Monday, April 26, 2010
Growing up, my favorite Americal Idol was Dorothy Gale of Kansas. I wanted to be her. I wanted her hair, her ruby slippers and her little dog Toto. I wanted to dance with the Scarecrow and comfort the Cowardly Lion. I admired Dorothy's courage and chutzpah and the ballsy way she handled that Wicked Witch of the West. The fact that Dorothy took her down with a bucket of water gave me hope. It gave me reason to believe that maybe, if you met your fears head on, just like Dorothy did, if you didn’t back down, you just might melt a few demons of your own some day.
It seems most of us have a Wicked Witch to contend with, some force that flies in on a broom and tries to screw with us, tries to crush us, in Munchkin terms, “morally, ethic’lly, spiritually, physically…” Dorothy has to go an awfully long way to figure out there’s no place like home, and then she has to figure out how to get back there. She has to ask for help.
“I can’t go the way I came,” she says. “Did you bring your broomstick with you?” asks Glinda. “No, I’m afraid I didn’t,” Dorothy says. More than just a puffy-sleeved, wand-waving goddess, Glinda offers Dorothy some sound advice: “It’s always best to start at the beginning.”
No truer words have ever been spoken. There aren’t too many short cuts in life. Most prove to be dead-ends, anyway. If Dorothy wants to get her tush back to Kansas, she’s going to have to work for it. She’s going to have to follow that Yellow Brick Road and see where it takes her. Even if she makes it through that forest of flying monkeys, even if she proceeds despite the warning sign – “I’d turn back if I were you!” – she’s only half-way there.
Girlfriend’s got to go through hell to score that witch’s broom, and what does it get her? Bupkis. The Wizard just uses the broom as a clever stalling device. He has no freakin’ clue how to get our heroine home! After all, the Wizard of Oz is a carnival show medicine man. A lot of smoke and mirrors, that one. Basically, he's full of hot air, much like the balloon that delivered him to the Emerald City.
Turns out, a simple click of her heels will take Dorothy where she needs to go, not that Glinda can tell her that out the gate. For starters, there'd be no movie. Plus, she'd never buy it! Dorothy has to learn it on her own, the hard way. She has to start at the beginning like everybody else. This explains why Glinda disappears in her big ol’ bubble right when Dorothy needs her the most. Left to fend for herself like the rest of us mortals, the girl from Kansas stares up at the sky forlornly, and utters the immortal words: “My! People come and go so quickly here!”
They do, indeed. Dorothy’s sentiment sums things up, succinctly. Loved ones come and go and we can never figure out why. The Wicked Witch swoops down, and it's over and out and we're left behind, wishing we could click our heels together, wake up from this bad dream and find our lost ones gathered around, telling us hey, it was just a nasty bump on the head.
But people come and go… quickly, so it seems. Just like Dorothy said. It’s the way it works around here. It’s the way it’s always worked and always will. There’s no logic to it. It certainly isn’t fair. It seems so random, so cruel, so inexplicable.
What can we do about it? Not much. Well, there are a few things, come to think of it. We can put one step in front of the other. We can ease on down the road, whether it’s made of yellow bricks, concrete or gravel. We can follow it and see where it takes us, just like our girl Dorothy did. She was a smart one, that Dorothy Gale. She was my idol. Still is. I'm still looking for those slippers. I don’t need the originals. I’d gladly settle for a decent, ruby red replica, a nice sparkly pair that fits my feet and doesn’t leave a trail of fake glitter behind. So here’s to Dorothy and Glinda and the Land of Oz. Here’s to those we’ve lost, and those who’ve stuck around. Here’s to over the rainbow and whatever waits for us on the other side, preferrably in Technicolor.
Posted by Carol Starr Schneider at 8:27 AM