Fonzie of the Week #11: Linus Van Pelt
In honor of Halloween, I’m using the Fonzie of the Week to honor the one guy who sticks up year after year for the Great Pumpkin: Linus Van Pelt. Linus has long been the wise old rabbi of the Peanuts gang; mature beyond his years and loyal to a fault. He’s not as flashy as Snoopy or as distractingly pathetic as Charlie Brown, so this blanket-toting hero often goes unnoticed amid the wonderfully vibrant clinical disorders of his schoolyard chums. But he’s terrifically cool, and totally deserving of my blog’s little weekly honor.
There are easily a hundred reasons why Linus is super cool, and though it’s not season-appropriate, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his speech in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I find this little bit of soliloquy to be emotionally stirring in a completely secular way, despite its completely faithful retelling of the religious Christmas story – pregnant virgin and all! In today’s polarized politico-religious climate, that’s no small feat. Zealots on both sides of the political spectrum could do well to take a page from Linus’ playbook. You heard it here, folks: if Linus were a Congressman, we’d have a bipartisan solution to the healthcare debate by now. And yes, it would have a public option. That’s just how he rolls.
Here’s an underappreciated fact about Linus: he’s a kick-ass letter-writer! I observed his mad skills in action while watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown earlier this week. In his efficient and effective letter, he makes no bones about his intentions toward the Great Pumpkin (the acquisition of presents), and yet he manages to avoid coming off as an opportunist. He also makes a savvy observation about Santa’s superior P.R. department. For your consideration:
Dear Great Pumpkin,
I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents. You must get discouraged because more people believe in Santa Claus than in you. Well, let’s face it…Santa Claus has had more publicity. But being number two, perhaps you try harder. Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you.
P.S. If you really are a fake, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.
You gotta love that postscript. It’s a nod to wisdom as old as time: know thyself. Lately I find myself wanting to write that precise letter to Barack Obama. And Linus wrote this letter more than 40 years ago, which leaves me wondering: does Linus have the gift of precognition? Will he be the Nostradamus of the 22nd Century? I say yes. And he’s way more approachable than the original. He’s like the Buddy Jesus of fortunetellers.
Also, it bears noting that Linus is a chick magnet: Sally Brown goes straight-up crazy for the boy. But he’s a gentleman who knows that your best friend’s sister is off-limits. Way to be, L-Dawg. You just keep on being you. I’m sure the rest of us will catch up soon. And when we do, blue security blankets will be the must-have accessory strutting across runways all over the world.
Happy Halloween, everybody!