Those of us who grew up in Florida in the shadow of the mouse - you know which mouse I'm talking about - know the danger he presents. He and his company have a knack for bulldozing their way across pop culture, into our homes, through our lives to penetrate our very souls and turn us all into nonsensical zombie hyperconsumers.
Oh, I won't deny that I've had fun at the theme park - you know which theme park I'm talking about. It has a whole set of urban legends that we native Floridians took devilish glee in passing around: the girl who stood up on Space Mountain and got decapitated; Walt Disney's head being tucked away in one of the rides; a ghost follows you home from the Haunted Mansion; the jail underneath the park; they pipe the smell of fresh chocolate chips cookies to make visitors hungry; phallic symbols placed all over the park by the builders; the teenager who tried to get up and walk the tracks on the Haunted Mansion and got run over and killed. Oh, wait. That one was real because it happened on one of my trips there, and they had to shut down the ride for the rest of the day.
And I'm not going to pretend like I'm some anti-capitalist hipster, too good for American consumerism. I'm a proud American consumer. I'm typing this blog post from my MacBook Air, sitting in my apartment blasting an air conditioner from Sears, wearing my clothes from Target, while my son sits next to me in his Thomas the Tank Engine t-shirt. Yay capitalism!
My problem is with the hegemonic branding of that damn mouse. It is quite possible to live every aspect of your entire life within the mouse culture. Wake up in a bed with mouse sheets, walk across the mouse rug in your mouse pajamas, go to the kitchen and eat your mouse cereal in your mouse bowl with your mouse spoon. Then brush your teeth with your mouse toothbrush and mouse toothpaste. Get dressed in your mouse shirt and mouse pants, and even mouse underwear. The mouse has even changed our language: "mouseka-this" and "mouseka-that." On the video we're currently watching we use our "mouseka-tools" to ride the "mouseka-train," or something. Mouseka-kill me. (Me, to Princeling every time they say something like that: "That's not a real word, OK?")
It's for this reason - that once you allow the mouse a toehold into your life he'll sweep through like a hostile corporate takeover - that the Husband and I have thus far banned all things mouse-related from our household.
And for nearly 3 years now we've been successful.
Then came the day when our son, the Juban Princeling, needed some underwear. Because we can't keep him in diapers forever, nor would we want to try to do so. So, like all good American families we took a trip to our local Target, on a mission for some little boy underwear.
Except that the only underwear they had in his size (size Cuban Toushie) was mouse themed.
We bought it, figuring he probably wouldn't even notice the silly mouse on the underwear he refused to wear anyway.
But we've really been pushing the potty training this past week. And, like some sort of rule of natural law, it became inevitable that our little guy would notice the colorful, smiling mouse on the butt of his underwear.
Juban Princeling: "Who dat?"
Me: *resigned sigh* "That's Mickey Mouse."
JP: "I want watch Mickey Mouse on TV!"
Me: *Gnashing my teeth and rending my clothes* "And so it begins, mouse. AND SO IT BEGINS."
I found some mouse videos on YouTube, which the Princeling is happily zoned out to. Curse me, but the very first cartoon we found involved a train, and all you need to do to assure my son's loyalty and devotion forever and ever is give him a train. So that's it. We've lost him. The mouse won. As we knew he would, some day.
The Husband thinks that the mouse will seek his revenge for being denied for so long in our family. He says we're going to get mouska-tortured in the mouska-dungeon. The one underneath the theme park. Probably while Walt Disney's head yells mouseka-curses at us.