Monday, June 9, 2008

Curious George Has Balls

Kids say the darndest things, and sometimes they hit the nail right on the head. It happened to me over the weekend when my family took a road trip. When getting into the car one morning, I handed my son a book called something like, "Curious George Counts to 10," which features on the cover a picture of Curious George playing with several bouncing balls. My precious wonder took the book, examined the cover, and remarked, "Curious George has balls."

As my husband and I exchanged looks and tried to stifle peals of laughter, I thought to myself, right you are, my son. Curious George does have balls.

As the mother of a toddler, I have witnessed Curious George attempting feats that would have landed anyone else in time out, the thinking chair, or in some cases, jail. I guess when you're an adorable, cooing monkey, people tend to look the other way. But after watching our cuddly friend wreak havok on the life of the man with the yellow hat, I've come to the realization that Curious George is the poster child for the "don't try this at home" campaign. The producers of the show even know this - at the end of each episode, a child's voice announces the start of a real-life application segment in which kids apply reality to George's feats by saying, "Curious George is a monkey, and sometimes he can do things that we can't." Tell me about it, kiddo.

Curious George isn't afraid to break people's stuff and then act dumb when they show up later. George has busted the plumbing system in his NYC apartment building, set a cage full of puppies loose in the animal shelter, climbed inside a clock tower and crammed a toolbox into the gears of the town clock, destroyed a beaver dam, filled his house with water, broken a dinosaur skeleton in the museum, and found countless other ways to remind us to spay and neuter our pets.

But in the end, everyone just laughs and shrugs their shoulders as if to say, "whaddya gonna do!" That crazy monkey!

I am well aware that Curious George is an animated, fictional character and his escapades are intended for entertainment purposes only. But I think George can teach us a lesson about the possibilities of innocence. George does have to have balls to pull half the stunts he gets away with, but he employs a great deal of innocence and simplicity in his solutions. If there is anything I want my son to take away from watching Curious George, it is that sometimes life takes balls, as long as you are willing to clean up afterwards.

And also that if you're really cute and know how to play dumb, people will forgive just about anything.