Thursday, November 7, 2019
The Brave Little Toaster gets Dental Surgery
Years of brushing my teeth too hard had caused my gums to recede to the point where I needed oral surgery. And so I found myself reclined in a dentists' chair, having just had four shots of novocaine injected into the roof of my mouth. Yes, it hurt.
While the oral surgeon left me to numb up, a woman with a clipboard asked me some questions. One of them was "Occupation?"
I answered, "Animation."
I elaborated, "I work on cartoons."
"Oh, interesting." she said. "Anything I would know?"
"How old are you?" I asked.
"Thirty two." she said.
I did some quick math, then said, "How about 'The Brave Little Toaster'?"
She squealed. Like a girl. She squealed so loud the dental assistants rushed in to see if she was alright. She turned to them and said, "He did 'The Brave Little Toaster'!"
Then they squealed. Right before me, four professional women morphed into cooing little girls, talking over each other how they had loved that movie growing up.
The one with the clipboard broke through the cacophony. "Oh my god! There's a scary clown in that movie that scared the crap out of me!" She was referring to Toaster's nightmare sequence.
I laughed. "I animated that sequence."
"Really?" she said.
This part I didn't see coming - she punched me. In the arm. Hard.
"That made me afraid of clowns to this day!" she said, then apologized for punching me.
A week later, I returned for a follow-up appointment to what had been an excruciatingly long, sadistic surgery. I brought in an actual cel of the clown from BLT, and gave it to my assailant, Diedre. "You're giving this to me?" she asked.
I nodded, "I think he belongs with you."
Again, I didn't see this part coming - she started weeping. She got up and gave me a big hug. Then, a sobbing mess, said, "I have to call my mom and tell her."
That was four years ago. Yet another part I didn't see coming - this would not be an isolated incident. Many young adults have had similar reactions when they hear of stuff I worked on in the early days. "That's my childhood." they say. It's a wonderful residual I had never considered - that kids would hold these films in their hearts throughout their adult lives. Unlike receding gums, it's proof of aging I can agree with. Thanks to all the Diedre's out there for the punch in the arm.