March 16, 2015
Pixar Animation Studio’s motto is, “Story is King.” I believe that philosophy wholeheartedly. Why? I thought you’d never ask! It goes back to when I was a small child. I remember it well…queue the dream sequence music, (I like doing that, tee hee!)
Without completely giving away my age, I’ll say that during the time period of my childhood there were no video games, no computers, no internet and no cable TV, at least not in my house anyway.
Once we’d watched afternoon reruns of The Munster’s and Gilligan’s Island there wasn’t much left to do. Getting through the rest of the day required a good imagination. Woe to the poor kids who didn’t have one because telling mom you’re bored meant doing chores.Thank goodness my brother Paul and I both had healthy imaginations. Another bit of luck on our behalf was living across the street from five acres of heavily wooded property. We named it…Devil’s Island!
There were two rival factions vying for control of the island. The first one consisted of two brothers from down the street, Cameron and Kevin and their maul, a cousin; I forget her name. They were called Cameron’s Gang. Then there was my posse, The Funky Four.
The leader of the Funky Four was Gerald, our friend from the bowling alley. He had everything it takes to be a leader. Foul language, cigarettes he’d filched from his dad, hair he could flip to the side and emerald green Chuck Taylors. Then there was Buster, a nastier kid I’ve never known. His real name was Ronald, but you don’t get to be bad to the bone with a name like Ronald. Buster had the potential to be the leader had he not been four years our junior. It was his job to do anything we told him to. Any smart eight year old knew better than to argue with eleven and twelve year olds. We gave my brother Paul the nickname Tank. Equipped with a dull machete from our garage it was his job to clear new paths through the island. And last but not least was me. I was responsible for coming up with ideas to overthrow Cameron’s Gang.
As I’ve mentioned, story is king and that statement held true on the island.
It was a hot day in Houston, just like every other summer day in Texas. Both gangs were holed up in opposing forts. I immediately realized the vulnerability of Cameron’s fort since it consisted of a small clearing between some trees, surrounded by a line of brush we weren’t allowed to cross. Cameron had left the fort with their maul on a recon mission. They left Kevin behind to stand guard—their first mistake. Kevin was good, but he was no Cameron and he didn’t stand a chance against Tank.
Even to this day I’m not ashamed to say that we kidnapped the poor kid, tied him to a tree with a couple belts and claimed Devil’s Island in the name of the Funky Four. The sad part is when we left Kevin in the woods and went home for dinner. And...we never saw him again...
Of course that last part isn’t true, but you can see my love of story has seen me through many significant stages of life.
The moral of the story is: be careful who you make war with, they might in turn seize your heart. Yes, I ended up having a huge crush on Cameron until he moved away after six months. What can I say? I’m a sucker for any guy that could cook a Denver omelet. In the words of the great Paul Harvey…and that’s the rest of the story!