Mr. Peanut – Behind The Monocle, Pain.Posted: November 29, 2010
Mr. Peanut seems a likable guy. Maybe it is the constant smile. Sometimes I think it is the monocle. Perhaps it is the attitude that lets him roam the streets in nothing but a top hat, gloves and spats as if to say “here’s what I’ve got and I’m not ashamed.”
It is hard to say what exactly it is about him that has endeared him to us all over the years. Charm is indefinable sometimes, isn’t it?
Sometimes charm and a perpetual smile hide something. A secret something that causes pain and fear. Though none of us want to think about Mr. Peanut suffering, I must tell you that I see pain behind the monocle.
Mr. Peanut’s Body Has A Flaw
I’m not throwing stones. Everyone’s body has a flaw. I am not excepted from that. Some flaws aren’t attractive, some flaws are not healthy. Mr. Peanut’s flaw is dangerous to him and to those around him.
Mr. Peanut has no waist.
He’s got ankles, knees and hips. No waist. The shape of his shellbody gives the appearance of a waist (oddly combined with neck and shoulders), but that term implies a measure of flexibility that Mr. Peanut lacks. That lack of flexibility is the potentially fatal flaw that Mr. Peanut lives with.
Sure, Mr. Peanut is mobile. He dances, he plays basketball and does so many other things. He participates in these activities at his own peril. Should he lose his balance, his lack of a waist makes him unable to get up without assistance. A fall could cost him his life.
Consider The Turtle
A turtle flipped on his back is in trouble. He can’t get away from predators and his defenses are weak. He is powerless to get back on his feet without help. He’ll kick his feet desperately to try to get back to right side up, but the odds are against him.
Mr. Peanut is like our turtle. Once off his feet, he is helpless. His lack of a flexible waist makes it impossible for him to get off the ground without someone’s help.
If you fell and were lying on your back, your waist and hips would let you move to a sitting position and get up from there. Mr. Peanut couldn’t do that. Sitting up by using just his hips would be impossible.
Mr. Peanut’s other option to get up off the ground would be to roll over, get on all fours, as if to crawl. From there, he could move his foot up and raise his body upright just like we’d do, right?
No, actually. The length of his torso combined with its circumference make that feat impossible. As he moved his leg forward to get up, the length and thickness of his body would cause his hands to come off the ground before his foot would be in position to start supporting his weight. Even if he were able to get his leg under him, he’d be raising his disproportionately long body using just his hips – not a particularly strong point of his physique.
How You Can Help
When Mr. Peanut falls, he has two options. He can crawl until he finds help or he can flail wildly with his cane and hope to make enough noise that a sympathetic someone discovers his plight. If you become that someone, remember that communication is critical if you’re going to help.
If Mr. Peanut is crawling, he has a limited range of motion in his neck and wont be able to lift his head to see where he is going. He might even crawl into you before he realizes you are there. On his back, he’ll probably be blinded by panic and swinging his cane. Take control of the situation using your voice.
This is important – do not approach Mr. Peanut after he has taken a fall until he responds to your voice. He will be frightened, feeling vulnerable and is likely to lash out with his cane without warning. You can’t help him if you allow him to injure you during your noble attempt to help.
Call out to him from a safe distance: “Mr. Peanut, I am here to help, please take some deep breaths and stop moving so I can help.” This might be a good time to practice saying that sentence aloud so it comes across naturally under the pressure of a real life situation. Continue repeating this until he responds and starts to comply with your request.
Only when Mr. Peanut has acknowledged you and gathered his emotions should you approach him and render aid. Continue speaking with him as you help. This would be a good time to tell him your name. Explain how you’re going to help him up and listen if he suggests other ways to do it – he has been in this situation before.
Remember as you help Mr. Peanut up – always lift with your legs and not your back!
Some Last Thoughts
Don’t just walk away. Like anyone else would be, Mr. Peanut will probably feel shaken and embarrassed by his ordeal. Taking a moment to reassure him would likely be appreciated.
You’ll want to help him get his hat and cane. Don’t let him bend over and get them himself, that could lead to another fall. Brushing dust and debris off his back would also be appropriate. Like us, Mr. Peanut can’t really see back there and his ability to reach his back is very limited.
Being Mr. Peanut is not easy. It is often a lonely existence, made more difficult by a flaw that his pride tells him to hide from us.
A little kindness on your part would make such a difference.
- Robert Downey Jr.’s latest role: Mr. Peanut (omg.yahoo.com)