From: Howard Jacobson <>
Subject: Tidings of Comfort or Joy

Today's short (8-minute) podcast explores the tension between feeling comfortable and going outside our comfort zone to have a brave and joyful life.

Listen or read here:

Here's how it starts:

One day my grandfather (that's him in a boater hat in the above photo) punched someone in the face over some disagreement. The recipient of the blow, wounded more in pride than body, wobbled down onto the curb and began yelling, “Iodine! Police! Iodine! Police!”

To which my grandfather responded – and this is the part of the story my father thought was hilarious – “Make up your mind: iodine or police. You can't have both!”

If you don't find this anecdote amusing in the least, I'm right there with you. Why on earth couldn't the man have both? What was so funny about the logic of the rebuttal? And why was my grandfather going around slugging people anyway?

But the phrase “Iodine or police, you can't have both” is, for better or worse, an indelible part of my psyche and genetic memory.

Which is why, when I was singing carols at a nursing home yesterday, and got to the chorus of “God Bless Ye, Merry Gentlemen” that announces “tidings of comfort and joy,” I suddenly thought: “Make up your mind: comfort or joy. You can't have both.”

Keep reading and/or listen here: