By Keith Fisher
"Good Morning mister Phelps." What we will attempt today will both delight and astound you. We will enter into the realm of the unimaginable, the unbelievable, we will cross over into the . . . TWILIGHT ZONE.
But before we go where no man has gone before and listen to a story about a man named Jed, we must admit that we love Lucy and that life is a holiday on primrose lane.
Now if you were born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, or lost in space, you must realize that there is danger, Will Robinson. If we climb every mountain we can laugh at the danger with a spoon full of sugar. Don’t worry little buddy you can take great comfort in knowing that father knows best and that Darby O’Gill is holding the king captive in a sack.
So before we say goodnight John Boy, or help Alexis out of the fountain, let us remember that when you wish upon a star, all your days will be happy days. You can take comfort in knowing that there are a million stories in the naked city and suicide is painless but there will be truth or consequences. The price is right and the days of our lives will be free from a visit to the General Hospital.
When Andy whistles or Fonzie says "Ayyy," take comfort in knowing that Hoss and Ben will help Joe and Adam out of the bear trap. None of them will ever get married and break those family ties.
Before you ask, "What you talkin ‘bout, Willis?" Let me explain:
Like many of you, I was raised on media. Most of us can remember plots from Leave It To Beaver, Gilligan’s Island, and Mash, only to name a few. We remember Eddie Haskell’s classic saying: "I tell Lumpy’s mom the same thing but I don’t really mean it Mrs. Cleaver." We ask ourselves, why did the Howell’s bring luggage on a three-hour tour? We cried when Henry Blake was killed. We even felt sorry for Frank when Hot-lips married someone else.
If you are like me you have a hard drive in your head, filled to overflowing with cliches and tunes, metaphors and characters that dictate who you are and why you react the way you do to certain stimuli. When I whistle the tune to the Andy Griffith Show, I bet your mind wanders to a laid back time. A time when walking in bare feet all summer was okay and night games were played with all the neighborhood kids.
Even if you were born in a later decade, you will think of Andy and Floyd sitting on a bench watching people go by and One Bullet Barney, up to his shenanigans.
When I say Shazbot! What do you think of? When I raise my hand high into the air and say, "ew ew" who am I imitating? When I talk about Tom and Huck in the graveyard at midnight, can you tell me why they were there? Why was Romeo standing outside looking up at a window? It’s all in your head and whatever you are is a result of your programming.
As writers we are bound by what we can write. When we use a metaphor we can’t say, Adam was selfish and self-centered like JR Ewing in Dallas. But we know what the character was like. We can’t say the castle looked like Hogwarts in Harry Potter. Our metaphors must be clean with our own language but the reference is in our brain. We remember what JR was like and we know what Hogwarts looked like, so we can describe it.
We live in the 21st century with the hard-drives in our heads full of the metaphors of our youth. A lifetime of seeing things on TV and in movies. Of reading descriptions and listening to stories. We are better off than the great writers of the past. We have all those memories to draw from. Add our own personal experiences to the mix and our understanding of language, and we are invincible. We are writers, hear us roar.