Somewhere Under The Rainbow
The Rainbow Music Hall, Denver, Colorado; from the late 1970’s through the late 1980’s, The Rainbow Music Hall was Denver’s premier concert venue. There were 1,400 seats, not a bad one in the house, and the acoustics were rich.
Concert promoter, Barry Fey, ensured that week after week, The Rainbow Music Hall was host to world class acts such as Bob Dylan, Jefferson Starship, U2, The Pretenders, BB King, and many others. I witnessed many of those shows because I was one of the puffy-armed dolts lucky enough to score a job working as part of the back stage security crew.
It Ain’t Easy Making Green
It wasn’t always about music. Comedy acts and theatrical performances occasionally appeared on stage of the Rainbow, Jim Henson’s Muppets included. In the early 80’s, The Muppets weekly TV series was a widely accepted alternative to Sunday evening’s 60 Minutes. Hosts like John Denver, Elton John, and Lilly Tomlin, in combination with America’s favorite Frog and Pig, assured The Muppets a large weekly audience; adults and children alike.
With that kind of success, it would not take long for The Muppets to hit the road and spread the word, one city at a time, that it ain’t easy being green.
The Dolt And The Genius
Jim Henson’s creative genius was unique and obvious. He also understood that to live is to work, and to work well is to master the art of enjoying work.
There I stood, in my tight t-shirt with my bad ass man-boy face set to stun, ensuring no intruders violated the set-up space that the Muppeteers required for their evening act. I was a bit annoyed at it all. It’s one thing to stand, look impressive, and do absolutely nothing when Chrissie Hynde or Stanley Clarke was setting up beside me. It seemed less glamorous though, when it was the Muppet guy. I repeatedly sighed from deep within my contempt.
Jim Henson, overseeing the setup, was keen to my wordless griping. He stopped his work, stepped toward me, and asked,
“What would you rather be doing right now?”
A bit surprised, I received his point and did not want to offend him. I responded,
“Nothing really, I’m just tired.”
I could feel a lesson coming on. Mr. Henson continued,
“You will be working your entire life. If you’re not working it will be for one of two reasons; that you are homeless as the result of your choice not to work, or that you are wealthy as the result of working very hard. Aside from those two paths, you will be working. Even if you can’t embrace the work that you do, never quit looking for reasons to like it – you just might find some.”
I had no response whatsoever. Just the glazed eyes of a slacker-bouncer, contemplating the wisdom of a success, and wishing I was anywhere else.
Henson added one more thought – and this was the one that mattered,
“Work is one of the good things in life” he said, “it’s what we are here for – it’s all we are here for. If you don’t like the work that you do, either learn to like it, or take what you do like and make that your work.”
Those words changed my life forever because, with those words, I began to appreciate those special moments within work, that make one return to work – though it would take another 20 years for that ideal to fully sink in.
A Many Forked Road
Fitness training hasn’t always been there for me, and when it has been there, it hasn’t always been lucrative.
In my post-Henson lifetime I have been a gas pump jockey, United States Coast Guardsman, a shoe salesmen, sandwich maker, waiter, dishwasher, scheduling analyst for a major airline, airport security screener, athletic trainer, fitness trainer, liquor store clerk, jewelry salesman, call center supervisor, hotel general manager, computer salesman, writer, convenience store clerk, delivery driver… and a bouncer at a place called The Rainbow Music Hall.
Despite Mr. Henson’s advice, I had a hard time embracing many of those jobs. Because of his words though, I never quit looking for the good in those jobs. Though I may not have always found those jobs to be glamorous, I often found the smiles buried within them, which subsequently gave me reason to return each day.
The Fitness Hook
In fitness, unless you are one of the blessed ones, you will likely be working at fitness for the rest of your life. Though you may not always embrace the work in exercise, as I failed to embrace the work involved in my long list of jobs, I suggest you seek to find the smiles buried within the exercise – they are always there.
Perhaps by regularly challenging yourself to find a nugget of good buried within the hard work within your workouts, you will find reason to keep coming back for more, and thus find results rather than finding reasons to avoid exercise.
“It ain’t easy being green” said Kermit, and it ain’t easy trying to be lean says I, but there is joy in the work, though you will only find it if you are looking for it. Be well. rc
And to Jeffrey, my oldest and dearest friend, thank you for getting me a job at The Rainbow! Amazing nights — and Tacorittos 🙂