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Childhood’s End?

Posted by Dirck on 27 August, 2012

There’s a troubling weekend just passed; two extremely diverse elements of my childhood pantheon passed with it.  I speak of course of The Amazing Mumford and The Conqueror of the Moon.

While “First Man on the Moon” might seem to give Neil Armstrong a bit of a leg up in the area of importance of contribution to humanity, but given the length of Jerry Nelson’s career and the vast swarms of people who have been affected by the Muppets he put his energy into, I’m content to mount them on the same pedistal.  I should have been very pleased to have shook the hand of either, and the loss of that possibilty is a definite debit in the great accountancy of the world.

I was contemplating these deaths yesterday in alternation with the upcoming sweeping up of my son by formal education’s foremost and thinnest edge, and as I am a human, a growing part of this contemplation became infected with, “…and how does that affect me?”  The title of this entry is one of the heads I was pondering; is personal maturity, in its less satisfactory interpretation, a function of one’s childhood celebrities dropping out of the human race?  Is it driven by the need to stay a certain distance ahead of one’s children?  If the former, I’ve been getting progressively grimmer since 1983 when David Niven gave up the ghost (another line of philosophizing is needed as to why I consider David Niven a hero of my childhood…).  If the latter, I’ve had a bit of an extra run at immature freedom of care, since fatherhood came to me so very late.

There’s probably something in both, but I don’t think either or the combination is definitive.  It is possible for one to remain youthful of outlook long after both procreation and the funeral of the last person one thought of, “Gosh, I’d like to get that person’s autograph.”  Jerry Nelson, one suspects, was not given to dragging himself to work each morning nor shuffling home at the end of the day and regaling the household with complaint about the co-workers.

For my part, I’m going to see if I can retain a certain whimsical childishness in my make-up, even as my son’s growing requirements for a household disciplinarian call upon me to be occasionally stern.  I will certainly tip my hat again tonight at Mare Tranquillitatis, where lies a fallen US flag, to mark in a completely irrational manner my respect for a man who stood there (although quite in keeping with the family’s wishes), and I expect at several points in the future I will laugh in a Bela Lugosine manner at the conclusion of counting out something.  Even if it is my own growing pile of birthday candles.

Today’s pen (not the sort that gets Ascent Stages returned to duty): Waterman Executive
Today’s ink, a rather immature colour: Herbin’s Éclat de Saphir

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