I’ll never forget the first time I saw the comical heavyweight, Chris Farley. It was in the now classic SNL sketch where he plays ‘Barney’, a hopeful Chippendale auditioning in a dance-off against ‘Adrian’ (Patrick Swayze). After exchanging 90 seconds of wild exotic dancing (and physical slapstick), Judge Kevin Nealon dryly delivers the let-down,

“Barney, we all agreed your dancing was great and your presentation was very sexy. I guess. I guess in the end we all thought that Adrian’s body was just much, much better than yours. You see, it’s just that at Chippendales our dancers have traditionally had that lean, muscular, healthy physique. Like Adrian’s. Whereas yours is, well – fat and flabby.”

Farley knew he was fat and certainly those he worked with knew it, but his ability to combine naïveté and playful innocence with intense physical humor made him hard to ignore.


I remember watching classic episodes of Hanna-Barbera’s ‘Scooby Doo, Where Are You!’ as a kid and predicting the actions of the main characters, based on their distinct personalities. Once the formula was established, every episode practically wrote itself. — Gang stumbles upon mystery. Shaggy and Scooby get scared. Shaggy and Scooby get hungry. Shaggy and Scooby eat. Shaggy and Scooby get scared, again. Fred leads. Daphne looks beautiful. Velma geeks out. Shaggy and Scooby save the day powered by Scooby Snacks. Gang solves mystery and unmasks suspect. Suspect would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for these meddling kids. Gang goes out for food. — Seems simple enough, but what if the character roles were mysteriously reversed?


My kids never experienced the elementary lift-top combo desk. You know, where the seat and the desk were one? For six years we sat and learned in the desk equivalent of an old iron-seat tractor, only less comfortable. I doubt Herman Miller came up with this painful melding of wood and metal, but whoever did comfort wasn’t a priority. That flip-top cubby was more like a car trunk which held a stash of loose papers, broken crayons, eraser crumbs and pencil shavings that grew exponentially as the year wore on. Throw in the accidentally left-open Elmer’s glue bottle (no doubt because you had been smoothing it over the palm of your hand and peeling it off like dead skin when the teacher caught you) and the inside of your desk was most likely to get wallpapered with your math homework.