Like most writers I endure more than my share of personal artistic agony. This usually comes in the form of those horrific moments when I sit staring into a blank computer screen; waiting for the muse to whisper a brilliant idea into my right ear. Tonight it appeared that this very same muse was off on vacation somewhere in the Caribbean.
Whenever I come down with a case of writer’s block; I close my eyes, take a deep breath, clear my mind and wait. Nature abhors a vacuum, so eventually something gets sucked into my head. I was in my peaceful place, every earthly thought had been erased, and I found myself in a state of blissful nothingness. Then I heard that haunting melody! I strained for a moment, taking in the simple chords and feeling a sense of familiarity.
As the notes rolled around between my ears, decades of my life were peeled away. I found myself getting younger by the moment. It was like I was aging in reverse! Suddenly there was a screenplay writing itself in the depths of my cranium. Here was my ticket to early retirement. It all came down in a ball of flames as I remembered that “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” had already been written!
Transcending the physical constraints of time, I found myself sitting in front of a black and white television, the kind that actually had tubes in it. The melody was growing louder and louder, wrapping me in a cloak of childhood familiarity. The TV screen flickered to life and I watched open-jawed as the parade of Looney Tune characters marched across the screen. All of my favorite cartoon characters were there, each one connecting with me personally as they marched from right to left!
I was snapped out of my nostalgic daydream by the haunting Swedish accent of Mrs. Olsen. She was babbling something about her brand of java being “mountain grown, the freshest kind of coffee!” Somehow it appeared that a Scandinavian woman could solve the problems of the world with beans picked in Colombia and percolated in America. So much for my childhood reminiscing, my cartoon show was now over and I was staring at a blank computer screen anew.
There are times where the only way to kick-start a blog is simply by letting your fingers roam the keyboard. The Looney Tunes theme song is still running rampant through my brain. It serves to remind me that we are all part of a great parade called humanity. We follow one another in synchronized lockstep, headed towards a common destination. We are given a tune to share and a limited amount of air time before our life gets interrupted by the final mortal commercial.
The Looney Tunes cast is simply a reflection on who we are collectively and individually. It always intrigued me that this group of animated icons marched in from shortest to tallest. Speedy Gonzales and Tweety Bird would come out first, followed by Porky, Daffy, and Pepe LePew. They would then give way to the taller characters like Bugs, Wile E. Coyote and Granny.
There was a wonderful sense of order to it all. In adult life it is often the person with smallest gift to give who rushes out to try to lead the parade. In contrast, those who are larger than life are content to march in the back of the parade, confident in who they are and what they have to offer to the world!
Each of us has known more than our share of Pepe LePew’s in life. They come across as sophisticated and charming. They overwhelm us with compliments and make our heads swim in romantic possibility. Fortunately they soon tip their hand and reveal themselves for the stinkers they really are.
We have all been faced with one too many Foghorn Leghorn’s. They scheme against us, trick us into carrying out their agenda, and sit back as we take the blame for what they set into motion. In the meantime, they assure that the whole world hears we are “not right!”
Then there are those amongst us who live in a cloud of anger, shooting first and asking questions later. Each of us has been pierced more than once by the bullets of sarcasm or been wounded by the pellets of somebody else’s judgment. Indeed, Yosemite Sam would be very proud of you!
Not all of the Looney Tune characters reflect the negative in our world. Take Porky Pig as a case in point. His eagerness to please and his simplistic life are summed up in a stuttering caricature. Sylvester spews and lisps as he vents his frustration with the world around him. Even Wile E. Coyote can be endearing as he comically falls victim to his own hare-brained schemes.
Life is a parade as well, each of us marching in place, taking the form of a cartoon character. We truly move to a common theme song; although most people never still their soul long enough to hear it. We even move in the same direction, often stepping on each other to be the leader of the parade.
Each of us needs to make a conscious choice as to which cartoon character we wish to be. Will you be a rogue or a hero? Sophisticated or innocent? Schemer or bystander? As for me, I prefer the role of the outsider; the observer of the human condition, if you will. I relish the opportunity to ask the obscure questions and find inspiration in the common and ordinary. In short, my role in the humanity parade is to ask,”What’s up, Doc?”