Friday, May 21, 2010

Dudley Do-Right

Remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show? One of the segments was the on-going saga of the villain, Snidely Whiplash; the victim, Nell Fenwick; and the hero, a Canadian Mountie named Dudley Do-Right. The gist of the saga was that Snidely put Nell in various kinds of risky hostage situations and Dudley and his horse, Horse, would rescue her---with piano music from the old silent movies playing in the background.

Yes, the cartoons were a satire. Yes, intellectually we can see that these are caricatures. But the genius of it was that each of us is all four of these characters.

The saga often gets constellated on a caregiving team. Sometimes the sick person and/or the primary caregiver are Nell. Medical and insurance bureaucracies are usually Snidely Whiplash---also the occasional doctor and nurse and maybe a family member. The primary caregiver can also be Dudley Do-Right. The care-giving team (paid and unpaid) is usually Horse.

You can almost hear the silent-movie-piano music in the background.

Having myself been Dudley in all his well-meaning ineffectualness, as well as Nell and Snidely, I know how easy it is to get swept up in the drama. Horse is always the clear-seeing effective outsider.

No wonder Nell is more interested in Horse than Dudley.

One of these days I’m going to show these cartoons at a caregivers meeting.

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