Another documentary I watched during my brief bout with COVID was Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed. There might be quite a bit to say about the betrayal & greed parts, his shady business partners, but I have almost no interest in saying them. I’ll write next time about Ghislaine Maxwell, and similarly, I won’t spend a great deal of time detailing her many crimes, legal and otherwise.
Bob Ross was a painter on TV, teaching us all to be painters. I didn’t paint at all. I’d say it’s because I have next to no talent with a brush, Bob Ross would disagree. He believed we all could paint, and while you watched his Joy of Painting (a necessary addition to the “Joy of” craze of the time, along with the Joy of Sex and of Cooking), you would, too.
He made it look easy. So easy, in fact, that we’d all buy canvases and palettes and give it a whirl. I guess most of those who are truly gifted at anything make their talent look accessible. Slash is the guitarist for Guns N’ Roses and during his solos, I distinctly remember thinking that I could totally shred like that. I can play the guitar a little bit, but not like Slash. It turns out that it’s much harder than it looks. Especially so with Bob Ross. His landscapes seemed to require almost nothing to create, as if they were already there, only needing someone (anyone) to sweep away the outer layer and reveal them.
What Bob Ross wanted to do, more than anything, is to bring some beauty into the world. Or open our eyes to the beauty that already exists that we are all too distracted or busy or self-obsessed or broken or asleep to notice.
Christmas Day is Sunday.
[My youngest son loves Christmas music. I don’t know how it happened, the music that happens in this house is usually my choice and I NEVER listen to Christmas music. But he thinks the month of December is for carols and covers of old Christmas songs. As it turns out, he’s right and over the past few years has converted me. Yesterday I made a playlist of my favorites like Oi To The World and Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) and especially Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). I have 13 versions of the latter on this playlist, and that seems just right.]
Too distracted or busy or self-obsessed or broken or asleep is as good a way as any to describe us all during the season. I’d also add too wrapped up in our to-do, to-buy lists. It’s over-commercialized and crass in it’s excess. But because a word has been hi-jacked doesn’t mean it can’t be reclaimed.
The lights on my neighbors house are lovely, my tree is awesome. We play music and sing along loudly as we decorate this house with ornaments and nativity sets and cards from close friends. We buy gifts for each other that none of us need because we want to express in this tiny, arbitrary way how much we care for them. And we really, really do. The Baby Please Come Home version by U2 is overwhelming. The whole season is built on The Baby That Changed Everything, and not Amazon, which is too easy to forget. But just because a holiday has been hi-jacked doesn’t mean it can’t be reclaimed, right?
So that’s what we’ll do. We’ll spend the time together, you and me, sharing our stories and our hearts, making the moments as significant and awesome as we are. Bob Ross was right, his idea was to create beauty with paint, but I was struck by the fact that his real artwork was his life and spirit. And so it is with us. We can wake up and create whatever we want, let’s just make it as spectacular is it should be, as that Baby deserves.