Animal Parade

by rowboat1

My daughter drew this the other month. It was one of two versions she made—the other my wife gave to a friend who loves music. Anemal Prade has been marching above my computer screen since June. On the blackboard. It’s a reminder to have fun. Don’t overdraw. Don’t overthink. Doodling is supposed to feel liberating. Sounds easy… I forget it daily… if not hourly.

My daughter forgets it too and collapses into pencil-blunting fits of rage or despair whenever she makes a mistake. My wife and I keep trying to explain there’s no such thing as mistakes in drawing. Only unexpected turns which can be navigated if you just keep drawing. I totally believe this when I say it to my daughter, but I know how false it sounds because it usually does when I say it to myself.

Keep going, silly.
So what… you missed the exit?
You can turn around later.
We’ve been toodling around here for ages.
Let’s see where this road actually goes.

I was not born into a family with a spirit for adventure. When in doubt…blame your parents. Whatever endless wandering through deserts my ancient forebears had to endure, I’m totally sure my ancestors were the ones at the back of the group complaining about being lost.

However grating  “We’re LOST!” sounds blurted in English one quick turn from the Piazza Navona staring frantically at an upside-down tourist map, or squawked in disbelief from the passenger seat while looking at a fading exit for the Garden State Parkway in a sideview mirror, I can only imagine how much more insufferable these words sound in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic. Without water or food or pillows or clean towels. My begatters  must have been really good at something to not have been left in the dunes to fend for themselves millennia ago.

I think part of why I like Anemal Prade so much is it seems to sum up the totality of everything. We’re all just toodling around on an otherwise blank page lamely playing some dinky tune no one’s really listening to anyway—not to mention nobody knows the score. So…what’s the point of worrying? Any fool can wave a pair of  pompoms or blow the kazoo, but nothing’s sadder than being the guy who’s conspicuously waving unenthusiastic pompoms in the middle of a parade. Seriously. It’s too embarrassing to think about. So if you’re going to do it, have fun. Or don’t march in the parade.

I hope my daughter grows up to be one of those people who secretly likes to miss life’s exit signs. If she does, she’ll have inherited it from her mom. Along with any love of pompoms or the kazoo. But for the fools gamely waving and blowing away, all anyone would hear is the rest of us whining “We’re lost…we’re LOST!”

Toot toot!

The one we gave away–three cheers for scanners!!! I’d be lost without em!

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