“Happiness is finding a pencil. Pizza with sausage. Telling the time. Happiness is learning to whistle. Tying your shoe for the very first time… Happiness is being alone every now and then. Happiness is coming home again.”
The lyrics to the first musical that I had the pleasure of being a part of. I was 16, a sophomore at South Lake High School, and I played (or attempted to play) percussion in the orchestra pit. Writing this is putting it into even more perspective as I realize that just 13 years ago, I was that awkward shy kid in high school; not really sure where I belonged, not sure what I was meant to do for the rest of my life, not sure who or what I was supposed to become. I became more and more involved in theatre at South Lake, and eventually studied theatre at Michigan State University as a result of that production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”. As I am on the verge of returning to East Lansing and the campus of MSU with the first national tour of MEMPHIS, I am writing and reflecting on happiness. As I am blogging about today’s photo, I side track into Happiness, a feeling embodied by the image of a boy with his dog, and I end up discussing a high school theatre project that would stick with me for over a decade, even if it was buried in the back corner of my memory. Who knew. Anyways…
Dictionary.com (because that’s what this world has come to) defines the word as “state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”. When I think of the peanuts characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy, I see just that. Charlie Brown, the kid everyone picked on. The unfortunate one and at times the most adult in this group of perpetual children. He was the neighborhood child that bad luck seemed to follow. In countless comics, he is the one depicted with the storm cloud following him around, and yet he is the one that sees hope and happiness in the oddest places as well as in the unspoken places most obvious to us all.
In this image, of a statue in the heart of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota (former home to Charles Schultz, the artist and creator of the Peanuts comic strip) Charlie Brown sits, happy, with his dog Snoopy on his lap. This statue, by Minneapolis based sculptural design firm Tivoli Too depicts Schultz’s protagonist as I feel he always is, happy. Depicted as a boy and his dog, content together, and generally oblivious to the rest of the world. As the hustle and bustle of urban life in downtown St. Paul goes by, there is this 3-dimensional image of a boy and his dog. Happy. Sitting there under a tree, reminding us all what is truly important.
I started writing about the technicalities of taking the photo above, and decided instead to conclude today’s blogging by saying that I have finally started to realize that there are things more important than theatre. I have concentrated on theatre, and sacrificed quite a bit throughout the years for the shows I have worked on. This year is different. This year I have realized that the one thing preventing me from being truly “happy” is myself, and I am taking steps to fix that. I think that today’s photo has helped me realize more than ever that once I get off the road, and settle down somewhere with Crystal, we will be happy together… as long as we get a beagle.
1 show a load out and a few hours of napping remain before I head out to the airport and back to Michigan. More from there tomorrow…