Just Mitch

My Real Memoir

God believed in me. Even though, by my teens, I’d decided he didn’t exist and had come to consider believers rather simple-minded. Still, I could be tactfully dodgy. I told my pen pal Judy I believed in God, but when she pressed, I admitted that by “God” I simply meant “the human race.” I’d read The Diary of Anne Frank and wholeheartedly agreed that “in spite of everything, people are truly good at heart.”

Somehow, I’d managed to squeeze atheism, snobbish intellectualism, naïve idealism, and an overwhelming desire to make myself into something other or more than I was all into the same overcrowded psyche. I attended Young Americans and Up With People! concerts, and occasionaly suppressed my gag reflex because I so desperately wanted to believe thinking happy thoughts could save the world. When the Summer of Love broke out that year and our radios blasted “All You Need is Love!” I told myself, “This is it! My generation will put everything right!”

But deep down, I knew that up-up-with-ing people and singing about love wasn’t enough, that real love and peace had to come from somewhere–they had to have a Source.

Enter my friend Joe.

I wasn’t a bigtime sporto. In P.E. class, the moment our coach appointed baseball captains, they would hold “choose-ups.” Team Captain One would say, “I choose Bobby Awesome.” Then Team Captain Two would say, “I choose Dave Superjock,” etc. And so it would go, until there were only a few guys left. I was nearly always one of those guys—the creamless of the crop. In fact, I was frequently the last guy.

Now, Joe and I were, as he wrote in my yearbook, “argue partners” (above). I argued against the existence of God, and he argued for it. Constantly. So I was stunned when, as baseball captain one day, Joe chose me first. I mean right off the bat (note clever baseball reference), even though there were a whole bunch of guys standing there who could actually hit a ball!

For some reason, Joe, who always signed his name “Just Joe,” believed in me. And somehow that changed everything. I started playing baseball like a guy who could, well, play! And finally, on my last at-bat, I hit an actual, gen-u-wine, bona fide homerun!

Luck? Nope, I knew better. When I asked him why, Joe said, “I believe in you, Mitch, because God does.” And that, he explained, was why he always signed his name “Just Joe.” Because God believed in him, and being the person God made him to be was enough; he had no overwhelming need to make himself into something other or more. He was “Just Joe” and that was enough.

I laughed it off. But Joe had planted a seed. And even though that seed would lie dormant for years, just to see what it would look like, I altered my grandiose signature in a letter to Judy (above) to…

“Just Mitch.”

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Just Mitch

  1. We could use more “argue partners” today, couldn’t we? Creamless of the crop? Hard to believe. My, I hope we learn more about Just Joe!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jeff Cann says:

    Edited your writing to fit me: I’ve decided he doesn’t exist and had come to consider believers rather enviable.

    Curious what changed your mind. I don’t suspect my beliefs will change, but I’m interested in how yours did. Have you written a post about that?

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Everyone needs a Just Joe…
    I was born that year but I would have believed All You Need Is Love would have changed something also.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The musical, Godspell, and the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, were very popular around that time. They impacted a lot of the youth of the day, including me. I loved the song “Day By Day.” So many more teenagers may have become Just Joes in the era of the Jesus revolution.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. atimetoshare.me says:

    I’m sure glad Just Joe came into your life – or was sent your way by God Himself. What a friend. Just what you needed at the time and how Just Joe influenced you for your calling.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. “Just Joe.” Love that. What a demonstration of God’s love to pick you because he believed in you. Thanks for sharing all these stories from your life experiences.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Kara Luker says:

    This one really resonated with me. Well told, as always (and I love how much sentimental stuff you kept to share)! Just Kara

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Vera Day says:

    Everybody needs a friend like Joe!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I always got picked last for sports too. I was SO BAD in fact, that team captains would argue over NOT having me “I had Janet last time – you have her”. Awful. I’m so glad your friend “just Joe” picked you first. I can imagine the boost to your confidence when that happened. Love that for you, Mitch. I love that you signed a letter “just Mitch” too. May God be glorified in every area of your life. You’re a ray of sunshine xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Katherine says:

    This is such an emotional throwback, Mitch! Such a genuine post.

    But that’s true. God believed in us long before we got to know Him and he’s always rooting for us. For the better.

    Thanks for sharing 😊🙏

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Ana Daksina says:

    Haha, from one last-picked to another! 😆

    I read about an experiment done with a class full of “slow” students, who were told there had been a mistake, and they were actually the “fast” ones. By the end of the year, they were.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thotaramani says:

    Just Joe…. I think no one ever after him and before.🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thotaramani says:

    I hope all of my friends had dinner and relax for the next beautiful day 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Such a special post just sandyroybessbugzy!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gpavants says:


    Love it, man. Just ordinary people are who God uses all the time. How have you been?


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Cheddar Cheese and Rock ‘n’ Roll | Mitch Teemley

  17. Great story, Mitch. Look what that little seed grew into!

    Liked by 1 person

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