Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cheer Up Charlie

Cheer up, Charlie
Give me a smile
What happened to the smile I used to know
Don't you know your grin has always
Been my sunshine;
Let that sunshine show..

Look up, Charlie
You'll see a star
Just follow it and keep your dreams in view
Pretty soon the sky is going to clear up
Cheer up Charlie, do
Cheer up Charlie
Just be glad you're you.


Ah, Charlie Bucket. What a miserable life you led, but you managed to win the golden ticket and the world opened up to you. You were given the chocolate factory and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, I have often sung the first few lines of "Cheer Up Charlie" to friends, who were feeling down, but I have yet to find a golden ticket. Just some old receipts and dog poop.

I don't believe that I have seasonal affective disorder; or rather I believe that we all have S.A.D. to a certain degree. Hell, the days are getting shorter and shorter, and most days are gray and overcast anyway. Lately the skies have been dumping rain on us, and the wind has been making a general nuisance of itself. Soon the citizens will turn into ravenous consumers, believing that buying is the reason for the season. Some folks believe that Jesus is the reason for the season, but I think it has more to do with the winter solstice, frigid temps and hunkering down until spring has sprung. 

I always thrive more when I'm outdoors and it really doesn't matter what the weather. When I stay inside too long, I start to feel claustrophobic, and my breathing becomes shallow. The cure is either go outside, or put a tinfoil hat on my head. I find living in the city suffocating enough, but now Seattle is going full speed ahead on these tall ugly apartment buildings. I'm not sure who is going to fill these apartments, but I guarantee that they will be looked upon as ugly tenements in a decade or so. It always happens.


I enter this coming season with a feeling of trepidation. In the past few years, I have felt down around the holidays. There are more than a few reasons for this. First up is the fact that I work in retail. Enough said on that one. Secondly, I share custody of my son, so that usually throws a wrench, or at least a few bolts into the seasonal mix. And then there's the fact that I married into a family that doesn't celebrate any holidays. Not even St Swithin's Day!

A lone celebrant is not really a celebrant at all. He's more a candidate for therapy, and a Christmas stocking filled with Xanax. I have a box of Christmas decorations that I have not removed from my closet in over four years. Will this be the year that I string colored lights in my office? Or maybe a wreath on the front door? It doesn't have to be a Christmas wreath. Just something to lift my spirits at the end of the day, after I've walked by all the homes warmed by a seasonal glow, with turkeys in the oven and relatives on the phone.

All of our lives we are in search for that perfect other, who is in sync with us. Someone who understands our ways, and byways. The reality is that at the end of the day we are alone with our thoughts. Thoughts that no one -- especially any deity -- is privy to. We can attempt to communicate our thoughts, as I do with this blog, but our language cannot contain the universe within. Maybe we wouldn't be as lonely if we could read each others' minds. Maybe we would start to recognize our common frailties and we wouldn't be as judgmental of others. (There was a sale on maybes lately, so I had to throw a few in this last paragraph.)

Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket. It was the first and only film that Ostrum made. He grew up to become a large animal veterinarian.

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