Polkaroo

Before I begin, please watch this:

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If you’re from Ontario and were a child sometime between 1971 and 1993, you just got really excited. And I bet you’ve never noticed before now that the woman singing the theme song pronounces the “L” in poLka.

If you’re not from Ontario, then I’m about to tell you what was missing from your childhood. It wasn’t the aforementioned show. No, it was the ever so wonderful star of said show. He was tall. He was green. He was pear-shaped. He could say so much in very few words (one, to be exact). He was the most loveable, the most elusive, and yes, the most DELIGHTFUL* non-scary animal-monster thing to grace the lives of hundreds – nay, thousands – of Ontarian children. And he had a giant bulls eye on his neck. His name?

Polkaroo.

Please watch the following clip, which I believe encompasses the glory that is Polkaroo in a mere three and a half minutes:

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Needless to say, Polkaroo is awesome. Let me tell you why.

He sparks your imagination. You can’t tell me that you didn’t wish you were flying through space alongside your new friend Polkaroo. Guess what? With one leap into your imagination, you CAN be flying through space alongside your new friend Polkaroo. Consider your mind blown (all the way to outer space).

He is precise. If I asked you what type of legacy you would like to leave when you depart from this life, your response would likely be long-winded. If I asked Polkaroo the same question he would respond with, “Polkaroo” and would consequently blow your response out of the water. He is Polkaroo. He needs not more than one single word to convey such deep thoughts. Polkaroo is precise. He doesn’t need any of your useless unnecessary babble. Some of you should really take a lesson from this. Wink wink nudge nudge.

He is selective. He doesn’t hang around with just anyone. He is such a good judge of character that he only spends time with those that are worth it. He chooses one host and of course, his viewing audience. He knows that a Polkaroo spread too thin is a Polkaroo who doesn’t give one hundred percent. That’s why he always disappears before the tardy-to-the-party arrive. He’s not exclusive. He just knows that his time is valuable, and that it should be respected.

He is compelling. That one guy who keeps missing Polkaroo so desperately wants to see him. Why? Because Polkaroo is awesome, but also because Polkaroo’s personality is compelling. He’s draws you in because he is so strange, but also adorable. You want to be where Polkaroo is because if you’re not, you’re missing out on songs and stories and so much more (do dodo do dooodooo). He has influenced our lives so deeply. As my friend Lux** so eloquently put it:

I use ‘polkaroo’ as a noun in common everyday speech, it means something or someone you wanted to see, but just keep missing by THAT much!

He’s worked his way into our hearts and our everyday speech. He is just that compelling. You want to be with him. You want to talk about him. You want to see your Polkaroo.

He is like Fight Club for children. Whoa whoa whoa. Fight Club? That’s a big claim. Yes it is. But I can explain. There are only ever two regular cast members on the show. Week by week, the hosts rotate, but there is only ever two people on each episode. A man and a woman. The man always, without fail, is the one who misses out on Polkaroo. The a few short moments after the man leaves the stage, Polkaroo appears. When – and only when – Polkaroo exits the stage, does the man reappear, totally missing Polkaroo. Why? BECAUSE THE MAN HIMSELF IS POLKAROO.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

The man who is longing so much to see this adorable monster is himself, that very same monster. If that doesn’t scream Fight Club, than I don’t know what does. When you are a child, you don’t quite understand this concept. My friend Kerry explains:

It took me til I was 18 to figure out that the reason the guy never saw Polkaroo is ’cause he was in the suit. He’d be all “I missed him AGAIN?” and I’d be all “Well if you didn’t take a bathroom break every time she went on the back patio MAYBE you’d have a chance.”

It takes awhile to realize this, but when it does, your life is never the same. At first you feel like a pawn in the chess game of life.*** You have been tricked all along. Your fond childhood memories are clouded by shame. How could you not see this coming? How could Polkaroo do such a thing to your vulnerable child self? It’s devastating. You want to sit in the basement and watch Mary Poppins while eating a tub of ice cream and yelling “What happened to all of the good people in the world?!”. But you don’t because you’re a fairly stable human being, even though you really enjoy watching the Bachelorette every Monday night.

With that thought, you realize this: the man dressed as Polkaroo was a giant idiot. He pranced around yelling “Polkaroo!” one minute, then complained about not seeing Polkaro the next. Let’s get our duckies in a row here, sweetheart. Do you not remember being housed in a hot smelly monster suit for extended periods of time? Aren’t your vocal chords even a wee bit sore from screaming in falsetto? If you would only realize that what you’ve been missing this whole time is really just another extension of yourself, you would find what you’re looking for. You hear that, Bono? Polkaroo is not something to be chased. The majesty and awe of Polkaroo will find you wherever you may be because my dear internets, Polkaroo is inside of you. The adorable, elusive spark of creativity is within us all. All you need to do is close your eyes and imagine and you too, can Polkaroo.

If that doesn’t work, you can always see what happens if you hit the bullseye. But of course you wouldn’t do that because Polkaroo is awesome.

*I’ve been told I use this word a lot.
**Yes that’s his for real name. Awesome, right? Right.
***I’ve never played chess but I used this phrase anyway. Like a boss.

What or who is your Polkaroo?

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18 thoughts on “Polkaroo

  1. In terms of childhood shows, my Polkaroo was Mister Rogers. One of the world’s kindest and most gentle men, by all accounts. He was a big part of my childhood. Mr. Rogers was so cool that teenagers could admit to watching him, sometimes.

    It’s a pity you weren’t Australian, though; I must admit to disappointment that Polkaroo was not a kangaroo with an accordion. Then he could have played this song:

  2. Uh…

    “He is Polkaroo. He needs not more than one single word to convey such deep thoughts. Polkaroo is precise. He doesn’t need any of your useless unnecessary babble.”

    Just thinking out loud: if that’s the pinnacle of communication…then why is this post so long? Shouldn’t it just be one word?

    (Yes, I know I’m a pain. It’s my gift.)

  3. Darn, I wish I had written this post. I remember Polkaroo from my childhood in the (yikes!) early 70’s. I remember yelling at the lady on the screen, trying to get her to notice that Ken missed seeing Polkaroo because Ken WAS Polkaroo, but she never seemed to hear me. Which is really weird, because I made a whole lot more noise than Humpty, Dumpty or Marigold, and she always managed to hear them.

    I think that’s why I preferred Mister Dress Up. He rocked!

      • That would be SO cool! I really enjoyed the Camp Cariboo post too. It’s so neat being reminded of these classic Canadian kid’s shows. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Dressup a year or two before he passed away. He was incredibly charming and down to earth, with a great sense of humor. Very worthy of a blog tribute!

  4. I am grinning ear-to-ear, reliving my childhood. I was WELL into double-digit age when it occured to me that Polkaroo was the other host, dressed up. And to be honest, I was a bit disappointed to realize that – some of the magic disappeared.

    I did not, however, care much for Marigold. Found her aloof and petty, somehow. Ha!

    What a great post!

  5. The lady who sings the theme song was my cousin’s vocal coach, and she sang it to me on the phone one day when he was rescheduling a lesson. That moment may be the best of my whole childhood.

  6. Amanda, you know I already thought Canadians were a little odd. But this? This put you guys on a whole other realm. I wish you could have seen my face as I watched those clips. Utter confusion. That’s what you would have seen.

  7. Do you ever look at clips like this, of the shows we grew up on, and wonder how kids ever survived? I feel like people complain about how weird today’s shows are, but maybe we forget that we had people dressed up in strange outfits and creepy puppets that helped raise us.

    Bottom line: whether we be Canadian or American, we’re all screwed.

  8. I’m impressed. That was quite the feat. You made Polkaroo…. existential!

    Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks! It’s just a shame I haven’t watched Fight Club before reading this, or I’m sure my mind would have been blown even more.

    Is it worth seeing Fight Club? Or is Polkaroo all I need?

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