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Andy Cohen

Does Bravo exec turned TV personality Andy Cohen have a thing for Snoopy? Take a look at the adorable picture above — as well as this more recent shot — and decide for yourself.

It’s totally appropriate, then, that Running Press enlisted Cohen to write the foreword for the newest edition of Peanuts Guide to Life, a collection of strips and quotes representing the best of creator Charles Schulz’s work.

The reissue hits shelves Tuesday — but we’ve got an exclusive look at the book’s Cohen-penned intro below. See below:

“As soon as a child is born, he or she should be issued a dog and a banjo.”

—Charlie Brown

When I was born, the dog I was issued was Snoopy. My stuffed Snoopy came with me pretty much everywhere I went. He was cute. He slept with me. He hugged me. He made me smile. As long as Snoopy was there, he made me feel like I was home.

Before I went to bed at night my dad would come tuck me in and hold Snoopy to his ear, repeating to me the things that Snoopy told him about me. Of course I believed that Snoopy could talk and I wanted to hear what he had to say. I found out later he had a lot to say…

If my mom’s omnipresent Peanuts calendar wasn’t close, I could tell what time of year it was by what Peanuts special was on TV. It seemed like Snoopy and the gang were all around me. I liked to draw Snoopy (I still find myself doodling his head and tummy while daydreaming in meetings) and Charlie Brown (especially his shirt and weird shoes). As I got older, I got really plugged into the comic strip and started digesting something larger than just a cartoon.

What did I learn about life from a dog and a bunch of kids? A lot.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally, and the whole gang can teach us pretty much everything we need to know about how to behave and we have Charles Schulz to thank for that. In my estimation, the cartoonist deserves an A+ in philosophy; his simple wisdom captivated hundreds of millions of fans around the world and somehow gives all of us permission to feel good about searching for deeper meaning around us.

His messages are simple and universal: Believe in yourself (“Who cares what other people think?” –Sally); find happiness in the little things around you; be decent, self-reliant, and optimistic (“Keep looking up… that’s the secret of life.” –Snoopy); work hard (“No one need ever be ashamed of fingernails made dirty by a hard day’s work.” –Linus); and above all, allow yourself to love (even though Lucy points out, “It’s amazing how stupid you can be when you’re in love.”).

I don’t know how he got away with it, but Schulz had an uncanny ability to simultaneously present joy and melancholy all at once. And that melancholy is part of what makes his work so prescient for me. Schulz made it okay to feel kind of blah every once in a while. That’s just part of life. (And by the way, how “blah” can you feel when Snoopy’s outside lying on his doghouse?)

Peanuts Guide to Life is a collection of some of Schulz’ most simple and entertaining philosophy. It is a perfect roadmap for us all to navigate humanity with dignity and fun.

Oh, and by the way, happiness IS a warm puppy!

Andy Cohen

New York City, 2013