Saturday, December 20, 2008

I don't want to live on the moon


How many songs are there about what you don't want. I guess there are a few. The Aerosmith song "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" from craptastic Armageddon where I was praying for Ben Affleck to be left on the asteroid and then for the asteroid to land on Liv Tyler. "I Won't Grow Up" from Peter Pan and similarly "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" from Tom Waits, also songs from the LOLcats school of DON'T WANT. But most songs (stories, plays, movies) are about what you do want. Love, money, a new drug. "I Don't Want To Live On The Moon" is subversive -- and a children's song too! It's about the downside of pursing a dream, fantastical or not. You'll miss what you already have, the comforts of home, the security of family and friends. Ernie's argument for not wanting to live on the moon is very practical.*

But but but -- children aren't supposed to be practical. And isn't this story undramatic? Aren't we all about the pursuit of big dreams, and don't we root for the people who pursue them at all cost, even dumbass cost? Nobody watches Rudy to see him fail to play football for Notre Dame, proving everybody right, everybody who said he couldn't do it, especially his jerk brother. No, we watch that movie to see Rudy achieve his dream and play for the Fighting Irish. I guess "I Don't Want To Live On The Moon" isn't about that sort of feel-good thing. It's no hero's quest and you are no hero. It's to help all those astronaut dreaming kids brace for a stable career doing something that's kinda blah, but it pays the rent. That's pretty much everybody.

I sometimes want to live in a different decade or century. But I put a restriction on it. Like, I want to live in 1893 so I can visit the Columbian Exposition. (pause) BUT I DON'T WANT TO GET CHOLERA! Nope, sorry, I can't pick and choose. If I am going to time travel to 1893, I may shit myself dead with Cholera because that's what happened to some people in 1893. There's going to be a downside to dreams, especially dreams involving time travel (Have we learned nothing from the debacle of the Back to the Future trilogy?) That's what Ernie is saying here. It shouldn't stop me from wanting to visit 1893, but I need to know that I am going to miss a world where the Chicago River was reversed and I don't have to drink my next door neighbor's poop from Lake Michigan. Modern plumbing and water treatment is great. I would miss it.

I wonder what is on Ernie's mind that propells him from his bed? Does the crescent moon stir the Muppet subsconscious? Is he contemplating, gulp, death? All the things he would miss if he were to shuffle off Sesame Street's mortal coil. Hey, bummer.

You Muppets, always throwing a wrench in life with your sad, obliquely hopeful songs. Stop making so much sense. It's too much. Please. Stop. My shoulder popped from its emotional socket and I'm screaming uncle.


* clearly the most practical argument for not living on the moon is there is no oxygen and your eyeballs would bulge out of your face like what happens to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. This was not included in the song because it is difficult to rhyme anything with Schwarzenegger. I'm off to edit Wikipedia with this fact, brb.