Tag Archives: Southern humor

The Monk in Santoni Oxfords and the Ten Commandments for Educators

Many years ago I made a pilgrimage to Woodall Mountain, Mississippi. I had heard stories of a wise monk draped in the cloak of Southern evangelism preaching from the mountain’s summit. According to the stories, during the summer months of June, July, and August, a monk, who spoke with gentleness and wisdom intertwined with intoxicated tidbits of misplaced hell, fire and brimstone, held counsel with despondent teachers. If you were willing to endure the blistering heat of the Mississippi summer to sit at his feet and listen, the story tellers were adamant that you would be blessed with a life-altering miracle. As a struggling second year teacher, I desperately needed a miracle, so I journeyed to Iuka. Mississippi and located the mountain.

I drove my 1979 Ford Fairmont up the steep rocky incline to the summit where I found an aging observation tower standing in a gravel circle. Not far from the tower there was a bench where a solitary figure reclined gazing out over the hardwoods and pines that were interrupted here and there by patches of farmland colored in various shades of green and brown. When I approached the bench, the man turned to me and motioned to a place on the grass at his feet. He looked very much like the Buddhist monks I had seen on television and in National Geographic magazine. His bald head signified his commitment to the Holy Life and his yellow robe, drenched in sweat from the merciless sun, represented his devotion to virtue; however, that was where the similarities to the television and magazine monks ended. The pressed black slacks under his robe made visible when he crossed his legs, his highly polished Santoni Oxfords, and the diamond and emerald rings that adorned the fingers of both hands spoke volumes about the Americanization of his commitments.

Once I was seated on the prickly sun parched grass, the monk began to speak. As he spoke, the sun sucked sweat bubbles from his bald head where they sparkled and sizzled for a brief moment before flowing in great droplets down the back of his neck, down the sides of his cheeks and down his forehead into his eyes. Watching him continuously wipe the sweat from his eyes, I remember thinking, I bet he wishes he hadn’t shaved his eyebrows. It didn’t take long before we were both scarlet faced and boiling in our sweat, but not once did his words falter. He spoke to me for three hours. His words flowed seamlessly from the wise and simple counsel of the bhikknu to the nostril-flaring indignation of the Southern evangelist and played as true as any infomercial I had ever heard. When finished speaking, he slowly licked his cracking sunburned lips as he studied me.  “You are not buying any of that bulls#%$ are you?” he asked.

Thinking I had somehow offended him, I apologized profusely, but he raised an open hand to silence me. He reached inside his yellow robe and pulled out a rolled piece of goat skin and handed it to me. I remember recoiling from the rancid smell of the goat skin and thinking why would this monk offer me a very sharp cheese wrapped in goat skin. I untied the thin cord, and the goat skin unfurled over my hand. There was no cheese, but the rotted-feet-stench of Limburger cheese radiated from the 14 inch by 24 inch skin.

“I believe the list on the scroll will be more to your liking,” the monk said, his face also distorted by the foul odor.   With his hands clasped prayerfully to either side of his nose, he bowed respectfully and hurriedly walked away disappearing between two young water oaks that led to a trail down the mountain.

The ten decrees hand printed on the goat skin were more to my liking. The simple commandments, especially written for educators, were perfect for my needs.  I always thought it was uncanny, even a little unsettling, that the monk happened to have a scroll inside his robe tailored to my specific needs. How did he know I was a teacher?  He never asked, nor did I volunteer the information.  But, that is like dwelling on spilled milk; it doesn’t really matter how he knew.  All that matters is that he shared the commandments with me and ultimately saved my teaching career.

Until now, I have never shared the commandments in their entirety with anyone, but the time has come to share. Maybe, there is an educator somewhere who needs a nudge or even a huge eye opening kick in the rear like I did. Maybe, there is an educator somewhere who is looking for a “silver bullet” or their own savior monk to right their ship. Or, maybe, there is someone who simply needs another list. Whatever the reason or the need, I believe the commandments are a difference maker; they were for me.

The Ten Commandments for Educators

  1. Thou shall slow down and take a deep breath before you react;
  2. Thou shall give audience to your “gut feelings.” If it doesn’t feel right or your gut feeling says “no,” don’t ignore the feeling. Take a step back, take a look from a different angle and call a friend;
  3. Thou shall not turn away from common sense;
  4. Thou shall not tear down a fence unless you know why it was built;
  5. Thou shall ask before any decision, “Is this what is best for children?”
  6. Thou shall not let pride or an omniscient point-of-view stand between you and knowledge.  No one may be as smart as you or know half as much as you do, but it does no harm to listen;
  7. Thou shall not be reluctant to offer second chances least you be denied yourself. If you cannot give a child a second chance, don’t ask or expect one for yourself;
  8. Thou shall stand blessed before children. When you stand in front of a classroom of students, act like you want to be there;
  9. Thou shall not take yourself so seriously. Education is a serious business, but don’t take yourself too seriously. The art of play is the key to learning;
  10. Thou shall work with the precision, the skill, the focus and the mastery of the surgeon.  As an educator you perform brain surgery every day; for Heaven’s sake GET IT RIGHT!

I kept these commandments with me everywhere I traveled as a teacher, and a year never passed that I did not take time to review them and do my best to apply them as a professional as well as in my personal life. The commandments are not a magical “silver bullet,” but they they are reminders of what it means to be a professional and the responsibilities and commitments that go along with being a professional. I have not been back to Woodall Mountain, but I like to believe the monk is still there every summer counseling young teachers and even veteran teachers when they are not too proud and smart to listen. To that monk in the Santoni Oxfords, I offer a heartfelt THANK YOU! You made a difference, and I will forever be grateful.

JL

©Jack Linton, July 31, 2015

Advertisements

The Pros and Cons of the Granddad Bod

The outpouring of support for the “Granddad Bods are Sexy” campaign has been unbelievable! It has been great hearing from people who are so enthusiastic about granddad bods. Whether they are registered granddad bods themselves, they are interested in developing and refining their granddad bod, or they have a granddad bod in the family they want to understand better, they have all expressed a common interest in the creation, maintenance, and preservation of the granddad bod as the national treasure it deserves to be. The public response has confirmed what we have always believed: Granddad Bods are Sexy, and it is time we let the world know it!

While most people who have written seem to enjoy a sweet awareness and understanding of the granddad bod, there have also been a few who have written requesting more information about granddad bods such as Jeemal Coopersfield of Pandersville, New Jersey. Jeemal wrote, “I am 22 years old, and I love my granddad. Lately, he has been in the dumps and very negative about everything, so I have been looking for something that might pep him up and make him feel better about himself. When I read your article, “Granddad Bods are Sexy,” I thought this might just be the thing for him. But, before I approach him with your article and get his hopes up, I would like to know the pros and cons of the granddad bod. Is it for everyone?” That is a very relevant question, especially for younger generations concerned for granddad’s happiness, or who have one of those increasingly rare (thank goodness) thin granddads who would benefit greatly by beefing up his lifestyle. I say increasingly rare since the latest health care trends show phenomenal growth in the heftiness of Americans.

I would like to believe my new cookbook, Nourishment for the Granddad Bod, has contributed to America’s prodigious commitment to portliness. My cookbook is a must for every granddad bod and granddad bod admirer. In it, there are over one-hundred high carbohydrate, high fat content recipes guaranteed to fluff up any body type. There is even a chapter on “How to Not Exercise” contributed by some of America’s top granddad bods. There are also such mind boggling waist expanding chapters as “Don’t be Afraid to Use Extra Butter,” “The Cleansing Power of Grease,” “When Furniture Breaks: The Sign of Success,” and my personal favorite, “Never Have Another Meal without Biscuits and Gravy.” Users of my cookbook will discover why using pure girth expanding ingredients such as animal lard and bacon grease when cooking will greatly increase their chances of obtaining that perfect granddad bod.

Please forgive me for the blatant boasting and marketing, but I get excited talking about the granddad bod and the changes it has brought into my life and the lives of fans across the nation. I am not here to sell or brag although I guess that is what I have been doing (once again, please forgive me). I am writing today for two reasons: to thank everyone for their interest in and support of the campaign and to bring clarity to the phenomenon of the granddad bod by answering questions such as the one Jameel asked. Such questions are important. The better people understand the granddad bod and its simplistic complications and needed accommodations the sooner granddads like Jeemal’s will perk up and get back into the swing of life. So, after giving deep thought to Jeemal’s question, I would like to answer him with a thorough listing of the pros and cons of the granddad bod. Thanks for asking, Jameel.

Pros and Cons of the Granddad Bod

Pros

Cons

There is more to love! Granddad bods quantify love by inches and pounds. Transporting granddad bods can be cumbersome and problematic unless you have ready access to winches and block and tackle.
Granddad Bods are characterized by an overlarge cushy belly perfect for cuddling. Visions of Java the Hut cradling Princess Leia comes to mind.
Granddad bods promote a stress free lifestyle. Mountains and storage buildings are also stress free.
Granddad bods do not take a lot of work to maintain. Beer runs and couch potato lounging are usually all the maintenance needed.
Granddad bod bellies are a great place to rest your popcorn bowl or fried chicken bucket while watching Chuck Norris movies or the Saints play football (Real American football!) Belly tablecloths or “Gut Covers” are not yet in production.
Granddad bods are great listeners, If you are talking about them, food or sports.
Granddad bods make great tube floats for lounging in the pool, enjoying bobbing in the surf at the beach or relaxing on the nearest lazy river. Beware! Unexpected high tides, tidal surges and flood crests can be expected. There may also be a danger of drifting too far from the shore and being mistaken as an off- shore drilling platform.
Granddad bods have extra layers for cold weather. So do whales, walruses and polar bears!
Granddad bods are at peace with their bodies. Actually, grandad bods are at peace with mashed potatoes and gravy, chili cheese fries, double cheeseburgers and doughnuts.
Granddad bods are considered sexy by intelligent women! Intelligent women are interested in inheriting the farm and bank account sooner than later.
Granddad bods are built for grandkids. Parents must exercise extreme caution when grandkids are climbing on granddad – the distance from the top of his belly to the floor can be deceiving.
Granddad bods move slowly and deliberately. Unless, they are in line for the all you can eat buffet.
Granddad bods are all about being good to their woman. The woman must be willing to cook, clean food stains from clothes, help granddad roll out of bed in the morning, and change the TV channels when the remote becomes too much of a chore.
Granddad bods are humorous and fun to be around! Granddad bods are a ton of fun if you like burping, farting, and jokes normally reserved for 12 year old boys.
Granddad bods will never appear on any of the world’s endangered species lists. Granddad bods will never become extinct as long as there is beer, cheese, and dough to be had.

There you have it, the Pros and Cons of the granddad bod! I hope this list helps clear up any questions. At Granddad Bods are Sexy, we believe sharing knowledge is a beautiful thing, and we are always available to answer questions for the greater good of the Granddad Bod movement. Here at GBS, we believe the youth of today are the granddads of the tomorrow, so we are always happy to answer questions regardless of age. Remember, it is never too early or too late to learn about the benefits of the granddad bod – yours or the granddad bod of a loved one. Happy lounging! I’ll save you a place in the buffet line.

JL

©Jack Linton, June 15, 2015

Top 10 Profile of Facebook Participants

DISCLAIMER:  These blogs are not intended to offend anyone, but are written to hopefully make you think, and maybe have a little fun.  The observations I make are as much about me as anyone.  I do believe that one of the biggest problems with our society today is that we often take ourselves too seriously, so if you are offended take a pill and chill, and remember, the first finger I always point is at myself.

 

I don’t mean to offend, but . . . .

I often wonder why I bother with Facebook, but where else can you find moms, pops, grand kids, conspiracy theorists, borderline schizophrenia, every phobia you might imagine, goof-balls, world saviors, and clowns in the same place.  After looking at Facebook the past couple of years, I have developed a profile of the average Facebook participant that I believe is fairly accurate.  Now my profile does not apply to the growing minority of people who use Facebook primarily to share photos and news with family and friends, but rather I am profiling those of us who can’t help but share our latest conspiracy theory, gossip, or uninvited opinion.  So if you really want to know what your average Facebook participant looks like, take a look at my Top 10 Profile of Facebook Participants:

The Average Facebook Participant Profile . . . .

10.       They are usually well respected people who have good intentions and mean well.

9.         They are centophobic – They have a fear of new things or ideas.

8.         They are xenophobic – They have a fear of people who are different from them.

7.         They have sociopath tendencies:  (a) They often do not recognize the rights of others – only their own; (b)  They feel entitled to certain things as “their right;” (c)  They can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers, abilities, and rights; (d)  They can be extremely convincing; and (e)  They believe the end always justifies the means, and they will let nothing stand in their way to obtain that end.

6.         They are staunch believers in the second amendment, and they pack or plan to pack a gun to protect family and keep the peace.  They believe without apology in their right to be judge, jury, and executioner of the bad guys they might encounter.

5.        They are always on the lookout for something to offend them.

4.         They border on paranoid schizophrenia – it’s US against THEM!

3.         They exhibit an anti-government phobia – everyday there is a new government conspiracy.

2.         They have a doomsday mentality – ObamaCare, Common Core, Agenda 21, Welfare, Social Security, socialism, and too much salt in our diets are all conspiracies contrived by big government to exterminate the common man and bring about the fall of the United States of America.

1.         They believe what they believe, and you can believe whatever you believe as long as it falls in line with what they believe.

Therefore beware of anyone waving the American flag, driving an American made car but preferably an American made truck, whose favorite TV show is about duck calling bearded millionaires who are laughing all the way to bank, who is afraid to show or keep his photo on line more than three consecutive days, hates government but can’t wait to retire and draw his rightful portion of social security, believes there is a government conspiracy against the little man, hates just about anybody that doesn’t look, talk, or act like him, and believes he has all the right answers and if you don’t believe it, he has a .45 on his belt to back it up.

And . . . . Oh yeah . . . . I just realized why I stay tuned to Facebook – I enjoy the circus.

I don’t mean to offend, but I say it like I see it.

JL

Copyright © 2013 Jack Linton