When I was 10-years-old, Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon. I liked the Flintstones, Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, and others, but somehow Scooby Doo trumped them all. Why Scooby Doo? I think I always wanted to be a hero and solve mysteries. Okay, maybe I had a crush on Daphne as well. Regardless, I look back on my Scooby years with fondness.
Subsequently, when my daughter turned two, I wanted her to enjoy Scooby Doo as much as I did. I also desperately wanted a special bond only the two of us would share.
I bought the Scooby Doo DVD boxed sets and we began watching them every night. I even found and dusted off some old Scooby Doo collectibles. She and I looked forward to our daily Scooby Doo time. My wife was surprised how close we became. (My father was surprised that a 35-year-old-man had Scooby Doo collectibles.)
For the next few months, it was perfect. We ran around the house yelling, “Rutroh, Raggy!” We even finished each other’s sentences. If I said, “We would have gotten away with it…” she’d respond, “if it wasn’t for those meddling kids.” Then something happened. After watching our favorite episodes for the 700th time, I grew tired of watching Scooby Doo. I wondered how I sat through the first 699 viewings.
Looking back, I realized it was the time spent with her, not the show, which forged our bond. If only she, a two-year-old, could realize it as well. It was too late. I had created a Scooby monster.
Things only became worse. She started running around the house pretending to be Daphne or Velma. On the surface, it seemed like innocent child’s play. However, if I couldn’t guess correctly who she was, I was the recipient of an angry Sybil-like transformation, “I’m not Velma, I’m Daphne!!” Whichever demonic personality had temporarily taken over her body, it wasn’t Daddy’s little girl.
Things became so bad that I longed for the days of Teletubbies, the Wiggles and yes, even Barney. Despite this, we still had some Scooby-free time—bath time. For 30 minutes each night, she splashed and played in the tub without a Scooby Doo peep uttered. Then one night during bath time, she asked me to tell her a Scooby Doo story. At first, I was horrified. Then, to appease her, I came up with a ridiculous story, the case of the missing wallet, patterned, of course, after my own life.
To my surprise, she loved it and begged for more stories. Each story was worse than the next and revolved around a common theme—me losing things. There was the case of the missing car keys, the case of the missing cell phone, and the case of the missing watch. Unfortunately, all were true stories and some (such as the case of the missing cell phone) remain unsolved today.
The Scooby Doo stories quickly became a painful reminder of my “senior moments.” (How did my wallet end up in the freezer?) However, she knew and loved each story and asked me to tell them to her before she went to sleep. They worked like a charm. She fell asleep right after Scooby Doo story time every night.
Then one night, she woke up crying and I finally appreciated the value of Scooby Doo. I went to her room to comfort her and she said to me, in between sobs, “Daddy, tell me a Scooby Doo story.” I began telling her the case of the missing car in the mall parking lot. However, before I finished the story, she was fast asleep.
I ran back to the bedroom excitedly to tell my wife that I was indeed the world’s greatest parent. In my haste, I slammed my foot into the side of the bed and screamed in pain. My daughter woke up instantly. My wife didn’t know whether to laugh or strangle me.
Unsure which option my wife would choose, I limped back to my daughter’s bedroom and told her a different Scooby Doo story. Thankfully, she fell asleep quickly. All was right in the world again.
After that incident, I stopped complaining about her Scooby Doo obsession and again appreciated the time spent with her. (After all, she was only going to be two for so long.) Soon after, she started watching other cartoons as well, but Scooby Doo became my favorite once again.
Copyright © 2010, Brad Manzo