Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Local Man Writes For Highlights Magazine

I was at the doctor's office yesterday, and I think there was a slip up. I was left in one of the little holding cells they have and apparently forgotten.

I was sitting there, 40-45 minutes or something, thinking, How come no one ever comes into this room for a normal errand, let alone to check on me?

After that whole time, I heard the doctor in the hallway saying he was done with me, they came in and directed me out, and the doctor said he was sorry about that. As angry as I could've been, I was actually relieved, because it answered a question I'd always had, which is whether you're under video surveillance in there. It turns out you're not.

But while there, I had plenty of time to look at the magazines. I looked through the "Entertainment" magazine, then the "National Geographic." Finally I was down to the "Highlights" magazine for kids. Which turned out to be more fascinating than the others.

It's been a long time since I've looked at this magazine! I'm so old the doc used to bring it with him when he made house calls. And even back then they had hidden pictures where you had to find things, like the crank to Grandpa's car and Grandma's war bonds.

Looking through it, the Feb. 2010 issue (so we're right up to date!), I was very pleased with the fun activities and cute stuff. I was trying one of the Hidden Pictures, and the stuff was very hard to find. Let's say you have to find a ring. It's not just a normal ring laying on the table. It's a ring that is big and doubles as a cup or a planter. And so forth. I'd go insane without the key to the things hidden off to the side.

The page of jokes ... I can't say too many good things about it. The jokes are corny, bad, and stale. Some weren't even jokes, just witty plays on words, like the word "herd" and "heard" as they relate to a herd of cows or hearing cows. They had that old moldy chestnut that 'my teacher yelled at me for something I didn't do ... my homework.' I'm thinking, I could write better stuff than this, maybe I ought to get a job there. But this page of jokes was written by kids (so they claim ... and it's probably true ... although I can see them sneaking in a guy like me, worldly wise and who knows all the moldy chestnuts to write it and just sign it "Billy, age 6.") Anyway, kids aren't psychologically devious enough yet to do humor well.

There was a picture search for homophones. That was wild. Words that are different but sound alike, like "flower" and "flour." Another activity that would take all day to do.

My favorite thing in the magazine was the two page spread of artwork. Some of the kids did some terrific artwork. One of them was a mournful sun over a lonesome beach with a broken down fence stuck in the sand. It was beautiful, and perhaps copied from something in the child's home. I shouldn't say that, because children are geniuses, like Mozart, or myself when I was five. Mozart could write symphonies and I could hum really well.

But the fence was a little too perfect, too evocative of the emotions of forlornness. But the only rule the magazine gave for artwork was that it had to be on unlined paper. It didn't say you couldn't take your inspiration from the picture over the couch. And I don't think they gave an age restriction, so I might submit something. Like a knockoff of this beach scene, if only I could do it half as well.

Also there was a page of poems. Some really good ones, too! The only restriction on this was that it had to come "out of your own head." I can't think of any particular examples but I was impressed.

The kids got to do a creative thing about what creature would come forth from a big egg. The publishers had a big yellow foot sticking out, so naturally most of the creatures the kids pictured, however different in other ways, had one or more big yellow feet on their creatures. I believe there was just one, maybe two, that didn't go with the yellow feet, which had to be wrong in the context, of course, but those are the kind of people I like.

All in all, it was a joy to look through this and know the kids of the world have this magazine. It's just too bad you have to be at the doctor's office to see it. Or you could get a subscription. But since we only associate it with doctor visits, that might cause a lot of false symptoms.

It'd be great as a kid to get a call from someone saying your picture will be in next month's issue. Or your joke. That'd be something I'd keep forever.

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