I came across an article about the Mister Rogers viral video that has been making its way around the internet a couple of days ago while eating lunch at my desk. The surrealness of seeing Mister Rogers while at work took me back to the last time that happened and made me realize how far I have come since then.
Not so long ago, I found myself working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour drugstore and had just been dumped. After the store stopped selling liquor at 2 AM we turned our attention to restocking the shelves. One night I was stocking near the greeting cards section and discovered that we were selling a book of inspirational quotes from Mr. Rogers. I put it on my cart and spent the rest of the night reading it. His kind, positive words were a lifeline in what seemed like a time of unending darkness.
A few days later, I took a late coffee break and decided to watch some TV in the breakroom. The local PBS station had just started broadcasting and the first show of the day was "Mr. Rogersí Neighborhood." It had been years since I watched an episode, and his kind, positive manner was so soothing and reassuring that I nearly started to cry. I had gotten to the point where I thought that there was nothing good left in the world- yet here was Mr. Rogers, on a videotape from long ago, telling me- the me drinking a cup of coffee at 5 AM- that I was special.
For the rest of the time that I worked the graveyard shift, I made a point to take a late coffee break and watch "Mr. Rogersí Neighborhood." Some people thought it was weird- but everyone who works the graveyard shift has some sort of a coping mechanism, and this was mine. I ended up leaving and returning to the schedule of the normal a few weeks later, but Iíve never forgotten what Mr. Rogers did for me.
That being said, I was initially hesitant to watch the video. In an age where it seems like nothing is sacred and everything that is good or wholesome is open to the worst kind of derision and mockery, I couldnít bear to watch Mr. Rogers be dragged through the mud. Instead, I was touched. It is hard to quantify what makes a video or a song a good candidate to go viral, but it was not only the Autotuned words of Mr. Rogers echoing through the years but the talent of melodysheep aka John T. Boswell and the respect that showed to the subject of his mashup that make this video so special.
Mr. Rogers may be in heaven, but it is nice to know his positive messages live on and are waiting to be discovered by a new generation of neighbors.