Eh, where are the anvils kept, Doc?

Because I value continued learning, I eagerly studied a series of nature documentaries the other day. One of the episodes featured a rabbit, a duck and a befuddled hunter.

“It’s rabbit season!” the black drake spluttered.

“It’s duck season!” the gray bunny countered.

Duck: “Rabbit season!”

Bunny: “Rabbit season.”

Duck: “It’s duck season.”

The rabbit turned to the hunter. A look of “oops” crossed the duck’s face. The hunter popped the duck.

The duck picked up his bill, twisted it back in place, and spit at the rabbit, “You’re despicable.”

This is the kind of educational programming that’s wooed and wowed me for 60-some years.

It’s how I learned that wascally wabbits are clever, ducks are daffy braggarts and that coyotes had instant commercial connections long before Amazon Prime existed.

Educators over the years expressed grave concerns about what these Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies documentaries taught us impressionable kidlings.

I would like to state for the record that kids aren’t as clueless as adults think. Or as clueless as the adults’ thinking.

Never once did I believe I could actually drop an anvil on top of my brothers’ heads.

First of all, I had no clue where we kept our household anvils. I asked Mom, but she wouldn’t tell me. Nor would she tell me where she hid the Acme catalog so we could order giant slingshots or rocket-powered roller skates.

So I couldn’t attempt any of those stunts so faithfully recorded on the shows. Adult interference. Again.

Adults also could not admit that our educational TV shows were correct.

One of my teachers persistently insisted on the lie that coyotes could reach speeds of 43 mph, while road runners topped out at about 20 mph. The coyote could snag the bird any time he wanted, the teacher claimed.

He also tried to tell us — get this! — that road runners were smallish birds that were speckled in browns and tans. They were not tall, purple and definitely did not chirp, “Beep, beep!”

It was our first exposure to distorters of the truth.

Don’t even get me started on the photos of the little, black, rat-faced critter that he claimed were actual Tasmanian devils. We KNEW what a Tasmanian devil looked like and sounded like, and how it moved like a mini-tornado smashing through rocks and trees. We’d witnessed it ourselves on our nature shows.

These educational shows not only taught us zoology, but also music. In fact, the first time a music teacher played something she called “opera,” I recognized the tune and belted out they lyrics: “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!”

“No, no, no!” the teacher shrieked. “This is ‘Ride of the Valkyries.'”

But I already was blasting out the next lines, because it was my favorite — what did she call it? — opera:

“O mighty warrior of great fighting stooo-ock / Might I inquire to ask what’s up, Dooo-oc?”

The teacher insisted her “opera” was written by some guy name Wagner (except, she pronounced it Vogner), but I knew from all my hours of educational programming that this Wagner guy had ripped off Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny and director Charles M. Jones.

The teacher didn’t believe me and I flunked.

Also because of these nature documentaries, I could hold intelligent conversations with any crowd just by using simple erudite phrases I had memorized:

“Thufferin’ Thuccotash!”

“I tawt I taw a puddy tat.”

“I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”

“Oooo, ya long-eared, fur-bearin’, flat-footed varmint!”

“My, I bet you monsters lead interesting lives.”

I need to go study more now, so… that’s all, folks. And don’t let anyone tell you that road runners aren’t purple. I saw it with my own eyes.

I say, I say — pay attention now, son — study with Cole at burton.w.cole@gmail.com or the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.


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