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Don’t Worry, Be Happy 0

Dear Bradshaw,

For Francesca’s birthday we went to the Bobby McFerrin concert. The first thing that struck me when we sat at our seats was the empty stage. Nothing but a chair. Then McFerrin appeared, wearing a red T-shirt, jeans and carrying a microphone. He crossed the stage as if walking through his own living room, sat on the chair, and started singing in his humming, buzzing, voice-warbling way while thumping his chest and tapping his feet to the beat.

After a few numbers, he requested volunteers from the audience, insisting on no more than four, but six people leaped to their feet and ran up there. For each one, he improvised a tune, and one by one the audience members danced to it. At the end of each song, McFerrin hugged the volunteer before he or she left the stage.

Later in the show he again requested audience participation, insisting on no more than four singers. Twelve people went up there, and though he made time for only six, he called the others on stage, dividing them into tenors, baritones and sopranos. He gave each group a hymn, and then performed his next song while conducting the improvised chorus. Again, he hugged everyone, and I couldn’t help but think he had the greatest job in the world.

For an encore, he sat on the edge of the stage and answered questions. His calm words and mellow demeanor made me feel like I was hanging out at his place, and again left me wishing for a job like his. No bags, no books, nothing but a T-shirt, jeans, sit down and sing. He hugs his fans, answers their questions, and then sends everyone home feeling fantastic.

I’m telling you, Shaw, Bobby McFerrin has it all figured out. Talk about kickback Jack, he’s got it going on. Granted, I like my job but I need a bag, and books. Basically, I’m paid to talk to people while correcting their English and, okay, it’s easy, yes, a job I enjoy, but I don’t hug my students, and nobody goes home feeling fantastic (though sometimes I sing).

Oh well, whatever, right? It is what it is, isn’t it? And that’s how it should be, shouldn’t it? Well, shouldn’t it?

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