Foreword: Hi. I wrote this entry earlier last week to be posted on Friday, but Jon and I decided to hold off on account of horrible bullshit. We agreed it was not a good time to let you know that Christmas is great; here are some Muppets. It probably still isn't, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.
In light of the Sandy Hook shooting, I have made some minor tweaks to this entry.
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I recently introduced my older daughter, the 2-year-old, to "The Muppet Show." She couldn't get into it. Not just because she's 2 and she inherited my attention span, but also because look a corgi sleigh.
No, she wasn't into it because there wasn't enough Kermit. Whenever Kermit wasn't on-screen, she'd ask, "Where Kermit?"
Here he is. Here Kermit.
When Emily asked me to contribute to the Holiday Mixtape, I initially thought everyone was just going to pick jokes 'n' jokes! I'm glad we haven't. Trying to present joke songs using additional jokes feels too much like a book report. "I appreciated the author's comparison of the sound of a Christmas bell to the 'ding' indicating that the fries are done."
This year, I kept coming back to Kermit. Or he kept coming back to me. Because hi, I'm a predictable, one-trick pony. You're lucky my entry isn't Barney Rubble singing "Ho, ho ho, I'm huh, hu-hungry!" and me going on about how the cavemen are celebrating Christmas and that's not accurate.
Also, the last time I just kept coming back to a thing, I married that thing. So shut up. Here Kermit.
Christmas, for me, always began with the Muppets. My earliest conscious memory of Christmas is listening to John Denver and the Muppets' "A Christmas Together" record on Christmas Eve. I was 4 years old. My parents were decorating the tree, and I helped by jumping on the couch and shouting BA-DUM, BUM, BUM.
The frog's contribution is not really a standout track. I'd actually been used to toning it out, or skipping it entirely. But this year, it came on, much more calmly and quietly than the others, and the 2-year-old shouted with joy, "Hear Kermit!"
So, for the first time probably ever, I heard Kermit.
"I don't know if you believe in Christmas,
Or you have presents underneath the Christmas tree,
But if you believe in love, that will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me."
There Kermit. He's not jolly or judgmental. He doesn't tell me I'd better watch out. He's just thankful. Thankful for having had a few merry little Christmases, and hopeful that you might, too.
Amid everyone's complaining about "happy holidays," and Christmas decorations going up right after Halloween, and Black Friday, and Black Thursday, and Black September, here Kermit, calmly asking everyone to just be a bunch of little Fonzies. Because sometimes, it takes a frog made out of a curtain to remind us that it will be OK, even when everything around us doesn't seem at all OK.
In the John Denver and the Muppets TV special, we find him sitting alone, missing his family. Making Kermit actually appear sad is tricky, because he literally has a built-in smile. Look closely; the corners of his mouth turn upward. The only other Muppet whose mouth does that is Ernie. That was Jim Henson's secret way of making everyone around him a little happier.
And now, here Kermit, rightly bummed out, but still cracking jokes. Kermit usually has to be the straight man, so when it's his turn to be funny, he's so matter-of-fact about it, and it comes off even funnier.
Kermit: I remember, there was this cute little tadpole who always used to leap around, saying everything was easy as falling off a log. Then, there was one Christmas he had a terrible accident.
John: What happened?
Kermit: He fell off a log. Poor little fellow, he just croaked.
John: He died?!
Kermit: Oh, no, he croaked. “Help! Help!” he croaked. Well, we helped him up, and he was OK.
Addendum: I almost lost two extended family members Friday. They go to Sandy Hook. One, I'm told, was right across the hall. They are OK — well, they are alive. They are probably not very OK, but I hope they will get closer to OK soon. In light of what happened, another part of this song stands out even more than that first part:
"I would like to say a simple prayer:
That at this special time, you will have true peace of mind,
and love to last throughout the coming year."
Right there, baby girl. There Kermit.
May you find true peace of mind.