Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rhinitis, Septums, and Nickelodeon

"Doooomed, I tell ya!"
Like all good writers, when I can't think of something to write, I watch cartoons.

I imagine it's only the Great Writers who drink, then usually die young, often through self-inflicted means. The rest of us must want to die of old age enough to lay off the sauce until we've met our daily quota.

Returning to the point at hand, Nickelodeon's Rugrats just returned me to my younger years with an early episode that hit close to home: Chuckie gets a medical treatment that cures his preternaturally stuffy nose. As a child, I had that. Difficult-to-pronounce consonants, easily winded, the magical ability to blow my nose and always make a horrifying sound, all of it.

In the episode, Chuckie gets depressed when the lab rat who took the experimental process first regresses to its original allergic state. For the record, it's a retelling of Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon. Chuckie decides he's happy being himself, with all the gifts and curses associated. I'm kind of angry. Once again, television promised me that being unique was something to be proud of.


Being unique as a kid is a matter of pride for adults, as a child it's a reason to get emotionally abused until you go to college. Chuckie keeps getting made fun of. If I can only point to one positive aspect of Rugrats: All Grown Up, it was that Tommy was still considered an idealistic dreamer, Angelica was still a bitch, Phil and Lil were still fairly stupid, and Chuckie was still mocked horribly every day of his life and had to fight the same battles over and over again to prove that he was just as good as the next fictional middle schooler.

That's life. You get your tonsils and adenoids taken out to open your airways, you find out your septum is entirely deviated to the left effectively giving you half a functional nose, and one day you finally grow out of the sleep apnea that caused you to stop breathing in the middle of the night.

But one day, you realize Chuckie was always the man, and everyone else needs him.

Thank you, Chuckies.

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