Following the recent posts here on “2.3 billion+1”, you would have read my Army G.I. reflection. If not, go back. In the event you don’t want to, I’ll give you a brief overview: The Army toy was in a music store window. Done.
I walked by the same window just the other day – as I always do (repeating myself, I know)… This little drum spoke words of wisdom to me on that day (revelation to follow). Now, the Army guy was still there, minding his own, staring into the same wall, thinking the same thoughts, … wishing upon wishing his head could turn. He can’t see this little drum, but I can … and that’s the point of this blog post.
Dan Rice’s circus (1830s–1860s) was first described by an Arkansas paper as the “greatest show on earth“, according to Wikipedia. It became the tagline of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, as we know. Most recently in the spotlight because of the movie (which, by the way, has a most fabulous soundtrack … of which I’ve been playing a piano arrangement that is equally challenging and marvelously scored … but I digress).
That tagline caught my attention: “The Greatest Show On Earth” … I spent most of the of the day thinking about it. The words. Always the words. Dissecting, thinking, analyzing, OCD-ing, “what-does-it-mean-ing?”. Tripping over past, present, and future tenses … Was it always the greatest and is not now? Did he believe it to be the greatest and “sell” it that way? Will it ever be the greatest again?… Was there anything else on earth at the time anyone thought was greater than this circus? Did Barnum ever give credit to Dan Rice or the Arkansas paper?
Well, after careful consideration and plenty of expended brain energy, I came to one solid, unbeatable, non-debatable conclusion that day … words of wisdom I shall never forget…ready!…here it is: ______________ and ________ followed by the most incredible__________, _______ , ______ , though ________!
Yep. That’s it. On that day. Zip. Nada.
That was then, as they say, and this is now.
Today this little drum has a new meaning. The drum beats on in silence just like my heart – dutifully for years. Yours as well. Both our hearts and the drum continue unnoticed unless paid attention to. That day I noticed; however, I chose the wrong path forward. Too much noise, not enough silence. Silence -the very message this little drum tried to speak to me. In the silence, I needed to hear: “I am the greatest show on earth. To me, for me, to be who I need to be.”
It is most certainly about others. Self-serving behavior and attitudes to an unhealthy degree serve no one except the selfish one. To be the greatest “show” on earth for the benefit of only self is a fool’s game. I’m writing about a healthy sense of self. A belief, an “ism”, a way of life, an extension of your soul where people around you see the love inside of you and are better because of it. A moment when you are great and those around you are greater because of it.
You and I are the greatest at being us. On our very “badest” of bad days, we are still better at being us than anyone else on earth – even on their “bestest” of best days of being them.
I have always believed in a show. The older I get, however, it is harder. Maybe reality sets in … I don’t know. Once, a sales manager casually gave the advice: “An insincere smile is better than a sincere frown”… Yeah, ok. Maybe this worked giving a sales pitch in my 20’s, but real life issues? … probably not. Life is too difficult. The happiness pill is too hard to swallow 24/7. Gotta be real and genuine. That’s what really counts in life.
You can’t beat the realities in life. There is no drum big enough to shut out the noise from the ups and downs. Life is, truly, a circus. Don’t overthink it. Take the easier path forward. Pick up your little drum, listen to your silent heartbeats, and be the greatest show on earth for you. It’s the least selfish thing you can do.