Welcome to Vintage Paparazzi.

Be Happy, You’re Lucky!—Doris Day

The reason I dare to cry out, “Stop kidding yourself, girls” to every teenager is that I know what I’m talking about.

When I was in my teens, I had to learn the hard way how to get on speaking terms with personal happiness.

The teens can be such a miserable experience. Mine often were. I know from the letters that so many of you write me that they are a bad time for altogether too many of you.

So let me tell you, that doesn’t have to be. If you will just get wise to what is your own personal self, you’ll have the world on a string.

You can be happy as Christmas 365 days a year if you will just get your thinking in the right channel. And remember that nobody—but nobody—makes you a droop but you.

It’s all a matter of not kidding yourself. It’s all a matter of using that space between your eyebrows and your latest hair-do. It hasn’t a thing in the world to do with money, either with the possession of it or the lack of it.

It’s all you, you, you. As the song says, you are the one. So why not do it now? Not tomorrow, or the next week—but now!

I used to kid myself, just as much as you probably do, when I was in my teens. I used to dream. I seldom “did.” I used to have elaborate daydreams about the rich, handsome man I’d marry, the big house I’d live in, the jewels I’d have.

Fantastically enough, I achieved that. For instance, the other evening, my husband Marty came home and gave me a present. It was a diamond in a most unusual setting. A shadowbox of gold had been put around the stone to make it glitter even more brilliantly than it would have naturally.

Now it wasn’t our anniversary or anything. Marty and I don’t believe in setting any one day apart for celebration, because we try to make every day a cause for celebration. So as I opened the box and saw the lovely presents, my thoughts wandered back to my teens.

At that time I would have wanted the ring for the ring itself. Now I was happy with it because of the love it expressed. My husband had completely surprised me with it because since I’ve been married my plain gold band was all I wanted. In my happiness, the ring, itself, didn’t matter. If Marty had brought me a rose, I would have been just as pleased with it. And this, I think, proves a point: when we don’t keep wanting “things” but learn to appreciate the spiritual values we have, the good things are added unto us when we least expect them.

You think that you have to be beautiful to be happy? That’s crazy! Millions of men spend millions of dollars yearly, trying to cure baldness; so the last election saw two men with shining domes attracting all the voters in America. Or, to keep this purely feminine, a middle-aged plain woman with a mole on the side of her face, took Edward VIII off the throne of England—and they lived happier ever after!

Or if you want a younger, closer-to-the-home example, Dick Powell is one of the richest, most intelligent, nicest men in Hollywood. Did a tall, beautiful, madly-dressed doll get him? You know better. He belongs to a wonderful gal with a sense of humor and a big heart, June Allyson.

Shaw said it originally. “Youth,” he said, “is so wonderful that it shouldn’t be wasted on the young.” I can’t top that, but as one girl to another I want to say—why waste your youth? Get wise to the great special gift that Life has given you, or that God has given you, if you want to put it that way. And I do want to put it that way.

Part of the reason I am sounding off at this particular time is those terrifying headlines in the papers, telling about high school kids taking dope.

Shocking as these headlines are, overwhelming as the figures on addiction prove to be, you and I have the blessed assurance that in terms of the teen-age population of this country, they are still small.

But the very fact that the marijuana habit can exist—or worse, the heroin habit—is a ghastly symptom of the unhappiness too many teenagers are experiencing.

Such a habit is the ultimate end in self-deception. It is the absolute summing up of wrong values. It not only drags its victims down into a living hell, but often their families and friends too.

The pathos of these addicted girls is that they aren’t “bad.” The touching thing is that they, and their families, have to pay such a killing price just because they have their values all wrong.

These unwise girls want a momentary thrill, a purely physical thrill, which, when it wears off, will leave them in such agony as to be almost unendurable.

To a less exaggerated degree, these are the same girls who want ice-cream sodas more than they want a trim figure, the same foolish girls who will go into debt to get some silly new “dress line” from Paris, which the boy who is dating them will probably never notice.

Now before you girls start yelling that teen-age boys, also, go on the weed, I’ll agree with you. And teen-age boys can be unhappy. But I think they are unhappy in less desperate ways, usually, And I believe that is because heir values aren’t so silly. You’d think a boy was stark raving mad if he went around moaning that he couldn’t be happy if his hair wasn’t a certain shade, or his nose a certain shape, or his clothes up to the last gasp.

But we girls do that. When I was fourteen and broke my leg and had to give up dancing as a career, I couldn’t have been more wretched. I thought life was all over for me. But that’s how I discovered I could sing.

When I was fifteen and “in love” for the very first—and I was sure the absolute last—time, I thought my life was unendurable because my mother wouldn’t permit me to see that boy morning, noon and night.

My mother said, “I absolutely will not you go steady with any boy until you are at least eighteen.” I thought then that she was cruel. I know now that she was right.

Memorize this truth: The thing that you want to do secretly, or any act or deed you want to do surreptitiously, isn’t the best thing for you. In contrast, think of those wonderful words in the marriage ceremony . . . “in the face of God and this company.” The right things you will always want to do that way. That’s how you know they are right. When God and those nearest and dearest to you are looking on, you begin on a sure foundation.

When you want to do the opposite—hide away, lie, pretend—it’s wrong, no matter how much you rationalize the real reason to yourself.

When we are growing up, we fool ourselves. We tell ourselves, as an alibi, “I’d be more popular if I were prettier” or “better dressed.” Or “had a nicer home.”

Alibis! Blaming our own lack of real values on things outside ourselves. But the girl who says to herself, “If I used my brains more, I’d be more popular,” you can count on the thumb of one hand.

It took me ages before I realized that to go out every night was idiotic. Now I know that my happiest evenings are spent at home with my family. It’s just a case of growing up.

For example, when I first got into movies, my job represented security for me. It meant I could take care of my son, myself and my mother. Now being in movies has become a much more wonderful thing to me. I see it is my duty to entertain people. That’s my place in life, and if I can bring a little joy to all kinds of people, my mission is accomplished. Incidentally, that’s one reason I like to do “family” pictures. I love families. And I love to think of bringing happiness to families, all the way from grandma down to junior, who has just got his first chemistry set.

Once I sang a love song in a night club with the tears running down my face. That’s because I had lost a love that was very important to me. It was a cold, winter night in New York. My son was away from me, with my mother, because I had to work all night, sleep all day and couldn’t afford to support us in New York.

I felt so sorry for myself. I told myself I had given “everything” to that love. I would, I told myself, “never love again.”

The thing you have to learn about love is that it is inexhaustible. The more love you give, the more love you still have.

When you aren’t yet sixteen, you haven’t the experience to distinguish between quantity and quality. You haven’t, I mean, unless you are a lot smarter than I was at that age. Your aim is to be a popular girl. I don’t blame you for that. But what do you mean by popular? Are you getting quality or quantity?

The kids who go after the “kicks” are usually giving too much to get too little. Does that make sense? To have six boys dating you, will you hide out in the backs of cars, or dark streets, doing things you’d never do in the light of your own living room at home?

Stop kidding yourself. Find your real values.

You are you. That seems like a simple statement, but think about what it really means. God in his wisdom has made no one else in the whole world who is just like you. You are utterly unique. So why don’t you develop your own uniqueness in conformance with His overall plan?

When I see beautiful girls like Hedy Lamarr or Ursula Thiess, I’m amazed I’m on the screen. When I see an actress like Shirley Booth, I ask, “And I get by with acting?”

Then I go home at night, and I see my husband, my son, and my mother. I want to get down on my knees in prayers of thankfulness. And I do. Because if between the lines of what I’m saying here, you come to the conclusion that I feel you should have an active faith and religion, you are right.

God made us in His image. Knowing all, seeing all, He is here to guide us if we will only trust Him. When He let you be you, let you be the center of your own universe, He gave you your greatest opportunity.

If you sell yourself cheaply you are the person you are hurting. Maybe it sounds dull to you, when you are sixteen, to counsel you that you might better stay home with a good book than go out with a cheap boy. But it’s true. Think of it this way: Do you know everything about any one subject in the world? Or do you know one thing about every subject?

Of course you don’t. Nobody does. But every single thing you learn puts you that much ahead. And every kindness you do puts you that much ahead, too. ,

Stop kidding yourselves, kids. The world owes you nothing—but it gives you everything. And you owe it everything. The more you give it, the more you’ll have.



(Doris Day will soon be seen in Warners’ “Calamity Jane”)



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