Listen to the Mockingbird

The Story About a Jeep, a Boat and a Helicopter:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and variations thereof, we learn early.  ‘Tis amazing how frequently this sentiment reflects the truth, occasionally leading us to believe, somewhat snidely, that there may be no accounting for taste.  Until marketers proceed to perfect their grip upon the human psyche, the familiar adage that artificial, surface beauty penetrates only skin-deeply soothes our self-conscious souls, duping us into the belief that we’ll be appreciated for ourselves and an abundance of character lurking beneath the exterior.  

Then, as we drift through the stages of man, advertisers, promoting peer pressure, convince us to purchase just the perfect combination of cosmetics ( “make-up” for deficiencies which we are convinced sorely need “making up”, a.k.a. freckles, pimples and wrinkles) aiming for the result of appearing more natural.  We’ll risk all to acquire the appropriate skin shade achieved through high-priced travel in pursuit of the sun or purchase of either orange-hue-producing creams or time spent roasting inside booths.  We part with money for the trendiest or most provocative garments   Toned bodies promised through pricey exercise equipment or health club memberships or plastic surgeons as well as hair styles and dyes emulative of celebrities dominate our lives.  

Costumed and body-imaged to the height of conformity, certainly mass appeal and approval must follow.  That’s the unwritten rule.  Not always.  Not lately.  

Though involved in a competitive contest, a Scottish person named Susan Boyle emerged an individual…seeming not to fit any mold.  This lady smiled, poignantly felt compelled to laugh at herself, then summoned great courage to allow her spirit to fill an auditorium, quite simply through singing a powerful song to us.  Frenchman Victor Hugo awarded 19th century LES MISERABLES to the reading public, while a modern composer and a lyricist set his story, chronicling the triumph of the human spirit, within the context of a Broadway musical.  Who knew?  One day, Susan would reach far more hearts than either Fantine or Jean Valjean ever won.

Yes, eyeballs no longer rolled upward, nor did audience members sigh in anticipatory disdain.  A sweet soul’s angelic voice soared.  However, an over-eager media commenced immediately to Joe-the-Plumber-ize and second-guess her.  

I dream a dream which allows this lovely, genuine human-being, with her melodies intact, to survive the imminent circus atmosphere and to remain a captivating breath of fresh air.  As publicity-shy, reclusive, southern author Harper Lee gently warned us, via Chapter 10 of her once-in-a lifetime novel:  “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.  They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

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