Speeding down the freeway, I drove with one hand on the steering wheel – my eyes trained on the rearview mirror and watching the DVD screen – while my other hand groped in the backseat for the tiny fast-forward button.
If people think texting and driving is dangerous, they should see what parents of toddlers are forced to do when the only thing that’s keeping a screaming kid strapped into a car seat from contented silence is the right scene of the right movie.
In the midst of the honking, shouting and obscene hand gestures hurled at me by other morning commuters, I had a dark and devious revelation.
I’m must assassinate Cinderella … and her fairy godmother, too.
But my dastardly plan doesn’t end there. I’m gonna drop The Lion King off at the humane society, after having Pocahontas deported. And then children’s services can snatch Mowgli away from Bagheera and Baloo and take him back to the Man Village where he belongs.
It’s just a bear necessity …
I love Disney movies as much as any child of the ‘70s, but Jellybean’s obsession with these cartoon classics needs an intervention. Sure they keep her passively occupied, but so would a bottle of bong water, that doesn’t mean I should give it to her every time she asks.
Granted, at 3 years old Jellybean’s entertainment options are limited to playing with American Girl dolls, coloring with Crayons and arguing with me over which “twirly” dress to wear, we’ve got to find something else … fast.
Over and over and over again – it’s always the same three movies. Such repetition is threatening my sanity. But it’s not so much the dialogue – though I’ve memorized most of that too – it’s the songs that are driving me mad.
The Beatles never wrote anything this catchy or psychologically corrosive. A grown man should not be roaming the beer aisle at Wal-Mart humming “Bibbity Bobbity Boo” unless he can actually pull a magic wand from his cargo shorts and turn a pumpkin into a horse-drawn carriage (or a six pack into a keg.)
Having successfully raised one child through this particular phase, My Lovely Wife seems immune to my Disney Dementia because the part of her brain that once registered such irritations has long since rotted away. She giggles when I whine and about having watched The Lion King for the fourth afternoon in a row while reciting lines in my best Pumbaa voice.
“But it makes her so happy,” she says. “And that’s what’s important.”
Resigned to my fate, not to mention having failed at interesting Jellybean in favorite titles from my childhood –Fox and The Hound, Pete’s Dragon, The Rescuers, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, Halloween – I try and take something positive away from each viewing.
For example, the lovely Pocahontas has taught me how to “paint with all the colors of the wind” as I constantly wonder “what’s around the river bend” (though I still think she should’ve married Kocoum).
And all the valuable lessons about responsibility, growing up, loving unconditionally and the dangers of playing in an elephant graveyard, one thing bothers me – what’s Disney’s problem with the nuclear family. I mean, you ever notice that either the mother or father’s dead in every movie?
Makes me wonder what kind of home life ol’ Walt had growing up. After all, his is the company that gave American kids the image of the evil step-mother.
Oh well, like they say on Lion King – “Hakuna Matata.” It means “no worries.” So I guess Simba and all his cartoon cronies are safe … for now.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org