Speaking at the Metropolitan Funeral Home

I served 20 years in a city congregation that was two thirds black. There were several sisters with unbelieving mates, and some of those mates had issues. One would spend weeks at home where life would be 24/7 bliss. Then he would disappear into the streets for more weeks. Nobody knew if he would return or not. When he did, his wife always took him back.

His wife asked me to give his funeral talk. Though most avoided assignments like this, I relished them for the challenge of offering comfort amidst horrendous circumstances. I mean, when a guy gets knifed to death on a strange doorstep seeking drugs, how do you put a smilely face on that?

“Jimmy had some hang-ups,” I said, “and it is likely those hang-ups had something to do with his death,” I told mourners at the Metropolitan Funeral Home. “We all know it. We might as well say it. Only then can we begin to offer comfort. Like all of us, Jimmy was a combination of strengths and weaknesses. You never know for sure which will win out and sometimes you say ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’

Look, this system is rough and it destroys people. When that happens, you don’t go moralizing over it. These were Bible type people, most of them not ours, so I read a lot of scriptures. But I also went heavy on his good traits, for he did have some. Few in the audience knew that he had graduated at SUNY Brockport and that he was a skilled pianist. I told of the happy times he would play piano at home.

I didn’t know how to conduct myself at the Metropolitan Funeral home. It was not my culture. I gathered that much was expected from the preacher (me) who conducted the funeral. I told the funeral director that I didn’t want to do it, for it would be phony. I would give my talk, sit down, and they could take over and I would do whatever they said. He told me that after his remarks I should lead everybody out the front door.

After his remarks, I led everyone out the front door. When I was almost there, I turned around to find they were way behind me all moving like snails. Of course they were way behind me all moving like snails – they had a casket to carry. I hadn’t thought of that. I doubled back and led them out at a snail’s pace, and felt a little uncomfortable doing so.

My most emotionally rewarding moment? When a Rochester police officer, approached me with tears in his eyes to thank me for speaking well of his brother. Emotional reward is all that counts. Though I have given many funeral talks, I have never charged a dime, as is the way with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I relate the event not to draw attention to myself. It was emotionally fulfilling giving the talk. It is emotionally fulfilling again telling of it. Image

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Tom Irregardless and Me                No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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March 1st is the Day You Call the Cops to Remove that Obnoxious Winter Drunk from Your House

March 1st is a fine day. It is a day of days. It is a wonderful day. It marks the psychological end of winter.

It is the day you finally decide to call the cops to remove that obnoxious drunk from your house. You know he’s not going to go quietly. You know he’s going to break a lamp or two on the way out. But you also know that he will soon be GONE.

Watching the news on TV the way I do, I often see that New York is buried in snow. I am in New York and my Facebook friends worry about me. They needn't.  It depends upon where in New York you are, for much snowfall is determined by your location relative to one of the Great Lakes across which winds blow. In Rochester, due south of Lake Ontario, we have had remarkably little snow, and what snow there has been melts quickly. But if I were in the Tug Hill Plateau, east – southeast of Lake Ontario, or the Amhearst area, due east of Lake Erie, I would have offed myself many times over by now.

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No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash                 Tom Irregardless and Me

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I Left the Vodka Bottle in Plain Sight!

Here are the top news stories of 2016:

  1. Trump won.
  2. The other side blamed Putin, who
  3. Got mad.
  4. I worried it was my fault. I was then writing ‘Tom Irregardless and Me,’ my first book, and I licensed out to the media video of my flying fingers for reasons of cash flow. Now - I like a good shot after every meal, and I unfortunately left the bottle of vodka in plain sight by the keyboard. The media jumped to conclusions. Trump himself came closest to the truth. ‘It could be Russia, it could be China, it could be some 400-pound guy in New Jersey.’ Wronnngggg! – I’m in New York, not New Jersey. And I’m not 400 pounds (yet). At the next debate, they brought out a 400 pound guy – was he there to rattle Trump? They seated him behind a skinny guy, so that he looked 600 pounds.
  5. Jehovah’s Witnesses (my people) moved their headquarters from Brooklyn Heights, where they had been for over 100 years, to way, way out in the sticks.
  6. Jerod Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, bought their old building. Video of him saying nice things about Witnesses appeared on jw.org. I had no idea who he was at the time, but when I found out, I worried anew. See - I caught a heavy dose of news each day while I was writing, and it irritated me, but I stuck with it – how else would I learn about the snowfall outside my window? Now, no one is capable of total non-bias, but they are capable of trying. I’m not used to the referee leaning on the scales – it never used to happen. But when I would grouse about the media, which I did a lot, some took it as support for Trump! I could picture the Watchtower sign going down, a Trump sign going up, and fellow Witnesses, who weren’t paying overclose attention saying: ‘how did Tom manage that?’

The preceding is from the book "No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash,' available at Smashwords.com and other outlets.

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Can You Believe that Someone tried to Apply Isa 57:1 to David Bowie?

The righteous one has perished,

But no one takes it to heart.

Loyal men are taken away,

With no one discerning that the

righteous one has been taken away

Because of the calamity.

 

Look, David Bowie was a great guy and all. And a memorable singer. Who can forget – uh – um – ah – well, he’s not my generation, otherwise I would remember. Besides, when I went to Pandora, I kept saying ‘oh, he’s the one who did that.’ But you have to stretch it to call him one of the righteous ones.

When he came to Rochester in the 70’s, he got busted for drugs. Cops would never do it today, but at the time the kids were getting out of control, adults didn’t know what to do about it, but figured they had to do something. I remember this on TV. Weird as ever, he replied ‘yes, sir’ to the judge – respectfully, just not a ‘your Honor.’ But then, he was British. Why should he know American decorum? Image

A local businesswoman was there when he was busted in his hotel room. Bowie had taken a shine to her and had invited her to his hotel room after the concert. I think there were several there, not just her. In 2016, she declared she would “tell her story” of what really happened that night. TV teased us for days about what she would spill. But it turned out that the only thing she had to spill is that she was there, which everyone knew already.

“You’re under arrest,” the cops said. “Okay,” David replied.

It actually wasn’t David Bowie he applied Isaiah 57:1 to. It was someone else. I forget who. It may have been Paul Newman, which is arguably more true, since he did leave behind some fine salad dressing and proceeds from buying it go to charity.

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Look, Mommy: Two mommies!

Sophia saw the picture her classmate made, the classmate with two mommies. ‘What is important is that two love each other,’ the teacher (always on the cutting edge of such things) said.

So Sophia’s mom explained how these things work. No one need miss the plane, but they will have to leave the forbidden baggage behind before passing through the screener. Or wait for their own plane. Cart witnessing

The four-year-old who watched that video was impressed. Then he watched another video, of two sisters cart-witnessing. “Look, mommy,” he said, “two mommies.”

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A Legal Defeat for the Cat

'Cats only get fed once a day,' says Pop. He is recalling the barn cats back when he was a boy. They got unlimited cow's milk, but solid food just once a day. Let them get off their rear ends and catch some mice if they are yet hungry.

This statement thoroughly alarmed the cat, which immediately tried to mitigate the damage. 'Objection, your Honor,' it said. 'I demand that remark be stricken from the record! It is irrelevant, biased, and prejudicial! Cat lives matter!'

But his Honor was fed up with his own cat, which harasses him 24/7 for more food from the moment he walks in the door. He takes off his robe, hollers 'Honey, I'm home!' takes a step forward and falls headlong over his cat, which has positioned itself to call attention to its own hungry plight.

'Objection overruled!' he roared. 'Let the record stand as is! In fact, underline those words!' Image

 

Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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