I’ve been at work for almost two hours now.  I’ve gotten everything prepped, new software has been downloaded and is now installing.  My laptop is pissing me off because it keeps pausing and stopping every few minutes.  I’ve turned off everything that’s running in the background, all the groovy things that I use in my day-to-day operations, and it still keeps doing it.

     Usually during this time I’d be checking the news sites and stuff.  Keeping up on what’s going on in the industry.  Seeing what kind of new disasters are striking the world.  Aside from a tropical storm off the coast of Texas, I’m not aware of much.  I don’t actually like reading the news because it’s depressing.


     Time to stalk the vending machines and see if I can’t hunt down something to eat.


     An Apple Strudel Pop-Tart.  Yum.


     I have opted not to eat lunch today.  Not a normal lunch, anyway.  Instead, I will be trying to whittle down this four pound bucket of Red Vines.


     Eating a bucket of Red Vines is not a good idea, no matter how hungry you are.  Moderation is the key.


     Part of my job is doing a little bit of web surfing here and there, to make sure everything is working correctly.  Usually I do a round of established sites that I normally visit.  Sometimes I get creative.

     Today I thought it would be amusing to read some articles about candy bars on Wikipedia.  Chocolate bars led to the York Peppermint Patty, and that led to Peppermint Patty from the Charlie Brown comic strip.

     While I could read and write well enough when I was a young child, I never really exercised the skills.  While my older sister was reading through books like a wiz, I would spend my time reading comics.  Not comic books, like Spiderman, but comics like B.C., Wizard of Id and, most importantly, Charlie Brown.

     I collected Charlie Brown paperbacks.  I knew what I had, what I had read, and could even tell you which book a strip came from if I were shown it.  I would also choose the books carefully because the paperbacks were collections from other, larger, books that I had never seen.  I would try and pick books that didn’t come from a larger work that I already had books from.  I was a Charlie Brown paperback expert.

     This annoyed my dad to no end, because he thought I should be reading real books.  My older sister would snort derisively at my choices, as we left the bookstore, clutching the newest Anne McCaffery or Alan Dean Foster novel.

     As I got older and the strip grew older I came to like it less, noting more of a religious flavor in the strip.  And, like any kid, I didn’t think it was “cool” to like it very much.  But even now, if I’m not feeling well, I would like to just curl up in bed and read Charlie Brown strips all day long.  Sadly, it’s nothing I can do now because I no longer have all of my books.

     It’s unfair, though, to look down at this.  I’m mostly happy with the person I am today and I couldn’t say with confidence that I would be this person if I had not read so many Charlie Brown strips.

     It was in those strips that I got an introduction to philosophy, religion, manners (specifically, other characters made Charlie Brown feel like crap – why would I want to make people feel that way?), the meaning of different holidays, that people should open their hearts more to kids who may be less privileged.

     At a young age I knew what depression was, because C.B. would often say he was depressed.  This, in turn, helped me deal with depression as a child because I knew what it was and could find a way to deal with it. 

     Charlie Brown, and the rest of the gang, helped me get through life.  Not in a drastic, dramatic way but in a long, slow, helping period.  It’s when I read the old strips and remember things that were going on when I read them previously that I remember just how it was that they were helpful.

     Of course, I picked up a few negative qualities also, I’m sure.  A lack of confidence here and there, although that could be attributed to other circumstances as well.  But maybe, if Charlie Brown had been a bit more assertive, I’d be a bit more assertive, too.  We’ll never know.

     Either way, Charlie Brown has made an on-going impact on my life, and I don’t know that I would want to give that up.