Stage of Love

One day during a long drive to upstate New York or Canada, our favorite tedious car rides, she demanded cartoons. We moaned and groaned and asked her how we could get cartoons for her in the car. She chided me gently saying it wasn’t hard at all and aimed an imaginary remote control somewhere toward the rearview mirror, said “click”, smiled and said, “There!”. Then she handed this “remote”, also known as the “clicker” in our home, to me. I had to reach for it and take it because she wanted me to change the channel to “Spongebob Squarepants”. Of course the catchy opening tune was then demanded, “The song, mommy!” and I had no choice but to clear my throat and launch into a soulful rendition of, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, absorbent and yellow and porous is he, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, SPONGEBOBBBBBBBBBB, SQUAREPANTS!! Ta da da da da da ta da da!”, replete with the final beats. History, rather a family tradition, was created that day.

Every car ride has since become a live cartoon show, with one of us getting in character as Spongebob or Patrick the starfish or Squidward or their mammal friend Sandy, who always has an oxygen bubble on during her under the sea travels. The other one of us naturally representing the forces of evil in Plankton or Mr Crab. If the creators of this ubiquitous cartoon were to hear the turns the story takes they would hire her on the spot, she could feed us for life! The channel keeps getting changed through Fairly Odd Parents, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Kim Possible, Jimmy Neutron… a never-ending parade of shows! There is no getting away!

Then we have the messes and the spills that have rendered a beige carpet rainbow hued, tiny Lego bits that jab the soles of our bare feet and clumps of dried play dough on every available surface. One would think the child is left to run wild without much disciplining of any kind. Not true, she gets the stern look every now and then or the inquiry about spills or messes and the answer comes back, “Bad Anoushka did it! It wasn’t me mommy!” Sometimes Bad Anoushka is replaced by Hernia. Hernia is apparently evil and even worse than Bad Anoushka. She is reserved for the more egregious crimes of messiness like Sunny-D and Oreo cookie soup, or a brown and viscous concoction stirred up in a cereal bowl that earns the distinction of being “mashed potato soup”. Invariably it is Hernia at the other end of the toy ladle stirring things up in this particular cauldron.

The world is a stage that often finds dad and daughter front and center, facing a one person audience of yours truly; some of us were meant to observe, applaud, marvel and laugh uproariously, capturing each memory for future recollection. They’ve devised this act where the tiny dictator, the supreme ruler of this house on top of a winding hill path, commands, “Bring the Green Goblin!” Her humble attendant waves his index finger across his face, blinks his eyes a couple of times, and emerges in character saying, “I am going to destroy Spiderman!” Sometimes in more compassionate moments he is asked to bring Peter Parker’s uncle just so the line – With great power comes great responsibility – can get repeated. The stories almost always launch into previously unexplored directions, quite the writer’s dream, as these popular characters are led to new adventures and perfect re-enactments of an emerging perception of good and evil in a fascinating four year old brain. Once the show is over the actors converge upon the audience, one wants a moment alone with her and the other wants a “huggy” or a “kissy” (maybe they both really want the same thing!) or a walk around the house with the soles of her feet perched on the tops of mine. And so the day ends, its adventures lovingly folded within the pages of an interactive comic book live with characters that engage and amuse.

Not much different from our very own writer’s forum I imagine, where each day we grow our member listing by real and imaginary members, weaving engaging stories of amnesiac Japanese swamis, hermits in Mongolia, a quaint old lady in Alabama, her erudite son, a Japanese woman who earns her living by hand modeling and even an alien. It is wonderful to know that she will never want for imaginary friends and foes even after she leaves childhood behind! 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Wow, smart child. 😀


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