It doesn’t often happen, but it is awesome to hear an incredible story you never heard about someone you’ve always admired.
That happened to me just a few days ago when an old buddy, Jil Dorman, sent me a story about a young man named Jesse. Jil knew I LOVED Jesse and would LOVE this story!
Though you may not recognize the name Jesse, I promise that every single one of you know who this is. Read on! You’ll love it…
A Dreamer and His Dream
Let me tell you, Jesse hated this job. And you would too, I imagine, if you had to do it. Jesse was a chicken plucker.
He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us wouldn't have to.It wasn't much of a job, but, at the time, Jesse didn't think he was much of a person. His father bullied his family and was actually thought to be mentally ill. He treated Jesse roughly all of his life.
Jesse's older brother wasn't much better. He was always picking on Jesse and beating him up. Obviously, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in West Virginia. Life was anything but easy, and he thought it didn't hold much hope for him. That's why he was standing in the chicken line doing a job that few people wanted.
In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seemed that Jesse was always sick. Sometimes it was real physical illness, but way too often it was all in his head. He was a small child, skinny and meek, which sure didn't help the situation any.
When he started school, he was the object of every bully on the playground. He was a hypochondriac of the first order. For Jesse, tomorrow was not always something to which to look forward.
But he had dreams. He wanted to be a ventriloquist. He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with sock puppets and saved his hard-earned dollars until he could get a real ventriloquist dummy.
When he got old enough, he joined the military, and even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms persisted, the military did recognize his talents and put him in the entertainment corp.
That was when his world changed. He gained confidence.
He found that he had a talent for making people laugh, and laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes. Yep, Jesse had found himself.
You know, folks, the history books are full of people who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few who didn't overcome it. Instead, he used his anxiety to make people laugh and his nervousness allowed him to create one of the best-loved characters in the history of television!
Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred his jitters into a successful career, still holds the record for the most Emmy Awards given in a single category.
The wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian who brought us Barney Fife was Jesse Don Knotts.
Just a reminder…adversity is preparation for greatness.
If you enjoyed this story as much as I did, send it to your friends! Especially if they’re Andy Griffith fans. It’ll be an easy way to bring a smile to their face, as I hope it did to yours.