Call me crazy (you’ll be in good company), but Pinocchio has been turning up a lot in my life recently.  I’m sure it means something.

It started last week, when I got to feeling an overwhelming urge to indulge a particular “guilty pleasure.”  Soon, I had my iPod loaded up with all the old Disney tunes I loved as a kid.  My car may have 255K miles on it, but the sound system is boffo.  So there I was, all plugged in and cranked up, driving down Memory Lane.

One of the first few tracks was “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio.  All alone there in my car, I burst out laughing within the first few measures, as soon as Pinocchio started to sing.  Oh, that voice!  Good times.  (If you can take yourself a little less seriously, go ahead and click the links I’ll provide throughout this post; I dare you not to smile.)

The next day, I told my gym partner about the experience of reliving all those classic songs, particularly “When You Wish Upon A Star” (my all-time favorite Disney song) and “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio.  You’ve already called me crazy at the start of the post, so allow me to prove your theory correct.  There I was, at 5:30 in the morning, mimicking Pinocchio’s voice as I sang to remind my friend of the tune:

I-I-I-I-I-I …
Got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret
Or make me frown.
I had strings,
But now I’m free —
There are no strings on me!

We were doing some work at the cable machines, so I even had “strings” to hold onto while I sang and did my puppet-like jig.  It didn’t seem to make a lick of difference to me that there were other people working out nearby, either.  Really, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  But, alas — questionable mental health aside — we were both soon laughing.  A lot worse things could be said about 5:30 AM, I say.

Well, I give voice lessons to four siblings on the weekend.  And, don’t you know, I started three of the four in on new Disney tunes.  The twins (a girl and a boy) were soon singing “We Are The Daughters of Triton” from The Little Mermaid and “Bella Notte” from Lady and the Tramp.  Their older sister, meanwhile, was setting into “When You Wish Upon A Star.”  I was in heaven.  Fortunately, they are all Disney lovers, as well.

After lessons, I stayed and chatted for a while.  I warned their mom about the Disney extravaganza she should be expecting around the house for the next several weeks, sparked by having relived my childhood through Disney classics the week prior.

Here, once again, Pinocchio poked his nose into things.

Their mom told a few stories about her oldest son, whom I had mentored throughout high school.  Though he’s now a grown man having recently graduated college, he was apparently a pudgy little guy at three years old.  (By the way, if I suddenly go missing, you’ll know that he got his hands on me after blabbing this stuff to the world.)

As the story goes, her son had been playing upstairs with another cousin, a girl just a year older than himself.  As the adults chatted in the kitchen, down the stairs came the little girl in a pink princess costume.  Cute.  But not surprising.  What was surprising, however, was moments later when their son came waltzing around the corner, decked out in a sequined, black tutu, exclaiming, “Oh, mummy!  It’s like a dream come true!”

His mom also recalls that his first watching of Pinocchio left him in a personal quandary.  When she asked what was wrong, he replied sadly, “I want to be a real boy!”

“But you’re already a real boy,” she assured him.

No, mummy,” he pleaded, “I mean a REAL boy!”

Oh, the mind of a child.

Well, he is a real boy now, and hirsute enough to prove it.


Yesterday was Saturday.  At 9:30 PM, I noticed a text and missed called.  They were letting me know that some of the other guys I’d previously mentored, now home from college for the summer, were having a bonfire and swim.  They asked if I would come.

It had been a busy day, and I still had not written a blog post.  Even if I started immediately, I’d be pushing it to get it written, edited and published before the deadline came.  Going to hang out with these guys would mean I would have to miss posting for the day.  This posed a dilemma.

But only for about ten seconds.

To decline the invitation would mean I’d chosen to stay home and write a post under pressure.

A post about not being dictated by “shoulds.”

A post about living life instead of staying in our routines.

A post about taking time away from work and busyness to be still.

A post about valuing the people in our lives.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read what I chose to say about myself near my gravatar (the picture of the yellow sticky with the smiley face at the bottom of each post),  but I end with this:

[It’s] more about writing lives than writing pages.

And that is truly what I believe.

So, there is no post for Saturday, July 16, 2011.  Instead, I chose to be a real boy.  I chose to go out into real life with real people and make some new memories, rather than merely writing about how we really ought to.

I had strings,
But now I’m free —
There are no strings on me!

[Do you enjoy posts like the one you just read? Don’t want to miss out on the next one? Click the “Sure!” button under “The Best … Email” to the right and receive an email alert whenever a new post is published. Or you can Follow or subscribe to the RSS feed there, as well.]

I want this to be a place where we can share our thoughts, our stories, the strategies each of us are finding work — or don’t work — when it comes to living like it matters. Not only will you encourage others by doing so, you will encourage yourself to remember what you already know and to live it out in practical ways today.

Are you ready for some real change in your life right now?

The Best Advice So Far is about choice. Filled with wit, humor and poignantly real stories, The Best Advice So Far shares collective wisdom through a new lens, as well as practical application for living like it matters (because it does).


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About Erik

Erik is an author, speaker, blogger, facilitator, people lover, creative force, conversationalist, problem solver, chance-taker, noticer and lover of life. He lives in the Boston area. "It's more about writing lives than writing pages." View all posts by Erik

15 responses to “real

  • do we have to? « The Best Advice So Far

    […] blog post.  As with other times I’ve told you about since beginning this blog, I chose real moments with people in the present over merely writing about past moments with them.  This was, of […]


  • web « The Best Advice So Far

    […] Pinocchio was turning up at every turn in my life.  Now spider webs.  What’s the […]


  • stars « The Best Advice So Far

    […] stars are not stars at all.  No, in that moment, it was magic not science.  The tune to “When You Wish Upon A Star” played lazily somewhere in my mind, and then whirled away, leaving me to silence […]


  • simple love « The Best Advice So Far

    […] of my reminiscing with Disney classics lately has me thinking about childhood.  I don’t mind saying that I’ve […]


  • Justin

    So, were you anticipating which one of your commenters was going to claim Pinocchio as their FAVORITE Disney film? Well, it is mine! =]

    It’s strange how I can watch Pinocchio and each time watch it with the same excitement and wonder as the 1st time. It is beyond my comprehension as to why.


    • Erik

      Simple — because you are a liar. 🙂

      OR, more likely, because you identify with him in some ways.

      Of course, nostalgia is very powerful, as well. I can’t hear the opening of any Disney film (the instrumental take on “When You Wish Upon A Star”) without getting excited and wide-eyed and melty inside.


  • Evelyn Livant

    I’m glad to see you living life instead of being perfect. I just got the news that my brother’s first wife died. She was 41 or 42.


  • 256 « The Best Advice So Far

    […] mentioned my car briefly in yesterday’s post.  My previous car — the one that John mangled early in its life — was Frankensteined […]


  • Rod

    I have a little plastic Pinocchio given to me by my youngest. He goes with me on every business trip and ends up being my morning buddy on the sink. He is also usually re-arranged carefully by the cleaning staff. He grounds me in exactly the same way, to remember the real boy.


    • Erik

      That’s awesome, Rod. I love that. Remember your real boy, yes — but remember to be a real boy, as well. (If you bring Pinocchio with you and don’t care who sees him, or whether or not they know the story, then you already are.)


  • Kathleen Hildebrand

    You’re friend is going to hunt you down, because I am still laughing about the black sparkly tutu episode. Priceless.

    BTW – Really enjoyed this post. Huge Disney fan, but not happy about the song that is now stuck in my head. “Got no strings to hold me down…… ” UGH! It was not my favorite (must have been a boy thing)

    Thanks for sharing. Glad you got the chance to be a real boy – wise choice =)


    • Erik

      Thanks, Kathy. What was (or is) your favorite Disney tune?


      • Kathleen

        Now that’s a tough one… I really enjoy
        The Little Mermaid – “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl”.
        Cinderella “So this is Love”
        Beauty and the Beast “Something There”
        Sleeping Beauty “Once Upon a Dream”

        I still love Disney movies, and so does Valine =) Cinderella is probably my favorite. Still can’t pick a favorite song. How about you???


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