I just finished re-reading a book reprinted 16 times by The Macmillan Company and 18 more times by Doubleday’s Image Books. I bought it decades ago: the 1954 edition by Doubleday and Company, Inc., printed in the United States. Can you imagine the impact Myles Connolly’s Mr. Blue has had in Britain and the United States since it first appeared in 1928? Mr. Blue has formed me, as well; this tall, incredibly insightful and happy man who lived atop the Tootsall, a new 30-story structure on lower Broadway, not insane as some might think, but a man who cherished “his own piece of sky.”
Mr. Blue’s purpose in life was to be noble, happy and grateful. The skyscraper seemed to be the place where he could see something greater in the ordinary. He was hungry for color so that when he had money, he built a factory that made balloons—round red balloons—which he released into the universe. He also made a large kite, saying of himself: “I’m Spring, and I’m just starting out to paint the world!” (pg. 43).
Blue’s philosophy and action kept him from getting along in the world, but that mattered not at all to him and to those who loved him and found him insanely happy and grateful. He had an Incarnational faith and prayer life. He would throw his hands up to the stars and burst out: “My hands, my feet, my poor little brain, my eyes, my ears, all matter more than the whole sweep of these constellations! God Himself, the God to Whom this whole universe-specked display is as nothing, God Himself had hands like mine and feet like mine, and eyes, and brain, and ears!…Without Christ we would be little more than bacteria breeding on a pebble in space, or glints of ideas whirling void of abstractions. Because of Him, I can stand here under this cold immensity and know that my infinitesmal pulse-beats and acts and thoughts are of more importance than this whole show of a universe…But behold! God wept and laughed and dined and wined and suffered and died even as you and I. Blah!—for the immensity of space! Blah!—for those who would have me a microcosm in the meaningless tangle of an endless evolution! I’m no microcosm. I, too, am a Son of God!” (pp. 40–41).
Incarnational? I believe so and so appropriate for these days! There is so much more to Mr. Blue’s life and gift that I’d love for you to read. He wrote letters to several friends. These, too, are included in this unusual biography of a human paradox…a sort of modern St. Francis as described by the New York Times.
Renée Domeier, OSB