Now, I know you loved Sesame Street just as much as I did. I still watch it to stay on the up and up with my letter learning. The tunes are quite catchy, aren’t they? I really love the letter, “C.” Cookie Monster, although people have tried to change him into what they want him to be, has stayed the same. And he is marvelous. This, despite intense pressure from mommies who think that their kids are chubby because they listen to him too much. Forget the fact that they give their kids everything they want. Because the kid cries and whines s/he eventually gets what s/he wants: cookies and pudding for dinner. Forget that, sometimes, loving your kids includes telling them, “no.” Cookie Monster is at fault for childhood obesity. I’m so glad we could find the scapegoat in a puppet. Oh, America.
A while back, there was a movement to change Cookie Monster’s name to, “Veggie Monster.” ” If a popular puppet is obsessed about veggies, so will our children,” was the thought process here. Talk about displacement. We live in a culture where homogeny is welcomed, categorization makes us more comfortable, and group-think reigns supreme. Girls wear pink, gays love rainbows, and single white females are unstable and needy. Actually, all of those things are true 100% of the time.
As a person who speaks to crowds of people from all walks of life, and is trying to figure out what people find funny, I evaluate public sentiment while continuing to be flexible enough to alter my own perception. For this, I am deeply grateful for my experience as a gymnastics coach. Splits and back bends will, surely, change your outlook on life. I watch as groups of children maneuver around each other, finding the differences between them, pointing them out, and moving on. Just yesterday, the one who seemingly “didn’t belong” was misplaced for a short time. Subsequently, the rest of the group concerned themselves with finding her. In a setting where individualism and independence are taught as beneficial, it seemingly breeds mutual respect. Sweet heavens, the idea of it!
Maybe I’m like that song in Sesame Street. It could be that I spend too much time around kids, and that I simplify things to exaggerate them. In America, one of these things does not belong: the idea that being different is a good thing. So, jump in line, hop in the box, and instead of celebrating our differences, mock each other and make others cry. That’s the way to get ahead. At least, if you do that, no one will poke fun at you.
*This article is dedicated to our loved ones who have been tragically lost as a result of bullying and group-think. May we aspire to learning how to step outside of ourselves and see things through the eyes of others.