Monday, May 10, 2010
127. Like Children Again
Most graduates are elated to have been deemed "successful" by what ever standards they had been judged for the past however many years. At the same time, a graduation means a step up in the world.
"Bigger and better things" and with that, greater responsibility and a more difficult role in society. It's actually rather terrifying; a theme any number of cartoonists have explored twice a year ever since I've been in the business.
In an effort to be as different as possible, but still retain something of the importance of the issue, I've decided to examine the sense of longing that accompanies this fear of moving up in the world.
A very human way of dealing with the fear of doing what is difficult, but necessary, is to wish for the easier, more simple days of yesteryear. What would it be like to be a child again - carefree, and with no responsibilities - but with the knowledge and insight of an adult? Nap time, play time, and the praise that is deserved for being what any "normal" adult would consider a prodigy?
Even with out the retention of knowledge, a transformation back to the life of a child is still greatly longed for, and has always been. Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, and a slew of other works in literature explore the idea of wanting to be a child forever, especially in the face of real-world adversity and forced maturation.
If the kids in these books, exposed to death, war and other harsh realities, want to escape the untimely fate of "growing up to soon," how much more they must long for childhood when they look back and realize that it's too late - and they've already lost it.
Obviously, for the graduates this season, these thoughts have hardly been something at the forefront of their cranial functions, but now, when they realize that that cap and gown mean an end to frivolities and a leap into the perils of the "real world," I wonder how many of them wish they could ride a roller coaster in a dream-park and simply forget their lives - given over unto blissful ignorance - even if just for a moment.
(With unnecessary elegance), that's all for now.