I often find my morning shower to be a great place to clear my mind and consider life's deeper truths. I also think it's a good place to shave. I was having a moment of silent reflection this morning as the warm water coursed down my back when I realized something.
I really feel bad for Bert...Ernie can be a tough roommate.
After pondering this for a few seconds I decided to analyze just why something like that would cross my mind. After all:
- He's sort of a dweeb
- He's been wearing the same ugly-ass shirt since 1969
- Bert doesn't really have feelings. He's a piece of felt with someone's hand up its ass
Obviously the constant inundation of Sesame Street at Casa de Cheeky lately is a contributing factor. But it also stems from my own childhood memories of Bert, with his pigeon dance and removable nose. I've known that guy all my life!
I find it fascinating that many of the cultural references I had growing up are the same ones Cheeky is being exposed to now. I look at some of these characters and think back to when Gordon used to be seen with his wife Susan, or when Kermit was a more important character than Slimey, and when Mr. Hooper ran the store and everyone thought Snuffleupagus was an imaginary friend. At what point does caring about muppets stop being a statement of ironic Grup hipness and start becoming something that requires therapy?
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology Cheeky and I can sit down and watch the Muppet Show together, just like I did when I was a kid. I marvel at the bad jokes and the guest stars (Sandy Duncan ? Avery Schreiber? Paul Williams?) while she does exactly what I did: absorb Gonzo, Animal, and that guy who always blows things up like they're Apostles.
It's a weird connection that I get to have with her that my parents didn't have with me. When they were growing up they didn't have the persistent cultural touchstones we have now. I assume their childhood entertainment revolved around plowing furrows, Kalispel tribal ceremonies and the annual holiday dance at Old Fezziwig's. Talking picture boxes and horseless carriages must have frightened and confused them. Granted, the primitive life they led as vassals to their lord lasted for hundreds of years, and they probably learned to grind barley into porridge and play with with wooden toys just like their parents did. But the competing needs to sacrifice livestock to the harvest gods and mold pottery reduced the emotional investment.
I'm glad the generation gap has narrowed, and that I can share the things I loved with Cheeky. And she likes them, too...it's not like they're being forced on her. Sure, it might be a little dangerous to expose my dated entertainment choices to Cheeky, but I don't know of any kid outside of Utah who didn't freely reject the uncoolness of their parents and develop their own tastes (or at least blindly follow the tastes of the cooler kids in school) at some point. I'm quite content to stock up on Pixar and Studio Ghibli movies for her, and consciously overlooking some of the more questionable favorites of my youth.
Plus, it gives me a chance to be a bit of a kid again. Sharing a laugh at Cookie Monster (for completely different reasons, I'm sure) and singing the "Ladybugs Picnic" together is a great experience that we both enjoy. And if it leads to philosophical ponderings about the troubled home life of a pointy-headed puppet, that's a small price to pay.