Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My 10 percent is swimming

You know those catch phrases that never escape your brain, stuck there for life, popping up when you least expect it? If you're old enough to remember the "After School Special," then you'll probably recall this self-help mantra, from "The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon":

"You can do it Duffy Moon, you can do it!"

To this day, when faced with a dreaded task, I can't help but be reminded of 'ol Duffy. And I hate self-help mantras.

The only other "After School Special" that I remember is "My Mom's Having a Baby," which debunked the whole stork theory, one I wasn't ready to have debunked. Damn meddling media!

I'm not sure if "The Wave" -- that middle school literary staple about a teacher's brush with fascism -- was part of the "After School Special" stable, though I do recollect a TV version. If memory serves, the book was better.

And speaking of childhood tomes, did anyone else read the wholesome sports books written by Matt Christopher? My favorite was "Catcher with a Glass Arm":

Jody just can't bring himself to throw hard, so the ball usually falls short of its mark. Taunts of "catcher's got a glass arm" echo in his ears. Then injury is added to insult when he's beaned by a wild pitch -- and suddenly he's having trouble hitting as well as throwing. What good is a ball player who's afraid of the ball?

I was a big Beverly Cleary fan, too ("Beezus and Ramona," "Otis Spofford" ...).

The gold standard, of course, was Judy Blume's "Superfudge." Shameful that I probably read more as a fourth grade nothing than I do now.

Are you there God? It's me, ATL malcontent ...

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