I was a kid in the 80's and a young teen in the 90's. Back in those days there was a show called "Batman: The Animated Series". This show came fresh on the heels of the 90's blockbuster movie, "Batman Returns" and it was extremely popular. This show won Emmys. It boasted excellent animation (for the time) and even better writing and voice acting.
But I like to think that Batman TAS taught you something. Either through Batman's actions or the actions of his villains, there was always some subtle lesson to be learned.
One of my favorite antagonists on the show was Mr. Freeze.
If you aren't familiar with the show or the character, I'll give you some background.
Victor Fries, was a scientist specializing in Cryogenics. His beloved wife, Nora was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In order to save her, Victor kept her in a cryotube to freeze her until a cure could be found. Just as he was about to discover a cure, Victor suffered a terrible accident that rendered him unable to survive outside of a subzero environment. He developed a robotic suit that kept his body temperature 50 degrees below zero allowing him to survive. However, the suit triples his strength and slows his aging, making him practically immortal. After his accident, Victor Fries dons the title, "Mr. Freeze". He turns to a life of crime to exact vengeance on those who caused his accident and to continue to raise funds to find a cure to save his wife.
Now why was Mr. Freeze one of my favorite antagonists on the show?
Because he wasn't necessarily a villain. Yes, Mr. Freeze robbed banks and took people hostage just like the Joker and The Penguin, but what differed from the others was his motivation for doing so. He was a desperate, depressed man, doing what he felt he had to in order to save his wife. While others wanted riches and glory, Mr. Freeze just wanted peace.
One particular episode, called "Deep Freeze" contained a line of dialog that has stuck with me for years.
In this scene, Mr. Freeze is having a conversation with a man named Grant Walker, a very wealthy man (but also very old) who wants to live forever. He wants Mr. Freeze to recreate the experiment that caused his Below Zero condition so that he too can become immortal.
Grant Walker: Do you realise that in your half-frozen state, you will age more slowly than an ordinary human? You're practically immortal, my friend!
Mr. Freeze: Yes, eternal life trapped in this wretched shell! What a miserable joke.
Grant Walker: Miserable to you, but a godsend to me. Look at me, Mr. Freeze, I'm an old man. I've created wonders in my lifetime, but there is still so much to do! I want to change as you have. To become, like you, a being of blessed, eternal cold.
Mr. Freeze: You're insane.
Grant Walker: Only you know how to duplicate the accident that made you what you are. What I long to become!
Mr. Freeze: (grabs him) You want to live like this? Abandoned and alone? A prisoner in a world you can see but never touch? (drops him and turns away) Old and infirm as you are, I'd trade a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day.
That line changed my life.
"I'd trade everything for your worst day."
Look around you. There are people everywhere who would trade everything they have now, have had in the past, and what they hope to gain in the future for what you have at this very instant.
You don't like your job? Some people at this moment are unemployed and would love to have your position.
Wish you had a bigger house? There are homeless people right now who wouldn't mind living where you do.
Don't like the way your body looks? Visit a burn ward sometime and you'll see that the acne you have is nothing in comparison to what some people have to endure.
Be thankful for everything. Your life may not be where you want it to be. But it could always be worse.
Learn to want what you already have and you will find that you are more fortunate than you originally believed.
All the best,
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(Mr. Freeze Image is Property of Warner Bros.)