A Problem Warranting Animated Attention
“The world is covered by our trails / Scars we cover up with paint / Watch them preach in sour lies / I would rather see this world through the eyes of a child.”
Those lyrics, from Norwegian singer Aurora’s debut studio album, “All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend,” harken back to a simpler time, if not one completely devoid of threat. One absent the “paint” of wheelchairs and speech-generating devices. The sweet bird of youth has long since been replaced by the sourness of mortality.
I’ve noticed that each generation, while moving deeper into adulthood, increasingly romances its childhood era. Being part of the group whose infancy-through-adolescence occurred in the 1960s, I share in the collective, idealized, and fond memory of that decade.
Bottled water meant you had a canteen. The hose was how we stayed hydrated while playing outside. Play involved wandering around all day in packs, looking for — and finding — stuff to do.
Super Balls and Slinkies were high-tech marvels. Barbie and G.I. Joe mentored us. Etch A Sketch was our creative outlet. TVs were encased in big wooden boxes, and there was enough room on top of the centerpiece TV for a family to have dinner. Despite the idyllic trappings, stress crept in.
It was the world that television allowed me to inhabit that aided and abetted my formative years, enabling escapism. Cartoons, particularly during the Saturday morning programming block, encouraged me to think outside the box. Nothing seemed impossible for my animated heroes.
With that as backdrop, my mind recently “returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear.” I imagined how a concentrated cartoon collaboration to thwart ALS might play out. In my childlike flight of fancy, I even envisioned its eventual efficacy.
The canine Columbo, Scooby-Doo, will sniff out a quantum discovery concerning ALS’s fundamental cause. Bugs Bunny and Sylvester the Cat will lead highly visible advocacy efforts. Respectively exclaiming, “What’s up, Doc?” and “Just like succotash, no more suffering!” they will stoke awareness to a fever pitch.
Charitable donations will freely flow thanks to celebrity-led fundraisers. The “Wacky Races” team will stage road rallies. Air shows performed by “Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines“ will be put on. “Josie and the Pussycats“ will hold benefit concerts.
With that unprecedented influx of cash, a research dream team trio will be assembled. Jonny Quest’s scientist father, Dr. Benton Quest, will be a prominent member. As will Mr. Peabody of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” fame, who is the smartest being in existence, having graduated from Harvard at age 3. The Flintstones’ time-traveling alien, Great Gazoo — required to do good deeds for earthlings — rounds out the ensemble.
Keeping pace with the prodigious gray matter output will require a uniquely keen, agile, and swift laboratory support staff. “The Impossibles,” with their uncanny malleable versatility, fit that bill.
Transparency regarding the R & D initiative’s progress will need to be maintained. Sufferers, caregivers, and benefactors all deserve timely updates. The “Top Cat“ gang will coordinate an ongoing hep multimedia campaign.
In short order, both a cure and a method of prevention will be discovered. The remedy will restore all function, much like Underdog’s “Super Energy Pill” does, or like spinach does for Popeye. The end result is ALS being as menacing as a widiculously wejected Elmer Fudd.
The avoidance protocol’s name will be modeled after Tobor, the 8th Man. That moniker was chosen because it is “robot” spelled backward, and it was the inventor’s eighth attempt. Thus, the preventive measures will be dubbed “SLA, we’ve lost count.”
FDA approval will be rapidly and deftly accomplished through the ingenuity of the Secret Squirrel, the speed of the Road Runner, and the force of Mighty Mouse. The compound will be produced at a futuristic facility belonging to Spacely Space Sprockets, where George Jetson works. Quality control and regulatory compliance will be championed by Quick Draw McGraw’s sidekick, Baba Looey.
Foghorn Leghorn will loudly drive drug formulary insurance inclusion and universal, low out-of-pocket cost availability. The byproduct will be an affordability threshold similar to that of Magilla Gorilla in Melvin Peebles’ pet shop.
International availability will be championed by Speedy Gonzales for Mexico through the bottom tip of South America, along with Dudley Do-Right for Canada, Pépé Le Pew for Western Europe, Natasha Fatale and Boris Badenov for Eastern Europe, Astro Boy for Asia, and the Tasmanian Devil for Australia. From start to finish, the process will have the benefit of fervent prayers from Davey and Goliath.
The eventual real-life arresting of ALS likely will follow the same path. Of course, the attainment of each milestone will not rival the entertainment value of the Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, et al. cast of characters. Which is OK.
As kids, the temporary interlude of stress relief via vicarious hijinks was perfect. As adults, the sobering permanence of an actual ALS-free world will be a veritable fountain of youth.
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