I was talking to a friend not so long ago. She had been down in the dumps lately, going through a bit of a rough patch, and so I gave her a bit of sage advice. “Just take it one day at a time,” I said, and followed that up with a sorta-funny comment in which I said, “I’m not talking about the sitcom about a divorced mother and her two teenage daughters who live in an apartment building with a womanizing superintendent named Schneider.” She laughed – because we’re the same age and have a shared fondness for late 70s/early 80s sitcoms – but then an amazing realization struck me as the opening theme from One Day At A Time rattled around in my brain: television theme songs – particularly sitcoms – are excellent sources for advice on a wide range of topics that you can relate to everyday life.
This is it. This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.
This is it. This is it
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.
So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time, One day at a time.
Right? That’s wisdom there. And it’s catchy, too. We only get one ride on this merry-go-round we call Life, so we might as well make the most of it and enjoy ourselves. I don’t think you’d get better advice if you paid $300 an hour for a counseling session with the most esteemed psychologist in the world. This kinda makes me think that a cable subscription – with access to Nick At Nite’s TV Land – may be the best investment anybody can make.
The more classic sitcom theme songs I thought of, the more advice I was able to gather from them. These songwriters were geniuses! They really had their pulse on society – the common problems Americans were facing – and knew exactly how to deal with them. Want further proof? You’ve got it! Dealing with a lot of crap? Need a reminder that life is full of both ups and downs?
You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.
I’ll bet Mrs. Garrett doled out those very words to Tootie and Natalie. (But not Jo. She was pretty headstrong). Know somebody who’s got a lot of stress in their life and having trouble coping? Let ’em know…
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Here’s one I’m taking to heart these days. Got a pal who’s out of work? Want them to stay positive? This is the ultimate making-lemonade-out-of-lemons reminder:
Keepin’ your head above water
Making a wave when you can
Temporary lay offs
Ain’t we lucky we got ’em?
I suddenly feel fortunate to be unemployed! I’ll never despair, either, because I know that…
There’s a time for love and a time for living.
You take a chance and face the wind.
An open road and a road that’s hidden
A brand new life around the bend.
It worked for Tony Danza and Judith Light, so why not me? If you know somebody who does have a job but is complaining that he’ll never get ahead, just tell him…
Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’
Just to get up that hill.
Sure, it takes a lot of hard work to succeed, but with a little perseverance you, too, might wind up in a deluxe apartment in the sky! Economy’s got you in the dumps? You and the missus need to take in a female roommate? Don’t worry…
Come and dance on on our floor……
Take a step that is new…..
We’ve a loveable space that needs your face,
Three’s company too.
You’ll see that life is a frolic and laughter is calling for you…
Advice isn’t limited to the big problems in life, either. Wondering what to serve for dinner? There’s a suggestion for that, too!
Tossed salads and scrambled eggs.
Let’s say you know somebody whose life is just flat-out miserable. There isn’t one good thing happening, and he’s at his wit’s end. Simply remind him not to despair, because despite everything else, at the very least he’s got friends…
So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.
But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.
I’ll bet that cheered him up!
See what I mean? No matter what sort of curveball life throws in your direction, if you turn on your TV and wait long enough, your problems will melt away, thanks to the glorious, noble, intelligent, and wise folks who write television sitcom theme songs. They’re like a cross between Plato, Freud, and Stephen Covey.
With a dash of some greeting card writer thrown in for good measure.
Hey, I’m an optimistic person. Maybe NBC needs a new sitcom theme song writer for next season?