Hana Shafi Bangerang!

My childhood ended when Rufio died. 

Have you seen the movie Hook? Seriously, that was some sad shit. Captain Hook, the ultimate symbol for the demise of sweet innocent childhood, kills Rufio in an epic battle. Robin Williams was also there, but that doesn’t matter. The point is that Rufio died and all the kids watching that movie felt pretty fucking hurt.

But his death needed to happen, as did the deaths of all the other beloved childhood fictional characters. There’s a reason that the best children’s books are not oversimplified, black and white stories, where the good never truly suffer at the hands of those who are evil. There’s a reason that even when the good guys win in the end (for example, Harry Potter and Narnia), that point is not reached without great sacrifice. The reason is that sadness and death IS a part of children’s lives, whether that’s fair or not. Kids are not stupid, they see that in the news, in the society around them, and sometimes they have the misfortune of seeing that in their own lives, and it’s better that they’re exposed to these concepts through excellent storytelling that can give them a sense of hope than through bleak reality. 

When I worked at a book store, I used to see a lot of parents come to the cash register with their 10 to 12-year-olds who were buying Stephen King novels. These kids would have this huge happy grin on their face (likely proud of the fact that they had mastered all the Goosebumps books and books with more than 200 pages). And of course both I, and their parents, knew that these kids would likely have some sleepless nights thanks to the king of modern horror. But I was so glad that their parents were letting them read these books; this is the right way for a child to be corrupted by the evils of the world, through an amazing well-written story. Because the fact of the matter is that the evils of the world are gonna get to them eventually, so at least their introduction to it was a wonderfully written story about a tormented high school girl who uses her telekinetic powers to blow everyone up.

So maybe at the time, seeing Rufio’s tragically heroic death really shattered my heart into a million pieces, but I now realize the importance of it. And besides, Hook still concluded with a relatively happy ending and my little kid attention span likely forgot about Rufio’s demise once someone brought something sugary into the room. Even so, it taught me some sober lessons about reality with the fantasy elements of a good story. Fuck yeah, bangerang. 

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