Radio L, side B, track 3: “Mr. Rogers”

Mr. RogersOh, Mr. Rogers, I’ve always had mixed feelings about you.  I didn’t watch you regularly as a kid, mostly because PBS didn’t come in very well on our TV.  I also found you a little bit unnerving.  Growing up as I did in a community where one stuffed one’s feelings, but never deep enough where it wouldn’t show up in some passive-aggressive, back-handed manner, I couldn’t comprehend someone like you who seemed so serene regardless of what was happening to you.  The only time I’d ever seen anyone that calm was right before a major emotional eruption or a massive nervous breakdown.  So it was almost a little too tense for me to watch you, waiting for that moment where you stubbed your toe while changing your shoes and went off on a five-minute expletive-filled tirade.

And what was up with changing your shoes anyway, Mr. Rogers?  I mean, I had to change my shoes when I came into the house, too, but that’s because they were covered in cow manure.  Both sets of your shoes looked spotless, so it seemed very odd to me that you would waste your time switching out one pair of clean shoes for another.  I do remember when I was in junior high I caught an episode where you were in a cave where they harvested mushrooms, and at one point you asked if you could play a trumpet to see what it sounded like in the mushroom caverns, and you were standing up in this golf cart blaring out on a trumpet while the driver nervously smiled.  I remember thinking maybe you were having that nervous breakdown I’d always been worried about.

Of course, now I appreciate your dedication to making educational programming for kids that didn’t require flash or cynicism as well as you just being a decent human being.  Which just makes me feel unbelievably inferior.  So that’s how messed up I am, Mr. Rogers.  I’m too neurotic to enjoy even you.

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