Mar 19, 2017
I hope you will indulge me a stroll down Memory Lane.
In one of my former lives – not that I believe in reincarnation; I have had several careers – I was a writer for Disney Comics. That was back in more innocent days. Having been weaned on Disney, “visiting” with Walt every week on TV, I had my own pair of Mickey Mouse ears when I was six. OK, I wore them into my 20s, but we all have our affections. OK, probably into my early 30s, but it’s my own business. Still on my wall office, amid a few other awards and citations, is my framed membership certificate, my name printed in red, in the Mickey Mouse Club.
My work with Mickey and Donald was back in the day when Disney comic books were experiencing a lull in interest. Superheroes, television, and video games were making it tough for the ducks and mice. Sales of the comic books were almost nil in the US… but thriving in Europe. So my work, at great page rates, and more pages assigned than I could well handle, was for European publishers. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, England, Finland. I had monthly editorial meetings, either in New York City, or in Copenhagen.
I felt especial warmth for the late Uncle Walt in those days. Again, this was before days at Disneyland or afternoons watching a theatrical Disney cartoon were comingled with gay rights rallies.
Along that ride, I conceived of a story “hook” that I thought was pretty clever. Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, and the nephews, in the style (I hoped) of the master cartoonist Carl Barks, would be on an adventure, in a remote jungle, on a quest for treasure. They stumble upon an unknown small lake and discover, almost too late, what superstitious natives knew: it is the dreaded Fountain of Old.
The Fountain of Old, to be avoided – of course – at all costs: a sip of its waters turns you older… and older… and older. Eventually to die, if you drank enough.
A switch, of course, on the legendary Fountain of Youth that enticed and eluded Ponce de Leon and so many other explorers through the centuries. Ah! A happy twist on a popular legend. I don’t remember the details – whether Scrooge or Donald, or perhaps their rivals, drank of the waters; or fell into the lake; or got into a dilemma, or escaped. Immaterial now.
My editor nixed the story proposal. I was deflated; why? “Who ever heard of a Fountain of Old?” he asked. My response: “Nobody. That’s what will make it an interesting story premise.”
“No, Rick, it’s not plausible. How could there be such a thing?” he asked. I thought a moment, mostly incredulous. “Well, there can’t be such a thing. Neither can there be a Fountain of Youth, yet that is a common theme in history and fiction.”
“That is my point. Many people through the centuries have sought a Fountain of Youth. Nobody thought about a Fountain of Old,” he asserted. “Rick, it simply is not plausible.”
He was correct, or course. But irrelevant. We went back and forth. “Not plausible,” he had me there.
Finally I came to what was left of my senses, and I said, “Wait a minute. We are discussing talking ducks. The richest duck in the world, his irascible nephew; all dressed up top, and naked on the bottom. And mice who dress the other way around; and talk, and reside in suburban houses. A dog, Goofy, who has a “real” dog, Pluto. And so forth.
“Where does ‘plausible’ start and end?”
We all live in different realms of reality. And non-reality. We choose to live in these zones, and we choose to suspend belief or non-belief as, frankly, it suits us.
People who follow horoscopes and read tarot cards dismiss the Bible as mumbo-jumbo. Kids who are obsessed with superheroes don’t want to think about Jesus walking on water or through walls. Victims of terminal illnesses will grasp at copper bracelets and expensive herbal remedies and the Power of Wishful Thinking, but reject the Lord Who Healeth Thee – and discard documented cases of miracles.
What is plausible?
Is it “plausible” that the Creator of the infinite universe created each of us… loves us?… knows us and everything about us?
Is it “plausible” that such a God created us with free will, and that humankind chooses to sin, and that a Holy God cannot accept sinners in His heaven… but provided a substitution for the punishment we deserve? That He displayed His love – His willingness to forgive – by becoming incarnate, a spotless man-god whose death would be ransom for ours; whose resurrection would confirm His divinity; that belief in Him would save us unto Eternity? Is this plausible?
Is it “plausible” that we can have this God live in our hearts; an actual Holy Spirit who can fill us, guide us, comfort us, empower us?
Is it “plausible” that, while many millions throughout history have accepted this simple plan of Salvation, many, many other millions of people have rejected this God? Have cursed this gentle Saviour? Have blasphemed the Holy Spirit?
Is it “plausible” that so many people cling to superstition and errors and frauds and lies… and death? They can have life, and that more abundantly, despite the promise offered them.
These things are not only plausible; they are true. There is a supernatural world. There are spirit beings. Biblical miracles are documented and happening still today. These plausible truths are waiting to be embraced. Many people choose not to.
They reject the beautiful promises, the Truth of the Gospel. They choose to wander about in their ignorance and rebellion. Whether they know it exactly or not, they are looking for the Fountain of Old.
Rejecting Christ, they are sure to find it.
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“Escapist” entertainment. To America in 2017, the fantasy has become the reality. Is life in America so awful that we need to construct alternate universes, false heroes, and new versions of what is genuine, authentic, and… real?