Chocolate Factory Philosophy

If you want to view paradise – simply look around, and you will.

Anything you want to, DO IT.

Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.

Ah, the immortal words of Willy Wonka.

I loved that movie as a kid. Heck, I love it now. But only the old one – the REAL one – the one with wild haired, mischievous, philosophical Gene Wilder as the candy man himself.  Forget the remake; give me the original.

It’s the first movie I remember having an effect on the way I related to the world.

When Wonka opened the door to the chocolate room, and the children came face to face with imagination come to life, it was incredible…but then seeing them not appreciate the wonders of the factory, and react with greed and self-absorption infuriated me.  They were surrounded by amazing things, and it was like they didn’t even notice.

One day, I was laying on a blanket on my front lawn, as I often did in the summertime – staring at the clouds and humming my favorite songs – and I found myself singing the Pure imagination song from Willy Wonka.

Halfway through, I bolted upright, because I realized what the lyrics actually said, or I thought I did.

I ran inside to grab my notebook and a pen [and a popsicle, because hey, it was August, and it was hot].

Back out on my blanket, I started to scribble down the words, and then added the punctuation where I thought it might go.

And I stared at it.


I was right.

It wasn’t just nonsense.


He was TELLING THEM how they could/should see the factory and win the prize.

It was his philosophy on how to look at the world around them.

[I was a very nerdy 9 year old]

I realized, sitting there on my threadbare blanket, on a very ordinary lawn, in front of a very ordinary, actually, what one could even call ugly, apartment building, that I could find beauty if I looked for it.Hasler Lane

If you want to view paradise — simply look around, and you will.

Hasler Lane might be ordinary and run down, but if I looked around, maybe I could see it.

And I did see it!

I saw it in the tiny blue flowers that grew in the lawn, so tiny you couldn’t even pick them.

little blue flowers

I saw it in the trees that I’d planted from seeds when I was in kindergarten, that were starting to reach for the sky.

I saw it in the dandelions that poked their bright yellow heads through the cracks in the sidewalk.

dandelion in crack

Anything you want to, DO IT. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.

At 9 years old, sucking on a popsicle in my front yard, I made a decision that I’d leave Elmwood Place when I was old enough.

Anything I wanted, I could do it.

I didn’t know really what that looked like. I was 9. But I knew that it meant seeing the world.  Not living in the same place my whole life.

I could change the world if I wanted.

So I did.

Well, I tried.

Am trying.

It’s possible to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s possible to see beauty in the everyday.

That’s what I learned from Willy Wonka.

Thanks Gene.

Willy Wonka Lead





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