Highlights magazine was a staple of my childhood. Not because we subscribed, but because it was always at the doctor’s office. I lived for the day I could open the magazine and discover that no one had found the hidden pictures yet. Never happened. Most of the time, the page had been ripped out. What kind of parent lets their kid do that? I’ll tell you what kind. A Goofus parent.
Goofus and Gallant. One good, the other evil. Okay, maybe not evil but definitely “not good.” Let’s be honest. With a name like “Goofus,” he never stood a chance.
Apparently the goal of the cartoon is to teach social skills to kids. Something obviously went wrong though, since I’m a writer now, and everyone knows we have no social skills. And I’m sure I’m not alone. See who you identify with in the examples below, and don’t be afraid to embrace your inner Goofusness!
- Gallant invites his friends to come over and discuss his new book. Goofus sits curled in a dark corner fretting over the number of pronouns in his last chapter.
- Gallant skips to the mailbox each day, happy to see his friend the mailman. Goofus peeks out the blinds, sure the mailman just delivered another rejection notice.
- Gallant listens cheerfully to his Grandpa tell stories of the old days. Goofus screams at his Grandpa, “You’re telling. Show, don’t tell!”
- Gallant embraces new technologies. Goofus uses an eighty-pound IBM Selectric as his laptop.
- Gallant enjoys meeting people and making new friends. Goofus spends $1,500 to go to a writer’s conference and then sits on the back row desperately avoiding eye contact with anyone.
- Gallant organizes his day so he can relax in the evening without thinking about writing. Goofus wakes up at 2:00 a.m. remembering he used the same word twice in a sentence—fourteen chapters back.
- Gallant understands every variation of “lay” and “lie” and uses them with impunity. Goofus reworks entire chapters so he doesn’t have to use either one of them.
- Gallant keeps a tidy, organized workspace so his day is more efficient. Goofus is in negotiations with the producers of Hoarders for a spin-off, Writer’s Block: Has Anyone Seen My Desk?
- Gallant maintains his energy level by sipping water and snacking on raw vegetables. Goofus has a warm Diet Coke and a bowl of M&Ms (with the blue ones picked out because they taste funny).
- Gallant has hundreds of friends on Facebook. Real friends. Goofus has a cat named Hemingway and a back support named after his critique partner.
I admit it. I’m a Goofus. Won’t you join me? I’ll be the guy in the back pretending to talk on his cell phone.
So what about it? Got some you want to add? Chime in below with your comments and keep me on my Timbertoes!
With a name like “Goofus,” he never stood a chance. (Tweet this)
Goofus or Gallant. Which writer are you? (Tweet this)
After years in the big city corporate world, Tom Threadgill now lives in a small rural community in the South. When he's not pretending to write, he spends his time puttering around the yard while his dog watches with complete disinterest. His wife tends to agree with the dog. Tom can be reached through his website, TomThreadgill.com or on Facebook.