We were visiting friends this weekend and they had placed out Critter Food in their backyard in order to attract the local wildlife. There were two rabbits sitting under a tree nearby, just casually chomping down on the stuff as though they were family pets so I thought I wanted to doodlewash one.
I’ve never personally owned a rabbit, but I was a huge fan of Bugs Bunny growing up. He was always so calm and cool about everything and had the upper hand. He was also a smart ass, so I’m not sure if he was the perfect childhood role model, but I always thought he was cool.
When I was very young, my mother took me to a local amusement park around Easter. There was a giant white rabbit that spoke to you and said cheery things and could magically answer you when you said something. My mom was excited for me to try it, but I instead started walking around behind the big bunny. She asked me what I was doing and I said, “I want to see the guy who’s talking on the microphone.”
My mom was always finding herself both bemused and frustrated while raising a child like me. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy magic and the idea of magical things, I was just interested in discovering how these things actually worked. Upon seeing a giant talking bunny, I didn’t think he was any more real than Bugs Bunny, but I think my mom would have liked me to play along more. She often told other parents, “Oh yeah, Charlie is super smart, but sometimes I think I’d rather trade him in for two dumb ones.”
This was, of course, a joke. Or at least I think so, as she never made good on the threat. And she continued to raise me, and feed me French toast on Saturday mornings while I watched Bugs Bunny. In my head though, I would often imagine the two dumb kids that would replace me. Taking my cue from Bugs I named these Charlie substitutes “Maroon” and “Ignoranimus”. I could see them in my minds eye with their little bobble heads happily enjoying everything as though it were the first time.
No, she wouldn’t have liked them. She was too smart herself and believed life was something to be lived with a healthy dose of humor. I was sad for all the people who lived life without a sense of humor, and were instead, always taking things too literally. My family always looked for the humor in everything, because that’s what makes life fun. Or as Bugs Bunny once quipped, “like the man says, don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive.”