Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rabbits, Actual & Human


                                                              Jay Agan

       At an unmentionable merchandising/grocery chain I cashiered at, I would often banter with the customers, usually about the items they bought. Many was the time I would refer to birdseed as "organic cat food". The vast majority of these clientele had a sense of humor/proportion & would smile at the joke without a further thought. These are "kinder, gentler" times howsomever & a "correct thinking" type would take offense every so often.

       One such was a "lady" with her little boy in tow. On hearing my comment on cats finding birdseed useful, she rhapsodied on how wonderful our feathered friends were & how they brightened the world about us. Being an ex country boy myself, I gave a vignette or two about things I had seen in nature over time. She mentioned bluejays being so pretty. I replied offhand on what little killers they could be when there were enough of them around. Niether she nor her kid showed any emotion as we conversed.
      About a quarter hour later, the manager takes me aside saying a customer reported I had distressed her child with my bluejay comment, & would I be oh so very careful in the future as to not make children sad, etc. I don't recall the kid being "distressed" in any way, shape or form. He was just, well, there & nothing else. My guess it was the mother who was the one distressed. A problem with working in a place with a pharmacy, is you too often encounter over/under medicated people. As an animation fan, I often wonder what an effect a film like Watership Down would have on such folks.
      Made in the late 70s era of pre-political correctness from the book by Richard Adams, Watership Down is a no holds barred look at nature in the raw. It is the film Bambi should have been but Disney couldn't bring himself to make (Felix Saltens' book was quite fatalistic & brutal.).
      A group of rabbits leave their overcrowded warren in the face of impending doom (suburban construction) in search of a new home. They face several trials & predators as well as competition from a "police state" rabbit warren nearby.
      This film contains several scenes of fighting, death, (yes, rabbits can & do kill) & spilt blood. The life of a bunny is not an easy one & a lot of "Disney myths" are dispelled. The only "spoiler' I'll reveal is the film shows death & life are intertwined, one being a part of the other. I can think of no better movie for kids to cut through the ritalin haze to reality.
      I remember Old Yeller putting me through an emotional roller coaster but as I got older, I started seeing life as it is. I began to notice death is all around. Roadkills, birds fighting, pet dogs & cats out hunting, etc. I found that critters not moving fast enough ended up as lunch. People can be like that if one is not careful. Life is hard. Harder if your'e deluded. And no amount of shielding yourself & your children from reality will ever change that. You only set yourself & the kids up for a hard fall if you do.
      Life can be good however. Just keep your eyes open. 

                                                     Article copyright © Jay Agan


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