Recently an utterly impossible thing happened. Through the magic of a time machine, the Flintstones were transported from the stone-age town of Bedrock to the futuristic city in the sky where the Jetsons live. In this alien swap, the Jetsons ended up in Bedrock. What followed was an interesting collusion of two different worlds made enjoyable by the antics of Fred Flintstone and George Jetson and the cast of adorable characters.
The colliding worlds of these cartoon characters make us laugh and also make us think. In reality these two worlds are not that different or peculiar despite the difference of time and space. Both Fred Flintstone and George Jetson are loving husbands and fathers, at times boastful and sneaky, and afraid of their wives just as all God-fearing husbands are.
Our own “real world” is also full of the likes of Fred Flinstone and George Jetson. They live side by side with all their likes and dislikes, their idiosyncrasies, and their beliefs. There are those who believe in religion and there are those who think such beliefs are primitive. There are those who live their lives unburdened by society's rules or dictates and there are those who live within the prescribed boundaries. Last year some people took to the mountains fearing impending doom at the dawn of a new millennium. And there were others who celebrated the event as a significant milestone in the history of mankind.
The contrast between the old and the new - and who is to say one is better than the other - was evident in the Reagan White House. While the president dealt with the problems of the world with his finger on the nuclear button, his wife consulted astrologers to help chart their lives. In the daily newspaper more people read the astrology charts than the news from the world of astronomy. Grocery store tabloids are awash with the news of the alien abductions, miracle cures, and demon babies.
One man's coincidence is another man's miracle. My friend Henry Delagrange is an Amish farmer. Occasionally I drop in to visit him at his farm in Camden, Mich. I park my 21st century automobile next to his 19th century buggy. He is totally oblivious to the world at large and lives in his own busy world. He does not know, nor does he care to, about the latest sitcoms on television or the results of the latest tracking polls of the presidential race.
We talk about our work, our families, and occasionally about our religions. He tells me about the new bridle he has made for his horse, the recent harvest, the new barn they raised for his son, and the illness of his infant niece. We swap a story or two about deer hunting and have a good laugh. We may live in separate worlds but our worlds do overlap, even if only slightly.
Back to the Flintstones and the Jetsons. They did travel back to their respective comfortable worlds toward the end of the show. I think the producers couldn't fathom Mr. Slate, Fred's boss, looking for his missing employee on some faraway planet. Besides, Fred and Barney had to finish their bowling league.
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.