I don’t sleep so great. Unless I down a shot of Nyquil. Or take a xanax. I have trouble going to sleep and if I wake up (pesky bladder) I have trouble falling back to sleep. It’s like my brain’s this hamster who’s discovered crack for the first time and plans on being on his exercise wheel for the next 19 hours.
I woke up the other night and that hamster was jacked up and running on that squeaky exercise wheel. I started thinking about the cartoons I watched as a kid (I still watch cartoons even though I’m 36 and should probably be watching the news or something educational on TV but I’d rather watch Squidbillies or Space Ghost Coast to Coast) and how I see those cartoons now that I’m a grown up and by grown up I mean I remember to put gas in the car, to get up and go to work every day, and every other Friday get a little more depressed when I see how much the government has taken out of my paycheck.
I started thinking about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. Winnie was always so good natured and kind, never had a bad word to say about anybody.
Tigger was energetic and fun and ready to go on any adventure life threw at him.
Eeyore was a sweet soul who thought he didn’t deserve any kindness.
Christopher Robin was a special little boy, sensitive and maybe a little lonely.
Roo was a rambunctious kid who loved his mom Kanga who taught him to think about right and wrong.
Piglet was Winnie’s best friend, a chubby little guy who was afraid of everything but would do anything for his friends, even if it scared the shit out of him.
Rabbit was a cranky old man who was kind of gruff but had a soft heart.
Owl was the oracle of the woods. I didn’t know what the hell an oracle was but at the age of 6 I recognized that Owl was ancient and everyone went to him for advice.
As an adult I see the cartoon through different-damn it-eyes.
Winnie-the-Pooh has food issues, binging on honey, getting his head stuck in a honey pot. Some asshole records the whole thing with his phone and the clip ends up with 2,000,000 hits on Youtube. Winnie stumbles around, his screams muffled but he’s yelling “Has honey always been this fucking sticky?” He finally realizes it’s time he went to one of those Overeaters Anonymous meetings his therapist brought up last week.
Tigger is a meth addict. He’s unable to be still, even for a nano-second. You can see it in his darting eyes: he’s looking for his next fix. He’s not optimistic. He’s not ready to meet life’s challenges. He’s counting down the days to when his grandma gets her social security check. He’ll run her errands for her, go grocery shopping, and deposit her check. Of course, he’ll take a few hundred for his troubles and then go on a week long binge. He’ll apologize to his grandma, get down on his knees and cry real tears because deep down he is sorry but right on top of that sorry is that gnawing hunger for another binge. Luckily, grandma Tigger has dementia and keeps handing over her social security check on the first of each month.
Eeyore is depressed. He’s not I-feel-kind-of-sad-every-day depressed. He’s I’m-going-to-drink-everything-under-the-kitchen-sink depressed. Over the last ten years he’s collected over 500 sleeping pills for the morning (or the afternoon or the evening) he wakes up and decides he doesn’t want to struggle anymore. It’s not like he hasn’t tried to get help. He’s tried antidepressants, vitamin D, one of those expensive “sun lamps” from Costco that he sat in front of for an hour each day for 6 months. He’s tried therapy but hearing himself whine about how his father never loved him made him want to jump out the window of his therapist’s office. Tigger sold him a gun a few years ago when Tigger was in a heroin phase “Because, you know, I need to come down from the meth.” The gun’s been in a beat up box pushed to the back of a shelf in Eeyore’s closet. He knows it’s in there and he finds a horrible comfort in that. His therapist suggested he keep a journal. For the last few weeks his entries have said the same thing:
what the fuck’s the point?
Christopher Robin is the gay kid who everyone knows is gay and they’re tired of his shit waiting for him to come out of the closet. Even Winnie’s patience is wearing thin. Christopher Robin and Winnie were at a shoe store in the mall. Christopher was trying on shoe after shoe, turning his feet this way and that.
“What about the blue pair?” he asks Winnie. Winnie has been staring at a Cinnabon nestled between a Forever 21 and Hot Topic for the last 45 minutes.
“Oh you silly bear. We’ll get you a treat in a minute, maybe a salad from that vegan place next to Pizza Hut. Now, what about these green shoes?”
And Winnie has a moment when he can see himself suffocating Christopher Robin with one of those gross little nylon socks people are supposed to wear when they’re barefoot and trying on shoes (who the fuck does that? It’s like taking off your underwear to try on underwear.) The silly old bear lets himself enjoy imagining suffocating the gay kid and then buying a dozen Cinnabon and eating them in a closet with the door shut.
Instead, he sighs and says “Hey, queer bait. The blue pair makes you look butch.”
Piglet is Pooh’s bitch. If Pooh is going to eat a dozen Cinnabon, Piglet is going to be right there with a bucket for when Pooh starts to spew like a volcano. Piglet doesn’t have too many thoughts to call his own. He suffers from agoraphobia and sometimes the thought of leaving his house to get the mail gives him panic attacks. He buys xanax from Tigger because he can’t afford health insurance.
Roo thinks he’s a total bad ass. He and his friends like to push old ladies to the ground and then laugh when their old lady dresses fly up over their old lady heads. The residents of the 100 Acre Wood see Roo as a punk but they know he loves his mother Kanga. He never tells anyone that he loves her so much he sometimes wishes an old lady would pull out the gun that was nestled next to her Perfectly Coral lipstick and shoot him through the heart so he won’t have to live to see his mother die. She went to the doctor last month with a lingering cough from a chest cold that was going around. The news wasn’t good. They could put poison in her to try to kill the insidious monster moving through her blood but the doctor named the organs that were being eaten away. He said the ugliness (he never called it cancer) was spreading to her lungs but if she wanted to try chemo, hey, go for it lady.
Roo’s so bad ass that he only cries after he sees his mother’s wet brown eyes as she watches him sleep. She makes little worried sounds that travel from her fingertips to his skin and back again.
Rabbit is a mean old fuck, a nasty old man obsessed with his perfect garden and his award winning roses. He throws rocks at kids who cut through his garden. The rumor going around is he chops up people and uses their bodies as fertilizer. Then again, this is a story from Tigger who was found in Rabbit’s tomato patch whispering to them and presiding over a marriage between a green tomato and a red one. He was locked up on a 5150 and had 72 hours to be trapped in his own brain. Piglet saw him a month ago, scratching at his arms and telling anyone who would listen that a spider had laid eggs under his skin and they were hatching and soon there would be a race of spider/human hybrid.
Jesus had a puppy.
I’m glad I never thought of any of this when I was a 6 year old watching these cartoons. It’s also a good thing I never had children to scar for life.
And the world heaved a collective sigh of relief.