Reopening the Polka Dot Door

The Polka Dot Door

I recently remembered a show I watched when I was a very little kid called The Polka Dot Door. Growing up in the US near the Canadian border, I often would observe my dad wrestle the TV’s antenna to catch those elusive northern broadcasts. He knew I liked The Polka Dot Door and finessed those rabbit ears into just the perfect position.

Pulling the show up on YouTube, I felt elated as I started to watch. This episode began with a pair of actors singing some songs, and I immediately felt an anticipation – rather, a deep memory of anticipation – that there was something much bigger to come.

After a few songs, the hosts went to a toy chest and pulled out some stuffed animals and started telling a story with them. I felt this joy deep down in me explode. This is what I was waiting for!

Wow, this is so amazing, right guys?

If it’s not obvious, I don’t usually get excited about stuffed animals. I was re-experiencing a feeling I had when I was very, very young. It felt different than the usual comforting feelings I get with nostalgia. With nostalgia, it’s like remembering how you used to feel. Like looking at your past self through a dirty telescope and smiling at how you were enjoying yourself. This feeling was more intense, more immediate. I was right back there living the joy of watching some stuffed characters crudely act out a dumb story.

I’ve been trying to connect with my early childhood. Mining my distant memories for anything of value for self-discovery. I’ve come to find that as we grow up and become further integrated into society, our mimetic desires are stoked and our natural interests are corrupted. I need to get back to the basics, identifying those things that made me come alive as a child. Those interests tend to be the most pure, the most true to myself.

I think about how, as a kid, I spent countless hours drawing, and then one day in my early teens, I just stopped. So I recently went out and bought a sketchbook.

I don’t know what there is to learn from my euphoric viewing of The Polka Dot Door. It was so strong that I had to write about it. I do feel like there is something there, even if it’s as simple as looking at the world again with childlike wonder.