Albert Camus says, “il faut croire Sisyphe heureux” (“We must consider Sisyphus happy”)—it’s an existentialist dictum, right? & lyricist Dorothy Fields said, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.” As much as I liked Camus in my unfiltered cigarette smoking philosophical youth, I can say one thing in favor of Fields—with music by Jerome Kern, you can dance to what she says—Fred & Ginger proved that!
Indeed, the great American songbook tune “Pick Yourself Up” was composed by Kern & Fields for the equally great 1936 film Swing Time, starring the aforementioned Astarie & Rogers in all their splendor. The link above takes you to the great tap dance sequence to an instrumental version, while this link takes you to a clip of Ginger Rogers singing the song (its introduction to the public), complete with Fred Astaire adding in a bridge or interlude section that I’ve never heard performed in any other version or seen in any sheet music.
Now this is a catchy & fun song, & the version of it below by Diana Krall is pretty darned fine & fun. But the real point of this post is that sometimes people we care about have things go against them—sometimes things even go against them in a way that we may indeed consider unjust; & thinking of how the Good Book says the rain falls on the just & the unjust alike, we wonder why it is that the just often seem to find themselves in the metaphorical midst of a Pacific Northwest cold December downpour without an umbrella, while the unjust find themselves on the figurative equivalent of Malibu under a tangerine & sincere blue sky, with the air kissed by the most gentle sea breeze.
Turns out that someone I consider a really good friend, this blog’s own Rockstar-Poet-in-Residence, Barbie Dockstader Angell, suffered a setback this week. The specifics aren’t mine to tell, but I think I can say it involved a situation in which Barbie was treated unjustly, & that in a significant way.
Despite being “only” a virtual friend, Barbie has been one of a handful of people, “virtual” & “3-D” alike, who’ve most stood by me & seen me thru a difficult time in my life. You know Barbie from her delightful & imaginative poems & illustrations. I also know her—some at least—as a kind & thoughtful person, a great mom, & a good & loyal friend—& not just to her “virtual” friends, but also to a host of wonderful people in her own corner of the world.
So, Barbie, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.” I know you will, because you’re that kind of person, & from what I know of your life story, you always have been. & I also know that—while I don’t believe in any sort of external karma—there is more than a little karmic good to the soul in remaining true to yourself & your ethics, in taking the high road, in continuing to be yourself no matter what setbacks you’re handed.
That’s it for me. Barbie, you keep on keeping on, ok? & you, friends, have a great day. If life throws you a curveball—or even a dustback pitch!—you know what to do.