I had heard rumblings that you could finally know you had turned into a full-fledged-no-turning-back-now-too-old-to-function grownup was when you actually could side with (or at least understand some points of) the parents/authority figures in Disney movies instead of the protagonists.
Let me give some back story. The Little Mermaid was, bar none, my favorite Disney movie growing up. I spent literal hours, if not cumulative days, in my pool after school (oh, yeah, this might be a Florida kid motif here), pretending I was a mermaid. You know how there are those articles about how classic Disney VHS tapes are now worth tens of thousands of dollars? Well, clearly they have not seen my so-worn-out-they-were-disintegrating-15-years-ago-from-too-much-use tapes. (Does anyone else remember rewinding machines? I do.) And if you’re ready to get really jealous now? I had a (feel free to sit down because, again, you are going to be that jealous) Little Mermaid charm bracelet. I wore it with my overall shorts because it was the late ’80s/’90s and the ’90s were an incredibly strange time to be a child and overall shorts were a major thing.
Parenting disclaimer: screen time rules have been loosened. Sometimes mom has to cook dinner. STOP JUDGING ME.
The moment I realized I could watch The Little Mermaid with my son with absolute impunity of enjoyment was a pretty great moment for me. And, don’t get me wrong, I still get that spine-tingling sensation the moment the opening music starts playing. I know all the words. I love this movie with all my heart.
However, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t turned into one of those full-fledged-no-turning-back-now-too-old-to-functioning grownups. This is why, when I listened to “Part of Your World” with new parent ears some things sort of hit me in a new way. So, if you will, allow me to break down this magical Alan Menken masterpiece through the ears of a parent.
Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?
Neat? Um, well … “neat” isn’t exactly the word I would use, but I suppose one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so, yeah, we can go with “neat.”
Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Complete? Yes, definitely. For the love of all that is holy, “complete” is definitely the word I would use. “Hoarding” might be another one to consider.
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl
The girl who has everything?
Considering you are a literal princess who has the apparent run of the entire ocean complete with a singing entourage and yet still has a cave ‘o of crap, yup. “Everything” just about covers it.
Look at this trove, treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Again, way too many. I’d really like to recommend this book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” It might really make you re-think this little hoarder’s nest you’ve got going on. Do you have Amazon Prime under the sea?
Looking around here you’d think
Sure, she’s got everything
Okay, Ariel. Sure, you’ve got “everything.”
I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
That you do.
I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore
No arguments here.
You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty!
…right, so…that’s the whole point, right? Do you need twenty? Or would one suffice? It’s a difficult question but some self-evaluation might help here.
But who cares? No big deal,
I want more
I wonder if TLC’s hoarding show has SCUBA gear.
I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancing
I’m going to assume you mean more in the “Tchaikovsky ballet” genre than “errrbody in the club” way, so, yes, that’s a fair request.
Walking around on those
What do you call ’em? Oh, feet
I guess I won’t break it to you yet that feet are actually pretty disgusting. One order of suspension of disbelief, hot and ready!
Flipping your fins you don’t get too far
We’re going to have to agree to disagree here. I feel I’ve watched you span miles of ocean whereas you barely made it out of the castle in your three days on land. Objectively, you definitely get further in the ocean than on land.
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a
What’s that word again?
I also appreciate a walkable urban environment, Ariel! We totally have that in common.
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Hm, okay, so, here’s the thing. You have red hair and most likely will get a sunburn simply thinking too hard about the sun. Here, let me see if I can find that pamphlet I have lying around…yup, here it is: “Melanoma and you: wear your damn sunscreen.” Sorry, Ariel, but them’s the breaks.
Wish I could be, part of that world
Wait, today you went into a shipwreck, you have an entire unnoticed hoarding cave of “treasures,” and, not to harp on this, you’re the favorite princess of the king of the ocean. I feel like you and I have different definitions of the word “free.”
What would I give if I could live
Out of these waters?
This is a more telling line in the song than I realized, now that I think about it. What would you give? A kingdom, your family, a singing entourage of sea life to cheer you up at your whimsy.
What would I pay to spend a day
Warm on the sand?
In fairness, Ariel, you have never had the pleasure of wiping down every molecule of sand out of every crevice of your car and body after a day at the beach.
Betcha’ on land, they’d understand
Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters
Oh, honey. Oh, dear, dear, dear honey. The seaweed is always greener, indeed.
Bright young women, sick of swimming
Ready to stand
I’m a wee bit curious. Do you think yours is a common ailment up on land? That so many women on land have also been mermaids and are sick of swimming? Because this seems like a really, really localized request here.
And I’m ready to know what the people know
Ask ’em my questions
And get some answers
What’s a fire and why does it – what’s the word?
Yay educational pursuits! You go, Honey, er, Ariel.
When’s it my turn?
Girlfriend, you are six.teen. years. old. You need to simmer down now and take that teenage angst and put it to good use, like cleaning out your hoarder cave.
Wouldn’t I love, love to explore that shore up above?
Well, sure, but lest we forget the man you are so in love with has the exact same desire to explore, but to explore your little realm of the sea. Exploring is pretty engrained much the human (mermaid?) spirit.
Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world
And now this song will be stuck in my head for approximately 32 years. There are worse fates. Alan Menken, you are a genius and my hero.