It Seems, It Seems, That I Can't Shake Those Memories, I Wonder If You Feel The Same Way Too, The Littlest Things That Take Me There
Reading Miss Cooper's insightful post on Linus and The Great Pumpkin, I was reminded that not only does Peanuts remain the greatest and most historically important comic strips ever--as one friend put it, "someday kids will be studying Peanuts strips in History class--but Linus remains, along with Eeyore, one of the greatest fictional philosophers ever. I always looked to these fretters and worriers to arrive at real gems of wisdom. Even to this day I still quote the scripture of Linus when attempting to mock the people in my life. For example, this gem I recalled when hunting for a lead-in to a e-mail about a certain script I was writing:
I don't like to face problems head on. I think the best way to solve problems is to avoid them. This is a distinct philosophy of mine. No problem can be so complicated that it can't be run away from!
Not to mention, as Miss Cooper pointed out, he thinks in a circular logic akin to my own. Whenever I mention the reason I don't eat vegetables is because everyone who ate a vegetable one hundred fifty years ago is dead now and, therefore, I sincerely believe if you never eat a vegetable in your life you'll live forever, it's only because I've grown up reading Linus indisputable thoughts. Indeed, when Linus writes:
Dear Great Pumpkin, I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents. Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you. Sincerely, Linus van Pelt
PS - if you really are a fake, don't tell me. I don't want to know.
it's like I'm hearing my own voice in my head telling me how I'd write the same exact missive.
of when we had just started things
However, it's not just because I believe that Linus is an important fixture of the modern world, that I enjoy Peanuts. I enjoy ths strip for the same reason I enjoy The Story Girl and The Golden Road. I enjoy it because it truly is a timeless creation. People don't age all that much in the course of the strip. There's something refreshing about individuals who don't grow noticeably complex as they mature. Call it the Peter Pan syndrome, but I always tend to wax nostalgic about a time in my life where the environment around me wasn't any more complex than what I happened to be learning in class that day or what anecdote I wanted to bring up to my friends at lunch. There was something refreshing about not having to worry about these huge problems facing me. It left me ample time and ample focus to concentrate on my number one favorite topic to ponder--namely, myself.
It seems I was never more in tune with who I was, what I wanted, and where I was headed than when I actually had the opportunity to really mull these questions over. When I was a kid I was even more introspective than I am now. It's a dangerous thought, but I actually felt more in control of my destiny and my desires when I was younger. I had myself figured out pretty well, seeming to suffer less from the pangs of self-doubt that sometimes consume now.
Back then I knew what I was capable of and I knew where my potential lay. I didn't waste my time attempting pursuits I either no interest in or no apparent aptitude for. In stark contrast to these days, where every stab at self-improvement is met with agonizing scrutiny, when I was a kid I had direction and goals. I had a guiding philosophy courtesy of that other wise individual, Eeyore:
Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it.
I never asked to mature: Maturity was thrust upon me. Because of that, every so often I long to steal away to a time when what I did made sense. I long to go back to a time when I understood myself. I don't foolishly concede times were simpler then or I was simpler then. Complexity has always been a hallmark of my persona. What I do believe was that, free from all the undue tangents, I could regain that composure I lack these days.
Maybe that's the other reason I empathize with Linus or maybe I can imagine he can empathize with me when he announces to Sally, "Linus: Life is peculiar. Wouldn't you like to have your life to live over if you knew what you know now?" My only exception would be I'd like to have my life to live over again except I would keep doing it over and over again in exactly the same fashion, always skipping back to the beginning the minute I reached a point when the spotlight seemed less trained on what was happening to me and more on what was happening around me.
It's just like Julian Barnes says, people prefer fiction to real life. I don't want my life to read like a biography, I've always wanted to read more like a novel. I'm not so interested in finding out the complete picture of a person's life as much as I'm interested in finding out that person's best story, the one the encapsulates most of who they are. In my case, I think my best stories were written early on and everything else that came after is pure filler.
And who wants to read that? Certainly not I. I'd rather skip back to the good stuff.