One of the things I remember most fondly from my youth is the literature of childhood–specifically, the characters that I grew up with, and came to regard as my friends. Well, now I miss my boyhood chums, so, in an effort to recapture the halcyon days of my youth (i.e. August 1988 through mid-February 1994), I caught up with a few of my old friends. Enjoy the nostalgia.
The Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
“The boy was given fair warning that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll probably want a glass of milk to go with it. Contained within that warning is the tacit assump-tion that the request for further favors will follow. Your honor, the evidence has shown that in making further requests of the boy, my client was simply acting in accordance with his nature as a mouse, and he therefore cannot be held accountable for this boy’s actions. Is it my client’s fault that the boy spent his allowance on cookies, milk, and second-hand syringes? No. Can my client be blamed for the Jello-mould hernia incident? Of course not! Is my client responsible for the boy being a registered sex offender? Maybe, but that’s not the point. If the teeny tiny overalls don’t fit, you must acquit. Your honor, the defense rests.”
The mouse is serving twenty-five to life in San Quentin. He has been given many, many cookies.
The Ducklings from Make Way for Ducklings
During principal photography for a sequel entitled Make Way for Slightly Larger, Less Adorable Ducklings, a Mack truck refused to make way, and all of the ducklings died instantly. Except one. He convulsed for a few minutes and coughed up some blood. Then he died too. His name was Petey.
The Wild Things from Where the Wild Things Are
The Wild Things all got MBAs from the University of Iowa and worked their way into comfortable middle management positions with various investment brokerage firms. Every third Tuesday of the month they rent out the rec room at their local Y, and from 7:30 to 10:30 they play canasta. Every night, each Wild Thing goes home to his studio apartment, feeds his goldfish, microwaves a TV dinner, watches Conan O’Brian, and weeps gently to himself. Last year, someone gave one of the Wild Things an orange tabby kitten for his birthday, but it got sick and he had to put it to sleep.
I caught up with Curious George at his sparsely decorated one bedroom apartment in Westwood. George told me that he’s been spending the majority of his time in litigation over illegal use of his likeness. “Yeah, I’ve never seen a dime from those shirts. I consider myself lucky though–my friend Calvin gets to see people pissing his rightful royalty money away on the back of every goddamn truck going to a Raider game.”
“After the books, everyone was looking for me to do curious roles. I’d be trying to put some life into some character, and the director would always say ‘That’s great, George. Really great. But now in this next scene you fall into a well.’ I mean, the Man in the Yellow Hat gets to diversify his roles. When he takes his hat off at the end of the day he’s a whole different person. He played Edmund in Long Day’s Journey Into Night and I can’t even get a job as an extra in a David Lynch flick.”
George is in the process of writing an autobiography entitled, It’s Just George, and has optioned his story to Miramax.
The Wicked Witch from Hansel and Gretel Who Likes to Cook Little Children in Her Oven and Eat Them
Swept into Congress during the ’94 “Conservative Revolution” by narrowly beating out the Giving Tree, after the latter allowed what remained of its stump to be cleared away so as to build houses for low-income families. Later, she had a falling out with House Republicans in 1996 over her extreme position on the abortion question. While the party approved of her pro-life politics, they were divided over her rationale. “More abortions,” she often said, “means fewer delicious babies.” While in Congress, she was often criticized for strongly supporting the candy industry, leading many pundits to label her “The Representative from Hershey.” The Wicked Witch retired from politics in 2000 after an unsuccessful Senate run against Senator Big Red Dog, whom she unsuccessfully tarred as a “Big Red Liberal.”
Wilbur, the Pig from Charlotte’s Web
Ever had a Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddle? Wilbur invented it. He’s the fourth most successful swine in the United States. He has a yacht called Charlotte II and his castle in Scotland is right next door to Mel Gibson’s, whom he sometimes plays Ultimate Frisbee with on weekends. Wilbur donates heavily to web-related charities such as The Make a Web Foundation, The Web Cross, and The Spiderman Foundation for Muscular Dystrophy and Webs.
He still wallows in his own feces, but now he fucks supermodels while he does it. Yet sometimes Wilbur will let the Discovery Channel hit his eye right before bed, and he’ll watch “The World of Arachnids” in silence. As the credits roll, his head will drop and his eyes will close, but pigs cannot cry. Pigs cannot cry.