Holding Forth

Published on July 18th, 2014 | by Richard Black

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Thoughts on Disney Jingles and Their Relationship to Accidental Suicide

080214_hungmouseA few days ago I was doing a bit of yard work and realized that the theme song for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse had been bouncing around the small confines of my mind for the past three months.

It’s occasionally subsided into the background but it was always present on some level or replaced by something else like the “Hot Dog Dance” song from the aforementioned show or (shudder) the theme song from the Chuggingtons.

The thought gave me a moment to reflect on the causes of mental illness amongst parents in general and the number of “accidental” suicides in any given year that can probably be attributed to Disney jingles. I’m not saying I’d ever consider taking that particular route to cleanse my brain from the Disney demons but it’s really quite easy to see how this sort of things happens.

I’m a firm believer that a good portion of the population is just a stubbed toe away from a visit to the local psych ward in the best of times.  I imagine that coping with the daily stress of child rearing while the opening lyrics for Doc McStuffins ricochet  around the brainpan ad nauseum for a few years is more than enough to account for the frequent “accidental” overdose ooopsy we hear about in the local news.

It’s really not that hard to imagine. A stay at home mother of four (let’s call her Jolene) turns on the TV to occupy her kiddies for a little relaxation and the chance to deep fry a few chitlins for dinner. She hears the opener for Jake and the Neverland Pirates, thinks it’s catchy and then goes on about her life for the next three years in the same routine. She cooks her chitlins while the youngsters sit glued to the TV in the next room and all the while the catchy tune nests in her brain like syphilis…laying in wait.

Flash forward. All the kids are all in school. Jolene’s attempts to re-enter the workforce as a vaginal reconstruction technician have been thwarted. She drinks, usually a box of Franzia a day, to forget the fruitless investment she made as a younger and thinner woman at the International School of Cooter design where she met her husband.

He’s a good man and faithful but in order to put their children through a private Montessori high school he must work long hours, sometimes eighteen hours at a stretch, six days a week, reconstructing vagina after tedious vagina.

Jolene has long since forsaken a physical relationship with her husband and then one day, one bright and sunny day when everything should be roses and bon bons as she finishes her last glass of white zinfandel that song explodes in her mind.

“something something Jake and the Neverland Pirates…”

She can’t quite get the lyrics right which is maddening but not as infuriating as the tune itself.  Like a bit of muzac she’s heard in the elevator or a clip from Ace of Base she remembers from her 20’s the music…the music has been bouncing around the recesses of her brain for the past three years.

Overnight the television disappears under questionable circumstances and shows up three blocks later in a swimming pool with multiple stab wounds from a nail file.

The next day, in the early portion of the afternoon and halfway through her box of wine Jolene prepares a snack for her children as they come home from school. She loves them all, each and every one, but it’s hard to raise four lacto/ovo/gluten/nut/water allergic boys. Last year in a moment of explanation her youngest, Jedediah, touched his own testicles and almost went into anaphylactic shock.

They’ve been surviving on almond milk and fried chiltins for years which isn’t all that bad as long as the chitlins are properly placated with a ballpeen hammer before they’re fried. They are ornery animals and as one of them makes a run for it out of the cage in the kitchen Jolene’s hand bolts out, grabs it, and is rewarded with a ferocious bite.

The chitlin scampers of to parts unknown. Jolene slams back a balloon glass of Franzia’s finest, clearing the box, as she presses paper towels against her hand to staunch the bleeding and then the refrain of that  song rips through her head.

“Hunt down Jake and the Neverland Pirates…”

It’s all too much.

She races to the bathroom and rifles through the medicine cabinet in search of relief and there, in the back behind the eye cream she finds the pills left from her uncle Billy Beau Winthorpe’s last visit. Uncle Bill, a self made man who invented cargo shorts and spoon playing enthusiast,had been taking  amounts of pharmaceuticals for the better part of his life.  He claimed that the drugs were for his IBS but Jolene knew that the Valium was really for his anxiety and that that Xanax was prescribed for his anxiety about taking Valium.

Jolene dry swallowed a few pills, sits down on the toilet, wishes for a glass of wine, gets up and takes a good long hard look at herself in the mirror. She notes the bags under her eyes, the lines by her mouth, the gray roots in her hair and places her hands on her cheeks to stretch them back in an attempt to remember the beauty she once had.

And then there it is again. That song.

“Jake’s boys are all skanky butt pirates…”

Mind numbing, infuriating. She opens the tap wide, gulps down a few ounces of tepid water, a few more pill sand that’s all she wrote.  The kids come home, fix a batch of pizza rolls, camp out by the newly replaced TV and when daddy comes home he finds his wife’s corpse in the master bath.

Of course we’ll never really know who often this sort of thing happens. Even in the cases where it’s intentional I’m fairly certain that no one has ever left a note to their family that read “I love you all. It was just too much. The title song from Henry Hugglemonster was just too much.”

It’s sad really, inevitable but sad and I’m certain it happens all the time. If I were more motivated I would put together a group to address this sort of thing but the refrain of Doc McStuffins has just entered my thoughts and I need a big clout of booze to make it go away.


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