Friday, June 6, 2008

Simple Simon met a pie man

sim-ple: (noun) easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.

Today I was thinking about an old skit I saw on Polka Dot Door. It involved the two hosts and all four of the stuffed animals. In it, they were getting sandwiches from a sandwich vendor and there were a variety of sandwiches, but all had a peanut butter base. Just peanut butter was called Simple Simon. Other varieties had better names, such as peanut butter with tomatoes being called the Red Baron. (It was a kid's show which therefore requires a fair amount of imagination and acceptance that one would desire a peanut-butter-and-tomato sandwich.)

I can't remember any other varieties, but that's not important. What happened in the skit is each animal would pick a "fancy" sandwich but, in the end, opt for the Simple Simon. This made me think of a couple things.

One - you would never see any children's show use peanut butter as a focus point for anything, except if Dora the Explorer were to find it in a spider hole with Osama bin Laden and Jimmy Hoffa.

Two - I always go with the Simple Simon choice. Well, maybe not always, but it seems that when options are presented, when decisions need to be made, when there's a chance to branch out and actually do something a bit new or scary or even uncomfortable, I stick with the Simple Simon option. In fact, I think most people do this. I think we like to think of ourselves as a generation of risk-takers, of movers and shakers, of doers and getters. And we may well be that but I also think we will try to achieve all this via the Simple Simon route.

I have dreamed of selling everything I own and packing up and moving to PEI and getting a job at some bed-and-breakfast and living a calm, quiet, simple, soothing life by the ocean. I've fantasized about this more than once. But I haven't done it and I won't do it. Because it's a little too Red Baron.

And I know very few people who have actually done things that were a bit out of the ordinary or a little scary or even a bit uncertain. Is it because we don't want to? Or is it because we really can't be bothered, because we get by (and maybe even get ahead a bit) by doing it Simple Simon. Now being Red Baron-ish doesn't mean moving to some far corner of the world. It could mean leaving a job you're not happy with to do something you love but that isn't as lucrative or secure. It could mean taking a risk with the person you're dating because you just have to know what might happen. It could mean buying that condo even if you're not sure you can afford it in six months.

I do know people who have chosen the Red Baron route and I am not ashamed to say I am both proud and jealous of them. One day, I just might try it.

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