Magic Unicorns, Hugging all the Animals, and Other Memories
When I was a kid, I was sick a lot. There were weeks spent lounging, pathetically, on the couch in the family room. There is pictorial evidence of how pathetic I looked when I was sick. No, that will not make it onto this blog. Suffice to say that once, I had pneumonia, and the medication I was given for it turned my tongue black and fuzzy. This was at Christmas. I resembled a small, brunette Crypt Keeper, whose tongue had turned into a demonic muppet. It wasn’t a good look for me.
Where was I? Right. Sick kid. So, my mom used to rent me a lot of movies to keep me occupied. When she wasn’t looking, of course, I’d sneak off the couch and onto the floor, where the cat (that I was allergic to) would lie on my stomach, purring contentedly. What? Try keeping me away from something cute and flurry. I dare you. *wink*
This was, of course, back before DVDs, during the Dark Ages of VHS and *gasp* VIDEO STORES. There was a local video store about five minutes from our house, run by a couple. Mrs. S was the sweetest woman alive. Mr. S, however, was a bit…off. He ran the register is the store section (it was a combination convenience store and video store). Imagine walking up to pay for your things and spying an adult man with a piece of printer paper TAPED to his shirt. He rarely used scotch tape, mind you, but favored duct or electrical tape (that latter did not stick well). Anyway, scrawled in marker on this homemade sign would be the lotto jackpot total. And the price of a lottery ticket. Without fail, Mr. S would ask, at least three times, if my mother wanted to buy a lottery ticket. Never in my life has my mother ever bought a lottery ticket. But let me tell you, it was really difficult to keep a straight face.
The point? Right. They had a variety of movies I could never rent anywhere else. One was The Magic Pony. Another was my favorite: Unico. Unico was a manga cartoon, before I even knew what that was, about a tiny unicorn. It is also the first appearance of Hello Kitty, which is pretty neat. Anyway, it is about as cheesy awesome as it sounds. Unico is all about being kind and making friends. I know this because I recently got the sequel on DVD. (Don’t look at me like that. I don’t care if I am twenty-nine. You can’t take away my cartoons.)
And I watched it last night. The little unicorn just wanted to be nice to everyone. He wanted to be friends with anyone who crossed his path. He was out to do good and get hugs. After watching it, I realized that between a childhood of that movie and the CareBears, it explains a lot about me. I can be tough when I have to be. I have a spine. I get angry.
But my default is always to be nice. It’s always to hug a lost dog or cat. (Rescued the neighbor’s dog TWICE last week. Poor old thing was tottering toward the road.) It’s silly to think that cartoons influence children in such instrumental ways, but I really think that affected me. Even She-Ra and He-Man had morals at the end of the cartoons.
Which got me to thinking about today’s cartoons. Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of them, but I wonder if that moral-of-the-story bit has fallen by the wayside. If it has, it strikes me as a bit of a shame. I think kids need that, especially with the rampant lack of parental influence and presence that is so prevalent these days. (Sweeping generalization!)
Watching the sequel to Unico made me a little nostalgic. I kind of have the urge to dye my hair pink, slap on some star earrings, and sing. (Jem, anyone?) But I suppose if I do that, it’ll have to wait until Halloween. Until then, I’ll be over here, watching a tiny magic unicorn and remembering that time I had to walk twelve miles, uphill, in the SNOW, barefoot — just to rent a video. Which then incurred late fees.