It’s all too true that in people’s minds one can be “pulled” from light (positive) into darkness (negative) and in some cases, become “imprisoned” in the dark. We live in a world today where more often than not, a person will do a million and one fantastic things in the light, but if they do one thing wrong, they are pulled into the dark for this one bad thing, and even when they fight hard to get back into the light, they remain forever imprisoned in the dark. In a way, this “more often than not” look on life portrays the world as being full of people who focus on the negative. While that isn’t necessarily true, in some cases, people do fall into the situation I just discussed.
One example I’ve always found of somebody in this “million good things cancelled out by one bad thing” rule is one of my childhood idols, Paul Reubens. While far too many people might not know who Paul Reubens is, everybody who was alive in the 80s, regardless of age, remembers Paul Reubens’ fantastic character Pee-Wee Herman.
Paul Reubens, born Paul Reubenfeld in 1952, achieved a lot in his career, even beyond the innovative, Emmy nominated children’s program “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and it’s two spin-off films, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” and “Big Top Pee-Wee.” Paul Reubens made four appearances on “The Gong Show” in the 70s, worked with the world-famous Groundlings Theater Troupe in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1979, and had a small part in the comedy classic “The Blues Brothers” in 1980, sold out Carnegie Hall in 1984, and before hitting it big, he was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps.
Clearly, Mr. Reubens had many great achievements in the warm light of positivity with the American public. Yet on July 26th, 1991, Paul Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in a Florida adult film theater. Suddenly, CBS cancelled “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”, all Pee-Wee merchandise was pulled from stores, and in a rare move, Paul Reubens became a rare celebrity to have his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame removed.
Suddenly, this man who had entertained millions and millions of Americans, gave kids nationwide somebody to come home from school and watch every day and served for our nation’s defenses, was suddenly forever shoved into the dark because of one incident. All of these great things that Reubens did in the light were shoved aside because of one dark thing he did that seemed to offend people so much, they forgot all about the great entertainer and great person that he was.
Reubens tried his hardest to get out of the dark, he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on “Murphy Brown” in 1995, appeared as “The Spleen” in the 1999 cult-comedy “Mystery Men” and recently appeared in an animated Disney film “Teachers Pet."
Yet, in my mind, the great entertainer that is Paul Reubens will forever be surrounded by darkness in the minds of the exact same people that loved him fifteen years ago. Therefore, he is a living example of somebody being pulled from a bright career in the “light” and forced into the “dark” quite undeservingly.