We latch onto our childhood when we reach adulthood. We love the feeling of nostalgia and creating relationships based on the things we loved. As we grow up we put our childhood loves on the backburner because we are afraid of how others will perceive us. However, for me when I got to college I was fine with talking about the things I loved as a kid and one thing that always came up was the love of "SpongeBob SquarePants." It's funny how a show that has been on the air for almost 20 years is still viewed as a treasure but also loved by so many people. "SpongeBob" made not only my childhood but also several others. That is what made this morning a little harder for me when I found out that the brilliant man who created "SpongeBob Squarepants" lost his battle with ALS.
There are so many approaches I can take with this article. I can talk about how Stephen Hillenburg combined his love of marine biology and art to create one of the best television programs of the 1990s and 2000s or how so many people loved his show but I want to focus on something different. When I was a kid my dad told me the story of when he met Leonard Nimoy at an event. Nimoy was best known for his role as Spock on "Star Trek" and at the end of the event people approached Nimoy and said how much they loved him in "Star Trek." When it was my dad's turn to meet Nimoy instead of saying something about Spock my father said: "I really enjoyed your book, Mr. Nimoy." Being the 8-year-old I was I asked my dad why he said something like in which he responded with "I wanted to say something different and show him that I saw him more than just a TV character or actor."
Looking back on this story I can attribute this to how I view Hillenburg. People will always remember Hillenburg for "SpongeBob" and how many lives he changed but I will remember him for all the laughs and impressions he left on everyone.
Hillenburg was an innovator and created something nobody had ever done before. He wanted to make the sea fun for children and did exactly that. He took a big gamble and made something that will last for everyone of different ages. At several parties, I have gone to in college, "SpongeBob" is always a topic of discussion and I would not change it for anything. Thank you, Stephen Hillenburg, for the conversation starter for people who don't know how to start one. Thank you for giving the children and now adults something to connect over. Most importantly thank you for everything you did with SpongeBob and outside of "SpongeBob." Something that people might have been hesitant to have gotten involved in turned out to be bigger than expected. "SpongeBob" teaches us lessons that we might not realize but he also displays happiness and support to everyone (even if Squidward is not a fan).
You used your imagination. Something that we sometimes forget or take for granted. You want us to hold on to that inner kid when we grow up but you also want us to move on. You taught us that even if sometimes we might feel like Squidward we will always have the heart of SpongeBob. You made Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke best friends in "SpongeBob" and in real life. What you did was magical and it can never be replaced. So thank you. Thank you for giving me a part of my childhood. Thank you for showing us the true meaning of friendship and most importantly thank you for this masterpiece. Though I never got the chance to meet you I know that the people who did have nothing but good things to say. You taught us the importance of risks and how the biggest ones can turn into amazing things.