this stuff, she knows all the details. She even knows what Patty Hearst wore the day she was abducted. Nathan, for her sixteenth birthday, she’s asked for an Uzi.”

Nathan chuckled nervously. “Come on, Jack,” he said, trying to sound reasonable. “She’s a teenager. It’s a phase she’s going through.” He motioned to the page on his computer. “Listen, I’ve got some work going on here. I think you should back off—don’t do anything to either discourage her or encourage her.”

“Did I tell you the worst part?” jack responded impatiently. “She is advertising—posting on the Internet—asking for someone to come and kidnap her.”

Nathan crinkled his brow. “Oh-h-h. That’s not good.”

Jack sat, shaking his head, staring at his hands, not saying a word. Thirty seconds of silence went by, creeping up to a minute. Nathan, realizing that Jack was awaiting some kind of guidance of divine proportion, finally responded gently, “Hey, Jack…”

Jack stood up, and Nathan rose, too, speaking. “Listen,” he said, “I am gonna help you with this, but not right now. I think I told you last week. I’m on a jag. I’ve hitched a plane. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m really buzzed about writing this novel, and here I am. See? I’m sittin’ here and it’s happenin’. We’ll talk about Cynthia later. Just go home, lock all your doors and keep an eye on her.”

They arrived at the front door. Jack turned and looked at Nathan like a desperate man on his way to the gallows. “Okay,” he said slowly, “if you say so. But I don’t think I can keep crazy people from attacking my house to snatch my daughter.” A quaver invaded his speech as the last word was spoken.

Nathan nodded his head, walked over, patted him on the back—but literally pushed him out the door and on his way.

Nathan quickly returned to his computer, trying to regain the energy of his monster-human story. He was on the verge of coming up with an idea concerning how the sexual parts of the emerging monster and unfolding human were difficult to…what would be the word? Well, he decided, let’s go with “reconnoiter.” But their love was so strong that somehow, they found a place for everything.

As Nathan turned back to type up the ideas that were eeking out of his brain, there was another knock at the door. He was stuck. He now knew his wife wasn’t home to sidestep the danger, and he didn’t want anyone else doing jumping jacks to get his attention through the bay window, so he eased to his feet and went to the front of the house, peering through the curtain to see who had come to invade his privacy. He recognized him immediately. It was the new minister from the church down the street. (Nathan had only met him twice. Church didn’t come up often on the Merced schedule.)

All at once, the minister winked at Nathan, glimpsing his peering position behind the curtain. Exposed— “made,” as they often said in police dramas—Nathan pulled the curtain back to its former position and stood tall for a moment, trying to remember the preacher’s name. He remembered that when he first met the fellow, his name reminded him of donuts. Powered? Glazed? Jelly-filled?

Unlikely.

Nathan went to the door and opened it. Fortunately, the minister, well-trained by his seminary, solved the problem. “Hello, Mr. Merced,” he said brightly. “I hope you remember me.” He reached out his hand to Nathan and continued. “I’m Reverend Thomas Duncan.”

Nathan laughed inside. There it was. Like Dunkin Donuts. He shook Duncan’s hand but decided to keep the conversation at the door instead of letting it spill out into the house.

The polite parson, realizing he had not been welcomed inside, began to launch on his mission. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I’m contacting all the church families because we have a…how should I say? Well, I guess it’s a crisis.” He quickly added, “But also an opportunity.”

For a crisis, Nathan felt forced to invite the minister in. They walked back to the study where the novel had been on the verge of being unleashed, Nathan perched behind his computer, hoping to create a visual for not talking too long.

The young minister perched and explained. “We have gotten information about a refugee family from Central America. They were just rescued from the Atlantic Ocean. You see, Mr. Merced, they were so poor, so frightened of military retribution, that they made a raft—to the best of their ability. Although I have to be honest. I don’t know how they would have any information on how to construct such a vessel. But somehow or another, they got together a raft and launched it into the Caribbean—all six members. Mom, Dad and four kids, the oldest being twelve.”

Nathan was frustrated. He felt a long discourse coming on and he was not in the mood for it. He could just feel the inspiration dribbling out of his body. Here he was, on the precipice of writing the first paragraph—or maybe even chapter—of “Monstrous,” and he was being held captive by an overwrought reverend. Yet Nathan had no idea how to shut the man up, so the soliloquy continued.

“Well, as you probably guessed, they got the raft past the tides and into the ocean, but it began to fall apart. The family members ended up clinging to it, holding on for their lives. As the story goes, they figured out a way to catch fish, or some sort of sea life, which they broke apart, shared and ate raw. On hot days, they licked the sweat off each other for moisture, and when it rained, after the storm passed, they would remove their clothes and wring them out into each other’s mouths to achieve hydration. After six days on the ocean, they were rescued by a fishing trawler, begged for asylum and arrived on the mainland of the United States with no place to go. When the notice of their plight went out on the Internet, I immediately contacted the authorities and offered our town, and said that our church would provide this family lodging for two weeks, until they could gain their admission, get assistance and make their way to becoming part of our great country.”

Even though Nathan was absorbed in his own concerns, the tale was so compelling that a tear came to his eye, yet he bravely fought it back in respect of regaining his muse. “Listen,” he said, “we can’t have a family near here. You see, the problem is, Pastor, there’s a girl who lives next door and she’s kind of crazy right now. She wants to be abducted by…what should I call them…scoundrels. I don’t have time to give details—but I don’t think this is a good place for this lost family, but I will tell you what I’ll do. I’m gonna sit down right here—right here at my desk—and I’m gonna write you a check. Yes, I’m gonna give you a donation to help these folks.”

Nathan grabbed his checkbook from the drawer, took his pen and scrawled the gift. He ripped it out and handed it to Pastor Duncan, who said with as much vigor as he possibly could, “Oh! Twenty dollars! Well…that should help.”

Nathan interrupted him. “That’s what they say, Pastor. Every little bit helps.”

The startled preacher responded, “And this is just that. A little bit…”

The young pastor quickly stood to his feet, shook Nathan’s hand and headed for the door, asking him as he walked, “If you have any other people you know or ideas, please contact me.”

Nathan, a bit ashamed, confused, yet a tad irate over his donation being trivialized, tried to change the subject. “Hey, preacher,” he said. “You know how I remembered your name?”

The minister shook his head. Nathan chuckled. “Donuts. I remembered ‘donuts’ and that’s how I knew your name was Duncan.” Nathan laughed.

The minister smiled. “Huh,” he said. “I never heard that one before.”

There was no more conversation.

Nathan’s mind was already floating back to his computer and the pastor’s focus began to float to the lost souls who had floated his way.

With the departure of the cleric, Nathan gleefully shut the door behind him and ran to the computer to resume his quest for the Great American Novel. He hadn’t even made it to his seat when his phone buzzed. He glanced down at the screen. A text from his wife. He wanted to ignore it. He wanted to purposely set it aside to demonstrate his devotion and dedication to his mission. But after all, it was his wife. How could he ever explain to her that he had declined her text?

So he punched the button and the text came up. “Son arrived at school dressed in drag. Meeting required immediately. 2:00 P. M.”

Nathan wanted to throw the phone across the room, but such actions always ended up costing money, only offering temporary satisfaction. He glanced at his watch. Twenty minutes until two, and the school was ten minutes away.

He shouted at the walls around him, “How the hell am I supposed to write a masterpiece in this environment, where I am constantly interrupted, and I don’t have the chance to transform small ideas into great ones? My God! How did the masters ever achieve their successes, surrounded by sniveling mortals?”

He finished his little speech, so enthralled with his boisterous outburst that he quickly typed onto his screen the phrase, “sniveling mortals.” He would certainly want to use that later.

He decided to take ten minutes—ten holy minutes, ten consecrated minutes—and see if he could add to the already burgeoning possibilities of “Monstrous.” But rather than being inspired by his efforts thus far, the plot line began to mock him.

Who would be interested in a half-monster and half-human, getting busy?

How would he sell the book to kids under fifteen once it was dubbed too racy? They would certainly read it, but they would download it from their friends, and he wouldn’t make a penny.

And finally, the worst realization. What kind of name was “Monstrous” for a novel?

He was so discouraged.

Why couldn’t Jack take care of his own daughter?

Why didn’t the preacher start somewhere else to seek aid?

Why didn’t his son choose Saturday to experiment with women’s clothes?

A sense of gloom, and then doom, fell upon him like a pelting summer rain. He closed up his computer, heaved a sigh, stood to his feet and walked toward the study door, turning for a moment to address his computer.

“Good-bye, old buddy,” he said softly. “I don’t think I’ll come again. There just don’t seem to be any great stories left to tell.”

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 31st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3569) 

On The Pot

I sit on the pot

Trying to decide

Should I go to the other room,

Chilly and looming with shadows?

Or remain warmer, but totally unenlightened

The difference matters only to me

And I am indifferent

Listen to me, child of God

There is no such thing as writer’s block

Just writers

Who attempt to block out whiny ideas

Mostly because they don’t glisten

Yes, they sniff of trite

Grab the thesaurus

Meaningless, worthless, no value, vacant, without purpose, without…

Readers

Therefore without the honor of being deemed a writer

But it is the trivial that dances for us

Not the Austrian princess swirling to a Strauss waltz in a gala ballroom

But rather, your aging mother swinging her hips to the music

As she stares out the kitchen window, washing dishes

You see, there is no mundane

Unless we are all mudheads

If that be the case, then fascinate ourselves we will

By using the butterfly flitting across the babbling brook?

How ridiculous

After all, we are the babblers

Given life, but demanding LIFE

Yet living is always best experienced first hand

For now, I neither travel to the chilly space

Or return to the toasty surroundings

I am writing on the pot

Historical porcelain

The unheralded, magnificent seat of inspiration

 

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Confessing … November 7th, 2015

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XXVII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I was 23 years old, and already the father of two little boys. I had no regular job and was quickly becoming known for mooching lodging and meals off of friends and relatives.

My saving grace was that all the people of the town knew I had some musical talent.

I had proven this recently by winning a contest, and in so doing, being awarded a recording session with 100 free albums.

I was thrilled.

Every time somebody would ask when I was going to get a job, I explained that I was getting ready for the project. I was blessed to have a music group filled with friends who believed in my writing.

We went to do the record and ended up having a studio engineer who had seen us at the talent contest, and was very excited about working with us.

The first couple of songs went really well, but when we came to the third selection, I went into the booth to record my piano first, before we laid down vocals.

In the process of playing the tune, I hit a really bad note. It was isolated off by itself. I was trying to hit a Db, but my finger slipped and I ended up with a C included. Without going into too much detail, it sounded terrible and it was obvious I had made an error.

When I finished the piece, the engineer waited for me to request another go-through.

I didn’t.

I asked him to play it back and when the foul-sounding note came over the speakers, I pretended I had planned it that way. He even gently took me to the side and asked if I was sure I did not want to go back in to correct the note.

I told him I was fine with it.

Matter of fact, that note remained through the whole session, mix-down, and was pressed onto the final record.

I was so defensive over being a jobless dad that I did not want to admit I had made a mistake.

You see, my sin was not in being young, foolish and without money. My sin was being prideful and defensive about my situation.

I look back on that day in horror.

It is difficult for me to believe that anybody could be so stupid–and then I turn on the television set and listen to grown men and women in politics, defending their mistakes as if they had actually planned them.

Sometimes we hit sour notes.

Our only advantage is to point them out before others discover them, or at least change them … before they become part of the permanent record.

confessing piano

 

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Ask Jonathots … October 22nd, 2015

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ask jonathots bigger

I am a senior in high school and they want me to declare my major for planning my college career. I can’t make up my mind because there are too many things I like to do. I play piano and french horn, I’m very good with computers, and I also love to write. How do you decide “what you want to be when you grow up?”

If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you two parts to this answer.

First of all, it’s difficult to know, when you’re a senior in high school, that the reason family and adult counselors are trying to push you to discover your major for college is that they want to brag to other people about it.

It has little to do with you. The relatives want to say, “Well, Brian is going to be an attorney…a doctor…a professor…an engineer.”

It allows for the “oohs” and “aahs” which cause grown people around you to feel they have succeeded in raising you up to be a fine young person.

Yes, I’m asking you to be a little suspicious of people who are in a hurry for anything. You’re on the verge of making two major decisions which will determine your peace of mind and your sense of soul satisfaction:

  • How do I make a wage?
  • Who am I going to live with for the rest of my life while I make that wage?

Making the wrong decision on either of these proposals is the main ingredient in unhappiness.

So don’t be in a hurry. There are people who do not declare a major until they’re juniors or seniors in college, and as long as they’re willing to buck up to the course requirements, it doesn’t make any difference.

But as to the second part of your question, “What do I want to do when I grow up?”–that is a bit more intricate and a deeper issue.

It’s a good idea to peruse what you enjoy, but I believe there are three things that go into picking an occupation or answering a calling:

1. Can I do what I want to do for long periods of time without complaining, while still finding new ways to enjoy it?

Boredom is your worst enemy in life. It is the source of poorly timed accidents, and bad choices which can lead to all sorts of misfortune and sin. Make sure that what you choose to do evolves enough that it keeps you interested.

2. Is it going to help anyone else?

If you are able to make money and make blessing for other people at the same time, you will never have any trouble sleeping or have any misgivings about your choice of work.

3. Does it offer a branch?

Here’s a fact: if you go into a line of work that allows you to branch out into other aspects of your interests at the same time, it is most excellent.

So of the things you listed–music, computers and writing–use your great intelligence to find a direction for your efforts, where all three of those might come into play.

Just a thought.

But since you’re in the thought process, also remember: thinking, by its very nature, requires that you slow down and not be in any big hurry.

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G-Poppers … June 5th, 2015

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G-Popper

G-Pop just decided not to do so.

He was considering offering some insights for his children and grandchildren on the “Jenner-gender-bender” situation with Bruce emerging as Caitlyn.

He passed.

Why? Because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

It’s not that G-Pop thinks he’s ignorant, ill-informed or without some degree of wisdom. No–G-Pop contends that none of us know what we’re talking about.

So the question might be raised: why does G-Pop write books and post blogs if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? That’s simple.

Somebody who doesn’t know what he’s talking about needs to remind everybody that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

For truth is a mysterious mixture of understanding history and assessing the present, while including the chaos of the future.

Who could possibly accurately discern such things?

So what we tend to share is what we feel, believe and think.

Of course, the trouble is that what we feel is based on our preferences; what we believe can be contingent on doctrines of people who lived nearly 4,000 years ago, and what we think has an overly exaggerated sense of importance from analyzing some statistics and data.

Here’s the truth of the matter–nobody knows Jenner. He is known by God and his own heart, when he’s open to such revelation, just like the rest of us.

So G-Pop realized that what he feels, believes and thinks is insignificant. What he’s going to do is the only thing that counts.

So what is G-Pop going to do about the “Jenner-gender-bender” situation?

Absolutely nothing.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant…February 11, 2015

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PoHymn Feb 11

Nearly seven years ago I began this daily essay called Jonathots–2,500 entries. I would like to dedicate today’s offering to all the little voices I have cried out into the wilderness.

I Write

I write because I am wrong.

I am wrong because I am not right.

I scribble, searching for truth.

Truth scurries from my pen, mocking me.

I persevere because I require a mission.

I seek a mission to learn the power to persevere.

I question, starving for answers.

I want answers to justify my questions.

I believe in God because I don’t want to give up on people.

I study people. They are the breath of God.

I love my neighbor because hate is exhausting.

I am still exhausted because my love is incomplete.

I laugh to avoid crying.

I cry because the laughing fails to heal.

I have stopped judging because the blowback is ferocious.

And being ferocious only scares the infirmed, who need my gentleness.

I write to question the wrong.

I am wronged to have reasons to write.

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