-subtitled- humor me before I have to go.
I had the urge earlier today to look up an old friend of mine whom I haven't thought about in quite a while, but has always made me feel better: Mr. (Fred) Rogers. I'm serious.
I've reached an age now where I can honestly start giving "back in the day speeches", as in:
"When I was your age there was no instant gratification when it came to our entertainment. Television shows weren't on any sort of recorded medium (i.e. DVD's), so if you missed an episode, you missed it FOREVER, unless you were lucky enough to catch it in syndication, and even then it was almost impossible because your only point of reference was the half-assed TV guide that came with the Sunday paper, and you needed the damn enigma code machine to deceiver it."
Those who are amazed by that statement will really love this- even if you had cable (we eventually did) you still only had about 40 channels (which in truth, even today, is more than you really need). What I'm saying is television had a very passive role in my early life. I mean, I watched it, but didn't take much from it. Case in point, the only thing I legitimately remember watching, next to a few assorted G.I. Joe and Transformer's episodes, is PBS and a few shows on Nickelodeon. This was when Nickelodeon first aired and consisted of mostly of old British TV shows and a couple newer things thrown in*. I don't know what you would call it now. Tween bullshit. I can vividly remember watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, so something about it must have stuck with me-something that hardly any of those other shows had*.
Which is why I got to Googling the late Mr. Rogers today. Inside of my normally cynical self, there lurks an optimist. I am the old walking cliche of someone who hopes that everything will turn out alright, but knows better. Somehow, though, when I found this quote on some random website years ago it echoed with me-and this was a time when I was far more of an angry, jaded, sexist, and bitter person. It echos with me still:
I'm proud of you for the times you've said 'yes' when all it meant was extra work for you and seemingly helpful to only somebody else. I'm proud of you for the times you've said 'no' when all it seemed to mean was a loss of pleasure yet eventually supported the growth of somebody else and yourself. I'm proud of you for the times you came in second, or third, or fourth, but what you did was the best you had ever done. I'm proud of you for standing for something you believed in- something that wasn't particularly popular but something which assured the rights of someone less fortunate than you. I'm proud of you for anything you can think of that allows you to feel proud of yourself. --Fred Rogers
I, like several people I guess, used to be obsessed with my personal level of "realness". This related mostly to the degree to which I would or would not compromise myself for my strongly held ideals of the time. The sixties were alive and well inside my little slice of the universe, at least as far as I was concerned. I wasn't going to take any office job, or any other job for that matter, which cramped my endless style. I was going to keep doing what I had to do until my band made it out of Erie. Anyway, to make a long story slightly less long I added this quote to my manifesto of words to live by:
Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.-- by Margery Williams, from The Velveteen Rabbit --
I still love this quote but for totally different reasons I won't go into here. I just wanted to share it with you. The last sentence still makes me a bit misty. Also, as an interesting side note: While I was looking this up to put it in this blog entry I read that several people use this quote in their wedding vows. I can't imagine why. I'm not being sarcastic.
This last one will be short. It's the opening theme song from a show I can remember LOVING as a child. I actually remember watching it with my grandfather once when I stayed home sick from school, and how much we both enjoyed it. The show was called "The World of David the Gnome" and I'm including it because I think my subconscious loves this intro more than my conscious mind does. I don't know if it's the guy's voice, the fantastic (adj. form of fantasy) nature of the show, or just the nostalgia factor, but EVERY time that my life has gotten so seemingly out of control that the proverbial pot is about to boil over I'll have a dream where this song plays and it always brings me back.
Usually when I wake up I'm slightly teary-eyed. Don't say I never told you anything useful.