Crazy Ideas For Our Times
By Sandy Compton
The theme song for “Welcome Back Kotter” has run through my head all week. If you remember the show, you a.) are likely getting old and b.) had questionable taste in television at least sometime in your life. “Welcome Back” showed when The Boss recorded “57 Channels and Nothin’ On.”
Now there are 570 channels-plus, and less on, but we’ll save television for another moment.
If you don’t remember the show, you may be a.) too young, b.) old enough to forget, or c.) someone who didn’t watch television in the ‘70s, ‘80s or whenever.
In the series, Kotter was a guy who returned to his high school alma mater as a teacher and had John Travolta in his class. It was that long ago. Kotter himself was sort of a screw-up in school, but he managed to get his act together, get a teaching degree and was now back.
Like the Reader’s back. Sort of.
What this has to do with the return of the Reader, I’m not sure, but if I thought about it long enough, I could probably draw some parallels. So, I won’t.
Somehow, I’ve managed to talk Olson and Rasmusson into allowing me to write an occasional column for the new Reader. Like I need the money. (You do not know how funny that is!)
OK, I need the practice. Writers always need practice.
I also need a new focus. I’ve been writing The Scenic Route for about as long as “Welcome Back Kotter” has been off the air (although, with 570 channels-plus, I’m sure it’s in syndication somewhere). So, I came up with a new name, which may win—temporarily, at least—new readers—for me and the Reader. Readers for the Reader. I like it.
I confess. I don’t live in Sandpoint. But I hang out here a lot. I live, instead, on the verge, the edge, the facing pages, the border of Idaho and Montana. I also live between Hope and Paradise, but we will save that for another moment, also.
The place I live is sort of a crazy place to live. But, it’s not completely crazy. Nor is it completely sane. It’s on the border.
Double entendrés aside, the name came to me in a moment of despera . . . I mean a flash of creative insight—as necessity is to invention, desperation is to creative insight—and I quickly wrote it down.
If you’re not having the occasional moment of desperation, you may be living way too far inside the borders of complete sanity, or what passes for it in our world. You may have too good a job, too nice a house, too many cars, too much in the freezer, and too good a portfolio. So. Share some of it. Maybe even lots of it.
Sort of a crazy idea, I know, but what the hell. There are a whole lot of folks out there who have no job, no house, no car, no freezer—or food to put in it—and think a portfolio is a flat, portable case for carrying loose papers or drawings.
Why would you engage in such craziness? Because then you’ll have to look out of your comfortable, completely sane, cocoon of security and take note of those who have no such thing, who live on the border of complete insanity. All. The. Time. They are right there.
So. Go crazy. Pay attention to your neighbors. Read the Reader. Don’t be too sane.