The Influence of a Smurf

I don’t know about you, but when I was a little kid one of my favorite things to do was watch the Saturday Morning Cartoons. I’m giving away my age by saying this but remember this was back when there were only a handful of television stations. We didn’t have cartoon specialty channels like you have today with cable, streaming, dish, and on-demand options.

Back then you couldn’t just decide “hey, I want to watch some cartoons” and have that wish come true. So, we kids would wait all week for the joys of Saturday Morning Cartoons. We would binge watch such “quality” cartoons as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Dennis the Menace, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, Muppet Babies, The Scooby and Scrappy Show, Richie Rich, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

One of my favorite shows to watch on Saturday mornings was The Smurfs. Even those of you who weren’t alive and kicking in the 1980s are probably still familiar with The Smurfs thanks to the Neil Patrick Harris/ Hank Azaria live action film in 2011 and its sequel in 2013.

But for those of you who were stranded on Gilligan’s Island without access to films and television, I’ll give you a brief rundown on smurfology.

The Smurfs are tiny little humanoids with blue skin, standing no taller than 3 inches in height in the cartoons and 7.5 inches high in the films. Their entire wardrobe for male Smurfs is comprised of white pants and white hats. Smurfette, the lone female Smurf, is the only Smurf with her chest covered – wearing a white dress.

The Smurfs live in a village of mushroom houses hidden in the forest. A human wizard named Gargamel is obsessed with the Smurfs. Every episode of the cartoon series involved Gargamel and his cat Azrael hunt for the little blue creatures in hopes of cooking and eating them.

Each of the Smurfs had their own stereotyped personality. Brainy Smurf is the smartest in the village, Clumsy Smurf is uncoordinated and prone to accidents, Grouchy Smurf is always angry…the list goes on and on, but you get the picture.

Not only did I watch The Smurfs every Saturday morning, like many of my friends, I also collected the little action figures marketed at toy stores. I had quite the collection, and even made a stop action animated movie using them in 5th grade.

Recently my mother found some of my old Smurf figures while packing up her home to move, and she sent them to me. When I opened the package my mother had sent, I almost hit the floor. There staring up at me was the answer to a question I’d be plagued with for years.

You see, I got my first tattoo when I was 21. It consists of a heart and dagger. I’d envisioned that tattoo design for as long as I could remember. I realized that the dagger came from admiration for the tattoo of one of my favorite wrestlers – Shawn Michaels. Where the heart came from, I never had an answer for. That is until I opened my mother’s package.

Hefty Smurf – the hero strongman of the clan – was always my favorite. His figurine was included in the package my mother sent. Pulling him out of the box I saw the heart tattoo on his shoulder, and it finally clicked. My childhood love of Hefty Smurf had inspired my tattoo!

I had no idea that The Smurfs had that kind of deep inspiration for me. Talk about an odd inspiration. But hey, we don’t choose who or what sparks a fire in us. We just have to honor that admiration and go with it. (Just for the record not all of my idols are Smurfs and wrestlers. Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Paul Newman are just a few of my other idols.)

I have a few other tattoos – and they each had their own inspirations. While I may or may not get any more tattoos, if I do I doubt it will be Smurf-inspired. I think most people can agree one Smurf tattoo is enough.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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