We are starting a new year with another musical tribute to the season. This one is not about Christmas, although joy is in the title. And it is not about remembering old acquaintances as the time for reminiscing is not really appropriate for the start of anything new. Instead the theme for this message, and in fact for the entire year if I can remain faithful to the concept, is to use a 1946 Johnny Mercer tune to guide us through 2018.
Back in those optimistic, post-World War II years, Mercer penned an upbeat song entitled Accentuate the Positive. His further counsel was to eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mister In-Between. These lines are probably familiar to most people, at least those of us of an age to remember crooners like Bing Crosby and Perry Como, who wisely latched on to the popularity of this song to boost their own careers.
But my title comes from the first line of the less well known second verse. There Mercer encouraged us all to be proactive with his admonition You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum. Failing to do so might otherwise allow pandemonium to walk upon the scene. His playful but prescient comment would have captured the spirit of our times better if he had forecast that pandemonium would trampled the scene and not just walk onto it, for that is where we seem to be now. Words like collusion, tampering and impeachment in the political arena are being matched by claims of sexual misconduct among news and entertainment celebrities, who are supposed to report on or jokingly mock politicians, not imitate them.
My New Year’s resolution, then, is to follow Mercer’s advice and use my web log messages to accentuate the positive I see in this world, providing I can find it. That is a huge challenge, fifty-two messages of an uplifting, positive or joyous nature. And I am not talking about images of cute puppies snuggling up to their two-legged, diaper-clad counterparts no matter how good that may make you feel. My hope is to find substance in positive aspects of our shared experience and to spread the news for others to consider, maybe even adding a little joy to their day as well. Perhaps it will even improve my own disposition, for we are all in need of a little joy now and then to offset the barrage of negativism aimed at us by the Mr. In-Betweens of this world.
Therefore be of good cheer. Our battle cry for 2018 will be “Joy to the max! Joy to the world!”