You probably recall that old but true saying: "Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.” For the most part, I fully agree. However, I found out this past week in Branson, Missouri, that Yakov Smirnoff has a lot on the ball given his perspective as that of a Russian immigrant. An American citizen since July 4, 1986, Yakov was gifted with a rare talent for making people feel good. Since ending up in Branson decades ago, he has turned his talents into a pretty good living.
You see, from Yakov's point of view, it's all about helping others get what they need. Show respect, be helpful, and throw in some good old fashioned humor, and you will get far. The more he can get you to enjoy a belly laugh, the closer you both will be toward "detente,” if you will. Strained relationships become more relaxed, harmony is restored, and peace breaks out. Boosted by the "glasnost" effect, openness and transparency are evident, and prized. Why, the more these two concepts are practiced, the closer we move toward a form of "perestroika,” or restructuring. Sorry about all the soviet-type terms, but you have to realize that the man grew up in the USSR.
If you are still with me, Yakov puts into practice what a song from the 1956 musical "Happy Hunting" was trying to say. "We Belong to a Mutual Admiration Society" is a bouncy little ditty made famous by the likes of Teresa Brewer, Eddy Arnold and Ann Margret. Sung as a duet, one singer tries to outdo the other in verbalizing their love and caring. "The only fighting that we do is just who loves who more than who.” When this is portrayed in the antics and comedic style Yakov pulls off so flawlessly, you can see how his prescription for better relationships has a lot of potential. If this ever catches on, we'll be in a better position to return to a kinder, gentler nation. If you get a chance, catch his show and see if you don't agree.
Bill Kersting, Spencer