Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Happy Ending - by: Elizabeth Horner

I miss happy endings. I miss Sailor Moon, the Power Rangers, Boxcar Children books, stories about Thomas Edison trying a thousand different ways of making the light-bulb until his persistence paid off and voila. The older I’ve gotten, the more they have seemed to disappear, like Cinderella’s glass slipper once the clock struck midnight.

I will avoid giving out spoilers, but for my fellow readers out there, I’m starting to ring a few bells, am I not? You can all recall, in exquisite detail, the moment that one of your favorite series--- alive with characters that had become some of your best friends--- turned dark. Perhaps you, like me, have looked online for a “Best movies of all time” list in order to supplement your activities for the evening, and then discovered that most of them share this plot device: the pretty, understanding, innocent wife dies. Or maybe you’ve noticed something else: when you turn on the radio, your ears are immediately met with the mournful cry of someone who has lost her boyfriend, whose dad has died, who feels trapped and hopeless. The sad songs always seem to be better written, better performed, and more popular than those that describe the good times.

Now I’ve never approved of censorship; and I understand the need to keep records of past sorrows, to describe the gravity of things like war, and to complicate those simple little diddies that we knew as children. But modern society is starting to perpetrate the lesson that all happy endings are fairy-tales, while reality is the stuff that comes afterwards to spoil the pretty picture. What can be the result of that except to create more of the unpleasantness that is described?

One of my least favorite examples comes in the form of TV relationships. If a show that lasts eight seasons has a couple get together in season three, you know that they are going to break up once, maybe twice, have a relationship with someone else, perhaps even marry them, get jealous and avoid each other, only to have something devastating happen that throws them back together again; then, they might have a baby. Does it sound ridiculous when I say it like that? But played out over several years on TV, it seems almost natural. And yet, it is just as much fantasy as a group of crime fighters who maintain secret identities (don’t people, after all, usually act differently at work than at home), and teaches much less about how to handle real life than Edison and his light-bulbs. After all, he persisted through his problem.

I am here, twenty years-old, stubborn as a six year old when it comes to not liking make-up, thinking sweet potatoes are gross, and liking to stay up beyond what it is good for me--- and I believe, as I do then, in what people have told me is impossible. Maybe, you readers out there still think I am too young yet to know better--- but I am sure of one thing; when a writer lays their hands on the keyboard and unleashes a new world beneath their flying fingertips, when a script writer of those TV shows comes up with the next cliffhanger ending, they have a choice about what they are bringing into existence. They decide to make their ideas a reality.

So can I.

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