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All The Different Me’s: Childhood Dreams

I fondly and distinctly remember myself in my pre-school years. I was glued to the television. The stories I was told were:

* I learned to read from the TV, because commercials back then featured close-ups of the product package, with the announcer saying the name.

* I preferred commercials to content. “You’d ride your trike in circles during the program, then stop and watch the commercials with rapt attention,” my mother told me.

But clearly I watched TV and listened to radio. I wanted to be a disc jockey, or a TV host in the manner of Jack Paar, Steve Allen or Art Linkletter. Which is to say my fantasy was that I was down in the audience, sticking a mic in people’s faces and asking them to talk on the “Pauli Schindler Show.”

I taped a string to a spoon, which I used for a microphone. Brooms were cameras, operated by my little brother Steve. It is tough to shoot a program with just one camera, but we managed it.

Apparently, I listened to the Stan Freberg Show (the last network comedy show) when I was five years old, because 14 years later, I stole from it in creating The New Eugene Oregon Show, at a time when those shows were not available in full.(I was also blessed with the opportunity to interview Freberg for an hour at his home for a profile in AdWeek).

I wrote a 140-page novel one summer on my mom’s Olympia portable. I was a self-taught typist, but still managed about 60 words a minute. The novel, Vernon Jones, Super-Scientific Detective was modeled after The Hardy Boys and my father’s collection of 40’s Tom Swift books. I had what I would later understand to be carpal tunnel syndrome from all those hours of typing, and wore my arm in a sling for six weeks that summer (probably about 1965). I later made the novel into a 10-part radio series on KBPS. No copy of the novel or the radio series exists. Personality wise, it shows my interest in writing and me obsessive nature.

I was apparently cute as a button, according to pictures: an average of three a year; the 1950’s were different times, two at Christmas and one on vacation (I have no idea what I looked like when I was just hanging around at home). I also had expert testimony on the subject from friends of the family. I was chubby, but not fat. I was a loquacious, precocious, curious young man who read early and never hid his light under a bushel. Even as a pre-schooler, it was said I lit up a room when I entered it.

This and That

”Don’t Pet The Sweaty Stuff Followup
Last week’s column included some old advice I received: “Don’t sweat the petty stuff and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.” If you don’t read comments, you will have missed Robert Malchman’s: “If you haven't petted the sweaty stuff, you've missed out massively.”

For some reason the word “dast” popped into my head this week. It means “dare” as in “I dast not go.” It fell out of common usage by the turn of the 20th century. According to the Internet: “Dast” is a bit of American dialect that's found in plays and novels depicting working-class or countrified speech. Sometimes it means “dare” (or “dares”), sometimes “dared,” and sometimes the tense is ambiguous or irrelevant.”

Starfish Story―Every Effort Counts

This story, used by Tamara Levitt on the Daily Calm app, is a cousin of “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It sounds ancient, but was actually written as the 60’s ended, by Loren Eiseley (NOT anonymous). Here is the original starfish story.

But like all good quotations, it becomes more concise with repetition. With due credit to the author, here is the Reader’s Digest condensed version (35 words shorter than the original)

I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough, I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on the beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled and hurled a starfish far into the sea, saying, "It makes a difference for this one."