There once was a boy named Johnny. He was an artist of every caliber. He painted, he danced, he sang, played the trumpet, he acted in plays, and he made sculpture. And Johnny was mediocre at all of these because he never could focus his passion. But he spread it to all of the people he knew. He tried to make them happy. He lived for happiness.
Johnny at the church.
Johnny was making a play. He wrote his play and found a nice old man who owned a coffee shop.
"May I do my play here?" Johnny asked.
"What will you give me?" The old man replied. He smelled of coffee and whiskey.
"I will give you happiness." Johnny said.
So the old man let him do his play at the coffeeshop for he said: "Money makes me happy. You can do a play here. But you must make everyone who comes to watch the play buy a coffee."
"Okay." Johnny started making the invitations. He sent them out. He even included a note about seeing the play for the price of only a coffee. He invited all of his friends to the mediocre play that he was doing. They all told him how they were so excited and happy for him. They just couldn't wait to see it, they exclaimed.
"We're soooo happy for you. You're finally doing something with your life!"
The night of the play came and went. No one was in the audience. Johnny was torn up. He wrote this play and it was about to change the world and nobody cared, he thought. Johnny couldn't even say the first line to an empty house. All he could do was cry. The old man came out and started yelling: "You didn't give me happiness. You gave me bills to pay. I didn't sell any coffee and now I am using electricity for these stage lights. Get out of my establishment, sonny!"
Johnny started walking the streets. He was so sad. He was let down. His whole work, this his artist's life was never appreciated. His passion deflated like a blown up balloon that popped in his face. He wanted nothing more to do with art. He was Johnny Letdown.
He went to church. Inside he prayed to God.
"God," he asked. "What did I do to deserve this? Why do none of my friends care about me?"
Suddenly a voice rang back.
"Your friends care about you. But they are too selfish to read anything that anybody else has written, they are too busy to smell the flowers, they are too irresponsible and in between their marriages and babies, they will never ever enjoy life. Maybe they will enjoy it, but not with you. You must move on. Get over it. Go into business." The voice echoed in the hollow chamber walls illuminated only by candlelight.
"Who are you?" Johnny shot to the empty room.
"God, Johnny. And I didn't see your play either. Theater stinks."
Johnny went back to the streets. He found a man near an overturned garbage can. He was playing a harmonica. Johnny stopped to listen. He found a quarter and put it in the man's hat.
"Got any talents?" The man asked him suddenly.
"I guess not."
"It's not really if anybody thinks you're good," the man replied. "It's just if you think you are good. Are you happy?"
"I don't know."
"What are your talents? What do you like?"
"I like art, but I don't think I'm any good."
"I made a play and no one came to see it even though they said they would."
"Nobody ever comes to see me," the man replied. "I don't mind. I'd rather have no friends, than friends who lie."
"Me too," Johnny said.
"Why don't we be friends?"
"Okay." Johnny shot back. "You must show me how to play that thing."
"Only if you show me how to make a play."
So Johnny and the man did artistic things. And the work they created was life shattering, earth moving stories and music and art and life. And nobody ever saw it. Because nobody cared. But they were happy, homeless, and cold. And Johnny Letdown grew happily and artistically old. But no one knew because no one listens to stories anymore.