Astroboy and His Better World

Here is the finished Astroboy Paffooney.

Here is the finished Astroboy Paffooney.

When I was a boy in Iowa, growing up in the 1960’s, I remember being seriously infected by the notion that true heroes were like Astroboy.  I watched the show on a black and white Motorola TV every day at four after we got home from school.  Astro could fly.  He was super-strong.  He could battle the evil monsters and machine men from my worst nightmares and always come out the winner.  And though he was a robot, he was a boy like me.  I thought a lot about Astroboy and I played Astroboy games with my friend Lester in our back yard.  The theme song played over and over in my head.

The Astroboy March
Music by Tatsuo Takei; Lyrics by Don Rockwell
There you go, Astroboy, on your flight into space.
Rocket hi—-gh, through the sk—-y
For adventures soon you will face.
Astroboy bombs away,
On your mission today,
Here’s the count—-down,
And the blast—-off,
Everything is go, Astroboy!
Astroboy, as you fly,
Strange new worlds you will spy,
Atom ce—-lled, jet pro—-pel—-led
Fighting monsters high in the sky,
Astroboy, there you go, will you find friend or for,
Cosmic ran—-ger, laugh at dan—-ger, everything is go, Astroboy!
Crowds will cheer you, you’re a he—-ro, as you go, go, go, Astroboy!

What can I say?  I was a stupid child with an imagination easily manipulated by television.  My world consisted of Astroboy every afternoon, Red Skelton on Wednesday nights, and Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday evenings.  I cried for the Astroboy characters who sometimes suffered and died during the adventure.  I cringed when Astrogirl stumbled into danger.  But I knew in my stupid heart that everything would be all right in the end.

When President Kennedy was murdered, or when the Apollo Astronauts burned, I didn’t really feel those events.  I still thought a happy ending would come to save the day.  I believed that I had the power to make things right the way Astroboy did.  I was doomed to learn the hard way.

I had heard from my friends about weird things that a fifteen-year-old neighbor would do sometimes.  I understood that he liked to “do things” to younger boys.  I should have been scared to death of him.  But, the cosmic ranger laughs at danger.  I was ten when he caught me near his yard.  He forced me down into a hidden place behind a pile of old truck tires.  He got my pants and underpants down and forced me to stop fighting.  I remember it as pain and shame and horror.  It was a monster I never dreamed of, and no one came to my rescue.

We used to believe that the future held undiscovered treasures and wonder.  We believed that when a hero was needed, one would always step forward.  I wanted to be that hero.  I would go forward, however, wondering if it all led to an unhappy ending.  “Crowds will cheer you, you’re a hero, as you go, go, go, Mickeyboy!

(I should confess that this is an old post written in 2007.  It was at a time when I was finally ready and able to  talk about what happened to me 40 years before.  My attacker has since died of a heart attack, and though he was never held accountable for his actions, I have forgiven him.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  Strong like Astroboy.)


Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, Paffooney, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Astroboy and His Better World

  1. Thanks for sharing this. What started as a nice memory walk turned into a nightmare. I am so sorry you had to go through this. To be able to speak of it like you do, means you have been able to compartmentalize it, yet no one should be subjected to such abuse. Hopefully others will see they are not alone or to be wary of unusual actions by others. Best wishes, BTG

    • Thank you for understanding. I never really got the chance to heal until I learned to write about what happened. When Humpty Dumpty picks up the pieces and puts himself back together again… well, I think that’s when the story really starts to get interesting.

  2. No comment and I won’t like this post. I didn’t like Astro Boy.

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