Inadvertently, my parents created a monster. A monster who craved the neon glow of the boob tube as it softly hummed a song of secular idolization. A monster fed on the box's fantasy and plastic morality that guided it to the pestilent fields of adulthood. A monster who could not be turned off, though his most comforting companion could be. The monster was me.
I bet you're wondering what I am getting at here, right? Sure, lots of us hip youths raised in a consumer culture spent their childhood watching cartoons. They even make the comment that they were raised by television. I make no such wild claims as to call video my father and audio my mother. I do, however, contend that my relationship is stronger than the average bear. Cartoons weren't a tool to babysit me nor were they an escape from the abuses of an adult world; for I required neither from the 4:3 screen that adorned every room I spent more than an hour at a whack in. Cartoons were my friends.
Not imagined friends. They were very real to the innocent mind of a little boy in desperate need of someone that was familiar. A military brat carted from country to country I paid my dues. The only friends I could see every day, and every where, were those of the 2D variety and they never changed on me (at least when I was young enough to still care). Cartoons were something I could depend on.
Cartoons don't ask anything of you. They're simple and beautiful things that came in three varieties when I was growing up. At first I just needed the family friendly adventures of a Disney Afternoon but I wanted more. Then came Nicktoons and I bled orange. Finally, came the Cartoon Network, the only true Cartoon Network. Some cartoons taught me how to live and others kept me living.
They fed into my reality and affected the way I looked at everything. I didn't dream about real people that often. I dreamed of eating contests with super powered monsters and being the 4th Ed and playing chess for the fates of world alongside the Jetsons. Reality had a very tenuous grip on me and dreams called to me all the time. I walked along a razor. One slip and I would slide into the valley of talking animals and super powers to never return.
Cartoons taught me who I was but not who I am.