Last week during a conversation (I don’t remember if it was at work or somewhere else – another senior moment) someone mentioned the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Now I’ve heard it was a good book, but I’ve never read it and the person was saying how true it is. Well, I didn’t go to kindergarten so I can’t say it is true for me. However, I did learn a lot at an early age and sometimes I think that all I really need to know I learned from Looney Tunes. That’s right, Looney Tunes.
These are some of the things that, contrary to Mom’s belief that I was wasting my time watching cartoons, I learned (each with a link, if you’re inclined to watch):
§ Use your strengths, especially in a bad situation. When Rocky the gangster was going to get rid of Bugs Bunny, he used his superior intelligence, quick wit and talent for imitating Irish police officers to beat them. He knew he couldn’t outslug or outgun them, so he used the strengths he had.
§ Don’t be greedy. Daffy Duck showed me that when you can’t see all the treasure you do have and you get greedy, you may end up losing what you do have. You may also end up just an inch tall.
§ You can’t let fear stop you. When Bugs was faced with an evil scientist and a big, red monster in their castle, he didn’t just give up. He overcame his fear, got rid of the monster and eventually got away.
§ You need to persevere. Pepe LePew never got the girl on the first try, even though he was quite the smooth talker. He had to keep on pursuing her if he had any chance to get the girl.
§ Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Pepe LePew sometimes got more than he bargained for when the pursuee became the pursuer. L’amour was not so much fun then.
§ Sometimes others don’t listen to your advice or plans because they’re not that good. Foghorn Leghorn was always trying to tell others, like the little chicken, what to do and how to do it. They didn’t listen to him because he was nowhere near as brilliant as he thought he was.
§ Intimidation doesn’t work. Yosemite Sam was always blustering and blathering, firing off his guns, but where did that really get him? Bugs Bunny always beat him.
§ Don’t be too cocky. Bugs Bunny was convinced he was smarter and faster than the turtle, yet he always lost the race to him. When you get too cocky you underestimate your opponent and then you lose.
§ Don’t be deceived by small and cute. Tweety Bird beat the tar out of Sylvester the Cat every time, mostly because Sylvester thought Tweety was just a little, weak bird.
These are all things I learned a long time ago and still live by today. I’ve been faced with some bad situations, at work and in life in general, and it took using my strengths and a little perseverance to get through them. There have been times in my life I was afraid, but I didn’t let the fear stop me from doing what I needed to do. I’ve been cocky and arrogant about something, fallen on my face and learned from it. There have been times I thought I absolutely needed something, then gotten it and wished I had never even thought about it. There have been situations where I felt no one was listening to me and later realized that they weren’t because their ideas were much better than mine. My wife is small and pretty cute and I let that deceive me – once. Yes, I learned a lot from Looney Tunes.
Even today, Looney Tunes is part of my life. A co-worker and I constantly crack each other up as we quote various cartoon characters, whether we’re happy, stressed, angry, or just need a laugh. When we drive past a dead skunk and I don’t say “SKUNK DE PEW!”, my son will say, “Aren’t you gonna say it?” I know exactly what he’s talking about, and after almost 16 years of hearing it he expects it. When someone asks for a good name for a girl, I always say Prunella, trying to say it just like Bugs says it. When my son isn’t listening to me, I do my best Foghorn Leghorn imitation and say “Listen to me when I’m talking to ya boy!” And there are many more examples, as my wife and kids and friends can attest to.
OK, so maybe I didn’t learn everything I need to know from Looney Tunes, but I did learn a great deal. Besides, I learned a lot from The Three Stooges, too!