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Humor

Doodles about Lazy People

thorramsey 2 comments

I’ve given this whole lazy thing some thought because my line of work lends itself to slacking off, as do most careers of the self-employed. If you’re your own boss how much trouble can you get in if you just don’t show up for work? I’ve thought about slackers long and hard while sitting at Starbucks, doodling on napkins. Consequently, I’ve doodled so many thoughts about slackers that it really amounts to a short joke book, which I’ve pasted below. All that work by accident… for your enjoyment.

Here are my observations about slackers everywhere via napkin doodles.

slacker-title

slacker-2

slacker-3

slacker-4

slacker-5

slacker-6

slacker-7a

slacker-8

slacker-9

slacker-10

slacker-11

slacker-12

slacker-13

slacker-14

slacker-15

slacker-16

slacker-17

slacker-18

Thanks for reading my pretend book. It was much easier to write than a real book, not to disparage cartoonists. I’ve found doodling has its challenges, too.

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How To Tell Someone Off

thorramsey 2 comments

Indignant is a great word. I’m often indignant myself. I understand indignant people. As a matter of fact, I often become indignant about people who don’t understand indignant people. There is plenty of injustice in this world to be incensed about and comedy itself is primarily based on social criticism, unless the comedian is under thirty, then it’s based primarily upon making fun of how people look. “What’s up with Donald Trump’s hair?” Please, stop with the biting political commentary!

Comedians are often indignant about things, observing life with a critical eye, looking for hypocrisy and pointing out injustices (like other comedians who make more money). They are basically telling off society from the stage, often fancying themselves in the role of the Old Testament prophet, who spoke the truth based on the highest ideal possible – an Academy Award nomination. Okay, those were the false prophets. The true prophets contended the highest ideal possible was the revealed will of God.

One of my favorite examples of indignant humor in the New Testament (like I can find more than one) is the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians. The background of this letter is that Gentiles in the city of Galatia were starting to enter the fold. But since they were Gentiles, they had some extra folds that the Jewish believers didn’t, if you catch my drift. (They weren’t circumcised. Hello?) Some of the Jewish believers started promoting the idea that in order to be saved these new Gentile believers needed to be circumcised in addition to believing in Jesus. Welcome to Church, it’s circumcision Sunday!

Paul’s main point in this letter is that if you add anything to the gospel or take anything away from the gospel, then it’s no longer the gospel. And what Paul means by gospel is not a black singer weighing in over 400 pounds. He means something along the lines of “saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” The gospel is grace through faith plus nothing. The people promoting this gospel plus circumcision idea were called Judaizers. Paul is so upset with their teaching that he writes, “I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”

This is a biblical instance of theological sarcasm, where Paul is basically saying, “If circumcision adds to our faith, why stop there? Why don’t you just cut off your privates? Really cut some skin off! Get really holy, guys!” We can assume they did not follow his advice, since there is no history of a Judaizers Men’s Choir who sang like little girls.

Again, I must ask, from whence does our prudery come? (When using a word like “prudery,” you’re duly required to use a word like “whence.”) The Apostle Paul was so adamant about preserving the integrity of the gospel that he rebuked those who distorted it with biting sarcasm, which leads me to ask, “If Donald Trump runs for president will he even need a vice president? He has his hair.”

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Does the Church Get Irony?

thorramsey 4 comments

Satire and irony (not widely recognized in the church) are methods of communication and most often on important subjects. I won’t be supplying you any examples because I attend church, so I’m not sure I’d recognize them myself. Isn’t that iron… hey, I think I just made an irony!

In my last book, I tackled the doctrine of hell using satire and irony and my personal favorite, actual jokes. But this doesn’t mean I didn’t have a point. (My editor saw to that. And then the publisher saw to removing all the funny parts because the book was about hell.) It also doesn’t mean the book lacked substance. I don’t think. Others will decide that, but from my point of view, I tried to say something while using comedy as the vehicle to say it.

Gerald Nachman wrote an entire book about comedy and his book wasn’t even funny. I don’t think. It was a serious book, and he’s not even German, that ethnic group that has no choice but to be unfunny. (Funny people don’t try to take over the world.) He wrote about the rebel comedians of the 1960s who made some sort of difference with their comedy, which is why the book is called Seriously Funny. Lenny Bruce paved the way with social satire and now most comedians follow in his footsteps by cussing. He primed the stage so comedians can now say whatever they want, but it turns out they got nothing to say. Aside from, “Bleep!”

There is a saying that comedy is pain seen from a distance and depending upon what comedian you’re watching and how far back your seats are, this can certainly be true. But comedy and pain have always been connected. Historically, this is why comedy has always been closely linked with oppressed groups, such as the Jewish people who have a long history of comedy, along with blacks and Hispanics. Think of all the great comedians and many were either Jewish or black. There’s a reason for this. If you make the bully laugh, sometimes he won’t beat you up. Germans are not known for their sense of humor. They were too busy killing Jewish comedians.

This argument makes sense, but then I wonder, “Why aren’t Native Americans funnier?” Just look at their history.

They should be hilarious.

That’s ironic.

I think.

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Why is the Gospel Offensive?

thorramsey No Comments

Why is the gospel offensive?

There’s no question that it’s offensive. But why? Do Christians mistakenly make it offensive?

It’s only after you become a Christian — the born again variety who experiences a conversion with corresponding voting habits — that you begin to wonder what’s happened to you. Maybe friends have asked you as much, “What’s happened to you? Because you’re offensive now.” Maybe you’re the friend and you’re wondering why Sam doesn’t suck on bongs anymore. Maybe you’re even offended by his new pot-less head. Maybe you’re another friend and you’re wondering, “If Mary says she’s a Christian, then why is she sleeping with her boyfriend? Is that how Christians act? That’s why I’m not a Christian, because if it’s about being good, I can’t be good.” Maybe you’re annoyed by Christians and would like to understand them better. And in understanding, you hope, maybe they will annoy you less. Maybe you don’t know what you believe about Jesus, but are open to listening (even though you happen to be reading right now). If you fall into any of the above categories, then you have been categorized. Congratulations!

Explaining what Jesus did on this earth is known as the gospel. For some reason, this is less offensive in written form. In the form of the person sitting next to you on a plane, it’s very offensive. I’m not sure why that always surprises us, but the gospel is offensive by nature. And the word gospel has nothing to do with choir robes and singing. The large black lady who belts out “oh, how he loves me” does so because of the gospel, but that’s not the gospel. The word gospel means good news. That’s why it’s offensive by nature, because when you begin to understand the gospel you understand the implication that it’s the best good news you’ll ever hear when it comes to God.

Earth shattering good news.

Good, but offensive.

And it’s not the part about being a sinner that you will find offensive. Most people will admit, “Sure, I’m not perfect.” But this isn’t about me. The point is, admitting you are a sinner is not the hurdle.

Now, if you happen to feel like you don’t need a Savior, that does make it more difficult to get saved. However, if that’s how you feel, I can honestly say to you that Jesus didn’t come for you. That’s right. Jesus didn’t come for you. (You see? I told you it was going to get offensive and fast.) Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” By the way, Jesus was being ironic, which is a form of humor. If you happen to believe you don’t need a Savior, this is just a sure sign of your colossal pride, the fountainhead of all sin, which is a sure sign that you are a sinner and need a Savior.

Okay, that’s usually not the offensive part.

The offensive part of the gospel is that Jesus is the only Savior who can actually save you. You are lost without him. You are blind without him. You are probably a member of the wrong political party. (Not really, but that was too easy.)

Christianity makes big, sweeping claims. We are talking about a man who rose from the dead, folks. Offensive ideas are built into the system. For example, Christianity isn’t viewed through a modern framework or a postmodern framework or any other framework. Christianity says it is the framework. It swallows up every other framework, every other religion, every other philosophy, every other ideology, every other everything. You cannot live outside of the Christian framework. You can only live in denial of it. There is no one who can save you from the penalty of sin and the power of sin other than Jesus Christ.

Yeah, I know.

That’s offensive.

Now, who wants to join? Lemme see those hands?

I know. It would take a miracle. Like something from God himself.

“Wait! Are you saying I can’t do it?”

I know. It just keeps getting more offensive. No, you can’t do it. At all. Zero. I guess that’s why grace is offensive.

“Grace? Who’s Grace?” asks some guy named Bob Saenz.

Why is the gospel offensive?

That’s why.

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Keep Your Home

thorramsey No Comments

The web site for the California Housing Finance Agency features a slogan: “Keep Your Home.” That’s a good slogan.

So far, so good.

Below the slogan is a photo of a couple standing outside of their home with their arms around each other, their backs to us, looking at their home.

It makes me wonder.

Did they get to keep their home?

I can’t see their faces. I don’t know if they’re happy or shooting tears like a squirt gun. If that picture is meant to convey a happy ending, well, it fails. It’s ambivalent. They’re outside. Are they taking one last look at their home? What should I expect as a homeowner? Should I purchase a banjo in anticipation of riding the rails? That’s just nonsense. I’d have to steal a banjo.

If the folks at CHFA want to create a feeling of security in potential home losers, they should show a photo of a couple sleeping in bed with smiles on their faces. I can only imagine so many scenarios for that and they’re all good.

I checked out the web site because my mortgage company (GMAC) just told me to call back in 15 minutes. I guess they’re a little busy these days. To kill time (or to avoid the kind of sob story where someone might actually be sobbing), they told me to check out the web site www.makinghomesaffordable.com, which is where I see the backs of this couple who may or may not get to keep their home.

After mulling over the site, I call back and listen to the options the robot secretary gives me and then listen to Kenny G music for about five minutes. To avoid dealing with us, maybe their goal is to drive us to suicide. Hence, Kenny G music.

Someone finally answers.

When I tell her I want to talk to someone about a loan modification, she tells me to call the number I just called to reach her. I’m not making this up. “That’s the number I just called,” I say.

“Let me connect you.”

“Okay.”

She connects me to the number I just called… again.

Robot lady: Call back later, our system is still down.

According to the reliability of their system and the familiarity of the employees with their whereabouts, I’m not getting my hopes up.

I give it 30 minutes before I call back.

System’s still down. Guess their IT guy didn’t show up today. Maybe he’s losing his home.

They ask for 30 minutes this time. I graciously give them an extension, hoping they’ll get the hint.

My wife and I are now in the position to refinance our home. It’s been three years. While waiting in line at Starbucks, I’m told by a random stranger that it’s extremely difficult to refinance your home. (Here I thought I was praying quietly under my breath, “Help us refinance our home, Lord.” But I guess the guy in front of me heard me.)

It can be difficult to refinance your home? Not at all what our trusty real estate agent told us three years ago when we were buying the home. Then someone else in line tells me that agents received kickbacks by promoting these ARM loans. “Will you people please stop eavesdropping on my prayers!”

Refinancing is not something I’m looking forward to because every story I’ve heard (in line at Starbucks anyway) has included a minimum of 250 phone calls to the mortgage company dealing with different people each call. I wonder if mortgage company will ask me about how much I spend on Starbucks. I thank my barista for the financial lesson and head back home.

Later, I call back.

Ring, ring.

Robot lady.

Press number two.

Kenny G.

Suicidal thoughts.

Then a real lady answers and asks, “Are you calling about (unintelligible) program for refinancing?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “I’m calling about whatever programs are available for refinancing.”

“Can you answer a series of questions about your financial status?” she asks.

“Yes.”

“Can you make this month’s payment?”

Darn it. We just made this month’s payment, thanks to God’s miracle of two last minute gigs during the same weekend.

“Yes,” I say dejectedly, expecting to be disqualified immediately.

“Would you like me to set up payment now?”

“Ah, we just paid it. Today. This morning.”

“Okay,” she says trusting my check’s in the mail speech, which just so happens to be true.

“Have you experienced a change in income?” she asks

“Yes. I’m self-employed and with the change in the economy and the implosion of my booking agency I’m not making as much this year.”

“That’s okay, Sir. Don’t worry. I’m here to help you.”

“Thank you. I am here to be helped.”

“One of the requirements you will need to fulfill to qualify for a loan modification is a hardship letter. Can you write a letter?”

“Dear Phone Support Lady, yes I can. Sincerely, Thor Ramsey.”

She doesn’t laugh, so I’ll assume she just smiles. It’s the comedian’s way.

“Do you occupy the property?”

“Yes. Mostly, I occupy the couch, but that is on the property.”

Then she asks me about our monthly income and if we happen to have $25,000 or more in gold bricks, bonds, savings or other such things.

“I just lost a seven book deal,” I tell her.

“That’s okay, Sir. I’m here to help you.”

I get the feeling she’s reading off a script.

Then she says in a very strong New York Bronx accent, “You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

Yeah, she’s definitely reading off a script.

She tells me to go to their web site and fill out a financial analysis form. I want to ask her if that couple on the web site gets to keep their home. We have 15 days to complete the form. “Send it in as quickly as possible because it takes us 30 days to respond. Do you have any questions?”

“No,” I say, feeling hopeful, assuming everything worked out for that couple on the web site.

Keep your home.

That’s a good slogan.

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Why You Should Buy a New Car

thorramsey No Comments

My wife and I walked by a BMW convertible and I commented, “That’s a cool looking car.”

“That’s a mid-life crisis car,” she said.

“Man, I sure hope I can afford a mid-life crisis.”

Is it better to buy a mid-priced used car or a new car? How much is that new car smell worth to you? Would you date someone who’s car door was held shut by a rope? If you said, “No,” to that question then clearly you’re not my wife.

It is the common wisdom of financial gurus to discourage people from buying new cars. They always say of new cars, “They are a bad investment.” Really? I’m investing in getting to work on time. How about that?

It never even occurred to me that I was buying a car to make an investment. It’s odd thinking to me. Is a refrigerator an investment? Why not use this same logic when buying home appliances? Buy used because as soon as Sears delivers, you’ve lost 30% on your investment. Is my food cold? That’s why I bought the fridge. I didn’t buy it as an investment. And I don’t buy cars as investments. Cars are just home appliances you keep outside. I buy a car to drive to work to pay for that fridge to keep my food fresh, so I can have enough energy to get up the next day and do it all again.

When I first ventured into a career in standup comedy, I drove everywhere. Sometimes I would get in the car and drive twenty-four hours to the next comedy club. I put a lot of miles on my car and fast. During a stint in Florida, I stopped by an auto dealership and tried to buy a new car. They wouldn’t give me credit because I was a self-employed standup comedian. My mother lived in Florida, so I asked her to cosign.

My own mother wouldn’t give me credit, such is the financial reputation of comedians.

So, I’ve owned my share of clunkers.

There is a term used to describe people who spend so much money on car repairs that they are suicidal – mechanic depressive. You ever call your car a piece of dung and then end up apologizing to it? Patting the dash, “I’m sorry. You’re a good car. Please, please, start – and I’ll replace the garbage bag with a real window.”

When we first married, my car was such a piece of junk that my wife wouldn’t fill it up because she feared the car wouldn’t outlast a tank of gas. I’m surprised that our relationship made it through the string of cars I owned. She should have seen the keys to our financial future scratched in the cars I tried to start.

If you value your relationship, buy the new car.

You know, once you have credit.

There’s no better feeling in the world than someone walking by your BMW and commenting.

I imagine.

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