Tom or Jerry?

From time to time, I try to spare sometime to restore my Bandicoot powers by playing some video games. You know, Family Game back in my day was much more fun that Play Station now. Really, I love Crash Team Racing but not as much as I was fond of Super Mario, I could never get enough of that. I think there must be a reason, it just doesn’t make sense.

So, my brothers told me that they’ve got a new Tom & Jerry game. They said it was very fun, so I decided to try it. I told my little brother to put the CD for me and do all the necessary stuff, for when it comes to playing video games I like to grab the joy stick and get on with the game, I pretend I don’t know how to do the wiring, and I prefer not to bother with as much as putting the CD in the driver. I think it’s obvious since I suppose I’m not even using the right terms.

Anyway, the game started with a selection. You have to choose either Tom or Jerry to be your player. I don’t remember how I made the choice, but I went with Tom. As I started the game, my little brother who’s always an eager-beaver whenever one of us shows interests in his video games, asks me this:

“Ola, who do you like better, Tom or Jerry?”

I must say it wasn’t an easy question to answer. That’s the way it is with my little brother. He asks you this question expecting a straight-forward answer but in fact he leaves you puzzled because you can’t give him one. Just like the time he was asking me about the Gulf War. What answers can you give a little boy for questions like: How could an Arab country invade another Arab country? Tayyeb who won, Iraq or Kuwait?

So, his question about Tom & Jerry wasn’t any less puzzling for me. It got me thinking: Really, why is Jerry the good guy by default? Why does he always win? Let’s try to set the record straight here:

Jerry is a mouse. A rodent. A parasite carrier. He spreads germs and digs holes in the walls. He steals food. Tom, on the other hand, is a cat. A pet. A domestic animal. He’s supposed to catch Jerry. Now, why would we think of him as evil just because he tries to do his job? And how come Jerry always gets away with everything he does? And why would he steal Tom’s sweetheart if he’s a mouse and she’s a cat?!   On a higher, more general level, it got me thinking: Why do we try to judge each of them as “good” or “bad. Worse yet, why do we insist that if one of them is good, then the other should be bad. In fact, when I thought of it, none of them came out as bad. So it made me think that maybe it’s the same way we judge people. People don’t have to be good or bad. People can always have a good side and a not-very-good or even bad one. Many times one side overshadows the other. The difference is that when the good overshadows the bad, you don’t have to look for the bad, just focus on the apparent good side. Sadly though, sometimes we tend to do the opposite. While when the good is overshadowed by the bad, we claim it’s not our responsibility to exert any effort in seeking the good side, and that we only deal with what is shown to us.

Maybe I’m being very philosophical here, but go ahead, ask yourself the question: Tom or Jerry? As for me, I don’t think I have to make up my mind about that. All I know is that when I was playing that game, it felt SO GOOD mashing Jerry’s skull.

Originally posted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 on


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