Jordan Sibayan – Sitting at college and worrying about finals. What helps me calm down? The Muppets of course! In some way shape or form, the Muppets have always been a vital part of my life even if I didn’t know it. Whether it was watching Sesame Street before preschool, watching The Great Muppet Caper over and over again on VHS, or listening to “Do Dee Rubber Duck” on my MP3 Player during my bus rides to college.
My first encounter with the Muppets was with… of course… Sesame Street. Ya see… I lived in an NICU unit in a hospital for the first ten months and four days of my life. But there are pictures of me with a Telly Monster plush and one with me facing the TV with a caption “Jordan Watching Sesame Street.” I clearly remember watching the “Elmo’s Song” segment from an early age, as well as “I Don’t Want To Live on the Moon” and “One Fine Face.” Then, as I grew into a toddler, I had homecare nurses, and one used to bring different tapes. They were the “It’s the Muppets!” tapes and “It’s Not Easy Being Green Sing-Along” tape. I also remember being introduced to Labyrinth in this way as well, I still love the Fireys after all these years. We also had a few Muppet tapes, from Sesame Street, which included “Sing Yourself Silly” and their 25th anniversary tape and Muppet movies of the 90s such as Muppets Treasure Island and The Muppet Christmas Carol. I used to love watching them over and over.
Also when I was a toddler I remember watching Dinosaurs (specifically the episode “Georgie Must Die” where Earl stomps on the Baby’s video tape… for some reason that scared me a bit). Then during adolescence… whenever I was upset or feeling bad I’d put on the Muppets. I remember finding my copy of The Muppet Movie at a pawn shop, and my copy of The Great Muppet Caper at the flea market. I also found many other gems at the flea market, and still do to this day. It was also around this time I’d noticed the ad’s for Fraggle Rock on just about every tape from around 1993-1995 so I tried desperately to find a copy. Eventually I found the tape “Beginnings,” or so I thought. It was really the tape that had “The Great Radish Famine.”
Now, I never really got INTO the Muppets until about fourth grade. That’s also when I discovered… the internet. Every day during free time on a computer I would type in “Muppets” and see what I could find. It was also at that time I stumbled upon a newer site known as… Muppet Central. I lurked the forums a lot back then, until I got an account in 2006. I started researching everything about the Muppets I could. When the Muppet Wiki started I remember contributing to a few articles (I think I helped start the article on “Honker Duckie Dinger Jamboree” and a few others). The collection grew, with such acquisitions as my Kermit Phone, Mega Gonzo action figure, and other such items. But I was always drawn to the VHSs and DVDs.
I think the final straw was when I learned that Jim Henson, Steve Whitmire, and myself all shared the same birthdays. I took it as a sign from God, because, like Jim, I naturally had an interest for animation, and puppetry (making my own puppets and performing them to lip-syncs like he did). Though with my disabilities, I wouldn’t be able to hold my own against any of the Kevin Clash’s or Frank Oz’s or even the Mike Quinn’s out there. But I always wonder if Sesame Street needs a Scooter–I mean, a gofer. In all honesty though, I get some of my creativity from Jim such as the use of puns when necessary and I use it in my comics and videos I create. Also, funnily enough, and by sheer coincidence, both of our main characters are green.
I could go on and on with other things to say about the Muppets and what they mean to me and other fun stories, but that’d take up too much space. But I will leave you guys with this: I use a green wheelchair to get around, yet my favorite color is red. Why green? To show the world that it’s not easy… but it’s who I want to be, myself. Through all the hard times I’ve gone though, I always turned to the Muppets because the Muppets are kind and gentle. I see them as peacemakers and intellectuals in their own right. They don’t let the little stuff bother them too much. That’s the way I try to go about life, even though I’ve got some crazy stuff going on, I try to act that much crazier so I can balance everything out. They just… taught me to be myself and embrace all my flaws and strengths and make the best of what I got. Can I run a marathon? No. Can I tell a good pun? Yes, I “wheelie” can, and I’d love to “chair” some with you.
AHHHHHH! Wocka! Wocka!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier