There is a special place in my heart for Elmer J. Fudd, the infamous speech impedimented hunter of “wabbits” from the classic cartoon series “Loony Tunes”. I think we have many things in common, not just our affinity for grilled cheese sandwiches, but also the way we find ourselves chasing after things.
For those not familiar with Elmer Fudd, shame on you, but here is a crash course in my cartoon counterpart. He is kind of a clumsy, bumbling and stuttering hunter. He spends his days chasing rabbits, more specifically Bugs Bunny, and on occasion Daffy Duck. For the most part, his goal is to kill Bugs and make his famous rabbit stew out of him. Bugs, however, doesn’t have stew on his mind and usually outsmarts the dumber Elmer into falling for his own traps and generally just being one step ahead of the hunter. The often outsmarted Elmer only gets more and more upset and confused as he his bested repeatedly by Bugs.
But you see, Bugs is the good guy and Elmer is the bad guy, it’s not even a grey area. Elmer is the sworn enemy of Bugs and as children we instinctively know that we cheer for Bugs when he puts his finger in Elmer’s rifle to have it explode when he pulls the trigger. We know to cheer for Bugs when he cross dresses as a beautiful woman to lure Elmer away from hunting rabbits, like a furry siren.
The entire feud between the two, with very few exceptions, is based solely on Bugs getting the best of Elmer.
And this is all fine you see, but for some reason, even though he is the bad guy of the story, I find myself drawn to Elmer Fudd. I relate to him being constantly defeated. He always gets back up and he always continues the hunt.
I think Elmer and I would hang out a lot, swapping stories about the ones that got away. In almost all of the cartoons I’ve watched of Elmer hunting Bugs, there comes a point in the story where Elmer actually has Bugs in his hands, he has his hands around the neck of the prize, but somehow Bugs always weasels his way out of danger, and usually has Elmer de-pantsed before Elmer knows what has happened. I’ve actually seen one episode where Bugs is in the the pot being made into a stew, yet he still gets away.
It’s this kind of chasing where I think I relate to Elmer in, the chasing and often times the catching of the things we desire most in life. Like for me, I have a certain list of goals, things I want to achieve in my life before I die or before I turn 30 or before next year. In my mind, I think I chase after these things a lot, but in reality, I think I spend most of my time sitting in the hunter’s lodge, if you will, talking about all of the goals I have achieved in the past, or more likely the dreams I almost achieved, knowing that they all outsmarted me and slipped through my fingers.
Or maybe it’s my relationship with God, spending my days chasing after Jesus, trying to find him and trying to find myself in his story. I’ll sneak up behind Him most days, tip-toe to his little hole in the ground, alert the audience to be quiet because I think I’ve found the Jesus I’ve been hunting for, put my gun in the hole and pull the trigger only to have Jesus himself standing behind me, munching on a carrot or a loaf of bread or something, asking me “What’s up?”.
Or maybe it’s my creativity, I’ll spend my days looking for and romancing ideas out of the sky. I’ll sit down at my computer with a head full of ideas and just start typing things, but the screen never says what I want it to, the words never come out as I want them to, but before I know it the next chapter is almost complete, it’s in my grasp, I just have to break its neck and we can all have stew, but it will charm me into letting it go.
Or maybe it’s overcoming sin, fighting off addictions, or falling for the traps Satan lures us into. What’s the old saying? Keep our friends close and our enemies closer? If you’re like me, you are in a constant battle with sin and temptation where it’s a chess match. One week you are fine and everything is great, but for the next 7 months you get trapped and fall into your sin. Then you’ll have a good couple weeks, and then for the next 6 months you suck at it. You chase freedom all the days of your life, and maybe sometimes you’ll even have it in the pot, ready to be cooked, but sooner or later it gets the best of you and you falter yet again.
Damn you Bugs Bunny. Damn you.
We chase and we chase and we chase, but all for naught. You and me, Elmer, we’ve got a corner on the market of broken dreams, sins, chapters without resolve, and stew-less dinners.
I think Elmer is actually the hero of the story because he never gets what he wants. He get’s teased by what he wants. He gets beaten over and over again by what he wants. But he never gets what he wants. He spends his whole life chasing after one thing, and he never gets it really. It sounds ridiculous, but I think we are supposed to sort of cheer for him too, because I think Elmer is you and I in the story. In some way, we want him to finally get Bugs and we want him to win. His character goes through so much torture and conflict, he has to win at some point, right?
If I am to learn one thing from Mr. Fudd, it is to be relentless. He never quits. He never turns to alcohol because he isn’t happy. He never gets depressed because he isn’t having rabbit stew for dinner. He just wakes up every morning, puts on his hat, loads his gun, and goes to get what he wants and in my opinion, what he deserves.
So whatever your Bugs is, creativity, searching for God, searching for your purpose, overcoming sin, there comes a point where you will feel beaten. A general rule in writing stories is that in order for your character to get something good, to attain his dream, he has to go through hell or it won’t matter to the reader if he gets it or not.
I don’t think being lazy about writing is hell. I don’t think being trapped by petty sin is hell. I don’t think not saving up enough money to go on vacation is hell.
So maybe I’m not ready just yet. Maybe I’m not ready to give what it takes to get what I want.
Elmer, I think you’re ready. Invite me over when the stew is done and tell me how you did it.