We need to use our heads and chill

Published 10:24 am Friday, June 23, 2017

Sitting on my desk is a large purple coffee mug with the smiling face of a cat staring back at me. It’s a Father’s Day gift from my wife. On the opposite side of the cup is a quote, “We’re all MAD here;” an appropriate comment for a newsroom.

The Cheshire Cat from Walt Disney’s version of Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland” is one of my favorite Disney animated characters. You can talk about Mickey and Minne, Daisy and Donald, Goofy and Pluto, but none of them come close to that laid-back cat, and my wife will tell you, I’m not a cat person.

But there’s something about the Cheshire Cat. He’s a pretty cool guy. He can disappear and reappear at a moment’s notice, a characteristic I wish I had, just like a Jedi’s ability to get people to do their bidding — a power I wish I had as a parent.

But back to the cat. He’s calm, he’s relaxed, and he constantly has that smile on his face; that sly grin that makes you wonder what he’s been up to or what he’s thinking.

When our daughter was little, we’d occasionally walk outside on starry night and look up at the moon. If it was in crescent stage, I’d tell her, “There’s the Cheshire Cat.” It would always get a look of awe and then a giggle.

So I wonder, can someone be like the Cheshire Cat? I’m not talking about his ability to disappear. That ability, unfortunately, is dependent on the animator’s pen or the special effects master and the computer.

But what about his other qualities? Being able to stay cool and calm when everything around you is going mad. And no, you don’t have to be mad (some would say crazy) to have that demeanor. Probably all it takes is a little time to collect your thoughts, take a deep breath and find your inner peace.

We’re living in a world that has run amuck. There’s a lot of violence, discrimination, bigotry and ignorance and it has to stop. And tweeting your complaints to the world isn’t the answer. Besides, it’s boring. You can only cry “wolf” so long before people stop believing you. In “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice comes across a group of characters engaged in a caucus race, where they run round and round, with no stopping point and no resolution.

I believe that’s where we are — in a caucus race, where we’re all just chasing our tails and getting nowhere. And we need to stop. Someone needs to take charge, and the rest of us need to chill and use out heads to set our world right.

And that brings me back to the Cheshire Cat. Regardless of whether you’ve read Lewis Carroll’s book or seen the many different versions of the story, the Cheshire Cat seems to be the voice of reason. Someone needs to be that now — anyone.

Where’s the Cheshire Cat when we need him?

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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