These are only three out of any title that you can use when describing this person sometimes. Yes, I was once a rascally rugrat. Now the word ‘rugrat’ is not just the name of a popular Nickelodeon cartoon show from back in the day, but it can also be a humorously derogatory term for a human child.
Yes, I was always a prince among rascals whether it is The Little Rascals (which is actually the syndication title for the Our Gang shorts made from the silent era to after World War II)...
(pictured here is the poster for the 1994 film of the Little Rascals)
Or what Elmer Fudd used to call a “wascally wabbit”, or Bugs Bunny.
And yes, I am almost like a king of cartoons like that guy in Pee Wee’s Playhouse (though I’m technically a king like that King of Cartoons guy in Pee Wee’s Playhouse), since I happened to primarily watch so many cartoons on TV when I was young...
Just as in the same way that Miguel de Cervantes’ famous Don Quixote character read so many stories about heroic knights and distressful ladies fair and terrifying monsters that at one point he thinks that a windmill could be a giant ogre much to Sancho Panza’s skepticism.
Normally the articles on this very website is usually related to pop culture nostalgia, but for my tenth article here on RetroJunk, this occasion called to break the mold a little and scrape off the mold a little.
I was thinking of starting to mull over my very own youth and of course, its unceasing quest for a good life, for knowledge, and for wisdom, especially -- whether real or fictional or imaginary, simulated or otherwise – that I could ever lay my hands on. And it is no coincidence now that animation is not just cartoons for kids, but also, if there are things that fictional characters (and therefore, not just real people) taught me anything in life, then let me remember another thing in my boyhood, in another time, in another place, and a total of 16 (rather metaphorical) gifts and stuff that the following 12 characters (two things per character) metaphorically gave to even my kid self or taught me about.
I can even remember clear, itchingly, nervously, maddeningly that one time, somewhere in my imagination or childhood memory lane paradigm thingy, if the following 12 characters will ever pay homage to even my childhood self, then each of the 12 characters in question may metaphorically bless or perhaps bestow upon said boyhood self with any metaphorical gift imaginable, but no more or no less than one or two gifts per character.
Anyway, Let us start with the metaphorical gift of an adventurous young cartoon immigrant mouse of both Jewish and Russian descent (much like Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack creator/animator Genndy Tartakovsky).
Fievel Mouskewitz (voiced by Phillip Glasser), that is, from the An American Tail movies, and named after the grandfather of legendary Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg himself.
Full Disclosure: I just recently got An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, a movie of my childhood (which is also perhaps best remembered for featuring Classical Hollywood actor James Stewart’s very last performance (as the canine lawman Wiley Burp, his name being a spoof on Wyatt Earp’s) before he passed away in 1997), on BluRay for this past Christmas in 2018.
And by the way, here is some Max's Movies kind of editorial cartoon by Bob Stilson as snipped from an old video rental story magazine from early 1992 in which one human guy was basically telling or asking another if a mouse like Fievel could turn the tables on him while said guy was trying have said mouse put on some little western-themed hats or boots.
Now, Fievel’s metaphorical gift(s) shall be the gift of adventure
(Please Make that Gift No. 1).
Or especially as in what the late Mako Iwamatsu (aka the original voice of Aku on Samurai Jack and Uncle Iroh in Avatar: Last Airbender) described as “The days of high adventure” in the prologue for John Millis’ 1982 heroic fantasy movie Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger (before he made two Terminators and a bunch of True Lies for Titanic and AVATAR director James Cameron, and before Arnold even become a Californian governor in 2003.)
Which literally means a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. Or perhaps even an exciting or very unusual experience. Or especially participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises.
Now, we all know that Fievel is the more popular of all the characters that appeared in the American Tail films...
But if his sister Tanya (which I remembered as being voiced by Cathy Cavadini, aka the original voice of Blossom on the original Powerpuff Girls TV show (1998-2005) and movie (2002), in Fievel Goes West) had any metaphorical gift(s) up her metaphorical sleeves for even my childhood self in mind...
(Image credit belongs to BrisbyBraveheart of DeviantArt)
Then her metaphorical gift(s) shall be the gift of love as well as the gift of music appreciation (make those Gifts Number 2 and 3.) Yes, love can be very powerful, and yes, this writer is—perhaps in my small inner circle of family and friends outside of the internet, to say the least—beloved by all who know me.
As for the metaphorical gift of music appreciation, that meant I can appreciate any kind of music that I like, regardless of genre, style, culture, or even era.
Also, whenever I now and recently hear Fievel’s Sister Tanya singing her rendition of “Dreams to Dreams” just to get the attention of Cat R. Waul (voiced by John Cleese of the Monty Python UK comedy troupe fame) in Fievel Goes West, especially with the late great Titanic and AVATAR film music composer James Horner’s accompanying music playing in the background of things...
The way she sang “Dreams to Dreams” so sweet and so beautifully in Fievel Goes West sometimes make me feel as though it move me to my emotional core, or pull on my heartstrings or even fire up my tearful emotions.
Trust me, folks, Tanya Mousekewitz really, definitely, touched my heart with her sweet and beautiful rendition of Dreams to Dreams in Fievel Goes West sometimes. And her singing sometimes makes me overwhelmed with heartfelt emotions or even elicit tears in my eyes.
Anyway, Bugs Bunny’s metaphorical gift for even my kid self shall be the gift of the quick-witted, as in: having or showing the ability to think and understand things (make that Gift number 4).
Now, Bugs Bunny, who has long outwitted hunters and other adversaries using a huge and diverse bag of tricks (bamboozling them with irrepressible zaniness. Check.; talking rings around them with wisecracking wit. Double Check..; unexpectedly kissing them into submission. Triple check) is sly, smart, and witty; a screwball with an attitude; a subtle verbal humorist with streetwise savvy; and not to mention, an American legend with no regards for scruples!
And being the most famous of all the fictional rabbits in the whole wide world, whether through cartoons or through storytelling tradition, more so than previous trickster heroes like ancient Africa’s Zomo the hare or Uncle Remus/Joel Chandler Harris’ Brer Rabbit from the American South, even though people all over the whole wide world have already had tell stories of oppressed forest friends getting even.
And by the way, Bugs Bunny’s most famous way of saying hello to someone goes like this: “Ehhhh…What’s up, Doc? All while eating a carrot.
As for the Powerpuff Girls who hail from the City of Townsville, Blossom the commander and leader’s metaphorical gift shall be the gift of smarts, which means having to be smart or using my brain about decisions or things...
While the much cuter Bubbles’ gift shall be the gifts of joy and laughter...
And Buttercup the tomboy’s gift shall be the gift of being tough about things (Make those Gifts Number 5, 6, 7, and 8, respectively).
Meanwhile, The Jungle Book’s Baloo’s metaphorical gift shall be the gift of being carefree in a laid-back kind of way, as in his signature Disney song, The Bare Necessities (Make that Gift Number 9, please)...
And meanwhile Spongebob’s metaphorical gift shall be the gift of fun, as in these lyrics:
F is for friends who do stuff together
U is for you and me
N is for anywhere and anytime at all
Down here in the deep blue sea
(Please make that Gift number 10)
Next up are feuding siblings Dexter and Dee Dee of Dexter’s Laboratory fame.
Now Dexter’s gift to even my boyhood self shall be the gift of science, as in the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Whereas his sister Dee Dee’s gift shall be the gift of the arts, as in the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Or perhaps as in the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
(Please make those Gifts Numbers 11 and 12).
Finally, Frodo Baggins’ gift shall be the gifts of courage or the nerve for bravery and of never giving up no matter any circumstance, while his loyal companion Samwise Gamgee’s gift shall be the gifts of storytelling as well as of positiveness.
(Make those Gifts number 13, 14, 15 and 16, please!)
In short, the 16 gifts or values that these characters gave to me or taught me about in life are as follows:
Fievel’s gift shall be the gift of adventure...
While Tanya’s gifts shall be those of love and music appreciation...
Bugs Bunny’s gift shall be the gift of the quick-witted...
While the Powerpuff Girls’ gifts shall be smarts, joy, laughter, and toughness...
Baloo’s gift shall be the gift of being carefree in a laid-back way...
While Spongebob Squarepants’ gift shall be the gift of fun...
Dexter and Dee Dee’s gifts shall be the gifts of art and science respectively...
While Frodo and Sam’s gifts are the gifts of courage, never giving up, storytelling and positivity, respectively.
And in closing:
It is a good day for you to have a good day, if you can laugh more and worry less. You can do more of what makes you happy, when you can become be the best version possible of you. You can just try and fail but don’t fail to try. You can just stay positive and regret nothing, if you can work hard and be humble about it. And yes, sure, every day may not be good, but there is nonetheless something good in every day. Therefore, you can live and you can laugh, and you can love. You can follow your dreams and believe in yourself. And finally, don’t forget to be awesome for goodness sake.