There is a tendency in the human spirit that occasionally unsettles me. For all I know, it has unsettled you as well. I mean, we try to avoid it. We don’t want to do it. But, it happens nonetheless. Why it happens to us, we don’t know. It’s a facet of human nature that we have no control over. It’s something that quite often leaves us screaming at the heavens for an answer. I’m sure that there is at least one time in our life where we’ve turned to a parent; a sibling; a god, and asked, “Why, oh why, do I love something that’s so completely wrong for me?”
The first such incidence in my life happened when I was eight years old. Oh, I was such a happy child. From our local video store, we rented one of those classic films of 1980s merchandising: Rainbow Bright and the Star Stealer. It was a grey, rainy afternoon with nothing good on TV, so I wound up watching the film over and over again. After about the fifth viewing, I came to a horrifying conclusion: I was in love with Rainbow Bright.
Now, you’re probably chucking at this. “You were just an eight year old boy,” you’re saying. “You didn’t know any better.” Well, thing is, I did know better. Even though I was just eight years old, I knew that, deep down inside, it was wrong for a boy to have a burning, passionate desire for Rainbow Bright. Now, I was remarkably mature at eight, so I knew that I had a choice. I could put aside my feelings and get back to the happy pursuits of an eight year old, or I could embrace these feelings and try to have a life with Rainbow Bright. I knew it was wrong, but I chose to have a life with Rainbow Bright. I would be living on my own someday, so I began to plot my little love nest with Rainbow Bright. I hatched schemes to hide our illicit love from my parents, because I knew they would never approve of the love I had for a heavily merchandised cartoon character, no matter how cute and caring she was. I started watching Rainbow Bright and the Star Stealer for the sixth time, and envisioned a wonderful future of Rainbow Bright and me, together, happily ever after.
Yes, at the age of eight, I knew this wrong on so many levels. Luckily, I was just eight years old, and as such, prone to forget things quite quickly. The next weekend was also grey and rainy, so we rented G.I. Joe: The Movie. My burning, passionate desire for Rainbow Bright was soon replaced with a much more manly interest in defending human freedom from the forces of Cobra; an evil terrorist organization determined to rule the world. After the fifth viewing of G.I. Joe, the question of how to hide my affair with Rainbow Bright was soon replaced with the question that every child of the 80s asks to this very day: What the hell were they thinking when they came up with Cobra-La?
Yes, I’m 26 now, and a burning, passionate desire for Rainbow Bright has evolved into the much more grown-up lust for supermodels and the women of Star Trek. Or so one would think. I find that, once again, I am involved in a love that is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
I seem to be facing a summer of unemployment, and as such, I am watching a lot of daytime TV. There’s nothing really on TV in the daytime except for soap operas, talk shows, and children’s shows. For some reason or another, I’m drawn to the children’s shows. The bright colours, the people bounding around, it’s just captivating in its own strange way. And right now, I find myself drawn to one in particular: The Toy Castle.
The Toy Castle is a Canadian TV show; an original product of Treehouse TV, the preschooler show channel. I don’t get Treehouse, though, so I watch it on American PBS. It’s a concept we’ve all heard before: toys come to life when children aren’t looking. But what makes this show unique is that it’s all done in ballet. Yeah, that’s right, I’m getting hooked on ballet.
When I first started watching the show, I was intrigued mainly by the choice of toys to come to life: toy soldier, china doll, clown, goblin, rag doll; a really diverse bunch. Well, it’s the 21st century now, and intriguing things can be fed with information from the Internet. It turns out that these characters were chosen because they are just standard archetypes in ballet. That, and the concept of toys coming to life is a relatively old and common one in ballet. (The Nutcracker, anyone?) The cast consists of some of the most renounded ballet dancers in North America, and, in keeping with Candian content, it’s filmed in winnipeg. And hey! Last year, it even won the Gemini for best preschooler show! The Internet: the handiest tool for the most covert of affairs.
But, accolades and artistic achievement aside, I know, deep down inside, it is wrong for me to love this show. Firstly, it’s targeted to preschoolers, and here I am, nearing the ripe old age of 27. That should be enough to highlight the wrongness of my love for the show. Secondly, I am a man; a redneck man, to be specific, in the boondocks of Alberta. Ballet, for me, should be like that episode of The Simpsons. “The ballet? I love the ballet! Watching that bear drive that little car….” Sorry, but I know that no bears and little cars are involved in the ballet. There we have it. I know that my love for this show is wrong, wrong wrong. But it’s just amazing the way those women move, though.
And so, rather than discard these feelings and try to move on, I am starting to embrace a life with The Toy Castle. Every day at 12:30, I must stop what I’m doing and tune in. At least the time is good. I watch it while I eat my lunch. Unless, of course, Dad’s working at home that day. Then, I let him watch the news. Can’t let anyone in on my illicit love, after all.
This is the way it will remain. No matter how hard we try, we just fall in love with things that are wrong for us. I scream for an answer, but I never get one. Instead, we must discard these feelings or try to live them. That is, try to live with them until we watch G.I. Joe six times in a row and move onto something else. God bless my generation, ye of short attention spans.