Dec 13 2016
Here’s a quick pointer as to why Mickey’s Christmas Carol might be my favorite Disney thing ever: the way Mickey Mouse (as Bob Cratchit) cries when at the grave of his son Tiny Tim is laid to rest.
Look at crying Mickey Mouse here. Look at him! You can see him staring reality in the face, not wanting to accept it, but having no choice. If his son has a tombstone and is lying underground by now, we know the death wasn’t just a few minutes ago — probably a day or two at least. But still, he’s fighting it, freshly horrified. His mouth hangs open, his eyes are watering…
…he grips that cane like it is his son. It’s all that’s left.
And this is just killing him. Look at his face bunch up:
I remember being 15, waking up and being told my grandma died just a few hours earlier. My face bunched up uncontrollably just like that. Sometimes when I cry, if it’s especially hard, my face will squeeze itself like that. It’s very rare, but happens… let’s say, once every couple of years. Buddy of mine died a couple of years ago and I think that was the most recent time. I had red little spots all over my face afterward and stuff. Man, I miss him. But I digress.
Point is, that’s exactly what we do in the immediate aftermath of a loved one’s death. Sometimes not just the immediate aftermath. The math period can go much longer than just right after.
My dad broke his back when I was a kid — shattered his tailbone — and my grandpa looked at him in his hospital bed, powerless. I could tell it was destroying him. He said “Buddy, I wish I could switch places with you,” and I know he meant it. (Yeah all the boys were “buddy” and girls were “babe” in my family.)
He would’ve put down whatever money or possession you named, if it meant he could take that pain for his kid. It might sound nutso for me to say that I see this in a 26-minute Disney holiday special, but hell, I do. I see it in Mickey Mouse’s face. He’d switch with Tim in a heartbeat. (We’ll conveniently ignore the potential implications for the rest of the family in such a scenario.)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol is one of the best winter specials you can watch, for this moment as much as any other.
Maybe I’ll write more about the rest of it at a later time, but that “maybe” right there is me adding a safety net for myself, because I know that there’s like a 0.0004% chance of me ever doing that.