Andrew Bird covers It Ain’t Easy Being Green on the new Muppet movie soundtrack. I hadn’t really thought too much about the lyrics until I heard him sing them. They’re more profound and deep than you would think, considering we’d always heard those words coming from a neurotic green puppet known for his high pitched voice.
In the most literal sense, the meaning behind the song, originally penned by songwriter Joe Raposo (who coincidentally also wrote “C is for Cookie” and the theme to Sesame Street), is about finding self acceptance and self worth.
After hearing Bird’s cover, I couldn’t help but think of another reading of the song. It’s not easy being new, unripened, inexperienced. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and often times isolating. For me, when I’m green, it can be paralyzing. I want and expect to know everything and be great at something from the get-go. But more times than not, that is not possible to do in a new profession, a new environment, a new life. In Bird’s interpretation of the song, I hear a voice telling those who are wet behind the ears to accept it. “When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why, but why wonder why…I am green and it’ll do fine.” As someone bound for new journeys into social, romantic, and career realms, I am bound to be green once again. I must be courageous enough to accept it so I can overcome paralysis and get enough experience to ripen.
It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that
It’s not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
But green’s the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be