Tuesday, June 4, 43 A.B.

Just keep this in mind if you're going to read this journal...

I am not a storyteller.

I was reminded of this recently while watching Turner Classic Movie's Woody Allen special.  As Woody talked about his movies and they showed numerous clips to illustrate his points, I realized that I could never make a movie like any of his because plot and narrative and story line are as alien to my way of thinking as Japanese kabuki theater, voodoo, whale hunting, and telemarketing.  My mind simply does not organize the world in story form.  In fact, organizing the world in story form seems to me to be as much of a strange imposition on reality as harpooning a passing beluga.

This is why I don't tell many jokes or even remember the ones I'm told very well.

When I do tell jokes, here's the way they tend to come out:

"Ok, so a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar.  And the priest says to the bartender something I didn't catch because I thought he was just placing a drink order.  And then the rabbi says something kinda odd to the bartender which causes my ears to perk up and makes me think that the priest must have said something much more interesting than I thought at first.  Suddenly the bartender frowns, slaps his hand down on the bar three times, and exclaims something that was drowned out by a song on the jukebox that kicked in just as he started to speak.  I think the conversation continued for awhile after this, but I really can't be sure - a faint crack in the wall behind the bartender caught my eye and I got involved in trying to figure out if the crack was merely in the paint or extended into the plaster...."

I don't know if I'm story deaf the way others are tone deaf or if others are merely hearing voices in the static the way even I see faces in the clouds.

In any case, my story-adverse mindset has definitely limited my career opportunities.  So much of what passes for success in life depends upon the ability to tell a convincing story.  That's obvious when it comes to movie makers and novelists, but I think it's also true of journalists, lawyers, sales people, military leaders, politicians, teachers - on and on.

People may occasionally date raw truth, but it seems to me most will only hop into bed with respectable tales.

Has it always been this way?  Would my way of thinking have been any more popular in the ancient world?

Maybe I should have been a Hebrew scribe, huh?

"Ok, so here's the deal.  In the beginning... something happened.  Or maybe not.  Maybe there simply was no beginning.  Who knows?  But let's suppose there was a beginning.  Because I just bought all this papyrus and all these quills and if the best I can do is play 'Let's Pretend' or throw all these supplies away, then 'Let's Pretend' it is.  Ok?  Is everyone cool with that?  Ok then.  There was a beginning, and in the beginning... something happened.  And then... something else happened.  And then - BEHOLD!  Yet a third thing happened after that.  But there was no clear or necessary connection between any of these things.  At all.  They just, you know...  happened.  Other things could have happened instead.  But they didn't.  And there's nothing we can do about that now.  This is what very wise people in many other cultures have called 'The Way Of The World' and who are we to call it something else?  Why reinvent the wheel?  If we want to distinguish ourselves, how about we work on finding a hangnail vaccine instead?

"Now where was I?  Oh, right.  There was a beginning, things happened, yadda yadda yadda, here we are today talking about it because that sure beats having to hose down our mud floors for the umpteenth time this week.

"Should we look at these things that happened and call them good?  Bad?  OK in a pinch or only acceptable if we can get a 50% discount and a free toaster?  It all depends.  What do we mean by good?  What's good for us might be bad for someone else - maybe for everybody else.  Sometimes things only seem good.  Sometimes things are good in this context but not that.  Sometimes things are good for a while but not forever.  Sometimes things oscillate between good and bad as times and circumstances change.

"Is anybody else getting a headache?  How about if we call it a day, eat ourselves some fruit, and then come back first thing in the morning and name ourselves some animals?"

Somehow I can't see that ever becoming part of a canon capable of inspiring grown men to dress up in fancy robes and hats.

On the other hand, eating some fruit and coming back tomorrow sounds pretty good about now to this guy.

Last one to the Macintoshes is a deluded goody two-shoes!!!

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher despite being ambushed by
a box of renegade Pop Tarts on his way to the fruit bowl)