What do you give the mouse who has everything?
That’s the question we find ourselves asking, because although you’ve given all of us so much, we can’t for the life of us figure out how to properly honor your 90th birthday.
You see, there isn’t a thing we could offer that would hold a candle to the gifts your father gave you, that the world gave you, that you earned. We’re not just talking about a corporate empire here; we aren’t talking about the “stuff” you own. We’re talking about your gift of presence, your unique ability to change a single person’s day just by existence.
You might not understand what we mean. You took to your role naturally, spending most of your life in the limelight. Y’see Mickey, the rest of us don’t have that gift. We can’t brighten a day with a friendly “hello,” we can’t turn a sour mood sweet with the wave of a hand.
We aren’t sorcerers.
We look at what you do, these amazing feats of positivity and warmth that come so natural, and we scratch our heads in confusion. How can a humble mouse lighten someone’s heart without even being near them? How can the simple silhouette of his form so mystify and enthrall such a great number of people throughout the ages?
Those rudimentary circles which create your cheerful countenance combine into something singular, something that can be found in no other collection of shapes. You are greater than the sum of your parts, more so than any of us.
We aren’t jealous of your gifts; it’s quite obvious you don’t take them for granted. You understand the burden of brilliance. Those small shoulders of yours bear the weight of generations of fans pouring their hearts out to you, looking to you for love, for safety, for guidance. Yet your smile never betrays this weight. You don’t falter, you attack each day as an opportunity to make the world a better place. The truly funny thing is, each day you succeed.
While they say that power corrupts, you don’t rule your empire with an iron fist. You, Mickey, you brandish the white glove of friendship and compassion. Whatever they say about your parks, about your company, we challenge anyone to look you in the eye and say that you aren’t one of the greatest forces of positive energy on the planet.
“Why is that?” we wonder. Maybe it’s because you don’t give up on people. You’re there for us when we’re children. When, regardless of our upbringing and our circumstances you treat us all the same. You’re always happy to make a new friend, and it doesn’t matter where they come from or who they are. They call that unconditional love — it’s the rarest and most beautiful gift in the entire universe, and you give it out like candy. Not everyone gets that, Mickey, that’s the sad truth. For some folks, meeting you is the first time they feel it, because you know it’s a feeling that everyone deserves.
That’s why so many of us can’t forget about you. Maybe we stay friends, maybe we go a separate way and meet again down the road; the results are always the same — you’re still there for us. That true acceptance, that’s why so many of us feel at home around you.
They say “home is where the heart is.” Maybe that’s true, but for us, “home is where the ears are.”
We talk to a lot of your friends, Mickey. People you’ve entertained, people you’ve helped, people you’ve comforted. We hear from them every day and there is one beautiful theme that keeps presenting itself in message after message: People going through their worst, seeing you at your best, and remembering there is a deep and true positive force in this world.
If you have the ability to turn misery into cheer, to create smiles from tears with a wave of the hand, what could we possibly give you that would make your birthday any more memorable than it is already sure to be?
Nothing, really. But gifts aren’t about what you give, they are about why you give it.
So please, accept our humble words of well-wishing and understand that they come from a place of true respect, appreciation, and most of all, love. Many of us have built lives and careers out of our friendship with you, but take those things away and we know you’ll still be there waiting, open arms and a smile.
You’ll be there for us, we’ll be there for you, and everything will work out just fine.
So, from all of your friends here at The DIS — Happy 90th Birthday Mickey Mouse!