It’s been over twenty years since I can remember the first time I saw Matt Groening’s “crudely drawn” family of five deal with the almost surreal problems that life seemingly presents on a daily basis. From that moment I laid my eyes on “The Simpsons” I became enamored and, eventually, a life-long fan (more than likely I’ll be re-watching episodes when I’m old enough to shout at clouds). During my time as a “Simpsons” viewer I’ve discovered many relatable life lessons that I plan to share with you. Welcome to “The Simpsons Life Lesson” series (season ten).
It’s Never Too Late to Create Greatness (Episode 2: “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”)
It’s a painful realization when science informs you that you’ve lived almost half of your life and never accomplished anything of note. That was the situation Homer Simpson found himself in during his usual afternoon commute home as his favorite disc jockeys Bill & Marty told their listeners that the average life expectancy for men was now 76.2 years. At the age of 38.1, Homer became disillusioned over what he had become – a man not worthy of eating out a sugar bag as a pre-dinner snack (opting for flour instead) and someone whose funeral will most likely see him be dumped into the ground with his exposed shoes being torn off of his feet by dogs. His wife, children and absent-minded father struggled to make Homer realize how much he had achieved in his actual thirty-nine years of existence including becoming an astronaut and fighting for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World. Due to a technical projector error that turned a message from KITT of “Knight Rider” fame into a smoldering mess, Homer discovered the greatness of the projector’s creator, Thomas Edison.
Inspired was Homer by all of the Edison’s inventions; getting the motivation to embrace his inner inventor in hopes of topping the man he aspired to be when it came to crafting something the world wanted and needed. In typical Homer fashion, his first few attempts at creating the next big thing weren’t successful in the worst ways possible. From an alarm that always beeped as long as everything was “okay” to an overpowered electric hammer, Homer just didn’t have a knack for creating anything useful … or so everyone thought. During his crafting of such items as a make-up shotgun and a reclining chair featuring a built-in toilet, Homer actually built a six-legged chair that would prevent people from falling over if they tipped their chair backwards just like Homer had done so many times in the past. Unfortunately for Homer he got the idea from his hero.
To the shock of Homer and Bart (who heard his father cursing and wanted to join him), Edison never revealed this invention to the world; giving the father & son duo a chance to visit a museum dedicated to the creator where they could bash the chair into smithereens. But Homer’s good senses (and mood swings) got the better of him and he walked away from committing a historical felony (as well as an actual crime). Forgetfulness also affected Homer on this day as he accidentally left his electric hammer at the potential crime scene, allowing credit for the invention to be given to Edison; potentially making Thomas’ heir even richer.
Though things didn’t work out for Homer in terms of money and fame, Homer still proved that no matter your age you can still accomplish great things by being a dreamer who sets the bar a little too high. But make sure you’re sitting in the right chair if things don’t work out for you.
Live it Up While You Can (Episode 10: “Viva Ned Flanders”)
Thanks to a constant drowning out his wife’s suggestions like getting the car washed when it was covered in a thick layer of dust and debris thanks to the organized imploding of “The Monty Burns Casino”, Homer discovered that his Bible-thumping neighbor Ned Flanders was abusing senior discount opportunities around town. Ned, with Homer calling out Flanders for his actions in front of everyone during the weekly church service, was forced to admit that he had reached the ripe age of sixty thanks to the “Three C’s of Success” – clean living, chewing thoroughly, and visiting his favorite church daily. Hearing about Ned’s lack of experiencing the randomness of life and going out of one’s comfort zone to do something wacky, the townspeople unknowingly convinced the Flanders patriarch that he had to learn from the man who knew everything about living in the “impulse zone”.
Homer liked the idea of getting Flanders out his stickler lifestyle; taking him to the most sinful place in America, Las Vegas. Almost over-stimulated when Homer’s car entered the infamous Strip, Ned was practically scared into being a hostage for the “Homer Simpson Program” where Homer did any and everything he could think of including being a crash dummy for daredevil Lance Murdoch. Slowly but surely the Homer Simpson lifestyle featuring money loss thanks to gambling and a blocking of the “little voice” in his head got to Ned and convinced him to drink the night away alongside his mentor. But conquering his fear of excitement and making up for a lot of lost living, Ned drunkenly married one of the cocktail waitresses that were serving the pair hours earlier. Homer pulled a Flanders by joining his friend in a dual wedding to two women who had no intent of letting go of the two nicest husbands they ever had. Since Homer and Ned seemed to be in a no-win situation, they decided to simply run through Vegas with the girls in hot pursuit. Eventually the chase turned against the pair of runners and resulted in them being beaten unmercifully.
Even if you believe there’s an afterlife, worry about the future and your reputation as the town’s most honorable individual, you have to live it up at least once in your known single go-round on this planet. If not you’ll never experience the joy of hoping a daredevil crashes and literally burns, marrying another woman in a drunken haze, or even being kicked out of Las Vegas by The Moody Blues.
Kids Never Learn, Adults Always Win (Episode 11: “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken”)
Sometimes sports bring out the best in people. Then there are times when the drunken buffoon living vicariously through the actions of athletes gets the better of simple individuals too fickle to even support their local team when things aren’t going in the team’s favor. Case in point – Homer and his fellow Springfield Nuclear Plant employees and “Moe’s Tavern” usual attendees got Springfield Isotopes fever when Springfield’s rag-tag baseball team actually won the National League pennant. In jubilation, the quartet led by Homer got sloppy drunk and vandalized the elementary school. Without proof of who did the terrible action (though obvious tire marks near destroyed lockers would’ve given some kind of clues), the Springfield Police Department jumped to the conclusion of blaming “no-good, punk kids”; issuing a curfew for every under-aged person in Springfield so they would be inside somewhere by sunset.
Frustrated over the recent and obviously unfair turn of events, the kids began to rebel. All it would take for a full-blown sneak-out was the airing of a once-banned horror movie at the old drive-in. The excitement of seeing adults be pitch forked to death caused the curfew-breaking kids to shout and reveal themselves. Arrested and forced to perform community service, the children of Springfield decided to retaliate by revealing the secrets of every adult in town just like the kids in the movie who had the ability to do the same with their freaky powers. The musical confrontation between children and adults resulted in the town’s eldest members coming together and voting to extend the curfew to anyone under the age of seventy after the grandpas and grandmas were verbally challenged by their own kids.
If you haven’t figured it out yet know that kids never learn and adults always win. It doesn’t matter if the “kid” is a middle-aged man whose father is considered geriatric or that same adult has a child who knows that you like to eat out of your neighbor’s garbage, society’s oldest members can outdo their successors.