A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I don’t know if you are into fairy tales these days, other than the one you just told your wife about why the car is upside down in the snow on your neighbour’s lawn, or the one you just told your husband about why you need to borrow his Visa since yours is in the shop. Do kids still read them? Fairy tale folks are a bit strange. Several years ago a team of Halifax doctors decided Winnie the Pooh is obsessive-compulsive, Eeyore is chronically depressed and the rest of the folks in the Hundred Acre Wood need to spend a few hours on a psychiatrist’s couch. Do kids nowadays even know who Christopher and Pooh are? We did.
Apparently Pooh’s magical world is inhabited by some seriously troubled individuals. To be honest the doctors weren’t all that serious, but still the mental stability of the characters worries me.
I suspected for some time Pooh and Piglet were a trifle odd, but I didn’t want to be the one to tell the kids that their little friends from Fairyland are more than a little disturbed.
If it was just Pooh and Piglet, we could live with it. But I’m afraid Christopher Robin is a bubble off plumb as well. Any kid who wanders around in the middle of winter in short pants and knee socks (although he is English and they don’t know any better) could probably do with an hour or so under an electric hat. I suspect his procreative abilities may be in jeopardy as well. Any man who has ever waded up to his waist in Georgian Bay on the 24th of May will vouch for that.
I’m afraid most of the characters in the storybooks are long overdue for a psychiatric assessment.
The Emperor who showed up at court wearing nothing but his crown and bedroom slippers sounds like a winner. If you ever meet him on the main street and he asks you to guess what’s under his raincoat, it won’t be an outfit by Georgio Armani.
Fairy tales are filled with weird characters. Jack, you remember him; he was the kid who peddled off his mother’s cow for a handful of magic beans. Jack was at best a simpleton, but alas he was also a thief. He robbed the poor giant blind. All the giant (I think his name was Fee Fi Fo Fum) had left after his wife took off was a bag of gold, a singing harp, and a chicken who laid golden eggs – none of the stuff was covered under his homeowner’s policy and Jack swiped it all. Pinocchio was a compulsive liar who apparently talks to crickets. Not even Mackenzie King did that.
Almost all the women in these stories seem to have a problem with male-female relationships that sometimes leads to violence. Little Red Riding Hood murders a wolf, an endangered species, just because he ate her grandmother. After the estate was settled, she ran off with Prince Charming
Goldilocks breaks into the three bears’ house. (Bears too are endangered creatures. Do you see a pattern here?) They came back from the circus (Poppa rides a bicycle in an animal act) to find two broken chairs, no food, and some girl peeking over the blankets of Baby Bear’s cot. She runs off with Prince Charming without a thought about Baby Bear who is left trying to explain to his mother where the blonde came from and you know she’s won’t believe a word of it. His old man is no help. He just stands there grinning.
Snow White roomed with seven of the scruffiest guys ever seen on the silver screen, then eats a poisoned apple some old dolly just hands her – not exactly a Rhodes Scholar, our Snowy. Along comes Prince Charming who throws her over the back of his horse and they ride off into the sunset – apparently to get married, although no one seems to remember getting an invitation to a Royal wedding.
Cinderella, now there’s a classic example of a girl who tried to rise above her station. The Provincial Conservatives would cut her down to size in a minute. Cindy has a steady job as a Molly Maid. No money, but she gets room and board, which is better than working part-time for minimum wage. With the dishes still in the sink, she skips out to a ball at the palace. It’s a long story, something about some guy with a shoe fetish but she marries Prince Charming. Rapunzel, who was the first woman to complain about split ends, lets her hair dangle out a tower and who should come clopping along? You guessed it – Prince Charming.
Have you noticed something familiar about these stories? They all ran off with the same dude, Prince Charming. These girls have a problem with men. Obviously, Charming has no problem with women – a scheduling problem maybe, but even then, it’s not his problem. The girls are so desperate to find a husband they are willing to share one.
My wife just mumbled that she knows one they can have for nothing. She’s very nice, but I think she may have a problem.