One of my most vivid early childhood memories is being woken up before dawn by my mother. She would always turn on the 13” tv at the foot of our bunkbed to Woody Woodpecker. After that cartoon, Garfield and Friends (and that show about the farm animals? The one with the duck with the floaty that looked like that same duck and had the same facial expressions? And there was an egg with feet?…. Anyone?) would come on.
For those of you that got flashed Men in Black-style/those of you who aren’t getting my awesome 90s references, Garfield is an orange cat that is fat, lazy, loveless, and happily so. His day-to-day life included binge eating pasta while simultaneously being bothered by his borderline sociopathic owner, John Arbuckle, a seriously infatuated grey cat named Nermal, and Odie, the only animal character that I’m positive was an animal.
One month (years after my interest peaked in Garfield and Friends), I was chosen as student of the month. What in hindsight seems to be nothing more than a school’s way to fill up an extra bulletin board with construction paper, student of the month was a huge source of pride for young Akilah. The survey questions for my profile might as well have been an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair.
When I reached the portion of the Qs that asked what my favorite hobbies were, I had a dilemma: Do I just write down “Barbie car-washes and Snick” or do I go with the Garfield answer, “Eating. Sleeping. And Watching TV?”
Like any reasonable child, I just put down both, requiring that my student of the month sheet be 2 pages rather than the typically allotted 1.
As an adult in the 2000s, I guess my more accurate hobbies list would include:
-Going to the Gym to Counteract Eating
-Coming Up with
Good Convincing Excuses for Oversleeping
-and Watching Netflix or Hulu Plus
I’m not sure that Garfield didn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy for me, but I do think there is a part of every 20-something that relates to different aspects of the show. Like perhaps Garfield’s “lasagna habit” which I’m now realizing was just a thinly veiled metaphor for being an alcoholic. Or maybe the simple truth that cats do not want you to have a successful love-life. Regardless, I’m just pointing out similarities where I see them.