Saturday, 4 February 2012

Handy Mandy, Popcorn and Juice

I had Hurricane and Tornado over for the afternoon today and I thought that it would be nice to keep them busy, rather than just let them destroy the house like they normally do. We planned a walk to the nearest playground, which would involve slides, swings, teeter-totters and monkey bars. We have these little metal animals that are mounted on springs in pretty much every playground here, They have the look of something that would be fun, but it has been my experience that the little ones have trouble hanging on with hands and feet. The problem is that by the time the kids are old enough for these things they are too old to want to play on them. Well, until they are teenagers and under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then all playground equipment is a hoot.

I can only take the playgrounds for a short while before I am driven to distraction. The thrill of a playground is also the reason they should be feared. They are inherently dangerous. I am constantly worried about a fall from the monkey bars or the slide and I can remember the exhilarating feeling of flying off of the swings that came shortly before my impact with the ground. Playgrounds are treacherous waters and shouldn’t be taken lightly. How would I explain a serious injury to the missing parents? I also prepared for how to get us back home. I would bribe them with the promise of popcorn and juice. Then, just to show that I am an old fashioned Poppa, we would read a book. “Horton Hears a Who” is the one that the universe popped into my mind.
You all know the story. Horton the Elephant while splashing in a pool in the Jungle of Nool hears voices from a speck of dust which is in reality a tiny world that asks Horton for his protection. Horton’s buddies in the jungle think that he has lost touch with reality and threaten to boil the speck of dust in Beezelnut oil in order to bring Horton back from the insane. Horton tells the mayor of Whoville that they need to make themselves heard and the mayor enlists all of the Whos to make noise. This is the troubling part. There is a certain little shirker called Jojo Who that is hiding and keeping very quiet.
They have to force this malcontent to make noise which when added to all of the other noise enables the Whos to be heard. I contend that Jojo wasn’t the saviour of the world, but in actual fact was trying to commit genocide on his entire race. He should have been vilified, not celebrated as “a person’s a person no matter how small.”

In a later story about the Whos, a cousin of Jojo the psychopath helps a known felon to steal every last thing in Whoville. She spots this criminal early on in the story, and instead of blowing the whistle on the Grinch she allows herself to be bought off with a glass of water and a pat on the head. I’m thinking a cut of the take as well. In the end, the Grinch changes his ways (perhaps he found Jesus) and he returns all of the things that he stole. Instead of putting him in prison where he belongs, the Whos give him a place of honour at their Christmas feast and do you know who is right there beside him to get the prime cut of the roast beast? Cindy Lou Who, that’s who!
Will I read stories about genocide, theft and bribery to my beautiful grandkids? Hell no! Handy Mandy, popcorn and juice is how we filled the rest of the afternoon.

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