Sesame Highway

I’d like to see a nightly news program performed by the Sesame Street characters. Cookie Monster could read the political report and discuss the global cookie economy. Then Kermit could sing a sad song about plastic in the ocean, and Miss Piggy could do a segment on eyelash extensions and microblading her eyebrows. Having plush puppets deliver the news could reduce my anxiety. I’m thinking of it as information therapy.

I need to release my brain into the wild and let it soak up the natural order of things. The sun came up today and the sky is beautiful. My coffee is washing away the pasty sleep in my mouth. It’s peak summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the green glory of photosynthesis is all around us. We are so fortunate to be living here, on this planet, not on the Moon, where evidently there’s nothing but broken rockets and astronaut poop. Life is good. At least it can seem that way, if I’m careful about my information diet.

It’s too easy for me to overdose on negativity when I try to catch up on the day’s events. I don’t want to be naïve. Bad things happen. But I also don’t want to be swept away by horrible stories when I can see with my own eyes that good things are happening in the world. I need to find some balance in the information I consume, or my brain can become a dark soup of human failure. Then I’m no good to anyone.

Some call it the fear economy. When we hear scary stories we want to know more about them to protect ourselves. The more fearful we are, the more we consume stories about our fears. It’s a perverse cycle of fear feeding on fear. It’s also a strategy for making money. Negativity is being supersized. Media cultivate a paranoid audience by tracking the details of doom between ads with people spouting this will make you happy, buy-me-buy-me. I had to shut it off so I could sleep at night. Too much gloom warps my psyche as much as too many martinis. It distorts reality.

Kids love Sesame Street because it stimulates their desire for learning and triggers their curiosity. Research shows that kids who grow up watching Sesame Street are better thinkers, more intelligent, and more successful in life. We could all hope for an adult program that would achieve that. Research also shows that adults who watch hours of TV every day can lose brainpower, literally become dumber and more depressed. Too much of some kinds of content is just bad for our health.

So I’m going on an information diet, seeking out content that leads me to think creatively, opens my mind instead of closing it, and teaches me to appreciate the context of complicated stories. I’m looking for inspiration. Can someone please direct me to the Sesame Highway?

8 thoughts on “Sesame Highway

  1. my friends are all good decent souls. their friends (whom I don’t know) must also be good and decent. the permutation of all good v the nasty and powerful tells me in my Isabel Hickey New Agey way that the majority of the good vastly outweigh the ‘deplorables’. So I try to hold onto that best I can. meanwhile, seeing your Weimaraner so patient in the background had me want to send you this from Paragraphs:
    the real thing
    we had a silver blue Weimeraner named Boo (after Boo Radley). he had yellow eyes and a sweet disposition that was unusual for his breed. most of the ones i’d met were high strung bugged-eyed and scrawny. Boo was on the mournful side. maybe because we had his balls cut off. what was left was an embarrassing prune that everyone could see under his clipped tail. and he hated being observed doing his business. he’d crane his neck around in the squat position to see if we were watching. ‘go away’ he seemed to be saying under concerned eyebrows. he also had a serious fart problem. they would hiss out of his ass like a steam iron and he’d look more world weary than ever, staring at his behind with an ‘oh God what WAS that?!…’ expression, rise and lope to another room, repulsed by his own stench. as a kid i remember they would issue forth under the card table where my Grandmother played bridge with her friends. tap, tap, tap she’d drum her forefinger waiting to snap down a card. Boo would erupt, get up and leave the room, with a left-behind odor so overwhelming it seemed to ‘appear’ under the table, wafting into the nostrils of Granny and Co. she was a Yankee stalwart with a no nonsense reaction: a single raised eyebrow. Boo’s best friend in the world was a neighborhood Dachshund named Mopsy who was as diminutive and ladylike as Boo was substantial. copper brown with tiny sharp teeth and clickity-clackity toe nails, she lived down the hill, across a skirt of lawn, over a stream and up a slope in a big brand new millionaire’s mustard stucco mansion. every now and then she’d wander out onto our field, a nearly invisible spot against the grass. one afternoon, when my dad and his pals were driving golf balls off an imaginary tee near our house, one of the balls hit her in the ribs. she blew up like a balloon, small black eyes in the middle of a ‘basketball’. (she had a habit of getting in the way.) one time i was painting a 4×8 foot ‘Picasso’ rip-off for an art show at high school. it had to be laid on the floor for me to work on it. Mopsy castanetted her sharp black nails across the painting i suppose in an effort to satisfy her curiosity or just to fuck with me. the paints were made from egg whites. (the fresco materials were a mix of pigment powder and egg) weren’t yet dry and Mopsy added her ‘art’ to the project. i picked her up by the skin on her back, heaved her across the room and out the door. i didn’t feel good about it, but Mopsy didn’t need human love. she had Boo who visited her every day. he’d befriended Charlie the milkman, who’d toss him a milk bone, let him hop into the truck and drive him down to the Mopsy Mansion. there they’d hang out, go on a garbage hunt, get their fill and walk back up the slope to our house where they’d sit, side-by-side, just off the flagstone porch and stare down the hill like a couple of old ladies in rockers. to us they were romantic lovers. when it was time for Mopsy to head home, Boo’d walk her the whole way down. he was dark after she died (at 17) and was never the same. left himself not long after.

  2. This is (personally) the best blog yet — Amen to the Sesame Highway! We’ll all meet there and live out our lives in informed happiness!
    Thank you, ms. Best. Great work.
    eo, r!

    1. Thanks, Robby. I don’t know if being informed would make us happier, but I hope it would make us more productive, less anxious churning, more clear decision making.

  3. Enjoy your blog! Sesame Street News of adults…great idea!
    However, the best thing to spare yourself news anxiety and fear is to get rid of your TV. You won’t be sorry after the short adjustment period.

    1. Yes, I got rid of my TV ten years ago. But I find my obsession with the news can be fulfilled just as easily online. So I have decided to spend more time reading books. Take my mind in other directions.

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