“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

 Charlie Chaplin, actor and director

I like to laugh.

And these folks make it happen.

Laurel and Hardy.

Abbott and Costello.

Martin and Lewis.

The Three Stooges.

Red Skelton.

George Burns.

Henny Youngman.

George Carlin.

Phyliss Diller.

Minnie Pearl.

Victor Borge.

Carol Burnett.

Don Rickles.

Robin Williams.

Louie Anderson.

Charles Dickens wrote, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

Now add to that this wisdom from world-famous circus clown, Emmett Kelly. “By laughing at me, the audience really laughs at themselves, and realizing they have done this gives themselves sort of a spiritual second wind for going back into the battles of life.”

Emmett makes me want to run away and join the circus.

But before I do, let’s talk about the magic of television.

Have you ever seen the British Comedy, Are You Being Served?

 Watch this show only if you want to give your funny bone a workout, feel good about yourself, and take on the world with a fresh dose of optimism. The Bible tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

The show originally ran from 1972 to 1985.  You can now find it on DVD or you Tube. It follows the hijinks of a group of employees working at London’s Grace Brothers Department Store. All the characters are funny but my favorite is Mr. Humphries, played by John Inman.

One devoted fan runs a website celebrating everything about the show and I jumped at the chance to enter an essay contest where top prize was a signed photograph of Mr. Inman. The guidelines were to write about an occasion where you met him or, if you had not met him and had the opportunity, what would you ask him.

I’m proud to share my winning entry, which in its own special way, is a tribute to all the great people who makes us laugh.

May 6, 2014


I never had the privilege of shaking hands with the great comedic talent, John Inman. That is the saddest sentence I have to write in this letter. Somehow, some way, I hope in spirit he can hear my words.

Mr. Inman, you found your gift and shared it with the world. What more could the Gods of laughter ask for! With the magic of television, generation after generation will have the honor of being served by Mr. Humphries. And when we tune in we’re all free once we step off the elevator into your department at Grace Brothers. We’re free from our troubles and heartaches while we’re watching you and your coworkers tangled up in yours. The acting skills and chemistry you brought to your role cannot be equaled. In the middle of each dilemma your charm and free spirit infected us all with Optimism. Thank you.

My only question, how can I capture that same magic?


Jerry Snider

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“Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public.”

Epictetus, Greek Philosopher

The Random House Dictionary defines role model as, “A person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”

Looking over my list of successful role models, I noticed three of them are a little more fuzzy than the others. They are Pete the Cat, Fozzie Bear, and Snoopy.

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“Attitude is Everything.”

To live a full and exciting life, Eleanor Roosevelt offered this advice, “Do one thing everyday  that scares you.” Accepting that challenge, I signed up to be an Educational Assistant in the Public School System. With knees shaking, I reported for duty. During a preschool reading circle, I listened to a book called, Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes.

Pete gets a new pair of white shoes. As he moves down the street, he sings, “I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes…” Then he steps in some strawberries, blueberries, and mud. His shoes change color but not his attitude. He sings, “I love my red shoes…I love my blue shoes…I love my brown shoes.” The story ends with Pete stepping in some water which washes away all the color, leaving him to journey on in wet shoes singing, “I love my wet shoes, I love my wet shoes…”

Wow! What a lesson we can all learn from Pete the Cat. “No matter what you step in keep walking along and singing your song because it’s all good.”


“Laughter is the Best Medicine.”

A wise man once said to me, “If you laugh at your own jokes, you’ll make at least one person happy.”

That’s pretty much the way it is for one of my favorite comedians, Fozzie Bear.

“A man walks into a diner. A horse is behind the counter.

The horse says to the man, ‘I bet you’re surprised to see me here.’

The man says, ‘Yeah, did the cow sell the place?’

Wocka, Wocka, Wocka”

Long after all signs and signals say give up, Fozzie is still laughing, believing he has a gift to share with the world. It’s an uphill battle but he enjoys every stumble along the way.


“Follow Your Dream.”

I just finished reading, Snoopy’s Guide to The Writing Life.

The book features 180 plus cartoon strips of Snoopy sitting on his doghouse, typewriter in front of him, hammering away at his chosen profession.

My favorite features Charlie Brown announcing to Snoopy that dinner will be four minutes late.

Snoopy’s response, “Like all great writers, I have known suffering.”

Thirty-two successful writers were asked to give their advice to Snoopy.

For some strange reason, I was not invited to make a contribution.

So here is my advice for Snoopy.

If you want to be a writer, write.

And never give up.

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