A couple of Sundays ago, I had it uncomfortably brought to my attention that I just might undoubtedly be the worst father in the world. I never realized how much that I had been shirking in my parental duties.
It all started when my family and I attended church. It was a nice, sunshiny Sunday morning. You’re probably thinking that going to church doesn’t seem so horrible, but that wasn’t the bad part.
Approximately halfway through the church service, our pastor has what we refer to as “Children’s Moments.” The younger kids in the congregation go up front with the minister where they all sit on the steps leading up to the altar, and he asks the children what they’ve been up to during the previous week. He then attempts to associate their answers to what the morning message will be about, which directly follows the kids’ segment. It’s a nice little segue for everyone involved.
On this particular morning, there weren’t many young people present. In fact, my daughter was the only child in the sanctuary that walked up front for Children’s Moments. Whenever this happens, I get a little nervous. With her being the only one up there, 100 percent of the minister’s questioning was going to be aimed directly at her, and she has this nasty little habit of answering questions honestly. That just can’t work out good for me. My wife has always said that I’m crazy, and that there is no need to be nervous. Well, now she knows better.
When my daughter sat down on the blue carpeted step next to the pastor, he asked her what she had been up to that week. She told him about school starting and all that fun stuff. But then she remembered that during the coming week, she was going to be attending the county fair and that her mom and I said that she could get a couple of rabbits. Evidently, we made that deal with her when we decided to move out to the farm. By the way, she has a nasty little memory too.
After my daughter mentioned the rabbits, the minister made some off-handed, vague reference to Bugs Bunny. He patiently looked at my daughter waiting for some kind of response. She just sat there, totally blank-faced with absolutely no comprehension of what the heck he was talking about. An uneasy nauseousness bombarded my system. My daughter had absolutely no clue of who Bugs Bunny is.
As the minister prodded her with questions about Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and the Roadrunner, I hyperventilated. Later on, my wife said that she thought she heard my heart hit the hard wooden floor and roll around under the pew. There have been numerous sermons throughout the years that I have tried to slink down in my seat in an effort to disguise the fact that the person in the pulpit was describing myself and my deeds, but that day, I could not duck down low enough.
I felt the eyes of my fellow parishioners burning into my back. My parents sit directly in front of me in church. My mom lowered her head in shame, and I think that my dad muttered something under his breath. I wanted to run.
How could my child, of all people, not know the lovable Looney Tunes characters? I just assumed that everybody knew who they were, but alas, it’s just not so. When I pondered it, I realized that she is only 10 years old, and the majority of her cartoon-watching history deals with SpongeBob.
I still blame much of this national travesty on those lousy Smurfs back in the mid- to late-1980s. When those little blue devils hit the airwaves, cartoons started their downhill slide. All of a sudden, cartoons couldn’t have violence anymore. That took my beloved Looney Tunes from an hour and a half of joyous Saturday morning viewing down to a mere half hour. Not long after that, it seems like they were gone completely. Sufferin’ succotash!
Now I wouldn’t be much of a man if I were to just sit here and cry about this injustice that has been placed on America’s children and not do anything about it. Therefore, I have decided to institute cartoon college in my home. I dug out my old DVDs the other day, and I will take it upon myself to teach my little girl some of the finer things in life.
Stuff like if you paint a picture of a tunnel on the side of a mountain, a train can actually come out of it. How a mouse can be confused with a baby kangaroo. If you shoot a duck in the face with a shotgun, it doesn’t kill the duck. It just makes his bill spin around and fall to the ground. She needs to know that Tasmanian Devils look like little tornadoes when they move around. Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulators go off with an earth-shattering kaboom. Pepe LePew is a smelly boy and just like all other smelly boys, cannot be trusted. And most importantly, ACME sells everything.
Most of these things she will learn during her first few semesters at the university. As she moves on to her more advanced and graduate courses, she will be introduced to the Pink Panther, Tennessee Tuxedo and Bullwinkle. Her doctoral thesis will most likely deal with the cultural significance of Go Go Gophers. It will take a lot of work on her part, but I think that it will be worth the effort.
My daughter ended up getting two rabbits at the fair, Elsa and Ana. They are as cute as can be but have heaved turmoil into my once docile existence. You just can’t trust bunnies.
As a wise man once said, “Wabbits can be verwy wascally.”
You can contact Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.