I live in a small town. I wasn’t born in a small town as John Cougar Mellencamp croons, but I got to one as soon as I could.
It’s a town where everybody knows your name, and everybody at the local diner cries “NORM!” when you walk in…just like the show, Cheers.
When the temperature isn’t 18 below zero, and we’re not covered in five feet of snow, something magical happens in this small town. Something completely random and delightful.
A wandering minstrel appears.
Huh? Yeah. A dude strolls about small-town-main-street USA strumming an acoustic guitar while singing.
What’s so magical about that? I mean…the guy is average age, average height, average weight. But what he does is magic, man. Why? Because he’s a self-propelling joy machine. And that joy is infectious.
I’ve never heard him play. Seems I’m always spotting our small town minstrel while I’m driving. But it doesn’t matter what he sounds like. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing Hendrix or Prelude for Lute in C minor by Bach. It doesn’t matter if he has the voice of Kermit the frog, or Bocelli. The performance isn’t where the magic is.
You see, he cares not what the world thinks of him. He makes his joy anyway. He doesn’t have to have a record deal to perform. He doesn’t get paid for what he does. He doesn’t even require an audience! He just does for the joy of it.
And in so doing, he gives me merriment. I’d like to think he spreads his good juju to all the townspeople too. At least I hope everybody around here appreciates him as much as I do.
Every time I see the Wandering Minstrel doing his thing, it makes me beam. Heck, HE’S beaming. His mirth in palpable. I love this guy for the gift he gives…the gift of being himself, doing what makes him happy, and thus spreading good vibes to others.
So…what’s the symbolism here? What’s the morel of the story?
Be you. Sod what everybody else thinks. Be your own Joy Machine. You don’t need financial backing. You don’t need permission. Just do it. Do it for the love of it. The consequences of your giddy escapades will be astounding and far-reaching.