Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who kidnapped G&G?

You can find a silver lining in just about any disaster, and I just stumbled on an up side to my cancer diagnosis.

Getting cancer has required me to spend a lot of time in doctor's waiting rooms, and hanging out in doctor's waiting rooms means that I have caught up with Highlights for Children, and leafing through Highlights for Children has opened my eyes to a terrible injustice.

Who is responsible for what has happened to Goofus and Gallant?!

Don't worry, I'm not charging that any homicides have been committed. Irresponsible Goofus and kind Gallant are still featured in Highlights, as they have been for the past 61 years.

But you would barely recognize the 2009 version of Goofus and Gallant from the G&G who I grew fond of whenever I spent time in a doctor's office as a kid.

You remember what G&G were like.

Gallant was always beaming and Jesus-like, holding doors open for his friends, and careful not to let wax build up in his ears.

Goofus, on the other hand, always looked like he had just tumbled out of bed, wore clothes that appeared to be smeared in dog waste, and usually had his middle finger cocked into position to flip the bird at his teacher, the neighborhood pastor or an invalid needing an escort across the street.

That, at least, is the Goofus and Gallant of my memory.

The other day at Kaiser, I picked up a current copy of Highlights and started to flip through its pages to see what Goofus and Gallant were up to these days.

Click on the links in the preceding two paragraphs and take a look, will ya?

Get a close look at the 2009 version of Goofus and Gallant. Can you even tell them apart?!

I sure can't. If I had to choose, I'd say that the kid in the green shirt in Goofus because his hair is not neatly parted, and Gallant is the guy wearing red, but what's up with the dippy expression on Goofus' face?

Where's Goofus' rebelliousness? His insolence? The defiance of everything his goody-two-shoes brother stands for?

Somewhere along the way, Highlights sucked the drama out of the Goofus and Gallant saga. Goofus still has top billing in the feature, but the boys today might as well be physically interchangeable.

It appears that Goofus and Gallant's slide began in 1994, when the artists who draw the feature tossed out their black charcoal in favor of colored pencils. Then just four years ago, they switched from sketching with pencils to computer graphics.

Well, this cannot stand.

As soon as I get cancer out of my system and I get my tongue back, I intend to do a lot of ranting about this gross injustice, probably starting with calling for an Amber Alert to raise public awareness of the abduction of the Goofus and Gallant we know and love.

I may fail at getting Highlights to resurrect classic Goofus and Gallant in their pages, but I don't intend to give in so easily.

AARP is another staple on the end tables in the doctor's offices that I frequent. So why not petition AARP to come up with a new updated version of G&G?

In this telling of the G&G story, their biological clocks would not be frozen five years shy of puberty. Their ages would be naturally represented at 68, as they would be if they had grown up at the same pace as everyone else.

In my version, Goofus would smear Crisco on the wheels of the walkers of all the residents of the nursing home, grind up Viagra and mix it into Gallant's Metamucil . . . you get the picture.

I think a geriatric Goofus and Gallant could really take off. But first, we gotta expose those two imposters in Highlights.

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