There’s something I haven’t told you.
I’m not sure how I’ve hid it from you for so long.
I’m in love with a Muppet.
Actually, I’m obsessed with all Muppets. It’s been a lifelong affair. I’ve been hooked since I was a wee tot.
As a firstborn child of the 80’s, Sesame Street was my first friend, and a formative part of my upbringing. It was entertaining, it was funny, it was educational. It was meaningful. One of the early movies I saw in theaters was The Muppets Take Manhattan, and I’ll never forget that the film reel ripped and ended abruptly just when Kermit was in the hospital suffering from amnesia after his taxi accident- talk about cliffhangers! Jim Henson was a genius and doesn’t get enough credit relative to children’s programming contemporaries like Walt Disney, and recently, Fred Rogers. Rant over.
I can still sit down and watch an episode of Sesame Street (yes, alone) and think it’s some of the best content available to this day. I liken many new acquaintances to their Muppet doppelganer (does no one else think Trump looks like Sam the Eagle?), and many troublesome current day life situations can be resolved by an episode of Muppet Babies, or a muppet-celebrity segment of Sesame Street. I can break out into a classic Muppet Tune at any moment. Miss Piggy is not only gorgeous but also my spirit sister. I even scored an internship at the Children’s Television Workshop after my first year of college, but my Dad put the kibosh on it when he heard it was unpaid. (Typical, and yet what if???)
One of my major parenting regrets is that I have been mostly unable to pass my passion for puppets on to my children. There’s still hope for Lark, but I digress.
I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know (now that I’ve spilled the beans) that I follow the Muppets on Twitter. The other day they posed a hypothetical question around which character you’d want as company on a desert island. Naturally, I neglected to look at the 4 options provided (ONLY 4?! What kind of desert island is this?!), because the answer was SO very obvious to me. Ernie all the way.
My response went something like this. Ernie is funny. He has an infectious laugh that could lighten any dire situation. He’s mischievous, and always finding some kind of loophole when someone shuts him down. He doesn’t take no for an answer. Sure, he could be kind of annoying when you just want to read, he looks for shortcuts, he doesn’t pay attention, and sometimes he can’t sleep, but he knows how to fish, and personal cleanliness is next to godliness so he won’t get smelly. He pushes you out of your comfort zone. To Ernie, life is simple, life is good.
And then it occurred to me. I married Ernie. Not only that. I’m not Miss Piggy after all (although I still maintain that I have a the equivalent of a mean karate chop). I am, really and truly, Bert. I am boring, rigid, nervous, easily annoyed, tend to freak out when I get overwhelmed. I don’t love to try new things, I have strange affinities (um, the Muppets!), strange aversions (things like wood/paper products and anything that swims), I don’t like to exercise but love to dance.
The nature of Bert and Ernie’s friendship has come into question in recent years (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but really, does it even matter? They are perfect together! True complements to one other. Yin and Yang. They appreciate each other’s companionship and there couldn’t be a better roommate with whom to split the rent. They respect one another. Their relationship is rock solid and will last forever. I couldn’t have been more proud to have come to this realization.
Why did this take me 15 years to figure out!?
I debated whether or not to tell Gull about my epiphany. After all, while I take care of my unibrow and try to avoid wearing stripes as a general rule, Bert is not exactly as hot as someone like Janice. But in true Ernie and Bert fashion, we tell each other everything. I made him deep dive a couple of classic bits, and he saw where I’m coming from. There’s no denying it. It just works. We’re bosom buddies for life.