For the Lovers, the Dreamers, and You.

So ends the dedication in Before You Leap, a “self-improvement” book written by Kermit the Frog, with a little help from Jim Lewis.

(As you can see, we are staying on theme, as the Muppets are something I had no interest in before my four months at Disney World.)

The book actually fits better in the Humor section, though there is some genuine advice for lovers, dreamers, and those aspiring to be either.  Some of my favorites include:

  • “So we put our panic aside-temporarily-and got down to business.” pg. 45. (Technically, something they did and not actual advice, but I think it’s got legs.)
  • “Remember, these are the best years of your life…The heck with everyone else!” pg. 94.
  • “Let time pass and the hurt will go away, though you may walk with a limp.” pg. 111.
  • “It may not be normal, but this is your life, so make yourself at home and go a little crazy too.” pg. 121.
  • “Do your best and treat others well, and I guarantee the best is yet to come.” pg. 122.
  • “First, there are far too many people in the world to please everyone. Second, you won’t meet most of these people in person, so why bother trying? And third, if you’re going to please anyone, make it moi.” pg. 185.
  • “Consider what is most important in life to you and be true to those things.” pg. 186.
  • “Success is believing in yourself, then convincing everyone else that you’re right.” pg. 187.
  • “A spectacular failure is better than a humdrum success.” pg. 209.
  • “…you can’t amaze the world until you first surprise yourself.” pg. 210.

Though gems like these can be applied to your life, you’ll mostly just be laughing as Kermit explains how he navigates through life in Hollywood among his louder, wilder costars and friends.

My main complaint about this book is that they are a few too many jokes at Miss Piggy’s expense.  Clearly the ghostwriter (Lewis) has forgotten some of the finer points of the Muppets’ films, since it’s obvious Kermit loves her too.  He almost figures it out in chapter 12, but since he spends most of the other 17 chapters talking about her like she’s an annoyance to be tolerated, humored, and/or avoided to make life easier, I don’t blame Piggy for socking the frog a couple of times.  I mean, yeesh Kermit.  “Accept and appreciate her” my foot.

Aside from those wince-inducing bits, the writer handles everything else with the heart and good humor Kermit is known for.  He speaks nostalgically about Jim Henson and Sesame Street, giving a firm background for what the character has become.  He also discusses the other Muppets, especially Gonzo and Fozzie, with true affection, make the relationships (and the Muppets themselves) seem more realistic.  The book reminded me why I loved The Muppet Movie so much: it may have been puppets, but the way these wacky characters came together and followed their dreams feels human.  The way they come true is inspiring.

And though Kermit’s dream and journey to it are make-believe, we should remember that Jim Henson’s (and Walt Disney’s for that matter) were very real.  Henson created the Muppets in 1955 and they have a show on ABC 61 years later.  Disneyland is celebrating its 60th anniversary now and, as Walt always said, “It all started with a mouse” 28 years before that.  When you dream and you work at it, there’s no telling where it can go.  It’s a reminder I needed right now, and maybe you do too.  So, for the lovers, the dreamers, and you and me…

“Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
When wished on a morning star?
Somebody thought of it, and someone believed it.
Look what it’s done so far…”

Keep looking for your rainbow connection, sweetheart.  You’ll make it eventually.

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