“But I’m certain Dapper Jack wears shorts in the summertime.” I’m arguing with my 3 year old who insists he must wear jeanpants because Dapper Jack wears jeanpants. Even though it’s 107 degrees outside. Literally. Arizona in the summertime is no joke. Even though we’ve built houses on the sand and put up giant umbrellas to block out the sun, it’s still a desert.
He walks around with two pistol style nerf guns. Pointing them to the sky and pumping his arms up and down, yelling: I’m Dappeeeerrrr Jack and I have Green Fire!
When I found out Dapper Jack was the villain on a Scooby-Doo cartoon, I was surprised. And, I’ll admit, a bit concerned. Who likes the villain? Who roots for the bad guy? Is there something wrong with my son? Is he inherently destined to be a bad child? Did I already fuck this up?
The thing is, Dapper Jack is terrifying. He has red eyes and a skeleton face. He wears cowboy spurs and his walk is that eerie chingching. He shoots streams of green flame at Shaggy and Scooby and terrorizes innocent people.
What qualities does my son see in him that make him wanna be him? Does he know something I don’t? Does embodying the thing you are most afraid of make that thing less scary?
I sat with this for awhile. I watched him closely over days and weeks looking for other signs of abnormality. But aside from the huff-and-puff-I-want-what-I-want tantrums, he’s happy. And it came to me that maybe Dapper Jack is like our shadow side.
It’s the voice that says you’re not good enough. It’s the piece that procrastinates and cuts corners. It judges and worries. But it’s also the piece that gives you your edge. It’s the piece that takes risks. It’s the piece that says fuck that, I give no fucks and runs into the sunset bound for adventure.
Hopefully, there’s a little bad guy in all of us.