#Jus Jot it January #15

It was a Sunday morning. The Pastor, tired of the same old services decided to mix things up a bit.

He announced to the small congregation that he was going to pick a topic and get the attendees involved.

“Today, I am going to talk about the wonderful institution of marriage”. He surveyed the room and asked, “Is anyone here approaching a wedding anniversary of more than 25 years?”

A small, elderly man slowly rose in the back row and said, “Me.”

“Tell us”, asked the Pastor, “How many years have you been married?”

“Almost 50 years” the man replied.

“Wow.” The pastor proclaimed. “Care to share any secrets to your longevity?”

“Well,” the man said, I like to take my wife on trips. For example for our 25th anniversary I took her to Paris.”

“And what do you have planned for your 50th?”

“I’m going to go and bring her back!”

#Just Jot it Jan Day # 10

Today’s prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 10th is brought to you by Toortsie! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Toortsie’s word for our prompt today is “sunrise.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!

As I have laid my head on my pillow each night, for as far back as I can remember, I had a veritable highlight reel of fuck-ups to keep me awake. Every thing that I’ve done in my life, from verbal faux pas’ to outright embarrassing episodes, played on repeat mode in my head, ensuring a bad nights sleep.

This is what happens when you are wrapped tighter than a 24 hr Convenience store sandwich. You don’t get in fights. You don’t need to when you’re way above the curve in the pugilistic art of beating the shit out of yourself.

Eventually, as my illness caused my Blood Pressure to escalate to dangerous levels, I was forced to pick and choose what I would become aggravated about. I could no longer afford to harbor resentments, to dwell on the past, and get too caught up in the omnipresent stresses of Management. My job was stressful and difficult so this was no small task. I achieved a meteoric rise in my company and I had a lot of people wishing, and sometimes trying to cause me to fail. I can now admit that I was a bit paranoid. Not “shhh…the Gummint is watching me” paranoid, but instead the “when I’m at a football game and the team is in the huddle they’re talking about me” kind of paranoid. I had to learn not to look behind me, but ahead.

I was pretty successful in dealing with the stressors in the present. I had learned to walk away and not engage unless I really needed to. I could say to myself “not worth it”, “not my circus, not my monkeys”. Not so much, however, when it came to reconciling my past. I continued to ruminate over past goofs and never allowed myself forgiveness.

Until recently. The stress thing has resolved itself. I’m now out of work and my only stressor is what I’m having for dinner this evening (I am downplaying it a bit but you get it). I have forgiven myself. Having been unburdened by disability the possibility of career or financial security I now have easy, attainable goals.

I want to maintain the wonderful relationship I have with my children.
I want to get through dialysis without getting gravely ill (again) and get a new Kidney.
I want to interact with my fellow man in a courteous, compassionate, and respectful manner.
I want to always be looking up and around, not down at the ground, because I don’t want to miss a single thing to be grateful for.

Now, if I find myself tossing and turning all night, I have the benefit of looking at the skyline at dawn, which is the glory and the beauty of each new day. With every sunrise comes a new opportunity to make a day that is better than the one before.

When you don’t know how many days you actually have left, the beautiful glow of the rising sun means a whole lot more.

Finish The Story–The final hunt part 7

sAll about Life has tagged me for something new today and that’s to add to a story originally started by Teresa, the Haunted Wordsmith; it’s like a kind of blogging relay race apparently. This is the story so far……

Teresa’s Part:

Anne and Gladys waved as the men left for their hunt. When they were out of sight, they both laughed knowing full well that none would have the heart to really shoot anything. They liked a boy’s day out as much as they liked a girl’s day in.

“So,” Fred said as they passed the gate into his family’s hunting grounds. “What do you think the girls are up to today?”

Alec laughed. “Talking about us, what else?”

Sam nodded. “Yep.”

As they walked through the fields into the tree line, the dogs’ ears’ picked up. Boy whimpered and cowered close to Fred’s legs. Toby’s fur stood on edge as he stared into the woods and growled.

“Easy there,” Alec said, trying to calm him.

Sam kneeled and unzipped his gun as quietly as possible. Suddenly, both dogs were on alert as a …

Morpethroad wrote:

small, bespectacled man stepped through the bushes. The dogs were going berserk by now straining at their leashes. It was clear the dogs sensed a danger the men did not see.

The man walking towards them was squinting as he approached as he had the sun in his eyes.

“Good afternoon,” he said as he drew near, “your dogs won’t bite will they? I do have a fear of them.”

Sam stood with his gun in his hands unsure of what he was seeing and hearing. The place they were in was a piece of rugged bushland, no one lived there because it was the family’s hunting grounds and it was considered unsafe to even camp on the land for any reason at all.

Fred was trying his best to hold onto his dog, and Alec held firm on Toby’s collar. Once the small man came within a few feet of the hunting party, they could see…

Pensitivity101 continues:

he was holding something in a plastic bag.

Fred lost his grip and Boy lunged at the man who dropped the bag on the ground and threw his arms up to protect his face.

Fred was afraid they would have to shoot the dog but Boy wasn’t interested in the man at all, just the bag, which he snatched up and obediently brought back to his master.

The little man was shaking with fear as Sam reached out his hand to help him up.

“You realise you’re trespassing don’t you?” he said.

The man straightened his glasses and collected himself.

“I’m sorry about that, but we’d received a repor….”

“We? Who is we? And what are you doing here? You could have been shot!”

Fred had taken the bag out of Boy’s mouth and stared at the contents in disbelief.

“Guys? I think you need to look at this.”

Sadje’s contribution:

Sam and Alec stepped forward to take a look at what was in the bag. Fred’s hand, clutching the bag, was trembling. The bag contained a severed hand, the digits were shaped like a claw. But it was like no human hand they had ever seen. It was like it belonged to someone very big and skinny.

“Whe…, Ahm….Where did you find this?” Alec uttered the question through vocal cords which were refusing to cooperate. Sam and Fred were looking askance at the stranger. The whole situation had taken on a nightmarish quality.

The man, again made an attempt to introduce himself. “I am Bennett, from The Agency of Alien Detection, TAAD. We received the alien activity signals from this area and a party has been investigating the situation. This is part of the remains we were able to recover. Do you have any information regarding this?”

The three men stared at him with gapping mouth and glazed looks. Who in their right mind would believe this man. But the evidence was in their hands.

Sam took the bag from Fred and was going to examine it closely when…

Cheryl added:

…when the bag’s contents started moving. The claw-like severed hand was scratching at the plastic bag. Sam dropped it like a hot potato! The boys started to freak out and started to whimper. The spectacled man even stepped back. “Oh my,” Bennett stuttered, “I thought it was, uh, uh, dead!”

Sam kept his gun at the ready. There was no way this “thing” was going to hurt the boys. Bennett fumbled nervously in his pocket to retrieve what looked like a cell phone, but was actually a communicator to the rest of the landing crew. His face seemed to change shape a bit and he started to adjust his hair. Sam looked at the little man with more than just curiosity. Who was this guy, really?

This was Fandango’s contribution

“Do not touch that bag!” Bennett, who was no longer a small, bespectacled, unimposing man, shouted. He had suddenly grown taller. His skin took on a shiny, reddish tone and his hands took on the same claw-like shape of the severed hand in the bag. The three men stepped back and even the two dogs stopped barking and cowered.

“What are you?” Alec asked. “you definitely are not human.”

“No,” Bennett admitted, “I am not. My companion and I were sent here from our home planet to explore your planet. Our mission was peaceful. Our intent was merely to collect air and mineral samples. We intended no harm. But then we encountered a hostile group of creatures who jumped my companion. I’m ashamed to say that I ran for cover, while these creatures devoured my companion. All that was left of him was the hand that I put in the bag. But he is apparently beginning the regeneration process.”

“Creatures? What kind of creatures?” Sam asked.

“Similar to those,” Bennett said, pointing to the two dogs, “but larger and much more viscous.”

“Wolves,” Fred said.

Sam raised his rifle and aimed it at the alien. “Sam, what are you doing?” Alec shouted.

Suddenly…

Now over to me:

There was a noise overhead and both Alec and Sam turned sharply to try and identify it’s source; necks craning upwards they searched the sky but there was nothing other than a dense cloud bank.

“Looks like there’s a storm coming” said Alec “Perhaps it was thunder we heard”

He turned to look at Sam who had resumed his position; stock still with his gun aimed at Bennett’s head

“That wasn’t thunder, was it Mr Bennett?” Sam said quietly

“Sam! Please put down your gun, there’s no need for threats, Mr Bennett has explained that he has no beef with us, he’s just doing some research”

Alec was surprised at his friend’s behaviour especially as Boy and Toby were no longer agitated but laying peacefully at their feet. In his experience dogs were far better attuned to sense danger than any human.

“And you believe him do you?” Sam was absolutely rigid and he spoke from the corner of his mouth through clenched teeth as though in mortal terror or suppressed anger, Alec couldn’t be sure which.

“Yes I believe him Sam now put the gun down for God’s sake before some gets hurt”

Alec was becoming genuinely concerned, they were both hunters but he knew from long experience that Sam was not a violent man. He stepped forward to try to placate his friend and persuade him to drop his weapon.= but just then the sky darkened and………..

MY contribution:

They were slammed to the ground by a sudden, swirling and violent thrust of downward pressure. The trees bent outwards in futile surrender as they were pelted by leaves and underbrush. The noise was deafening. The dogs, unable to stand, yelped as they crawled towards the outskirts of the clearing. Sam, having lost his tenuous grip on the shotgun, helplessly watched as it was flung beyond his sight. He found himself being tossed around on the forest floor as he tried to find something to hold onto. He cried out to Alec who was frantically hugging the base of a tree at least 20 feet away.

“Alec! What the ever loving f&*k is going on?!” He shouted. As the words left his mouth he knew that the cacophony around him had drowned him out.

Alec, instead of futilely trying to shout over the deafening noise waved his right arm, his left clinging to the tree base, caught Sam’s attention and frantically pointed upwards, jabbing at the forest ceiling.

Suddenly branches and debris began raining down upon them and both men cowered under the onslaught. Sam forced himself to look up. Squinting and covering his eyes with one hand he could see a large object slowly lowering itself into the clearing, effortlessly forcing aside the trees that dared block its descent.

The heat was overwhelming, Sam could only presume it was exhaust.

But from what?

He scrambled to escape the clearing. Alec, with a sudden burst of brevity let go of the tree and did a military crawl to join his friend. Once he reached Sam they locked arms and watched what they could only presume was Bennett’s ride home finish it’s descent.

I tag Steve @ MSich Chronicles to take it to the next level.

These are the rules:

1. Copy the story as you receive it.
2. Add to the story in some fashion.
3. Tag another person to contribute to or finish the story.
4. Please use FTS as a tag so Teresa can find it or link back to part 1.
5. Have Fun!

Self-Jus Jot Jan day #8

The name’s Billy Mac
AKA Superman
I do what I can
for an ordinary man
no feat too small
no building too tall

by now you are laughing
at the image of me dashing
from sidewalk to phone booth
in search of the truth
because you already know
I’m really a regular Joe

For my entire married life
at least according to my wife
I would go out of my way
to save somebody else’s day
that my head is as thick
as a pile of bricks
I just don’t listen

Hell, I’m on a mission
by my own admission
to help anyone around
up off of the ground
I can’t afford it
my health can’t support it
but I do it for a reason
regardless of the season

You see, as long as I fret about
other people’s asses
I’m less worried about
how Nerdy I look
in these Clark Kent glasses

I can’t help it
I stopped trying to fight it
I gladly put it all on the shelf
before I worry about my own self



Just Jot it January Day # 6

Today’s word is “master.”

I felt weak
yet I acted strong

I was sad on the outside
but smiled without

I worried, fretted, and sweated
but smiled and grinned

I ached, stung and wanted to quit
but I kept plugging along

I watched you play with a proud grin
I wanted to join you

I didn’t have it in me

you asked me if I knew, but refused to admit
that the walls were closing in

you later chastised me for acting strong
when I was anything but

what you never learned about me
it would help me if you would…

is that I am the master of letting you know
only what I want you to

I’ll worry about you
leave me to me

Alistair and Alexis in “Countdown To Christmas”

If you haven’t met Biff, of the gloriously named Blog Biff, Sock, Pow I strongly recommend that you check him out. I promise in my heart of hearts that you will not be disappointed.

His daily blogs are a delight. He will tell you that he is writing a “Seinfeldian” post about nothing and then regales you with his humorous wordplay and unique take on even the most mundane.

The true Arrow in Biff’s quiver is his delightful “Alistair and Alexis” series. The exchange between this fictional couple is delightful, his characters amusing, his references comically impressive and the wordplay and dialogue paint such a picture.

Why this guy doesn’t have a million followers is beyond me.

Check out this entry in the A & A series. He deserves the read

Biff Sock Pow

vintage-christmas-cards 1

I was not hiding particularly, though I could see how it might appear that way to an untrained observer.

Such an observer, untrained or not, could easily have found me in my den where I was recumbent upon my favorite easy chair.  My feet were up on the coffee table (in direct defiance of house rules).  A fire crackled in the fireplace.  Soft music tinkled on the hi-fi.  A steaming mug of wassail sat beside me on the occasional table.

In short, I was the very picture of serenity and relaxation.  And, by golly, if that looked like hiding to an outside observer, well so be it.  I felt I deserved a little quiet time to be alone with my thoughts and to begin recovering from the lunacy of the past week.  Chaos had finally packed its bags and vacated the premises.  And good riddance, I say!  What has chaos…

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the name’s Humbug…Bah Humbug

Another Christmas is upon me. Thus begins the annual battle with my love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love what it represents, but I hate what it has become. It’s exhausting to smile with the exuberant lovers of the holiday when, deep inside, I really don’t give a shit.

Please don’t think me cold or uncaring. Unlike most, I don’t feel compelled to share misery like a cold. I keep it to myself. I am as moved as anyone by the excitement of a child tearing open a present. I am as inspired as anyone by the generosity of the season. I am not above respect for the kindness shown from the day after Thanksgiving until midnight on December 25th, at which time I warmly welcome the world returning to its joyless, materialistic and selfish self.

I’m not a Grinch. I’m just realistic and call it like I see it. Christmas is a truce in the war on humanity.

I didn’t always feel this way. As a child I bought into the whole experience. I enjoyed the bustle of the stores. I liked the music. I liked the gentle ringing of the Salvation Army volunteer standing in the cold outside of the stores. And of course I loved getting presents. As I got a little older I developed a contradictory set of emotions that would later morph into disdain.

My father was raised very poor. Through hard work and pure piss and vinegar he proudly elevated us to lower middle-class. We didn’t have a lot, but we always had enough. My father, in a admirable attempt to compensate for his shitty childhood, worked his narrow ass into the ground to shower us with gifts, especially my mother. He worked excessive overtime and side jobs to pay for Christmas. He started early in the season and didn’t stop until the mall padlocked the doors on Christmas Eve. He couldn’t afford it, he paid for it all year, but he did it anyways. He was so intent on pleasing us, his expression of anticipation glued to his face as we opened gifts. I learned early that even if you didn’t like the gift you had better pretend that you did. This was especially true with my mother. He loved her so. He would repeatedly ask her if she was pleased with her gifts. She always was, fortunately, because his fragile ego depended on it. He loved us, he loved the holiday. He sacrificed so much.

As much as I appreciated that, it bothered me tremendously. I knew at an early age that my father put too much emphasis on stuff. He was overcompensating for the abject poverty of his youth. He wanted better for me. What he didn’t understand was that he was the gift, not the stuff. I just wanted to spend time with him, for him to come home from work while I was awake. So many nights he was called into work, many of them Christmas Eve’s, because someone ran out of oil or lost their heat. I respected the shit out of it, but I wished he was home instead. He worked himself to the bone and I began to feel guilty. A Wonderful Life is a lot better when you watch it with your Dad.

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When I became a parent, we did the best we could to give our children an amazing experience. My wife did all of the shopping and wrapping. God bless her, I couldn’t do it. I was in charge of assembly, working late into the night after struggling to get 4 excited kids to sleep. We would be woken at 3:30 or 4 to the sound of them rustling under the tree, barely able to contain themselves. We ignored them until 6, my wife being very clear that we would not get up before. At 5:59 they were jumping on the bed. Exhausted but resigned to our fate, we got up. Despite our best efforts to make the opening of presents organized and last for a while, they tore through them like a Oklahoma Tornado through a trailer park. Over before we knew it. As Rodney Dangerfield famously joked about sex, “the hours of bullshit weren’t worth the 30 seconds of pleasure”. My wife would then help the kids move their presents to their rooms and clean up. By 10 AM you would never know that a holiday had occurred…all of the evidence was gone. As Grinch-ish as I could be, I hated the quick clean. For the sake of the kids I wanted it to last. The excitement, the gratitude, the beautiful smiles made me happy. I enjoyed the day vicariously as a parent. Truly a fond memory.

As a husband, Christmas became one more day to dread. My wife ruined it for me. I will never know how someone capable of all of that preparation, organization, and detail with gifts couldn’t handle my mother and father coming over. After a few years of consistent shit storms, her being uptight, anxious and rude to my parents, I began to dislike the holiday. The drama and fallout became more than I could handle and Seasonal excitement became a feeling of impending doom.

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Now, the children are grown. The notion of a fat man in a red suit has been put away for their someday children. We no longer have a house to put up a tree and we are far apart. We will get together for dinner and a modest exchange of gifts. The hard lesson of rampant consumerism is firmly ingrained in my chidren. They witnessed a Bankruptcy and a Foreclosure as a result of their parents living beyond their means and buying gifts they couldn’t afford. I suppose it taught them an appreciation. For me, the lesson affirmed what I always sensed. That memories of time spent together with family are so infinitely more memorable than stuff.

My dad and I sat down over a beer and a burger when I was in my late thirties. He asked me if I resented him for being at work so much. I patted him on the arm and told him that I respected him for it. I then told him that what I had wished most for was moments like the one we were having. His greatest gift was a work ethic and a spirit of generosity. An appreciation of good thoughts and intentions. What I hated was the toll it took on his body.

I have yet to reconcile myself with the joy of the Holiday. Religious fervor over the birth of the Messiah aside, I see much more fake than just the trees. To paraphrase The Sixth Sense, “I see fake people.” People that wish you a Happy Holiday and then flip you off in the parking lot. People who act religious but only go to Church once a year. Everyone tries to be so nice, why can’t that last all year?

The Consumerism kills me as well. I wish that people cared as much about the time to be spent together with family as they do about saving 100 bucks on a Flat Screen TV. There is nothing quite like the sound of people stampeding and rioting in the electronics section of Wal-Mart as Joy to the World/Peace on Earth blares over the sound system in a futile and pathetic attempt to drown them out.

The false Charity bothers me to my core. While some people indeed do magnificent gestures such as paying off Layaways and Toys for Tots, many choose to be charitable only at Christmas. Once it is over they go back to their comfy lives. Food pantries and homeless shelters have a need year round, that is of course if it doesn’t interfere with your weekend in Aspen. No matter, the homeless and hungry will wait.

Maybe my attitude will change someday but I don’t suspect that it will. I don’t have a problem with people being happy. I will smile at their joy and feign my own. I will continue to be generous of spirit despite being light on funds. I will have love in my heart and a true desire to help anyone if within my means. I want peace on earth year round and forever going forward and I have goodwill towards my fellow man. It’s all I have and it will have to do. Just don’t ask me to buy into the rampant consumerism and fake joy.

I’m just not buying it.