Everybody loved the jolly little toadstool, for he was as jolly as could be. He lived in rough grass that surrounded him, and he was perpetually available for a spot of morning tea. Together with the blades of grass accompanying him and his other red toadstool friends nearby, they sipped the morning quaintly away, having nibbles of scones which were set out elaborately, catching to the eye. Jeff, the jolly little toadstool, was a master of all trades. In his spare time, he liked to uproot himself, and work on his opening his family’s ancient safe. Here within this closed off contraption existed something grand; he did not know exactly what it was, but his mother had smiled knowingly years prior, when he presented it with her gnarled hands.
It was difficult for Jeff to attempt to open this contraption, simply due to the fact he had no arms or hands to assist with the opening action. But as he was a Master of all trades, we cannot be left disappointed, and the skills he’d learned for it to be saved were thus: he nibbled upon the combination lock! His tongue was so powerful, yet he’d feel the subtle clicks. There was nothing his tongue couldn’t do with this security dial. In fact, he’d tried many combinations, however, thus far, they were not the right mix. But as he turned the dial rapidly, hastily yet with great skill, he felt each combination drew him closer to the family’s treasure. The mere action of seeking the treasure was in itself a momentous thrill.
But there were days when he’d not be bothered with the treasure, he’d wished for something else to do. Something to express his jolliness to others, something that allowed him to share his positive point of view. In the afternoons, Jeff had a secret activity. He loved to sing along to the children’s television shows in the afternoon, for the tunes were so upbeat and uplifting. Each bouncing syllable and smile from the presenters would make his heart warm, and wish he was a wee toadstool again. Being young had presented only enjoyment for him, and these were the memories that he wished with others he could share. So, he sung along daily, after entertaining at his tea party, after the serious work of attempting to open the combination lock. This soon became the highlight of his day, and I most definitely, most certainly and assuredly would allow him to proclaim, that he wanted to be a children’s show presenter, known for his tunes and smiles each day.
But he felt stumped. How would he gain admission into this world? It seemed that it would be difficult to even be seen for an interview online. This type of employment seemed to be the sort that would attract many beings, and sadly, he felt, that there would be judgement upon him. He had never seen a presenter who was a toadstool such as himself, they were always people or animals, not fungi’s such as himself. It might not matter to them that he was an amusing, jolly character, nice guys finish last, they do say, and perhaps the same is said for those who were laughing and charming characters. Still, he would persist, in this mindset he would not exist, the depressing thoughts that he might not be good enough were not permitted to swim in his mind. Instead, he knew what to do! With a start he uprooted and collected himself, gathered all his toadstool friends, inviting them all for a cup of morning tea, where they could be of great assistance to him.
He spelled out the problems and allowed them to express their views.
“Surely you’ll not be avoided because you’re a mushroom!” one friend said, aghast. “You’d be given a look in because you’re different… Differences stand out.”
“Yeah, I agree,” another friend decreed. “Your differences, your bubbliness, your jolliness, are so worthy of this world, they must be shared.”
“How about your singing voice? What is it like?” Jeff broke into song and started singing a lilting lullaby. With the power of voice ringing in their ears, they all slowly became lethargic and fell asleep. With astonishment, the jolly toadstool knew how he would present his case, he would sing, instead of speak!
Hurriedly, he pulled out his spare journal, which had many pages free to write in. He composed an upbeat pop song with a children’s slant on it, which was a call to the human resources department of the television stations. He sung loud, true and proud, his melody resounded, as he recorded himself on camera, for the unknown faces to view him, and become acquainted with the likes of him.
“That. Was. Magnificent,” proclaimed and clapped his greatest fan, his closest friend named Dan. “They couldn’t turn away the likes of you. You are certainly amazing.” Jeff blushed red, feeling the warmth take to his complexion, as he modestly waved off Dan’s words himself. He couldn’t help though, at being quite chuffed, with the accompanying applause which now resounded from his tea friends. Perhaps his differences coupled with his talent would win him a place as a children’s television presenter, and he could place the combination lock work away for a while instead.
Days passed, weeks passed, even months, they flew, since Jeff had sent off his recording to the stations. His heart ached at the potential that this silence meant unspoken rejections, and only he could be the one who would intuitively know. He felt saddened beyond belief, that he was reduced to the combination lock work. So, instead he picked up another job to fill the day, he went to work with a head mechanic, at Bits and Bobs. He liked the work enough, it was something to make him feel useful, but he didn’t feel blessed. He wanted to entertain children with song and dance. Educate them with new concepts, teaching them brand new things. Instead he was stuck in front of and underneath cars in a garage, lit so dimly.
He supposed at least here he could freely sing. The other beings, Bob, the owner, two rabbits and a frog, secretly laughed at the method in which Jeff worked at Bits and Bobs, because, as he didn’t possess hands, he had to feel around the vehicles and take parts off and install them with his feisty teeth, of which he of course had great command. When he felt judged, he just sung and sung away. It wasn’t his fault he was born without any hands or arms to be seen, clutch with or sway. The songs he made up helped him through the day. He was even contemplating returning to working at home, to pass the time away. At least he wouldn’t be judged there. At least his heart wouldn’t ache.
One day, as Jeff was surfing the internet with his voice-activated computer, he was retrieving his emails, and decided to check the junk folder. To his amazement, what did he see but five emails of acceptance from all five television stations of which he’d applied! He couldn’t believe his eyes, how on earth had his email re-categorised them? They were dated for various times sent in the last three months precisely. It appeared he had the pick of whichever station he desired; they were all so pleased to have heard from him! They loved his song, the fact that it appealed to children and a larger audience, and the fact that he was a toadstool with no limbs was actually quite interesting to them. The most excited email he responded to immediately, telling his computer exactly what he wanted to respond to it. He apologised for the great delay between the producer sending it – for the producer had been so impressed he bypassed the human resources man – because he had only presently read it. He arranged for a potential day that he could come in to meet him, and with immense jolliness he sent his email off, to be read the next day.
“I’d like next Tuesday off work, please,” he requested from the owner of Bits and Bobs.
“No can do,
there are no days off,” he replied with a smirk. “Unless you want your
whole life off work.” Jeff gritted his teeth. This interview meant the world to
him. He knew he couldn’t disclose it though, that would ruin the chances of
having this backup job to return to. Then in a flighty breath, he realised he’d
had enough. Of the mocking from the other workers, and now this, from arrogant
“Stuff your job,” he said, and packed up with his teeth all his tools. Stalking away from the ogling, wide-eyed workers, he knew he should have left this job sooner.
“Don’t care crawl back, you worthless toadstool. There’s nothing more you can do!” Bob called out. Jeff shook his head feeling saddened. What an uncouth boss he had turned out to be. Jeff was better off without.
The interview was a roaring success. He impressed the producer and owner, blew them away with his joyfulness and manner that was so infectious. He was hired on the spot, and he can be viewed each afternoon, with his co-host Angela, they teach and sing to children before the evening news. Each moment they sing in unison or harmony, their eyes sparkle, their hearts flow together, they knew they are making a difference with their work, they adore working with one another. They know their opportunity to teach the young is special and they are most grateful for their roles. Here Jeff the toadstool is accepted for who is he, not frowned upon for what he is lacking, for what he cannot do. Because, he is finally a Master of laughter and learning, of singing and dancing, and this means the entire world to him.
© Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.