by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
February 19, 2004
THE ADVENTURES OF LETTERMAN
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Erik has been out of the office this week, so we are reprinting an old column from 1997.
As a father, I worry about things I never used to. I worry about what any parent worries about: are the kids healthy, are we feeding them right, is that Barney the Purple Dinosaur I hear on the tv?
I also worry that my daughters are going to start dating earlier than I want (about 40 years too early), or that she is going to grow up and make me known across the world as "the father of the biggest serial killer in the entire world," or worst of all, marry an accountant.
When I was a child, my biggest concern was that I didn't miss "Sesame Street" or "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." My one-year-old sister and I watched them every day. But we never ever missed The Electric Company.
My favorite segment was the Adventures of Letterman. Letterman was a football player, and his costume was a varsity letterman's sweater. Coincidentally, the letter on his sweater would be the very letter featured in this episode.
There was also an evil villain, SpellBinder, who looked like Boris from the Bullwinkle the Moose Show. Spellbinder liked to change items into other items with his magic wand. Many of these items had captions, telling the viewer what they were. For example, a container of French fries had the label "snack" above it. So Spellbinder would change some letters of the word, which changed the item itself.
One unlucky man would sit down at a table, ready to enjoy his "snack" of fries. But Spellbinder had other plans. He would zap his magic wand, changing the "snack" into a ... "SNAKE!"
The snake would immediately wrap itself around the poor man, and he would squeak out a choked cry of help, as Spellbinder chuckled evilly. (I never did figure out what he was actually trying to accomplish, but he seemed to enjoy it.)
It seemed that the victim's cries would go unheard, but wait! One person did hear him: Letterman!
"Faster than a rolling O, more powerful than a silent E, able to leap a capital T in a single bound, it's a bird, it's a plan, it's LETTERMAN!" the announcer would announce, as Letterman raced off to help the victim. (Letterman was apparently attending Calvin Klein University this time, because he had a 'CK' on his sweater.)
But Spellbinder was ready for him. Not only was the snake big enough to crush one helpless victim, he wrapped himself around Letterman too.
"Oh no, what will happen to our literary hero?!" my sister would cry out. Actually, she made gurgly noises and pooped in her diaper, but I knew what she meant.
Well, Letterman wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, so it didn't occur to him right away that the means to his salvation was on his own chest. But soon, the idea would hit him, and he acted.
The announcer would tell us, "Tearing the 'CK' from his varsity sweater, and placing it over the 'KE', he changes the snake back into a snack!!"
I decided this was the coolest thing ever, so I told my mom I wanted to be Letterman, and detailed my plan. She cut out a few letters - two M's, an L, and an O. She taped three of them to the wall, and spelled LOM, and taped the other M to my chest.
Spellbinder had changed my mother into a Lom! I didn't know what that was, but it was pretty nasty - purple and green, with slimy tentacles and three eyes coming out of its neck. My mother, always willing to play along with insanity whenever she recognized it, even did the announcer's voice.
I coached her for several minutes on how this worked, so when she said, "faster than a rolling O, stronger than a silent E," I raced into the living room out of the kitchen with the extra "M" proudly emblazoned (taped) to my varsity sweater (Kool-Aid stained t-shirt).
I gave my mom a break and did the rest of the announcer's voice: "Tearing the 'M' from his varsity sweater, placing it over the 'L', he changes the Lom back into Mom!" Mom cheered and thanked me profusely, and assured me that she was very happy to no longer be a Lom.
That was good for me, because Lom's don't give cookies to their sons.