The Tao of Willie Nelson, and the heart of a clown

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“A lot of my best friends have been clowns.  They didn’t all wear red noses like Turk did when he was the opening act for some of my shows in his much younger days, or dive into a barrel just before an angry bull sent it flying like the fearless Leon Coffee.

Perhaps I’m drawn to foolishness, but I’ve had plentyof other pals who seemed to stumble through life in one extended pratfall.  And the lack of clown shoes didn’t reduce their ability to find a joke whenever one was needed.

Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson wears a size 17, which means he’s in clown shoes all day long, even when he plays golf.  The last itme we teed it up, Ray had this piece of widom for me.

What do you call a beautiful woman on a caddie’s arm? 
A tattoo.

Roger Miller, who may have been the king of clowns, said his pappy was a pistol, which made him a son of a gun. Only a clown searching for a rhyme for the word purple would come up with “maple surple.”

When a cop pulled Roger over for erratic driving and said, “Can I see your license?” Roger replied, “Can I shoot your gun?”

Roger was practically the patron saint of holy fools.  A holy fool sees the world in his own unique way and sticks with it. For Roger, there was no cow too sacred to roast, no chicken too sacred to pluck.

By other people’s standards, that may seem like a dumb way to do things, but for the fool, it works.  Form the fool’s perspective, the rest of us are the fools.  And so it falls to fools to point out our weaknesses.  And it rises to them to act, not as society commands, but according to their own understanding of what is right and wrong.

The holy fool’s verion of the Golden Rule would be, “Undo the others, and maybe they’ll undo you right back again.”

The point — other than a good laugh, which is point enough — is that a sense of humor will often get you through hard times better than good times will get you through no sense of humor.

Take the IRS, for instance (and I wish you would).  When I suddenly found myself in dept up to my ears to the Feds, a sense of humor about what seemed like a hopeless situation helped me hold on to my sense of self. 

Maybe I was a fool not to have worried more about the situation at the time, but worry didn’t seem as practical as hard work.  After my debt was paid, all I’d lost were things I didn’t need anyway.”4th, 2009

The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart (Unabridged)

Willie Nelson
The Tao of Willie
  A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart
Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

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