Being Pleasant – What a Novel Idea

I’ve had a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a wonderful production that is opening this week: Harvey, produced by the Spotlight Players of Puyallup, Washington.


This show has many memorable quotes, but most are delivered the lead character, Elwood P. Dowd:

“Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.”


“I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I’m with.”

The line that strikes me the most is:

Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she’d say “In this world, Elwood, you can be oh so so smart, or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart… I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Whenever I do a production, I walk away from that production with some sort of “lesson” or “personal truth.” You can’t spend that much time with another character without taking something away from the process. But this time, my take away is what I need to learn from another character: Dowd.

I started out being pleasant as a child, I became a “thinker,” and now I think I like to go out being pleasant. One can certainly be a pleasant thinker, and one can continue to think and be pleasant, but I really don’t want to be “oh so so smart.” It’s exhausting, and the smarter I think I am, the more I realize I don’t know a thing, not one darn thing …. not really.

So I started to think about what being pleasant met? And I’ve come to a few conclusions – this is the thinker in me, but hopefully not an “oh so so smart” thinker:

  • Being pleasant means being in the moment. Enjoying the moment. Engaging the moment. To be “oh so smart,” one must spend a lot of time thinking about the past, and projecting into the future. This can bring dissatisfaction, especially if the future doesn’t turn out the way hoped, or one spends too much time examining and reexamining the past.  I shall work on being present more …. not exclusively, but more.
  • Being pleasant means not over analyzing things. This one’s going to be a bitch for me. I’ve spent most of my life learning how to analyze and overanalyze – how to ask critical questions and look for what is not being said. These are all good skills, I think, but they also can take away from being in the moment, and thereby being pleasant.
  • Try not to fly off the handle at every little thing. Stress gets us all, and I find that it can get me pretty darn well. I can easily crash into that brick wall if I allow myself. I need to learn how to take things in stride, and be a bit more accepting. For myself, this means I need to start learning how to engage in meditation. I could use a lot of meditation.
  • Visualize beauty, happiness, joy. Being pleasant means that you are living in a pleasant/ happy space (one is rarely pleasant when then a pissed off) – to live in a happy space is to believe that you can live in a happy space – this links back to my need for meditation.
  • Do more plays, make more music, and art. I think this category speaks for itself.

How would you bring pleasantness into your life?

Oh …. yes … a plug for my show:

Friday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m. AND at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Indoor Auditorium at Meridian Community Center
14422 Meridian E.
Puyallup, WA 98375
(located on Puyallup’s South Hill – across from the Walgreens on the corner of 144th & Meridian).

Go to:
Or call 253-251-1930

Or purchase tickets at the door

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