It Never Did Before. So Why Is This Cartoon Making Me Cry Now?
Growing up we didn’t have cable. My sisters and I made do with whatever the bunny ears could pick up, and that often continually tinkering with antenna placement. On sick days, peeling ourselves off of the couch to find suitable reception just didn’t sound appealing, so we’d settle on whatever came in and remained clear.
When I stayed home The Price is Right gave me a solid hour. In between bites of crackers and sips of Vernors I’d try to call out the actual retail price without going over.
But what to do beyond that one solid hour? Wishbone and other PBS shows wouldn’t start for another few hours. And post-school cartoons on Fox would come even later.
So I had to make do with the VHS collection. Namely, the Disney VHS collection.
The Disney video collection always stood out from every other videotape we had. Some tapes had actual cardboard sleeves. Most were jumbled and naked in a brown box where my dad would keep the bootlegged recordings.
Where else could you find the Sunday Night Movie Of The Week featuring Back to the Future followed by a black and white recording of Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein. Both with included commercials.
It’s still weird to me to watch Back to the Future without Billy Crystal coming on to tell me how marvelous Diet Pepsi is.
But those Disney VHS where something else. The oversized white plastic clamshell design requires a specially constructed shelf to support the extra four inches of unnecessary plastic.
We had the full Disney collective gauntlet. If it was a cartoon and it was Disney, we had it. I had my choice of watching Bambi’s mom get blasted. Or Simba’s dad gets trampled. Or the Fox and the Hound’s mom get blasted. Or Mowgli peace out on all his jungle friends. Or the abduction of basically every dad in every movie.
Looking back, it seems Disney was cool with capping the mom and ransoming the dad.
It’s enough to traumatize any sick kid.
The thing is, I don’t recall ever crying during those movies growing up.
I’m left wondering when all of that changed.
Because now I can’t get through any of those movies without some kind of moisture slipping down my cheek.
Now, I should point out that for whatever reason I’m a sucker for movies. If we were to go to a handful of flicks together I’d say the odds are especially high of seeing the silver glint of salty discharge on my face if you were to look.
And again, I’m not sure when that happened. Or why.
Perhaps life has left me traumatized?
Or maybe as life whittles down friends and family I’ve come to appreciate it more and understand sometimes it’s even the smallest of triumphs that can mean so much.
Memories of moments gone.
Of missed opportunities
Of opportunities that never occured.
Of loves that never materialized.
Or perhaps there’s just no explaining it at all.
All I know is the viewing material that should have traumatized me as a kid is evoking more emotions now than ever before.
Although I guess it could be tears from no longer having Billy Crystal selling me diet Pepsi. Because in a very strange way I do miss that.