A revelation came to me over the weekend, like a sunny day sweeping the clouds of innocence away. On my way to where the air is clean, I happened across a news item that sent me a profound message.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported the sentencing of a man who kicked, punched and knocked down a theme park worker dressed as Cookie Monster. The Sesame Street theme park worker, dressed as one of childhood's most lovable figures, refused to pose for a photograph with the man's 3-year-old daughter.
Immediately, visions of the blue, furry, friendly monster came to mind. I remember the scene in which Cookie Monster, gorging on cookies that he never actually swallowed, was accompanied by a child that just wanted him to share. At home, children whose parents never gave them cookies, learned the valuable lesson of sharing. Please, Cookie, share just one.
At first, Cookie Monster, googly eyes bouncing, resisted steadfastly. For all cookies are the eminent domain of Cookie Monster (duh). In the end, though, he gave in and handed a single cookie over to his tiny human friend, thus creating the single most tender tear-jerking moment in children's television history -- nay, the history of time.
This man attacked a beloved childhood friend and tarnished the innocent images evoked by blue fur and crumbling cookies. Called a "mean Cookie Monster," by the attacker, this icon paid dearly for what may have been an honest mistake. Through clenched fists, a stewing hatred of Muppets boiled over in one blinding moment of furry fury.
I could get on a pedestal and preach about what our world is coming to, asking what has gotten into people. I could question the true beliefs of a society that fosters anti-Muppet sentiment. I could hold a fist aloft and cry to the heavens, screaming "God, why have you forsaken our furry blue friend?"
Further, I could question my own existence and reminisce about my childhood and contemplate the sacred symbols of innocence, such as Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers and Bob Barker -- but I owe each one of my hundreds of millions of readers my honest, heartfelt feelings.
I'm glad. I've resented this Muppet for years.
This symbol of Muppet greed should be dubbed "Cookie Miser." His selfish, wasteful ways of eating cookies only sparked resentment among children named John King who lived in my parents' house.
I remember wondering why the selfish beast wouldn't share. I may have been watching "Sesame Street," but I was no moron. I noticed his deceit. He never swallowed! He just crushed them between his jaws and spat them out!
What a sham.
Cookie Monster got what was coming to him. I'm glad he got it right in front of some little girl who will most likely be scarred for life because she didn't get to pose with a Muppet - not because she saw her father commit an act of violence on a beloved childhood friend.
If I had been there, my own childhood resentment may have surfaced. As children around me screamed and cried, I may have gnashed my teeth and lunged at Cookie Monster, most likely accompanied by evil wrestler music. I may have force-fed cookies down a blue furred throat clenched by the bloodied human fists of those around me, thus forcing Cookie Monster to swallow cookie after cookie until his distended belly blew open and splattered bystanders with pieces of blue entrails.
Standing above a pile of matted, bloodied blue fur, I may have held my scimitar aloft (Scimitar? How did I get a scimitar? What is a scimitar, anyway?) and cried, "I am a greater monster than thou! I am the greatest monster of all!"
Then, in accordance with my fate, I may have fallen to my knees and cried, for I would have realized too late that there is no joy in a world without a Cookie Monster. Such a symbol of childhood, so pure, so untarnished, will live on as long as there are cookies to munch and share.
Write to John at email@example.com.