"Everybody in the USA hates their stupid neighbor. He's Flanders and he's really really lame."
Why does everyone hate Ned Flanders? To be perfectly honest...I think he is one of the better reoccurring Simpsons characters. (Though in real life I would probably want to hit him.) My point is that I think that we all have a little Ned inside of us. I was actually inspired to write this blog today after my frustration hit dangerously high levels and I started speaking Flander-ize.
For those of you who don't know the story behind Ned...as a young boy he was angry and acting out against his hippie parents (who could blame him?) and ended up in enduring 8 months of constant spanking as part of spankology therapy. The end result was the Ned was no longer angry. The problem was that it worked too well and he couldn't express any anger all at. So he began saying nonsense words like "diddly and doodly, etc" whenever he was angry instead of just getting pissed off like he should.
In spite of everything...Ned is a pretty decent human being...or at least a prime example of what a good human being should be. So here is my list of why I don't hate Ned Flanders for your enjoyment....
1.) Other than Jesus...Ned Flanders is the "being" most often associated with the word Christian. Seriously. He is thought of ahead of The Pope, Mother Theresa, and Billy Graham. Now you can look at this one of two ways. The first is that this illustrates what is truly sad about the state of religion today...that a character from a PG-13-isk show like The Simpsons is more a symbol of religion than most religious leaders. The second is that even though he is a fictional character, Ned's devotion to Christianity is commendable. Let's face it...if most of today's youth thinks of Ned Flanders ahead of the Pope...they need all the help from religion that they can get, even if it is from Ned.
2.) He hates dune buggies which I also hate. Most of you know why.
3.) He knows the different between apple juice and apple cider, which until he explained...I truly did not know. (But I also can't say that I really cared.)
4.) He holds a PhD in Mixology (Okay so it just sounds cool.)
5.) He built an amusement park in honor of his dead wife. How sweet is that?
Ned has put up a lot of bullshit over the years and still smiles and loves life. I think that the greatness of Ned was truly displayed in The Simpsons Movie. The way that he befriended and bonded with Bart was surprisingly heartwarming in a movie with a character named Spider Pig/Harry Plopper. Both times that Bart questioned the motives of Ned, he said that it was the right thing to do...and once responded with "I'm sure your father would do the same for my boys." The second time Bart asked the question...Ned knew that Homer would not do the same for the Flanders flock but attempted to help The Simpsons anyway.
I have two points tonight. The first is that we could all stand to be a little more like Ned. Sure he is a total geek and somewhat annoying, but he is a basically a good man who is good to his friends and neighbors, as well as any stranger who crosses his path. How can that be a bad thing?
The second point is that if you hear me adding diddly, doodly, hidely hoodily, gosh-darn diggity, or any other string of nonsense words to anything that I am saying...it is probably best to walk in the other direction as Hurricane Millie is probably not far behind. The good news is that today the storm passed, largely in part to a friend simply asking if there was anything that could be done to cheer me up. The act of asking was enough...but following through with the offer was greater than I imagined.