~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday, Auggie 27, 41 A.B. ~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday I harvested 64 cherry tomatoes.  I took 30 of them across the street to my neighbor.  She seemed very happy to get them.  Her happiness made me happy, too.

Which was a stark contrast with the extreme unhappiness I felt the last time I attempted to eat 64 cherry tomatoes all by myself.

My happiness continues today.  It makes me want to give each of my readers 30 cherry tomatoes of their own.  Alas, I do not have 90 cherry tomatoes to spare.  And even if I did, experience has repeatedly shown me how foolish it is to attempt to email or fax these tomatoes to anybody.  Experience has also shown that I should only attempt to send cherry tomatoes via the U.S. Postal Service to people I never want to hear from again.

So, instead of sharing my cherry tomatoes with you, I've decided to share the next best thing:


Specifically, wisdom in the form of a lactose-free essay I call "The Importance of Having Beliefs."

Enjoy!  (And be careful not to drip any of the thoughts onto your shirt as you move your lips - they tend to stain even worse than tomato juice.  Sorry.)

(Tear at perforation and save for future reference)


Dear Friend -

Do you have an empty feeling inside?  Do you wake up in the mornings dreading having to face yet another day with a full heart and a hollow head?  Do you spend your time wandering the earth in search of someone or something that can sop up at least some of that nasty, excess consciousness constantly drip-drip-dripping from your mind?

Hi, my name is Dan Birtcher.  And for years and years that's the way I felt, too.  Then I discovered a simple fact of life which made me feel so much better, I'm driven to share the good news with everybody I know (and many I don't).

I call this amazing little discovery that changed my life forever "The Importance of Having Beliefs."

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Dan, what in the hell are you talking about?"

To you I can only say, "Read on, lost soul!  Read on!"

Although Aristotle believed that the brain existed only to produce mucus, modern scientists have determined that there's a bit more to it than that.  The fact is, something can't come from nothing, and even an organ as powerful as the human brain needs some raw material to make mucus from.  That raw material is what 20th century physicists have given the name Belief.  (Apparently all the real catchy names had already been copyrighted by others.  Figures.)

But enough esoteric theory.  Not only is it too difficult for the average person to comprehend, it might lead the unwary to conclude that they only need to boost their supply of Belief when they feel a cold coming on.

Nothing could be further from the truth!  (Though admittedly the idea that Buchanan would make a swell president comes close.)

The simple fact is that there are lots of reasons one should grab hold of as many beliefs as one can and keep them for as long as possible.  Here are just a few:

- Having beliefs is taken by most other people as a sign of sophistication

- Having beliefs gives you something to talk about when no recent sporting events have occurred and the weather has been unremarkable

- Having beliefs means being able to say, "No, thank you - I already have all I can handle" when those annoying belief peddlers come to your door

- Having beliefs means always having something to pass on to your children even after a trip to Vegas

- Having beliefs can keep your head from imploding when experiencing sudden changes in altitude while on an airplane

I could go on and on but I know that - if you're a typical person - you're already anxious to get out there and acquire a few beliefs of your own.  Please read the following words of caution first!

- Not all beliefs are equally safe and effective when it comes to filling a painfully empty head!  For example, the belief that you can jump off tall buildings and structures with no harm to yourself has been found in double-blind lab tests to be no more effective in actually preventing death and serious injury than placebo.  If you simply must jump off a tall building or structure, please leave your lightly-explored better beliefs behind so that someone else might get some use out of them.

- Some beliefs may make you dangerous attractive to others!  For example, the belief that all women are wonderful and ought to be worshiped as queens can get a man ripped in many directions at once by the grasping hands of overly-excited wives married to hateful cads if allowed to seep out of your head in the wrong place or at the wrong time.  If you can't trust such beliefs to remain carefully hidden under the rock of your cerebellum until called forth by appropriate circumstances, always be sure to carry an extra, preferably clean hanky with you that you can easily and quickly shove into your mouth.

- It's a sad fact of life that most beliefs clash with most other beliefs.  Before leaving your house in the morning, always take a moment to see if the beliefs in the forefront of your mind match those on the tip of your tongue and that both match whatever actions you plan on engaging in that day!  Failure to do so may result in your teacher, boss, in-laws, or minister sending you home to change.

As long as you promise me to keep all these things in mind, you may now go out and experience the wonderful world of belief-packed headdom for yourself.

Good luck, my Friends!  Good luck!  If you need me, I'll be right here, counting my millions between bouts of conversation with a very naked Leslie Stahl.

Well, at least it makes me feel good to believe so, anyway....

Back To What Some Believe To Be An Earlier Entry
And What Others Believe To Be Trash From A Far Future Civilization
Which Has Learned How To Use The Past As A Landfill



Forward To What I Believe Will Be An Even Better Entry
And What Others Simply Can't Believe Could Be Any Worse


(©Now on behalf of Mr. Birtcher by Jeremy Dostwik,
Almost Another Jester's Journal 's first summer intern)


"Wait, Dan!  WAIT!  Where are we to get these beliefs you praise so highly?!"

Dear Panicked Reader: Take a deep breath.  Do not be afraid.  Beliefs are all around us, just waiting to be taken into the warm cockles of our mind.  Ask a neighbor or a friend - he or she is sure to have a belief or two that they can share again and again and again, especially if they are elderly.  Call a stranger at random and demand they drop everything and help - he or she will almost certainly be eager to give you a small piece of their mind.  Buy a newspaper, grab a flyer, read a billboard, surf the web - beliefs are everywhere, just waiting for your embrace, if only you're willing to spend the few seconds it takes to miscomprehend them and thereby make them your own.  If nothing else, go punch a cop.  Our criminal justice system will see to it that you are exposed to more beliefs than you'll know what to do with.

"But, Dan - that sounds too much like work!"

Fine.  Here are a few small beliefs to get you by until a thimble's worth of ambition rains down upon you from the sky:

"Sugar is sweet"

"Up is the opposite of down"

"That there cat is probably a feline"

"I am here even though I might have been elsewhere by now had I gotten out of bed earlier or had better ancestors"

"If I stick this fork in my eye one more time, I am going to SCREAM!"

"Online journals are a complete waste of time"

Now, get out of here, you crazy kids.  I believe I've finally come to the conclusion of something I probably never should have started in the first place.

Or at least not until I'd harvested today's crop of tomatoes....