One of my seniors used Louis Armstrong’s song Wonderful World for his lyric analysis presentation this morning. [It was sandwiched in between The Antlers (Wake), The Beastie Boys (Brass Monkey), Common (I Used to Love H.E.R.) and The Tallest Man on Earth (Gardener) – seriously… talk about one hell of a mix tape.] The project involves annotating song lyrics and identifying specific elements that contribute to the tone and theme of the selected song. Personally, I find the project fascinating, though I worry they are growing tired of it… But listening to Louis belt out his simple – yet direct, as noted by the aforementioned student – lyrics that underscore a basic philosophy on life that no matter what is happening, or where you are, or who you are, there is beauty to be seen if you are so inclined, I had to smile.
Perspective is so important.
There is a difference between feeling sad and being sad.
- Feeling sad is the blues.
- Being sad is using Tumblr to communicate your passive aggressive instability.
- Feeling sad is looking at what we have done to this wonderful world.
- Being sad is trying to be sexy on Twitter with stockings that don’t fit your short, chubby legs.
- Feeling sad is cathartic.
- Being sad is poaching ideas on Tumblr.
- Feeling sad is considering what humanity has lost in its race to gain.
- Being sad is posting soft-core porn online in an effort to suggest you are confident; confidence does not need a Tumblr.
- Feeling sad is the emptiness that losing someone brings.
- Being sad is your paltry efforts of self-promotion, falseness and one-upmanship.
- Feeling sad is the Gulf, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Palestine, global warming, the Plastic Island, animal cruelty, extinction, Guantanamo Bay, ignorance, torture, human beings without heat-healthcare-work-food-shelter-advocates-hope.
Louis had it right. And he managed to communicate this simple lesson without being annoying or cloying (note my assonance there) or PollyAnna-esque. The world is a sad place sometimes, of this there is no doubt. And that sadness is very real. But it does not negate the reality that there is wonder and beauty too.
Feel sad, but don’t be sad.
Appreciate the beauty and our infinite and simultaneously infinitesimal place therein.