Thursday, February 9, 2012

Everything is Amazing! Nothing is Boring!

When people think of the "Ernie and Bert" dynamic, they imagine a duo that is completely opposite from one another.  One loves to have fun, and the other is just a stick in the mud.  While Bert may be more vocal about his complaints of Ernie's annoying habits, it isn't because he hates fun.  Like his spiritual predecessor Felix Unger from The Odd Couple, Bert just has more refined tastes.  He appreciates the smaller, quieter, and less noticeable aspects of life.  But he can get just as excited as Ernie when given the chance.

Bert shows off his bottle cap collection.

Everybody has a hobby that keeps them entertained.  Collectors enjoy gathering the items of their passion to feel the satisfaction of owning a complete set.  Bert's interest in bottle caps is shared by many people.  For him, the adventure is in collecting small bits of various cultures.  Each one provides the same function, but the variety is so large that much can be learned from a simple colored disc.

Since bottle cap collecting is a normal hobby, and since Muppets represent extremes, Bert couldn't just stop at that.  He needed a passion that would be considered even duller from an outsider's perspective.  So Bert became a paper clip enthusiast.

Hold on!  We're just getting started!

Nowadays, paper clips come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.  Some people even making a "living" bending them into unique patterns and images.  But the world of paper clips is not very glamorous.  Whenever Bert reveals his paper clip collection, the chain of clips always seem to be made up of the exact same clip.  However, as a true connoisseur, Bert is able to identify the make and model of his clips.  He knows which are stronger, which are bendier, and which can hold the most sheets of paper.  His passion as led him to discover a world of beauty in the most mundane of objects.  While this may seem strange, have you ever really looked at a paper clip?

Each day, we become more used to the world we live in.  Surprises dwindle, familiarity takes over.  Everything magical becomes mundane when overexposed.  Fortunately, we have the capability to willingly forget, if only for a brief moment.  When we intensely focus on something, even if we have seen it every day of our lives, we find new and interesting attributes to marvel over.

When eating a piece of food, close your eyes, slow down your chewing, and really experience each subtle flavor that hits your tongue.  When walking outside, take a moment to look at every structure, plant, or cloud that you would normally pass right by.  When hanging out with an old friend, imagine you were meeting them for the first time.  You'll find all the positive things you used to love about the people and objects around you will come rushing back into your mind, in addition to the wonders that you have previously overlooked.

In the city, a common sight is the lowly pigeon.  Even folks who devote their lives to bird-watching don't appreciate these feathered pests.  They are "rats with wings," as if rats were also too be looked down upon.  While children may get a kick out of running through a flock of pigeons, the novelty soon wears off, and the just become the birds that are everywhere.

So of course, Bert's signature song (his "Rubber Duckie," if you will) is devoted to the oft-ignored fowl.

This is Bert at his silliest.  He replicates the sounds and movements of the birds all because he finds them to be extraordinary.  During his home footage of birds he saw on the street, he his unable to contain his glee over every little thing they do.  Bert may not appreciate obnoxious behaviors and large spectacles, but he honors that which is forgotten by the rest of society.

We live on a planet with so much to offer us, and we create things that just add even more astounding wonder back into the world.  The universe is filled with mysteries, and the sheer scale of it all serves as a reminder of how miraculous everything is.  The part of our brain that considers things to be "boring" is protecting us from living in a constant state of being completely overwhelmed.  But we don't always have to listen to that part of out brain.  We can choose to love anything, if we give it enough attention.  Let yourself enjoy.

And then creatively express your enjoyment, so that others may enjoy.

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