Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Being Born in the 20th Century...

Hey, I was thinking, you know what's absolutely wonderful? What is completely wonderful is having been born in the 20th Century. Yes, I know it has been viewed as the Atomic Age, the rise of the Industrial Age, and was pock marked by all sorts of fears regarding death, destruction, and the like...But oh, what hopes people had for it. The 19th Century viewed the 20th Century as the time when humanity would live in space, there would be flying cars, we would finally make contact with extraterrestrial life, and achieve global peace. I think those were some good hopes. I hope to one day be able to have tea with a Valentine Smith or a gigantic symbiotic being life form from Enceladus. That would be absolutely wonderful, too...


Aside from all of these other thoughts upon the 20th Century, what I find absolutely amazing, awe-inspiring, and personally gratifying about the fact that I was born in that century is that I, and I'm sure some of you as well, were conceived in the same time period as Peter Pan, Dorothy Gale, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, all of the children who walked through the wardrobe, The Muppets!, Discworld!,as well as a host of others. Did you ever think about that? We were born in the age of high fantasy and absolute wonder! I find this extremely gratifying and I'm delighted to say that the age I come from is one of fantastic dreams.
Now, it could be said that every era has its host of dreamers, but think of all of the inspiring characters who were born during the 20th Century. I mean, seriously, the idea of Never Never Land was born during our own time period. Is there anything more wonderful than that? I will bet you Wendy Darling's mother's one true kiss (that you know she would never give away!) that you can't think of something better than a world where children can fly, adults are pirates because they have forgotten how to dream, and fairies are born from a baby's laughter, and all you have to do to save one from the shadows of death is clap your hands. A lot of us were born in the same time that world was conceived, and that's a pretty amazing thing.

Little Nemo awoke into Slumberland during the 20th Century, and Steamboat Willie sailed into our psyches. A young boy from Krypton came to Earth to exemplify the best qualities of ourselves, and a misfit reindeer with a huge, red nose saved Christmas, while also bringing to the majority's attention that to be different was probably the best thing to be. If you were an elf who wanted to be a dentist, this could happen. It takes all kinds. H.G. Wells' Time Machine transformed into a big, blue TARDIS, where a Doctor with two hearts traveled throughout time and the cosmos and invited us to come along for the ride. There was a muppet for every kind of personality available, and you could all come and live on the same street in New York City if you wanted to just follow that bird there. One world in which we lived was hilarious and was supported by four elephants on the back of a gigantic turtle, the Great A'tuin. A child riding on the back of a Luck Dragon saved Fantasia from the Nothing, the thing that threatened our ability to dream and wonder. Princes lived on asteroids forested by baobab trees and one common, yet special flower, of just which one existed in the entire world. And every hat on Earth was actually a boa constrictor eating an elephant. When we thought of the letter R, we couldn't help but think of the word "Rocket". 

The high fantasy atmosphere of the 20th Century built an entire universe, where every star had a system of dreams orbiting around it. Our innocent minds celebrated difference. Whether you were short or tall, thin or fat, you were part of the team and experienced adventure. Compassion, understanding, and creativity were the prime concerns of our age of Fantasy. This is what I think of when I reminisce upon the era in which I was born. It is my dearest hope that when someone asks you about our time, you overlook the wars and politics and death, and tell them that there was an entire multitude of us that dreamed of a world and worlds where those atrocities would never be able to survive. Absolutely everyone, regardless of age, size, shape, language, or geographical placement were part of our shared adventures. It was beautiful, and still can be. 

I'm literally overwhelmed right now in the beauty of the 20th Century. So many magnificent worlds were created that I'm often surprised that we even have time to spend on what happened during the "real" world...whatever that is. As Baron Munchhausen said, "Your reality, Sir, is lies and balderdash. And I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!" If I was left to rewrite history, if I was given the opportunity to speak about the time in which this wild flower imagination of mine blossomed, I would probably end up telling a story of a time of possible impossibilities, where we traveled beyond the Goblin City into a world populated by dragons, where frogs played banjos in the bayou and were free to love the pigs they chose. Mysteries were to be found behind every creaking door and every child was equipped with a sword just in case a pirate was to be found. Trees would speak and all you needed was the right bed knob to turn your twin mattress into a flying machine. The world was neither round nor flat back then. The distance one could travel was limitless and every star was a destination to which anyone with an honest heart and a youthful mind could travel. The music of the spheres could never be distorted by radio waves that carried war, pain, and death. We all lost our marbles back then, and never concerned ourselves with trying to get them back. But, most important of all, everyone was invited to embark upon our adventure, and every villain had a chance to become a hero.
That is the story I would tell if it was up to me to give a history of my time, our time. Whether it is the truth or not is inconsequential. What matters is the message and the impression

Until next time,
Fondest Regards, Your Darling,


  1. That was wonderful. Not in the trite sense that we use when we dole that word out for everything from dinner to on-time trains, but really reacquainted me with the feeling of wonder I would get as a child. Even something as simple and seemingly divorced from more serious fantasy like "Fraggle Rock" really got my young mind into secret cavers, other worlds, adventure, and friendship.

    Fantasy is sometimes panned for being fantastic, but good god do we need that. Every culture has its treasure trove of stories that replenish us when we feel too desperate, too cynical. As much as I don't want us to turn off our TV's and computers and ignore the real horrors of our world, I think we do need to dip into this well of fantasy and pleasure. Joy and wonder cost nothing, they do not take from anyone, they are infinitely renewable, infinitely share-able. We need things like that, young to old!

    Thank you for this post :)