I have always loved Sesame Street since young. It was a show I watched every day without fail—learning the alphabet of the day or seeing how the Count recite (sing?!) his numbers or laughing at how grouchy Oscar is whenever Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus walk past his trash can.
I used to think that I would keep watching Sesame Street even when I’m all grown up. Obviously that didn’t happen. I did grow out of it. But the affection I have for my favourite character Ernie has never wavered—so much so that I even bought large and small soft toys of Ernie when I was younger. But I gave them all away years ago, because I am ultimately not a big fan of soft toys, no matter how plush and cuddly soft they are.
I like Ernie, because he’s always cheerful and quick to laugh, even when things go wrong. He has lots of crazy ideas that never seem to take off, but he keeps trying anyway. He’s so happy-go-lucky that it’s infectious. He’s also easily content! Singing with his rubber duckie is enough to make him happy! Come to think of it, Ernie is quite the bimbo. Ahem.
Anyway, my former best friend used to say I look and behave like Ernie. I’m tanned with a large squarish face that’s framed by messy out-of-bed hair. And truth to be told, I’m not the most intelligent among my friends. A bit of an airhead, my friends have told me since secondary school. So I was rather pleased to resemble Ernie. Haha!
As I grew older, people around started telling me that Bert and Ernie are gay, which was really a surprise to me because I’ve always thought they are simply two best friends who love each other’s company so much that they decide to stay together. And I remember being envious and wishing that one day I would have a close friend like that to stay together with.
So it doesn’t really matter to me whether they are gay or not… Because if you think about it, couples who stay together and love each other—whether they are straight or gay—are always best friends first.
After the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage this week, I’m guessing Bert and Ernie are delighted about having their union finally being recognised by the law, as Jack Hunter lovingly illustrates on the cover of next week’s The New Yorker issue “Moment of Joy”.
“It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” said Hunter, who originally submitted his image unsolicited to a Tumblr page. “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.”
I agree. The second I saw the image above, I went “Awwww”. It’s really sweet, huh? That particular moment of tenderness between Bert and Ernie… is a moment of joy anyone who has ever been in love can relate to.