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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Smashing! A Nigel Thornberry Reflection

<ecade ago, in a land of talking animals and mobile transforming homes, lived a man that captured my animal-loving heart. His name was Nigel Thornberry, and to a girl who had hundreds of stuffed animals and pretended I was a dog at recess with my friends, he was a significant part of my childhood.

For the 90’s kids in the room, you’ve probably stumbled across The Wild Thornberrys at some point or another. Maybe you’ve seen one of the ninety-two episodes. Or perhaps you saw the feature length film and wanted to be friends with Shaman Mnyambo and the talking chimp Darwin. But if you’re anything like me, you thought that the star of the whole series was Nigel Thornberry.

This fictitious father not only taught me valuable lessons about the environment that he adored, but about life itself. And thus I took the time out of a beautiful fall day to reminisce about Nigel and what we can all take away from his smashing seven-year span on television.

1. Travel the world. If you ever have the chance to go abroad, do it. Whether that is through Carleton or in the future, there’s no time like the present to get outdoors and hug a tree or two.

2. Geography is actually really important. I discovered more about the geography of the world from Nigel than I ever did sitting in a classroom. From Siberia to Madagascar and every country in between, I feel confident staring at a globe and knowing where the miraculous convey has been.

3. Choose your passion over a high-paying job. In “Sir Nigel,” the outdoor enthusiast is offered a teaching position at Oxford. However, when faced with the reality of abandoning his love for animals for a profession indoors, he decides to stick with his moral philosophy and stay in the wild.

4. All forms of life deserve attention and love. In his television show, Nigel documents everything from the elusive caracal cat to the enormous humpback whale. Don’t discriminate, and treat all creatures with respect.

5. You can track large animals of prey and they won’t attack you. Okay, I wouldn’t necessarily try this one at home, but Nigel seems to make this impossible feat go off without a hitch. But metaphorically, Nigel teaches us to not be afraid of what may appear daunting and overpowering.

6. Oxford boys can conquer poachers. Nigel regularly ousts criminals from continent to continent. It doesn’t matter to Nigel that he is not the most athletic or strongest of humans. With a top class education, like the one you receive at Carleton, you can stand up to anyone.

7. If your future child only hangs out with a monkey and speaks frequent gibberish, let them have their fun. Parenting Eliza, who regularly runs off unaccompanied into the wilderness from the heart of Africa to the bitter cold of Antarctica, cannot be an easy task. That being said, Nigel handles it with an open mind and generosity.

8. We should all try to be more like elephants. After his daughter Eliza saves a herd of elephants in the Congo, Nigel states that “maybe these intelligent creatures believe that by standing together, as they have done for centuries, they may, one day, live without fear of man’s greed.” Elephants are shockingly similar to humans: they grieve, they have close knit family units, and they, like all people, fear the oppression of man. From elephants, we can learn about our own cruel nature, and hopefully, make it so future generations of endangered animals can live in peace.

9. If you have self doubt, just repeat this quote to yourself over and over again. “You will have your own challenges, and I’ll bet you’ll meet them splendidly.”

I am extremely hesitant in believing that there will ever be a cartoon father like Nigel in the coming years. Although the run of the television show has expired, his ever-prominent protruding nose, optimistic personality, and his unnervingly resolute love of the environment will continue to inspire me in my daily pursuits.

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