WHAM-O….Mourning a real hero

Bothered by the hub-bub around the death of a certain music “superstar” I was inspired to reblog one of my old posts (like Jan. 22, 2008 old) on the death of someone REALLY inspirational:

Amidst all news stories of racism, politics, the tumbling value of the dollar (which had very little value for me anyway), the train wreck parents and crumbling sibilance of humanity there was a story hidden in the pages of the New York Times that energized my wistful heart.

the guy from wham-o died.

now i was not overjoyed that he died BUT i was moved to tears (which admittedly is not hard) by his story.

I imagined him as the kind of kid that could not sit still. too full of ideas and schemes to keep his mouth shut. Bright and intelligent but not in the banker or bankable way. He probably had his nose put in the corner more than a few times.

I imagined him like a mischievous Opie or the twins from Harry Potter.

I imagined him being told he’d never amount to anything. to get his head out of the clouds and to focus on arithmetic and sit still and sit up straight and eat your peas etc. etc. etc.

And he probably did what he was told. Most of the time.

but then somehow, somewhere; he and a buddy got the notion to make sling shots of the highest quality to inflict no doubt the maximum damage on squirrels and shatter the serenity of a calm lake with a pound – a smack – and a wave of ripples that tilted the very equilibrium of the planet. They sold these things, slowly at first and then enough to buy ad’s in comics.

The orders poured in and the rest is history.

This guy made a career out of creating not only fun things but things literally designed to get kids in trouble and push the envelope.

Things other companies dared touch (a flying piece of plastic/ a dangerously bouncy ball) Wham-O embraced and delighted every single kid from the Beaver to Hannah Montana.

i want to be like this man.

i want to never back down, sit up straight, study arithmetic.

o.k. maybe i should sit up straight.

but wouldn’t it be great if little bits of our life could retain that stubborn sense of wonder.

that we could keep the glimmer and magic and whimsy. (even while sitting in a corner office, wearing khaki pants and operating an excel spreadsheet)

Richard Knerr died last week. His son said in an NPR interview one of his fathers proudest days was when the super ball was banned in schools nationwide because it was breaking classroom windows.

WHAM-O indeed!

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