I could never be a politician. . . but I listen to the radio each day and want to try to find a way to inspire our “leaders” to look at the position they’re in and see if there isn’t SOME way they can REALLY try to solve our state’s and county’s problems. . . put together a coalition of good people with good ideas – a blend of races, parties and interests and say, “NO special interests here. . . what can we do to make things better?”

Really, I do find myself day-dreaming about this kind of stuff. How can we lead others to a path of doing for the greater good, to consider alternative ways of solving problems beyond partisan politics and personal gain. You say something like that and people laugh at you. . . so I guess I’ve chosen to spend my time being laughed at. . . and making others laugh.

Back in the early ’80’s I found myself working for Jim Henson’s Muppets and King Features Syndicate on The Muppets Comic Strip. . . and I was 21. I really didn’t know what I wanted to  do with my life yet ( and I’m still not exactly sure)  but I’d accepted a challenge to try out to write a comic strip for the Muppets. . . and won the challenge- so there I was.  .  . along with my brother, Guy- creating a world-wide feature about my favorite entertainment group of the day, the Muppets.  I actually was a member of the Muppets Fan Club at the time. It wasn’t a dream come true scenario, because I’d never dreamed that something like that was possible. . . and suddenly I’m writing a comic strip for 700 newspapers, meeting with Jim Henson and Frank Oz and hob-knobbing with all the greats of the comic strip community, Mort Walker, Dik Browne, Garry Trudeau and so many others.  As suddenly as you’re dropped into a fantasy world like this- the fantasy becomes a reality and a business with deadlines, corporate opinions, pressure. . . wanting to please everyone and trying to learn how to take the criticism.

At some point during the first few years, things got really complicated and I was really doubting myself and my work. . . and then, out of the blue, we got a call from Jerry Juhl, head writer of the Muppets just to tell us we were doing a great job. We talked for a while and I confided my doubts and fears. He listened . . . and then explained that they all felt that way, still. To paraphrase, because my memories not good enough to remember his exact words, he said, ‘every time we write something, or create something, we put ourselves out there -and you’re going to hear from the critics. You’re going to piss somebody off. . .  and they’re the one’s you’re going to hear from. . . NOT the millions of people who are enjoying what you do. They’re just happy you’re there for them everyday. Just believe in yourself, do the best you can and if something doesn’t work, move on and create something else. . .  just do good things and good will come from it.’

So, from that point on- I grew to love and embrace that little space I was fortunate enough to occupy in 700 newspapers – and make it my task of creating something that would bring a smile to whomever was looking into our world that day. That’s a big responsibility, but somehow, it was mine (ours). . .   As they say now, “haters gonna hate.”  Just do good and everything else will take care of itself.

Now, the story doesn’t have a real happy ending, because the “business” of the comic business ended up causing the demise of the Muppets Comic Strip after 5 years of publication. But what an experience it was, and what amazing people to be mentored by. It’s been tough getting back to that place where I have such a huge following and level of success that I had at 21. . . but I’m still trying follow Jim & Frank’s example, and Jerry’s words, “move on and create something else. . . just do good things and good will come from it.” 




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