The original Scooby Doo cartoons were fun-filled diversions with mysterious and scary stuff scattered through each episode until the end, when — normally through Velma — it would reveal what was really going on with a completely logical explanation.
The “ghost” was revealed to be Old Man “Whoever,” and the werewolf that had terrorized the small community was nothing more than a crook who was attempting to scare people away while he looked for hidden treasure. It was great fun, complete with the scaredy-cat antics of teenagers and their faithful canine companion. Mysteries, thrills, chills and the inevitable Scooby Snacks all wrapped up neatly in less than 30 minutes.
In spite of the fact that everyone needs such loyal friends — not to mention a loveable, anthropomorphic talking dog — most mysteries are seldom solved before our corn flakes become soggy.
Real life mysteries and issues, unfortunately, aren’t solved in our pajamas while sitting in front of a television on Saturday mornings. It is possible, I suppose, that Alexander Graham Bell uttered the famous line, “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you,” because he had invented the telephone while watching Fred drive the Mystery Machine through a creepy swamp; but it is highly unlikely. Unless, of course, Mr. Bell was also precognitive and owned a time machine. He invented the telephone in 1876, and the television wasn’t invented until 1922.
Still, as unlikely as this muddled string of comparison and logic might seem, a lot of people use something quite similar when making decisions. The reason for this is not lack of intelligence or even a deliberate desire to make inaccurate decisions.
No one wakes up in the morning determined to throw all of their energy into the most improbable conclusions, or even decide to choose whichever scenario of thought that will put them at odds with others simply out of spite. No, most people desire to come to a conclusion they believe is the right and accurate one, or one which is at least as “right” as anyone else’s conclusion. Most people do not want to be wrong and would be understandably outraged if it were suggested that they did.
What we fail to realize, however, is that regardless of how well we believe we are considering all the facts of a situation or problem, at any given time we could all be any character from the Mystery, Inc. group. We might think we are the extremely logical Velma — or the fashionable and attractive Daphne — but we might actually be behaving like the somewhat “twitchy” and reactionary Shaggy.
Perhaps we see ourselves as Fred, who for the most part maintains his cool demeanor and apart from questionable fashion choices (really? An ascot?), at least tries to maintain a level head no matter what his “crew” gets him into. We could even think of ourselves as Scooby Doo but admit it; none of us are actually that cool all of the time.
But before we develop cool van envy, or even a predilection for Scooby Snacks, it might be beneficial to consider that every member of the Mystery Inc. crew works together to unmask the villain before the closing credits. It really does take all kinds of people, and various sources of information or “clues” to solve the mystery. Velma might be (and usually is) the one to tie all of the clues together, but more often than not it is Shaggy’s manic behavior that reveals the clues.
Fred and Daphne might be the ones springing the trap, but Velma helps them design it. And when everyone else is too scared to “put themselves out there” to draw the villain into the trap, well, Scooby “snacks up” and gets the job done. Not a bad trick, really, all while working around commercial interruptions.
The world, of course, is not a cartoon. But the mechanics are still solid, and when everyone works together in a relatively cohesive manner, then problems do get solved. But we have to bring the entire crew together to come up with a solution, and the need for accuracy and credibility is of the utmost importance. If Shaggy didn’t trust Velma, then the Pirate Ghost or other assorted monsters would have “gotten away with it,” and if Velma hadn’t listened to Shaggy then she would have never discovered a single clue, except maybe by accident. And it also pays to remember this; when all of the information was brought together, it was the entire crew that was there to unmask the villain and save the day.
There are a lot of problems and concerns facing us in today’s uncertain world, from social injustice to health pandemics and a suffering economy. We can’t afford to ignore any of these issues, and each of us needs to do what we can to resolve them. And a desire for a quick resolution tied up in a neat little bow can’t be allowed to overshadow the work we need to do in order to get where we need to be. We need to focus on resolution and maintain that focus until we reach it. Real life “monsters” might not just be people in elaborate costumes, but we can still be the reason they “Didn’t get away with it.”