Rushville Republican

Columns

November 15, 2012

Ruger: Lessons from the Peanut Gallery

RUSHVILLE — Countless times in life I’ve heard the phrase, “No comment from the peanut gallery.” Now, I could assume you’ve heard some version of that as well, but in the event that you haven’t, the basic message is this: we don’t need YOUR input. Although most of the time this has been used in jest, there are certainly those times when no one wants to hear what you have to say. (And I don’t know about you, but I generally have something I want them to hear.)

Well, I was doing some writing the other day and much like other times, I paused. I contemplated the events of the day and even the week. I thought about friends I missed. I pondered the direction I see my kids going. Suddenly, I found myself thinking about Snoopy. Yes, the animated dog.

Growing up, Snoopy and Charlie Brown were a huge part of my life. My entire family would sit and watch those episodes, especially at Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Halloween. Snoopy said so much while saying nothing at all. His little feathered friend was often a bit of a nuisance; but they wouldn’t have survived without each other. Charlie Brown was such a deep thinker and yet never really was credited with much. Lucy was always getting on my last nerve. She was bossy and extremely opinionated. Linus let his music speak for him a lot of times. Sally loved Linus and was also a very typical younger sister to Charlie Brown. The voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher and other adults made me laugh. Looking back now I find it even funnier, because I swear I hear that voice multiple times throughout my day.

These characters transcended age and time. Adults and children alike could relate to them. They dealt with all of the childhood issues we face; they also taught us numerous lessons that apply later in life.

Lucy was not Charlie Brown’s biggest fan. She repeatedly humiliated him. His personality just simply got on her nerves. But they somehow remained friends all of those years.

Snoopy is often annoyed by Woodstock, but Woodstock generally remains very kind to Snoopy, even appearing to ask for forgiveness at times. They have a devotion to each other that is admirable.

There are other relationships to consider, but these give me a start. I have several “Sally’s” in my life; literally and figuratively. While growing up I found them to be more trouble than anything. They often required responsibility that I quite frankly didn’t want. Now that we’re all adults I’m actually seeing parts of the bigger picture.

To say that I have some “Lucy’s” would be a great understatement. They push me to the brink of physical assault at times (I wanted to punch Lucy every time she moved that football). However, in order to be fair, I’ve recognized that on occasion it is me playing the role of Lucy. UGH!

Many days I’m more like Linus. I can sit at the piano (or with my pen and paper) and let my feelings just soar. My thoughts run in dynamics like a huge crescendo or a fading decrescendo. I wonder if anyone “hears?”

Sometimes I relate mostly to Charlie Brown. I feel overlooked or forgotten. (I’m just a woman and her dog.) At times those feelings are warranted, but other times they definitely aren’t.

Finally, there’s Snoopy and Woodstock. I find myself on both sides of this unique relationship and I’m okay with that. Those two can bicker like no others. They often intentionally harm each other. Yet the devotion exemplified is inspiring. Don’t’ mess with Snoopy because you’ll have that tiny, yellow, fearless friend to deal with. Of course, Snoopy regularly returns favors as well.

So you see, sometimes I’m Charlie Brown and other times Charlie Brown is a friend of mine. Sometimes I’m Snoopy and I’m hoping Woodstock arrives to save my day. Other days I’m Woodstock, being a nuisance.

I think that although I’ve said, “No comment from the peanut gallery,” I’ve decided that for my life it doesn’t typically apply. Where would I be without my peanut gallery? I value each and every rotten and annoying one of them. Life is mainly good.

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