I grew up in the seventies and Saturday Morning cartoons was a ritual anyone of that time would remember. We had three channels and sometimes if we used the right tin foil and the proper position of the antenna we could get more. Saturday Morning cartoons were the absolute best. We didn’t bother our parents for anything because we could watch our tv and if we woke up the adults we would have to go get “fresh air”. We didn’t want fresh air we wanted our cartoons. One of our favorites was the Justice League of America. WE LOVED IT! In fact, we loved it so much that we would act it out when it was done. A typical game of Justice League started pretty much the same with my youngest brother wearing a towel around his neck. When we saw this we knew that we were about to save the world from impending doom. So my youngest brother, with his cape, was obviously superman. (Now when you play Justice League for the first time…be sure to lock in a good character from the get go…this is imperative…do not hold back….this is probably the most important role players rule. Because any time you say “this time I want to be Wonder Woman.” The answer is obviously “But I’m always Wonder Woman, remember?” ) My sister was Wonder Woman….I was ok with this because my sister was a goddess and she fit the profile. Unfortunately for me there was only one other girl (I was a girly girl and I definitely did NOT want to pretend to be a boy) the other girl, however, came as a twin and the only way she had powers was to activate her ring with her twin brother. I (every time) would look hopeful at the older brother that was young enough to play with us still (it was us four that played, the other two were teenagers and they were NOT in the Justice League of our Living Room) and I would say in my little voice “Why don’t we be the Wonder twins?” I then would run at top speed to go get two tin foil rings I have made in the off chance that this time he would say yes. “Nah, I’m going to be Aquaman!” I then knew where this was going…..It was the same every time. He would then look at me and act as if he were doing me a favor and say “But you can be my fish!” He probably was doing me a favor, because this was the brother that I was closest to. He always had my best interest at heart…at least as much as a ten year old boy could…. selfishly. “I don’t want to be your fish! I want to be a super hero! I can just have Teddy (stuffed bear) be the other twin.”
A Justice League vote went in and no bears allowed. They voted unanimously and since I was not yet a super hero I had no voting power. Those are the rules in the justice league.
“Then I don’t want to play. I’ll play something else.” I would leave and go to my room. As I was in my room brushing my doll’s hair I would here the EPIC Battle going on in the living room. The Justice League was solving serious crimes and I wanted to be a part of it. I walk out into the hallway and watch with envy as Wonder Woman flew her invisible airplane (ottoman) into the volcano to see if the bad guys were in there. Then there was Superman using his x-ray vision to see through the mountain and they both agreed that the bad guys were in fact in the volcano. Then they go and call Aquaman to see if he and his fish could help. Aquaman, along with the others, devise a plan of genius and there I was playing stupid dolls and having no part of the best game of justice league ever played in any living room ever. Aquaman looks at me and sees my sorrow and says…”I have to see if my best Dolphin can help. She had to leave to take care of a sick baby.” he says looking at the doll in my hand. I nod my head and run back to my room and throw that doll onto my bed, she’s all better now.
(Now to envision how this works, in our living room we have a braided rug with rings of color in it. Some rings were brown and some rings were blue. The blue was the water and this dolphin could only be in the water. Which means the entire time I am being a justice league adjacent member, by affiliation with Aquaman only, I could only pretend to swim on this blue ring of the rug. “You can be on the other blue ring too Becki!” was the consolation…I could be on the one blue ring or the other smaller center blue ring.) (Oh and I can’t talk because dolphins can’t talk they squeal…”EEEEEEHHYYY! EEEEEEHHHYYYYY!”) Some of you are thinking exactly what I was always thinking, this is some serious bullshit. And it was!!! But in order for me to be in on the action I had to follow the very specific rules…because I was Aquaman’s dolphin!
Have you ever heard children play pretend? If you have what I am about to write will make sense….if you haven’t then a lot of what children “Do” in pretend is actually “Said”. Follow along if you can.
WONDER WOMAN: “Now I am going to fly over to the volcano and make sure that the bad guys are still there. FFFFSSSSSSHHHHHHEEEEWWWW <noise of the invisible airplane (ottoman) she is flying”
SUPERMAN: “I’m going to get ready with my laser vision and if you see them I will blast the side of the mountain and cut a hole right in the side of the mountain….BBBBBRRRRRRVVVVVVSSSSSHHHHHH<noise of his laser vision”
AQUAMAN: “And I am going to call to my dolphin with my telepathy….DOOOOOTDOOOOTDOOOOTDOOOT <noise of telepathic power”
Lame Dolphin sitting in the blue ring of the rug: “And I’m going to bring over the net that is in the sea and I am going to trap them bad guys with it.” smiling at my ability to save the planet.
Justice League is put on a time out. “No Becki, you can’t do that because you can’t come up on land. Remember?”
Me: “Well you guys can chase them into the water and then I will get them with my net.” I smile at my genius.
Justice League votes and it’s a no: “You can bring Aquaman the net and Aquaman can trap the bad guys in the net….but dolphins can’t trap the bad guys. So you just give Aquaman the net and he will trap the bad guys.” game ensues without my say so.
Lame Dolphin: still trying to make her case “But I could…just…..”
Justice League: passive aggressively remind me that I’m lame “Aquaman, is your dolphin trying to tell you something?”
AQUAMAN: “I don’t know, Dolphin is speaking a language that I don’t understand.”
SUPERMAN: “Uh Oh! I think the bad guys have taken over your dolphin and is now using it to do BAD STUFF!”
Lame Dolphin: stands up to plea my case that I wasn’t a bad guy and still on their side. I step on a brown ring in the rug.
WONDER WOMAN: “Did you guys see that? That Dolphin is walking on land, definitely working with the bad guys.”
AQUAMAN: “Let me see if I can communicate with it…DOOOOTDOOOTDOOOTDOOOT”
Lame Dolphin: still trying to make my case “No, guys! Com’on! I’m not with the bad guys. I want to be on your side.”
AQUAMAN: “This is worst than I thought! The other fish say that Dolphin is definitely working with the bad guys. We are going to have trap dolphin so she doesn’t help the bad guys.”
Lame Dolphin: “NO, guys, I’m still working with the Justice League. I’m a good dolphin.” I look down and I am now on the smaller blue ring. I now realize where I went wrong “EEEEEHHYYY! EEEEHHHYYYY! EEEEHHHYYY!” I drop down on the carpet and flop around like a fish because I have only seen cartoon dolphins.
WONDER WOMAN: “I think that there is something fishy about that other body of water down there. Aquaman we better get samples back to the lab for testing.”
Fuck, now the rest of this game I will be stuck on this smaller patch of blue rug, squealing. Well I did this to myself really. I know the rules….blue ring, no talking and can not be the hero.
I play the rest of the game following the rules and I give Aquaman the net and then an anchor. The super heroes save the day as I sat on the smallest center ring of the rug, screeching and mostly just watching them play waiting for my cues. Also the water was tainted and for all future games I have to stay on this center patch until the Justice League can find what is in the water and clean it out. Justice League always ended somewhat on a cliffhanger….this one just so happened to screw me only!
SUPERMAN: “If Dolphin, or any of the other fish go in there, does that mean it turns them bad?” (so regardless of what kind of fish I play I’m still on the smallest center ring of the rug. Clever, superman, very clever.)
AQUAMAN: “That’s absolutely right! So if Dolphin or any other fish goes in the larger body of water they will be a bad guy.”
Double Fuck, because now when they want an actual body to throw around I will be it. I will be a bad guy with the simple statement of….
Justice League: “I think all of the water has been affected now.”
Justice League of the Living Room is savage and also I think this is how gas-lighting works. So again, I have to point out if you are about to play Justice League in your own living room, lock down a good character because that is your character for all eternity and if you don’t…. you get stuck on a 1′ X 3′ patch of rug unable to actually speak or be an actual hero and potentially you could be helping the bad guys do bad guy stuff. No one wants to go out like that. I did, however, become kickass at making dolphin noises and if there ever comes a time when I need that ability I am well rehearsed and ready to go.
Until next time 🙂