As I grow older I’ve noticed changes in my overall character. I mean I’m still me, as far as I know that won’t be changing. But I’m talking about changes in personality associated with “becoming an adult” (whatever the hell that means). I am more aware of the fiber-to-sugar ratio in my cereal. I can be used as a source of advice and wisdom (though admittedly neither are probably all that useful). I don’t cry nearly as much when I don’t get my way.
But as I’ve been perpetually evolving into the “adult Patrick,” I’ve become keenly aware of where exactly my evolution is heading. Soon enough, my eyebrows will connect, my beard will turn into a mustache, my skin will turn kinda aqua-colored, and I will become a cartoon. Not just any old cartoon, though. A very specific character (which I figure you inferred from the specific appearance). I am turning into Skeeter Valentine’s dad, from the show Doug:
This will be me someday. Contrast-collar shirt and all.
If you didn’t grow up in the early 90’s, Doug was a show that was part of the golden age of Nicktoons. It was about this kid in some ho-hum town where most people were some really weird color (that’s not meant to be racist, I think you’d agree having puke-green skin is weird). Doug’s best friend, Mosquito Valentine, or Skeeter for short, was one of those oddly-colored kids. I’m not sure who decided, either in the fantasy or real world, that Mosquito was a viable first name for a kid, but sadly the name fad didn’t quite catch on the way Madison did after Splash. What’s worse is that Skeeter’s dad’s name was Joe. Which makes naming his son after an annoying blood-sucking insect even weirder. I mean, if his dad was named Culicidae, that’d be something, but Joe!?*
Anyway, for some reason there was one very specific clip that stuck with me all this time. I attribute a cartoon clip becoming etched into my memory in part to watching cartoons during my formative years. If you were to quantify the amount of cartoons I watched as a kid, it would equate to somewhere around a s**t-ton. I remember fondly pounding some Southwest-flavored Ritz Chips (they’re toasted!) and getting solid Saturday morning cartoon sessions in before breakfast. This is also around the time I learned that the word “husky” can apply to clothing too.
In the clip, Doug and Skeeter have just won tickets to see their favorite band. They’re having dinner, and Skeeter is super distracted ‘cause he’s jammin on his walkman (yeah, remember that piece of technological mastery?). His dad does several things that led me to my epiphany:
He is clearly out of touch with what the kids these days are listening to. This basically already happens to me. I can’t even make a “What’s a Skrillex?” joke because I don’t even know who is currently more relevant than Skrillex.
In spite of being out of touch, he shows interest in his son’s life by asking about the band and show. I’ll definitely be a supportive parent. Whatever weird thing my kid is into, I’ll support that jazz. Especially if it’s jazz.
He has a temper problem, that stems from stress. This is something that I’ve worked on phasing out of my life, but I saw glimpses of that at my old job. There’s a fuse somewhere in my brain that takes a lot of pressure to blow, but once it does, it happens instantaneously and let’s just say you probably don’t want to be around me when it does.
But the numero uno reason I’m turning into Joe Valentine is that for the life of him, he cannot remember specific words.
I swear, by the moon and the stars in the sky**, I have the damndest time thinking of specific words for things. This has been something that seems to have developed more recently in my life. Countless times I pester my friends by quizzing them in an attempt to figure out a specific word or phrase:
“Hey, what’s that thing where you’re talking to a girl and then she just completely and flat out says she’s not interested?”
“Yeah, so anyways I completely got shut down again the other night.”
In the same way, ol’ Joe, bless his dear aqua heart, cannot remember the words “mashed potatoes”, “gravy” or even “grounded” in the scene. I guess that’s probably why I remember it so well. Somehow I knew I had just glimpsed into the future. Luckily I was able to find the episode for your viewing pleasure. So if you want to see what future Patrick will be like, hit this link and skip to 5:53. I mean, feel free to watch the whole episode, if you want. Who am I to deny someone a little bit of, well, you know, that thing where you remember parts of your past that you enjoy.
*Nerd joke – that’s the family of insect that mosquitoes belong to
**Shout out to All-4-One. Wherever you are, you’ll always be in my heart.