I also loved reading the newspaper comics page, especially the Sunday edition and its colorful, over-sized drawings.
Thanks to an ingenious product known as Silly Putty, I could spend an entire afternoon with the Sunday comics. I would take the putty, slap it on a favorite comic strip, press hard, and pull away, capturing an image of the strip.
And that’s when the fun really started, because by stretching the putty I could distort the image. By the time I was done with stout and bearded Bluto, he was as thin as an Abba-Zaba bar at a taffy-pulling contest.
My favorite indoor pastime, however, was a word game a friend and I played, long before “Words with Friends” became popular. We would comb through a dictionary for a long word, find one and write it at the top of a sheet of paper.
Next, writing furiously and separately for thirty minutes or more, we would compose as many words as we could think of, using only the letters at the top of the page.
“Antidisestablishmentarianism,” clocking in at a long 28 letters, was our favorite starter word. We were told it was the longest word in the English language and had no reason to doubt it.
One day my partner-in-words brought in a medical dictionary and that single change lifted our game to an entirely new level. That’s when we discovered the word:
Those early years were influential but, oddly enough, I didn’t grow up to become a sales rep for Big Pharma.
From working as a journalist in the United States Navy to teaching English composition at a small university, from magazine cartooning and screenwriting to crafting user manuals and marketing materials in the high tech industry, I remained loyal to my roots.
I was a “word and picture” kind of guy from the get-go. Still am.
What pre-Internet word or picture activities did you pursue?