My Changing Relationship with Mr. Squarepants

In Y2K I had a fever, and lay in front of the idiot box for a couple of days. One of the shows I noticed was a new cartoon called SpongeBob Squarepants. Even in my feverish state, it seemed too absurd for words. I’d have rated it too meaningless for Dada! It seemed to violate every possible law of physics, sense, and perception for no apparent reason.

But it grew on me. Once you suspend not only disbelief, but a need for sense, the show has winning characteristics. In a psychotic sort of way. It has an internal consistency that simply exists at a right angle from any known reality. It was a twisted sojourn into meta-sense.

But then it caught on, got popular. Merchandising and popularity ruined it for me. But by then, I’d already foisted it on my young niece and nephew. So as I grew disenchanted, the next generation locked onto my fascination with the show. I haven’t watched it in many years.

But I started getting gifts in that vein. Granted, only one of the pictured objects is actually from the young ones. The others came from adults.

The smallest one came embedded in a bar of glycerin soap as though frozen by Calrissian in clear carbonite. After he emerged, quite clean, I converted him into a roving magnet. Karen never knows where he will next appear.

The cushy one came courtesy of a fellow dancer, who sees something of me in him. Or vice versa. I chose to consider this a compliment. I think.

The big box monopolizing the picture came from the kids. We played the game almost immediately. This may be the only theme version of the game that I’ve played. I like the box because the eyes follow me.

So I have mellowed into a sense of toleration for the character, and admiration for the applied insanity of his creators.

So the Object at Hand today is actually the character that inspired these physical objects, a kitchen sponge with an annoying laugh, a pet snail, and a crush on an underwater Texan squirrel.


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