Everything I Always Needed to Know, I Learned From the Muppets
There’s something special about the Muppets. Something that makes you cry within the first 60 seconds of seeing their new movie—and in 15 minute increments there on out. Something that makes you weep uncontrollably while watching them sing “The Rainbow Connection” in said new movie. Something that makes you stare vacantly at the smiling and fixated children sitting next to you in the theater and thinking, “Children, don’t let your youth slip away.”
For 56 years (!), something about these puppets have been tugging at our heartstrings generation after generation (and if they don’t do it for you—it’s possible that you have no soul). Most of us grew up with the Muppets and, whether we realize it or not, they’ve taught us some very valuable lessons. In honor of these magical creatures that reduce grown-ass adults into piles of nostalgic mush, I present to you everything I always needed to know, as I learned from the Muppets.
Learn to be comfortable in your own skin: It’s not always easy being you, but you know what? You’re beautiful and kind of important too! If Kermit’s perennial anthem “Bein’ Green” has taught us anything, it’s that being different is a good thing. Unless you’re Gonzo—then you’ll be made fun of indiscriminately.
Keep trying even if you make an ass of yourself: You won’t become successful if you give up. Look at Fozzie, for example; the dude can’t land a funny joke if he tried, but he doesn’t give up. Nope. He tries and tries again. He doesn’t even let the old men hecklers destroy his determination. Confidence is the key. Or unabashed ignorance. Either one.
Be fearless: Life is too short to be afraid, so why not dust off that one-piece lamé suit in the closet and live life for once? Motorcycle stunts and blowing yourself out of a cannon are a good way to start, but if that’s too much, take baby steps by falling in love with a chicken.
You don’t have to be in the spotlight to be important: Just because you’re the man or woman behind the curtain making sure that the show runs smoothly, doesn’t mean your talents are any less important or appreciated. However, it may mean you’ll develop a weird ocular disease in where your eyes distach from your head and live in your glasses.
Let your inner wild child free: Put down the doctor-prescribed Ritalin for once and be who you really are—a sex-crazed, food-addicted, drum-banging machine! Animal is all of us stripped to the core. He doesn’t adhere to societal norms, but instead satiates what his desires ask of him. Forget Occupy Wall Street! I say we start an Animal Movement!
Not all women are diva pigs: They’re stoned hippies too! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist—can we please talk about how there were only a few female Muppet characters?)
Not all monsters are what they seem: Just because someone might be eight feet tall, snaggle-toothed, hairy, wear burlap clothing, is affixed with a permanent scowl and is a member of the ogre family, doesn’t mean they’re mean. Just as if someone has bleached blonde hair, perfect make-up, impeccible fashion and is a member of the swine family, doesn’t mean they’re nice.
Speaking gibberish will get you far: Speaking in unintelligible words will help advance your career in either the culinary world or science.
If you throw fish, they will come back: It’s true. I’ve tried it.
Let your imagination run free: Jim Henson created a fantastical empire built off of felt, human hands and plastic eyeballs. He created something that has stood the test of time. He found the kid in every adult and the magic in every kid. Jim Henson’s imagination had no boundaries—and that is why today the Muppets still delight new and old fans alike.