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Dec 11 / Michael

“Speed of lightning, roar of thunder…”

underdog

I have always considered myself an underdog. This is debatable, but let me present the case for: I was born dyslexic with a speech impediment and grew up in a broken family without much money in a small town. I was also plagued by bad haircuts. I was aware of this status from a very young age, and one of the ways I know that is because I always loved the cartoon Underdog, especially the show’s fantastic theme song. The first time I saw it was electrifying and revelatory. I practically stood up in my footed pajamas and cheered.

I have always been a law-and-order, do-the-crime-do-the-time sort of person, and I think one of the reasons, honest to God, is this song/show. It begins: “When criminals in this world appear/And break the laws that they should fear…” Made sense to me. Simon Bar Sinister had no respect for the law, and I was glad when Underdog put the smack down on him. I wanted to do the same thing.

As a kid, I associated Underdog’s straight-laced, goody-two-shoes persona with my own perceived underdog status. I just conflated the two. That is what it meant to be an underdog: to fight the good fight, to defeat the bad guys even though they have all of the tanks and lab coats. Those are the sort of fundamental values that basically amount to personality traits. They can set like cement at that age. In my case, they set in the shape of an heroic cartoon mutt.

shoeshine
In his guise as the “humble, lovable” Shoeshine Boy.
I had the same glasses!

As I grew up, I could pick and choose narratives that reinforced this idea. From the rabbits on the run in Watership Down to Rocky to Rudy to Oliver Twist to Pip to Harry Potter to the Island of Misfit Toys to a million others, they are not hard to find. The Red Sox, Patriots, and Whalers (R.I.P.) were all underdogs back then, and I felt bound to them by biography as well as geography.

And sure, the Sox and Pats make less convincing underdogs these days. So do I. But let’s not forget, Underdog could fly.

4 Comments

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  1. Michael / Dec 11 2009

    The complete lyrics of the Underdog Theme, written in the timeless language of Awesome and recorded here faithfully:

    When criminals in this world appear,
    And break the laws that they should fear,
    And frighten all who see or hear,
    The cry goes up both far and near for
    Underdog,
    Underdog,
    Underdog,
    Underdog.

    Speed of lightning, roar of thunder,
    Fighting all who rob or plunder
    Underdog, Underdog.

    When in this world the headlines read
    Of those who’s hearts are filled with greed
    And rob and steal from those in need.
    To right this wrong with blinding speed goes
    Underdog,
    Underdog,
    Underdog,
    Underdog.

    Speed of lightning, roar of thunder,
    Fighting all who rob or plunder
    Underdog, Underdog.

  2. Herb Arrellin / Jun 17 2011

    “Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!”

  3. Eldon Romney / Aug 4 2021

    My favorite all-time theme song, I sing it sometimes to my grandchildren and others who can’t get away! Thanks for reminding me!

  4. Michael / Aug 5 2021

    I love it too! Keep sharing the wealth!

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