Thursday, June 14, 2012

Waiting to catch the Roadrunner

My kids have recently become fans of Looney Tunes. Some of you may not know this, but there is a new version, called The Looney Tunes Show in which Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are roommates, Taz is their pet, and Yosemite Sam is their next door neighbor. Crazy right? At first I was totally against it, but Kristen Wiig plays Bugs' crazy stalker girlfriend, which is kind of hilarious.

The one thing this new version of the Looney Tunes did is stay true to the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner concept, which usually comes on right at the end of each episode. The Coyote still uses ACME products to blow himself up, drop himself off cliffs, and generally fail in every way to catch the Roadrunner. My kids think this is hysterical. Who doesn't? It is classic cartoon violence at its best.

I'm not going to debate the merits or horrors of cartoon violence in this blog post. That is for another time.  Instead, I want to ask a question.

Why the heck doesn't the Coyote give up?

Clearly, he came into old money some time back because he has unlimited funds to buy rockets, jetpacks, Batman suits, earthquake pills, slingshots, and of course birdseed.  According to those rare episodes where Wile E. Coyote actually talks (something my kids hate) he has a genius I.Q., or as he says, he is a super genius.  But if the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results, doesn't that make him an insane genius?  Insane, rich, and genius. I feel like I read about those people in the paper pretty frequently.

Perhaps it is because he is rich and incredibly smart that he keeps on chasing that which will always allude him. (Maybe it is because Warner Brothers realizes there will always be kids laughing as the Coyote falls off a cliff with a sign that says "help!").

But isn't it true that when you have everything you ever wanted, you want the one thing you can't have?

Not to say that the Bible and Looney Tunes are equally reliable sources of moral guidance, but I can't help but be reminded of King David. After years of being chased, threatened, and waiting for the throne, he finally got it. He slew giants. His army was feared above all others. He was always successful in whatever he did.
And then he saw something he didn't have.  Bathsheba.  Only issue was, she was someone else's wife. You can read the whole story here, but is short version is King David used battle, liquor, sex, and murder to get the thing he couldn't have.

A little different, (and more effective) than the anvils and solar powered race cars of the Coyote, but I would argue it is the same concept at the core.

When we spend our days working hard for a paycheck, caring for a family, enjoying our blessings, we don't have the time (or energy) to fixate on the only thing we don't have. When we get everything we ever wanted, we have unlimited time, energy, and resources to pour into our obsession.

I mentioned  I was planning this post to my husband. I told him that I wanted to examine those things in our life that we continue to chase regardless of how many times they blow up in our face (literal or figurative interpretations apply).  He had a completely different view. This could be because he enjoys debating for debate sake.  None the less, he said that the Coyote's "never say die" attitude shows persistence, which he contends is a positive trait to teach our kids. 

Quite a different view from my "give it up and order a pizza" attitude.

So, I am leaving to you. When is enough enough? When do you give up the chasing the uncatchable?

When do you admit the Roadrunner wins?

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