What I Wanna Be When I Growed Up: Zootopia (2016)

I have never outgrown cartoons. Hopefully I never will. That includes naive and cute kiddy cartoons. As long as the story isn’t specifically for very young children, like Blue’s Clues, I can get lost in them. Nine times out of ten cartoons are simply the hero’s journey with a happy ending. That other one in ten is [Adult Swim] type stuff and, well, hell yeah! I love that crazy shit. Basically, as long as the filmmaker knows story structure it is safe to assume the cartoon will be entertaining.

Zootopia is a Disney film. Disney wrote the book on making animated films enjoyable for both children and the adults who have to go with them. So, I was sure Zootopia would be good. To assuage any fears the sloth trailer sold it for me—without giving away any of the plot. I like to go into a movie as blind as possible to keep my expectations, or hype, from ruining it. Here’s the sloth trailer for Zootopia:

Pretty awesome, right?

The rabbit is our heroine, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin). Judy is a small town bunny who wants to be a police officer in the big city, Zootopia. Why? Because in Zootopia anyone can be anything they want to be. She works very hard and makes it through the academy, but that’s only just the beginning. The real world has far more difficult adventures for her, not the least of which is confronting her own prejudices, namely working with a fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Simple. Fun. Well worth seeing.

It made me think back to when I was little. Back to when life was wide open and awe inspiring, when everything was possible. My earliest memory of having a big dream was wanting to be truck driver. A friend of mine was into model trucks, which is where I got the idea. His favorite trucks were Peterbilt. Mine was Mac trucks because they had the cool bulldog hood ornament.

Then I watched Star Wars: A New Hope. I had to be a smuggler. While capricious, switching careers thusly wasn’t too big of a deal. What better transport to be a smuggler than a big rig? And the bulldog made it look fierce. Grrr!

But then I made the mistake of picking up Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children. At that point I had to be a writer. And on, and on, and on…

It must be wonderful to know exactly what you want to do, or be. I’m sure it happens. I’m just not sure how rare it is. That certainty, for me, is the greatest draw to these kind of stories. To have that kind of conviction must be like flying, at least in so far as it is compared to the doubt of blundering. I know all about blundering. I still do not know what I want to be. Currently my dream is to be rich, despite the whole “money cannot buy happiness” thing. I say, let me try. Prove me wrong.

Sadly, no one has taken up my challenge.

In an effort to be more pragmatic than sinking money into a lottery retirement fund, in the past couple months I have started working on a previous dream to learn programming. I first got the itch to be a programmer right about the time War Games came out. It was too much work so naturally I dropped it like a sack of unwanted kittens. Now that I have more patience, I think the work is showing results. One, some code makes sense. That is, there are snippets of code I can actually understand. Whoa! Second, in the past week I’ve been seeing things in terms of programming. Choices are merely series of if/then statements. I have been thinking about how nice it would be to automate my repetitive tasks in the real world. Last night I even dreamed about coding.

Who knows, maybe it is not so naive to believe you can be whatever you want to be after all.

In summation*:

var you { name: “Picture Show Journal Reader”, interest: “Happy cartoon movies” };

if (you === goingToSeeZootopia) { setEmotionalState = 'happy'; } 

else { getTheeToNunnery = true; }

(*Disclaimer for Internet Nerds and Trolls: This is not real code. I know it is not real code. It is not formatted properly. I know that it is not formatted properly.I have tried to make it vaguely JavaScript like though. It is only for pretend. Deal with it.)

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