So, this weekend we went to Astoria to hang out with some friends who are getting married in a few weeks. We can’t make their wedding, so they made sangria and we talked all about how much they don’t want to get married now because we won’t be there. Ok, the last part is a lie, but the sangria was delicious.
But while in between conversations about middle school crushes, quilting, and why my couple friends will be referred to as “Madonna” upon getting married, I discovered something that floored me:
Kids don’t actually think cartoons are real.
Also, something you maybe should know about me. I hate cartoons. Ok, hate isn’t a fair term, that’s a bit strong. But I seriously don’t care at all about cartoons ever. And they sometimes annoy me when I see advertisements for them on tv or in print.
There are exceptions, of course, but they’re few and far between. Probably because I put up a huge protest any time someone suggests maybe watching a cartoon. Also, my friends have repeatedly told me that I’m dead inside and have a black soul because of this preference. And yes, I know that I’m missing out on some clever dialogue and really creative graphics, etc. I know. For real, you guys have told me, like, a LOT. So I get it.
But what I always just assumed, I guess - and what made me feel separate from other kids - was that I always thought kids thought that cartoons were real. Kind of like Santa Claus (don’t get me started) or the Easter Bunny (I mean, that bunny is just terrifying no matter how you slice it.) And I always wondered how perfectly normal people-kids could think that cartoons were somehow real. Mickey Mouse? Not real. Bugs Bunny? Not real. Barney? Really annoying. Also, not real.
And then this weekend, this conversation happened:
Me: “It’s like the whole Santa Claus thing.”
Friend: “What Santa Claus thing?”
Me: “Like how kids think that Santa Claus is real.”
Friend: “Right, but kids don’t think that cartoons are real.”
Friend: “Wait, you really thought that kids thought that cartoons were somehow real?”
Me: “No. Also, please pass the sangria and change the subject.”
At this point, several other people then joined in on the “How do you know this little about cartoons and children?” conversation. In his defense, my boyfriend smartly sat there silently shaking his head in shame.
So ok. Maybe I wasn’t giving kids enough credit here. Or maybe I’m just way too literal and unimaginative and this is why I’ve never quite related to the fantasy that is cartoon living. And yes, friends who have said this a billion times, I do know that romantic comedies aren’t real.
Except that they totally are and you guys are wrong. Also, I moved to New York City because of the movie When Harry Met Sally. Allegedly.
See, while other kids were watching cartoons (and apparently not at all thinking that they would somehow fall into that cartoon universe and become “Oopsy Bear” or “Do Your Best Bear.” Also, please note that these are real Care Bear Names and we should all be ashamed of ourselves.), I was busy reading The Babysitters Club books (all billion of them) out loud to my totally not-imaginary classroom of children from my bed at night for hours at a time. Also, I gave them all different voices and pretended like I was Claudia because I wanted to be exotic.
And when I wasn’t doing that, I was definitely not listening to every single New Kids on the Block tape on my pink stereo in my room and crying during “I Will Love You Forever” and “Please Don’t Go Girl” because I was convinced that Jordan Knight was my boyfriend and wrote those songs for me. How dare I break his heart like that!
So obviously I didn’t use my imagination at all and definitely lived in reality, thus rendering me completely able to judge other way-less-mature kids who were busy pretending they were Transformers or GI Joe or Elmo. And I think maybe this isn’t at all a reflection of who I’ve become as an adult because I definitely don’t think that I’m sometimes friends with Tori Spelling (if she only knew me!) or that Ryan Gosling definitely pictured me when he was talking to Allie in The Notebook and being all in love and boating in the rain.
I mean, for real you guys, that was just a movie.