Before Disney and the heirs of Jim Henson sic an army of googly-eyed lawyers on me, I need to be clear about one thing. Cookie Monster did not eat my computer. But his disco past has a lot to answer for.
Yes, you read that right. And no, I have not been eating any brownies of questionable origin.
Like many celebrities, the Muppets cut a disco album in the ’70s. Two disco albums, in fact, which should demonstrate just how close to Armageddon the world was teetering in those days. And in the second album, with the shocking title of“Sesame Disco!”, the Big Blue One himself took the mic for the most heart-rending disco ballad since “Disco Duck.”
I speak, of course, of the immortal “Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco.”
There are portions of one’s childhood that remain unforgettable. And if we ever perfect mechanical telepathy, scientists will discover that entire sectors of my brain are permanently tattooed with a thumping rhythm and the words “Me lost me cookie at the DIS-co! Me lost me cookie in the BOO-GIE MU-SIC!” So naturally, as an adult, I used the vast and awesome power of the Internet to inflict this on others.
My wife Heather nearly lost her own cookies laughing. It became a running family joke, something to dial up when nothing of less epic silliness would do. Which made it inevitable, of course, that we would introduce it to Missy.
At this point, there are three important things to understand about our developmentally disabled ward. Missy loves the Muppets. Missy also loves disco.
But Missy does not necessarily love the Muppets singing disco.
And so, when I mixed it into an evening YouTube session, Missy giggled. Then smiled. Then decided the joke had gone on long enough and punched the power button.
Now, even in these permissive modern times, there are still a few things you just don’t do. You don’t pull a car key out of the ignition at 80 mph. You don’t wear black and silver at a Broncos rally. And you really don’t turn off a computer in mid-stream.
When I brought everything back up, my word-processing files were among the walking wounded. About half of them had to be saved into a new format, document by painstaking document, in order to be usable at all.
I have seen many a parent recite under their breath “I love my child … I love my child … I love my child.” I think I’m beginning to understand.
But here’s the funny thing. It was worth it.
It was worth it because of the time spent laughing with Missy, however wrong a turn it may have taken.
It was worth it because of the enforced trip down memory lane. As I patched and ported my files, I discovered columns I’d forgotten I’d written, scripts I hadn’t performed in years, even parodies that made me smile one more time.
Most of all, it was worth it for the chance to underscore, without mortal injury, two fundamental truths of parenting: that accidents happen, and that even when they do, your people are still more important than your things.
Hug, forgive and learn.
I think if more of us remembered that, this would be a nicer world.
There’s still a few repairs to make. But it’ll be OK. Both the family and the machine will survive to make more memories, even if it occasionally takes a minor crisis to do so.
Sometimes, that’s just the way the Cookie Monster crumbles.