Thursday, March 17, 2005

Old Yeller

The kid wants to watch Old Yeller.

I'm diametrically opposed to this plan, for the obvious reason: I watched it as a kid and it took me months to get over it. It might be that I never got over it.

On the other hand, I'm thinking (as she sits pestering me with questions about Old Yeller), maybe it's a good thing that I never got over it -- maybe it helped to shape who I was, maybe it helped to craft the soul I have? Certainly it was a tragic event in my childhood, blah blah blah, but do I help my child by keeping her from experiencing tragic events? And certainly that is what drama is for, isn't it? A safe way to experience tragedy?

Meanwhile -- while I am trying to work this out -- you must picture the kid stomping around my office, demanding,

"But why did the boy have to shoot his dog? Why couldn' t the mother shoot the dog?"

"But why did the guy who wrote the book make the dog have rabies? Why would he do that?"

"Did they feed Old Yeller anything while he was in the corn crib?"

"Why didn't the boy's father shoot Old Yeller? Where did he go?"

"Was Old Yeller a mean dog before he got rabies?"

"How long did Old Yeller last with rabies?"

"Did all dogs get rabies back then? Is that why the writer of the book gave him rabies?"

"Why did the writer make it so the boy had to shoot his own dog? Was it just so it would be really sad?"

"I don't like that ending. They should make another Old Yeller, with a better ending."

And so on. A question every three point two seconds, most of which I can't answer, and none of which help me to reach the answer to my essential question: would it be good for her to watch Old Yeller or not?

1 comment:

zelda1 said...

Let the child watch Old Yeller. It will make her sad, it will fill her with questions, but more importantly, it will give her answers. She can rewrite the ending herself and I believe when I was about six-years-old was when I first saw that movie. I rewrote the ending, not on paper but in my mind. Maybe you could read her the book and then let her watch the movie. I think I have the book somewhere. Anyway, let her read the book, answer her questions, encourage her to make her own happy ending, and it will be one of those pieces that makes her, like it made you, into the person she will be someday. After we are all a sum of all those things that we are exposed to and if a person has limited exposure there could be a chance that a part might be missing. That didn't sound right but hey, I'm on Vicodin.