Mister Rogers began each episode of his children’s television series by changing into one of his trademark cardigan sweaters while singing the show’s theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” As soon as you saw him, it didn’t matter your age, you knew you were in a safe place. Who wouldn’t want to have Mister Rogers as a neighbor?
In this particular broadcast, Mister Rogers looked directly into the camera and asked if we wanted to play hide and seek. He said it would be fun and educational. He hid behind a large armoire. When he popped back up though, it wasn’t Mister Rogers anymore. Oh, he still had the same soothing voice, but he now wore the white clown makeup, sunken eyes rimmed in black, and sloppy red grin of the Joker from the movie, The Dark Knight.
Ack! Shoot me now!
Victoria, a blogger friend who writes on Victoria Ponders, wrote a fascinating blog recently describing The Days of the Week as the people in her head. For example, she wrote of Sunday morning Swoosie and the change to Sunday evening Swoosie, Tuesday Twinkles, and Mr. Saturday himself, Steve-arino to name a few. I read each day’s description and could instantly relate. Instead of Swoosie, I thought of my own dueling Mister Rogers and Joker and thought it might be interesting, as crazy as it might sound, to introduce the rest of the gang living inside my head.
Here goes nothing:
Sunday. As I mentioned, Sunday starts out calm and endearing, like Mister Rogers introducing himself to a bunch of impressionable youngsters. However, as the hours tick off and Monday comes closer into view, Mister Rogers takes on an edgier exterior and starts to look more and more like the Joker, ruddy complexion and all.
Soon, you’re looking directly into the Joker’s crazy eyes. Instead of calm and coolness, the Joker ticks off on his fingers all the tasks and actions I need to tackle Monday morning. If I miss any one of them, my wife will leave me for Brad Pitt, my boss will come for my job, and the bank will come to take my possessions.
Oh, none of this is real or makes sense, but they’re real enough in my head and all spell doom.
Monday. After Sunday’s crazy split personality comes Captain America. Phew, a good choice, right? Smart, can-do attitude. Unfortunately, this is Cap before the secret serum that transforms him into Captain America. It’s puny Steve Rogers, all 115 pounds of him with his pencil-thin arms, and coming down the dark alley is the nastiest villain in the world. Yes, I’m talking deadlines here, long meetings there, it’s a yellow legal pad full of to-dos and responsibilities. Run, little Stevie, run!
Tuesday. It’s more craziness. Bosses and critics questioning what’s going on, one-and-one meetings, performance reviews, and worst of all, it’s a never-ending list of fires to put out. Who comes out of from behind the curtain, Ironman, Batman, Superman? Not on your life. It’s a small little alien. It’s E.T. from the 80s movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The little alien cowers in my closet, scared and alone, and when he lets out a breath, boxes and clothes come tumbling down on top of him.
Wednesday. At its emotionally craziest, Wednesday is Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones Diary, at its most competent, it’s Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. No matter what, Wednesday needs a stiff drink of whiskey and it needs it now. If only we can get through two more work days . . . just maybe.
Thursday. The weekend is coming around the bend . . . just not soon enough. It’s Friday eve. You look up and you see Forest Gump taking the kick-off for the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s Forest running through the jungles in Vietnam and later surviving the worst storm in 100 years. You think he’s a goner and he pops right back up.
Here’s what I mean, I have a presentation that I’m not ready to give. I worry about stinking up the room and then, out of nowhere, something happens. The throw-away line that I use in the meeting, the same one that has failed in every other meeting, connects with a senior executive and all of sudden, I come out of the meeting victorious. I dance a little dance in celebration.
Friday. Yes, yes, it’s a different Brian altogether, full of energy and enthusiasm, or as my father used to say, “full of piss and vinegar.” It’s Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off talking his way onto the Chicago parade float. I’m care-free without worry in the world. I sit in on one last meeting of the week. The boss needs someone to sign up for a big job. Due next week? Everyone else looks down. I’m like, “why not? Sure, I’ll take it, no problem!”
Insert face palm! Yes, I know my fake confidence is going to come back and bite me. I know it instinctively as soon as the words come out of my mouth, but next week is next week and today is today.
Saturday. Did someone say food fight? My brain is John Belushi as Bluto in National Lampoon’s Animal House or Will Farrell as Buddy, an oversized Elf. My brain is looking for a good time, there are no worries, no thoughts of next week. It’s the weekend, time to enjoy! Time to make everyone happy.
Oh you poor souls, listening to my crazy thoughts. For me, the moral of the story is that we all try to convey a polished exterior image, but inside we’re all facing our own personal struggles and demons. The quicker we learn to drop what is fake and superficial, the quicker we’re honest with ourselves and others, the quicker we find peace and calm. At least that’s what I think.
I hope you enjoyed the ride. Thank you too Victoria for the wonderful idea!
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