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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown

As the last few days of 2012 evaporate away into history, I thought that for today’s entry, I would choose a topic that fits with the theme of bringing out the old and welcoming in the new.

But I would like to ask you all a question.  Don’t’s linked to today’s subject.

Have you ever had a crush on somebody that you kept a secret for fear of being rejected?  Go on, be honest.  I know I plan on being that way.

And the truth is...yes.  I have had quite a few secret crushes.

Now, when I say crushes, I don’t mean celebrity crushes.  I mean crushes on people who you might have gone to school with, or crushes on people that you have worked with. 

I still remember my first crush as if it was yesterday.  I’ll just refer to them by their first name and last name initial, to preserve their anonymity, although it’s been 25 years, so I doubt they would even know who I am anyway.

Her name was Laura S, and we first met each other in, I believe, kindergarten?  Maybe grade one?  Anyway, she and I were very close during first grade.  She and I talked every day at recess and I think that I even invited her to my seventh birthday party at McDonald’s.  I really did like her, and looking back on it, she was probably the one person who kept me sane during first grade, especially since we both had the teacher from hell.  But by the time second grade began, Laura moved away to a different school district, and we were separated for good.  And meanwhile, here I was completely upset that I hadn’t told her that I liked her.  Of course, it wouldn’t have worked out anyway.  For one, we were both seven, which was the age in which boys and girls believed that we could get cooties from even touching each other, and for two, I don’t think that I was at an age that could tell the difference between friendship and real love.

Though, Laura certainly wasn’t my last crush.  I had several growing up.  In elementary school, I took a date to my grade eight graduation that I really did like and could have started up a romance with...but she moved away and I never saw her again.  Then in grade 9, I sat beside a girl in one of my classes who was a total knockout.  Unfortunately, she also had the same personality as Leona Helmsley, which was a complete turn-off.

(For those who may look confused, just Google the name “Leona Helmsley”.  You’ll soon figure it out.)

In college, I developed feelings for two different people.  In one case, the feelings only amounted to friendship, but in the other case, we just sort of drifted apart.  You know, it’s been a dozen years since we last saw each other, and I still regret the fact that things were left unresolved.  Though whenever I tried to look them up (out of curiosity, of course), I was unable to find her contact info.  Oh well...I always said that if people are meant to be in your life, they’ll find a way back somehow.  Maybe there’s hope yet.

Oh, and we won’t discuss all of the workplace crushes that I have had at my workplace of eight years.  Let’s just say that I have a really nasty habit of falling for people who are already involved in relationships with other people, and leave it at that.

The point is that sometimes crushes remain unsaid for fear of rejection, and sometimes when the opportunity does come to reveal your absolute love and devotion to the person you have only admired from afar, you chicken out.

Welcome to my romantic life, everybody. J

Now, keep in mind that I’m only 31, and there’s still loads of time for me to fall in love...and I would like to tell myself that I am secure enough to finally reveal my feelings to someone else when I feel something for them.  But, sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown, being completely frozen in place, struggling for words to impress the Little Red-Haired Girl that he has had a crush on for what seemed like five decades.

And, that happens to be one of the main plots in this special made by the Peanuts gang, which appropriately enough debuted on January 1, 1986.

That special is “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown”.

Now, this special features some interesting casting choices, as some of the young actors who played the roles of the Peanuts gang already had, or would be given roles in 1980s-era television series.  Chad Allen (who voiced Charlie Brown), was a regular in the NBC series “Our House”, and Jeremy Miller (who voiced Linus Van Pelt) was a regular on the series “Growing Pains” for seven years.

This special is also unique as it happens to be only one of two Peanuts specials to feature the Little Red-Haired Girl (a.k.a. the girl that Charlie Brown has had a crush on forever).

The television special kicked off on the day before the Christmas break was scheduled to take place.  And, naturally everyone at Charlie Brown’s school is eager to have a few days off of school.

However, like so many teachers that I have had over the years, Charlie Brown’s teacher assigns the class a project to do over the two-week Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, and do a book report on it, due on the first day of school after the holiday break.

Ah, but don’t you worry.  This scenario is merely the B-plot of the special.  Of course, it is quite entertaining to see Charlie Brown attempt to take short cuts in order to complete his project, which include...

-         Trying to find the book on tape (which isn’t a bad idea)

-         Trying to find the book in the form of a comic (which IS a bad idea)

-         Trying to find the book in the form of a film strip (which wasn’t as bad an idea as the comic book)

-         Trying to find the book in the form of a video game (okay, seriously, Charlie Brown?  A video game of War and Peace?  I know your father’s a barber, but he’s not supposed to trim the sides of your BRAIN, dude.)

Though considering that this special was animated in 1985 B.G. (Before Google), you had to admire Charlie Brown’s resourcefulness.

And, it didn’t help matters much that Charlie Brown kept getting distracted by other commitments...mainly being invited to Peppermint Patty’s New Years Eve bash at her place.

Since all of the mutual friends of Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty are going to be in attendance of the party, Charlie Brown has it in his head to invite the object of his affection to the party so he can finally tell her how he feels about her.  But, as we all well know, things NEVER go well for Charlie Brown.  Not only does he have a mishap with the mail slot of the Little Red-Haired Girl’s door when delivering her invitation, but despite all of the grief he went through to get the invitation to her, she didn’t even send him an RSVP.

Good grief, Charlie Brown!!!

And, at the actual party itself, Charlie Brown ends up playing a rousing game of musical chairs with everyone else at the party.  Surprisingly enough, Charlie Brown does incredibly well, outlasting several of the party guests.  In the end, it all comes down to Charlie Brown vs. Peppermint Patty in the Ultimate Musical Chairs Deathmatch...and the end result.

Again, dare I say it...GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN!!!

Poor Charlie Brown.  Nothing ever goes right for him.  It’s New Years Eve, he’s postponed doing his book report in order to go to a party in which he clearly isn’t enjoying himself, and on top of all that, the one girl he loves more than anything is a no show.  What else is there to do but sit out on Peppermint Patty’s porch and attempt to read the book that he has to do homework on?

Unfortunately, as the clock ticks closer to midnight, either Charlie Brown is suffering from sleep-deprivation, or “War and Peace” is incredibly boring to Charlie Brown, as he zonks out just moments before the ball drop in Times Square.

And to further rub salt in the wound, when Charlie Brown wakes up, he finds that he ended up missing more than just the beginning of a new year...he missed his one opportunity to impress the one person that he really wanted to notice him.  As a result, he was kicking himself over that missed opportunity, and wound up with a final grade of a D- on his book report as a result of procrastinating on the project.

Though it wasn’t a complete loss, as one of the Peanuts characters gives Charlie Brown a consolation kiss...though I’ll leave the identity of this character a secret.  I don’t want to give the whole thing away.

I guess if there’s one lesson that we can learn from Charlie Brown, it is this.  We can’t expect anything to happen if we don’t grab the bull from the horns and make our own luck happen.  And, I can relate to Charlie Brown a lot because we have both been in situations where we have been afraid to tell other people how we really feel, for fear of rejection.

Now, I am not one to make resolutions for the new year, but for 2013, I would like to try and get the courage within myself to express my feelings towards people I may have feelings for.  I’m sick of sitting on the sidelines and watching everyone else be happy when I could be just like them.

Now that I have it written out, I guess I have to follow through, right?

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