Peanuts Nostalgia

Peanuts at comics.com

I hit the comic above today off of my Google Reader feed (follow me at ‘billjank’ – mostly I tag stuff about defense-related computer stuff, management idiocy, and a smattering of smart articles about how folks like you and I are getting shafted by both large banks and the Fed. Not that there’s a better solution, but it’s always nice to know with whom you’ve been intimate)

Anyway, Jon (who was in Michigan but is now much closer to the Hudson River) replied that Frazz seemed to be an influence, too.

As much as I love Mallett, I don’t think he’s much of an “influence”, but rather a mirror; a product of the same set of variables that made (warped) me into who I am today.

The next few paragraphs are what I wrote in response. I you might be able to follow it at Google Buzz. If you are, drop me a comment – I’m also trying to see how much of my privacy Buzz gives away.

Frazz is more a mirror. I’d completely forgotten about most of the Peanuts they’ve been running lately.

But, way back in the stone ages, when I was in Elementary School in the Harper Creek school district outside of Battle Creek, Michigan, we were in the midst of the ’70’s economic crash. ALL of the ‘enrichment’ activities for elementary school were cut – no band, no nothing. We played dodgeball two or three times a YEAR as physical education.

As the ‘smart’ kid in the class, I was usually in trouble for not paying attention. But, as I’d read my textbooks from cover to cover under my desk in the first month or two of school, when the teacher would call on me, I’d know the answer, even though I wasn’t paying a whit of attention.

So, they sent me to the library. (In junior high, they started sending me to the computer lab, but this was elementary school, and no-one’d donated any Apple IIe’s yet) And so I read. And read.

I started in about third grade with the picture book section – banged through all the Dr. Seuss, and didn’t bother with much more – no poetry, poor visuals.

Hit the Wizard of Oz series since I’d been in a local theater production as “the Beast Oz” and the King of the Munchkins (no scars on the persona of a short kid there, I tell you).

But the highlight was the Peanuts books. The library may have had absolutely every Peanuts treasury ever released, and I sat there and read every one of them, under the watchful eye of the librarian, who, in hindsight, I think suspected me of being a neo-Nazi, as I devoured all of the WWII books in the place, too.

I think I was open to most of the ideas behind Peanuts before my exile to the library – I was short, slow, and very much a Charlie Brown, if only because Charlie Brown always wanted to be the center of his circle of friends; to make things better than they would turn out without intervention. That was me; hands down.

Man, I love Peanuts.

This probably falls under “Way too much information, particularly from a random “buzz”‘, but I like it.

Why didn’t Charles Shultz ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature?

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