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My Gnatbook: a little notebook for big ideas

Walt’s comic strip Dang Gnats!™ appears on a gnat-approved journal and notebook now available on Amazon. Here’s a 55-second video peek at this unique, creativity-inspiring product from Walt Now.

It’s true. I’ve long advocated for the power of starting idea lists on paper, connecting to the brain through pen, pencil, or piece of flint. When it came time to make a notebook, it seemed Dang Gnats would be good hosts. Ladies and gentlemen, the Gnatbook.™

Did I mention this is now available on Amazon?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gnatbook-front-cover-656x1024.jpg

Cover of My Gnatbook by Walt Jaschek

Why, yes, it is available on Amazon, thanks for asking.

Gnatbook™ and Dang Gnats™ trademark and copyright Walt Jaschek.

What now? Walt now!

Dramatic Video of Walt Shaving Beard

Yes, I “de-beardify” in today’s episode of “One Minute With Walt.” It took an hour! But I cut it down to 60 seconds. It was time to shave the beard. It was itchy, waaaay too grey, and crooked. Yes, crooked. I think my face has some hidden challenges for a beard. It looks like it … Continue reading Dramatic Video of Walt Shaving Beard

Question about “Surrender” yoga class

In my new YouTube #shorts video, I quickly record a question I had before attending a “Surrender” yoga class. “You need this,” the teacher said… “You need to take my ‘Surrender’ yoga class, said the teacher at my gym, a few seconds after meeting me. What was it, I wonder, that made me seem like … Continue reading Question about “Surrender” yoga class

Customer Service Fail: No “Reciprocity”

Today on the pilot episode of “One Minute With Walt,” some business coaching, and a suggestion for a local nursery to rethink how it handles customer calls. By Walt Jaschek An awkward, surreal moment at a local nursery here in West St. Louis County inspired me to launch a new series of one-minute, vertical videos … Continue reading Customer Service Fail: No “Reciprocity”

Dramatic Video of Walt Shaving Beard

Yes, I “de-beardify” in today’s episode of “One Minute With Walt.” It took an hour! But I cut it down to 60 seconds.

It was time to shave the beard. It was itchy, waaaay too grey, and crooked. Yes, crooked. I think my face has some hidden challenges for a beard. It looks like it was a fake beard pasted on wrong.

But my wife didn’t mind the beard at all. She used the word, “distinguished,” which I’m not. Which look do you prefer? Leave a comment!

True fact and plug: I couldn’t have done this video without Gillette Shaving Cream.

Buy a pack of Gillette Shaving Cream on Amazon!

That’s an affiliate link, thanks very much.

Latest Walt Posts

My Gnatbook: a little notebook for big ideas

Walt’s comic strip Dang Gnats!™ appears on a gnat-approved journal and notebook now available on Amazon. Here’s a 55-second video peek at this unique, creativity-inspiring product from Walt Now. It’s true. I’ve long advocated for the power of starting idea lists on paper, connecting to the brain through pen, pencil, or piece of flint. When … Continue reading My Gnatbook: a little notebook for big ideas

See Ant-Man’s Hank Pym Address the Avengers

“You never call, you never write,” complains the creator of the Pym Particle to the Earth’s mightiest heroes, a #cosplay video #short by Walt Jaschek. I’ve been experimenting with YouTube shorts lately: had a video blow up. (Not this one. Not so far.) But I thought before I shaved this beard off I’d sit down … Continue reading See Ant-Man’s Hank Pym Address the Avengers

McKay: TV Pilot Script in Progress

Oh, those classic detective shows of the 1970s. Cannon. Columbo. Mannix. Kolchak. Action-dramas following formula: Teaser / Theme Song / Act 1 / Act 2 / Act 3 / Act 4, with a cliff-hanger at the half-hour mark. Couldn’t have viewers changing the channel! I loved them. I want to make one of my one. … Continue reading McKay: TV Pilot Script in Progress

Question about “Surrender” yoga class

In my new YouTube #shorts video, I quickly record a question I had before attending a “Surrender” yoga class. “You need this,” the teacher said…

“You need to take my ‘Surrender’ yoga class, said the teacher at my gym, a few seconds after meeting me. What was it, I wonder, that made me seem like a candidate for surrendering? This question inspired my very first YouTube #shorts video.

Want a great yoga mat? Here’s my pick on Amazon.

Affiliate link

Want to make your own YouTube short?

Go to the YouTube app on your phone.

Hit the “+” sign.

Click “Create a Short.”

Press above the video record button to select “15” or “60” (seconds.)

Click “Add sound.” This will bring up YouTube music library, but wait, there’s a twist: YouTube will only let you add 15 seconds of music. A bummer if you’re making a :60.

So I usually add copyright-free music to my videos when I edit them on my phone, in an application called Splice.

So far, so fun. Try it!

Recent Walt posts

Close-Up: Marvel Library Spider-Man Vol 1

Unboxed and lovingly inspected on video, this high-end art book by Taschen (2022) shows high reverence for the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spidey run. Unboxing video and spontaneous commentary by Walt Jaschek. Enjoy Walt enjoying book! And laugh at him trying to open it. Want a copy of Marvel Comics Library Spider-Man Volume 1 … Continue reading Close-Up: Marvel Library Spider-Man Vol 1

A Toast to the New Year!

Walt Now Creative, the advertising and marketing division of my global business empire, sends out this digital card as 2021 winds down. Next: goals. Here are some of my goals for 2022. Enjoy continued good health and a stronger body Receive a pleasant jolt of good income Make some mild to medium creative splashes Make … Continue reading A Toast to the New Year!

Review: Revealing new Stan Lee bio tests “True Believers”

Walt reviews the book True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, a page-turner for the Stan-Curious. New Stan Lee bio by Abraham Reisman is in hardcover, Kindle and audio book on Amazon. Check current prices. #affiliate Here are my 10 take-aways from this terrific tome, a well-researched bio that tells a lot (maybe … Continue reading Review: Revealing new Stan Lee bio tests “True Believers”

Customer Service Fail: No “Reciprocity”

Today on the pilot episode of “One Minute With Walt,” some business coaching, and a suggestion for a local nursery to rethink how it handles customer calls.

By Walt Jaschek

An awkward, surreal moment at a local nursery here in West St. Louis County inspired me to launch a new series of one-minute, vertical videos based on my true experiences in business, life and art.

Also, in the spirit of the theme of being “not horizontal,” I’m also trying to stay “vertical” IRL: like, remain upright, walking around and creating every single day.

What do you think? Want to see more vertical videos? Follow me here on WordPress or:

Subscribe to my vertical videos on YouTube

Follow my vertical videos on Instagram

Subscribe to my vertical videos on TikTok

Bonus: What TOOLS do I use to make these vertical videos?

Apple iMac 2020: Click to check current price on Amazon. #affiliate

HyperX Quadcast Microphone: Click to check current price on Amazon #affiliate

Canon EOS M50 Camera: Click to check current price on Amazon #affiliate

Iphone 11: Click to check current price on Amazon #affiliate

Baked Lays Potato Chips: Click to check current price on Amazon #affiliate

What now? Walt Now!

Recent posts

Question: Have I Just Been Insulted?

Humorist Walt Jaschek ponders the connection between a recent series of “unintentional insults” and his sudden desire to launch a memoir. “Have I just been insulted?” I’ve been asking myself. “No, wait, that was an unintentional insult,” I think. In fact, a series of recent “unintentional insults” made me think it might be time to … Continue reading Question: Have I Just Been Insulted?

Christopher McKarton: Teen Detective (1971)

Amateur “action-thriller” film made by Walt Jaschek and friends as sophomores at Jennings High School introduces Walt’s long-time detective character, played by him. Jennings, Missouri. 1971. A quartet of juvenile delinquents makes a daring escape from a detention center and heads for a hide-out of gambling and drugs. When Christopher McKarton, teen detective, learns of … Continue reading Christopher McKarton: Teen Detective (1971)

“Big Mistake” | Funny TV Campaign for Channel 4 St. Louis (1985)

St. Louis media history rediscovered! Here are KMOX-TV Channel 4’s “Big Mistake” commercials from 1985, alerting viewers to an error in TV Guide magazine. Writer/director: Paul Fey. Guy on camera: me! Yes, that’s me, Walt Jaschek, at a studio in KMOX-TV (St. Louis,) performing on-camera in 1985. I recently found these spots on 3/4″ tape, … Continue reading “Big Mistake” | Funny TV Campaign for Channel 4 St. Louis (1985)

See Ant-Man’s Hank Pym Address the Avengers

“You never call, you never write,” complains the creator of the Pym Particle to the Earth’s mightiest heroes, a #cosplay video #short by Walt Jaschek.

Walt Jaschek cosplays Henry “Hank” Pym

I’ve been experimenting with YouTube shorts lately: had a video blow up. (Not this one. Not so far.) But I thought before I shaved this beard off I’d sit down and do a “Pym.” Always good to get the lab coat and Old Focals glasses back out again.

Want your own lab coat? Check current price on Amazon.

That’s an affiliate link, thanks!

Want to make your own YouTube short?

Go to the YouTube app on your phone.

Hit the “+” sign.

Click “Create a Short.”

Press above the video record button to select “15” or “60” (seconds.)

Click “Add sound.” This will bring up YouTube music library, but wait, there’s a twist: YouTube will only let you add 15 seconds of music. A bummer if you’re making a :60.

So I usually add copyright-free music to my videos when I edit them on my phone, in an application called Splice.

LATEST POSTS

Satin Brass™ Now on Kindle Vella

Walt serializes his new comic book script on the new Kindle Vella platform. It’s the pilot episode for action hero Satin Brass™, Overdue Accounts Collector. You can read the first three chapters for free on Kindle Vella. Then purchase tokens from Vella to unlock more chapters! Satin Brass is a high-tech bounty hunter in a … Continue reading Satin Brass™ Now on Kindle Vella

Walt “calls in” to St. Louis Media Hall of Fame Ceremony

The St. Louis Media History Foundation asked Walt to add some comedy to its 2021 Hall of Fame video. This “Zoom call” is the result. Congratulations to the new honorees in the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, which due to The Current Situation is a video celebration only, archived on YouTube.Ken Ohlemeyer Jr., producer … Continue reading Walt “calls in” to St. Louis Media Hall of Fame Ceremony

How to Kill a Pitch: Comedy Short, Script by Walt

“How to Kill a Pitch” is a short ad biz satire written by Walt, directed by Angie Lawling, shot by Chris Lawling, produced by Mercury Films. Oh, creatives! Don’t fall on that sword over your favorite idea. Client not loving your latest idea? There’s another one, you know. Come up with it and live, damn it! … Continue reading How to Kill a Pitch: Comedy Short, Script by Walt

22-Minute Writing Sprint

Overcome procrastination and writers’ block! In a new “timed writing” video, writer Walt Jaschek prompts you to join him as he writes uninterrupted for 22 minutes. (It works!) Is there something you need to write? Are you in avoidance mode? Would a timed, 22-minute deep dive move something along? And would watching Walt write at … Continue reading 22-Minute Writing Sprint

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McKay: TV Pilot Script in Progress

Oh, those classic detective shows of the 1970s. Cannon. Columbo. Mannix. Kolchak. Action-dramas following formula: Teaser / Theme Song / Act 1 / Act 2 / Act 3 / Act 4, with a cliff-hanger at the half-hour mark. Couldn’t have viewers changing the channel!

I loved them. I want to make one of my one. Step one: script.

So I’m writing my own 1970s-style detective show set in the St. Louis of the near future. The very near future.

Here’s the title page.


Will be posting more soon. Coming soon.

What now? Walt now.

HyperX Quadcast Review: Cool Mic, Good Price, Hear It In Action

Walt Now fires up his new HyperX Quadcast USB external mic and records a video with it – to review the mic itself. (It’s on Amazon. #ad) Looking for a good, external USB mic for your home/office? Found a cool one! I realized I needed an external USB mic to up my YouTube game (and … Continue reading HyperX Quadcast Review: Cool Mic, Good Price, Hear It In Action

Christopher McKarton: 1974 comic strip debut

Walt Jaschek’s first published comic strip: Christopher McKarton, dramatic thriller, serialized weekly in The UMSL Current, Fall, 1974. Script and pencils: Walt. Inks and letters: Gary Hoffman. It was a dramatic debut for Christopher McKarton, my rookie homicide investigator called to an ominous and familiar location. Here are the first four panels as they appeared … Continue reading Christopher McKarton: 1974 comic strip debut

Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop Based on Mel Cool: Map Cop?

The short answer: not as far as we know or can legally prove. In fact, bless that Paul Blart. Somebody had to be “the” Mall Cop in pop culture. He won. But here’s a longer Q&A with Walt Jaschek about that, originally published in 2009, when the movie was coming out but more than a decade … Continue reading Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop Based on Mel Cool: Map Cop?

Close-Up: Marvel Library Spider-Man Vol 1

Unboxed and lovingly inspected on video, this high-end art book by Taschen (2022) shows high reverence for the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spidey run.

Unboxing video and spontaneous commentary by Walt Jaschek. Enjoy Walt enjoying book! And laugh at him trying to open it.

Want a copy of Marvel Comics Library Spider-Man Volume 1 for your own collection? The print run is limited to 5,000 copies, but the book currently seems to be available for a discount at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rfCmlD (That’s an affiliate link, and thank you.)

See more review and reviews on my YouTube channel.

Most recent posts

New Sponsor: Fructose Pies™

Walt Now Studios and its entertainment productions are brought to you by Boastess™ Fructose Pies. Five delicious, delectable flavor combinations. Huckleberry! Coconut Pitaya! Crabapple Persimmon! Tomato Ugli! See for yourself. Click through these packages as you dream of these delights. Boastess™ Fructose Pies™ There’s a sugar crash in every dash! Making your mouth water? Want … Continue reading New Sponsor: Fructose Pies™

Cooler Heads Prevail in this Beer Promo Pitch

Copywriter Walt Jaschek recalls a college poster campaign concept he pitched to the Budweiser team at Anheuser Busch. Did the Cooler Heads prevail? Happy first day of Summer! Here’s a seasonal flashback from back in the day, when I was invited by the Budweiser promo team to pitch ideas for a college poster campaign with … Continue reading Cooler Heads Prevail in this Beer Promo Pitch

Walt’s Words of Wisdom: Cilantro

Writer Walt Now has “a line in the sand” when it comes to a certain controversial herb. He’s talkin’ cilantro, and he says the only right way to think about it is: love. As I was saying: There are two kinds of people in the world. People who love cilantro. And people who are wrong. … Continue reading Walt’s Words of Wisdom: Cilantro

A Toast to the New Year!

From left: Randy Rosenbaum, Walt Jaschek. Photo by Athena Hayes

Walt Now Creative, the advertising and marketing division of my global business empire, sends out this digital card as 2021 winds down. Next: goals.

Here are some of my goals for 2022.

  • Enjoy continued good health and a stronger body
  • Receive a pleasant jolt of good income
  • Make some mild to medium creative splashes
  • Make a big creative announcement on 2/2/22
  • Make an even bigger creative announcement on 4/4/22
  • Get in or create a group of younger creative people
  • Enjoy some fun and inspiring travel
  • Continue to be a force for healthy, happy living

What are your goals, creative or otherwise? Leave a comment!

Recent Posts

Rediscovered! Rare, Star-Studded 1992 CBS-TV Holiday Spot

Scriptwriter Walt Jaschek finds rare, 1992 CBS-TV holiday spot with performances by dozens of TV stars of the day. Here’s a holiday TV blast from the past, never before seen on the internet, at least as far as we know. In 1992, CBS-TV offered our agency Paul & Walt Worldwide the opportunity to write and … Continue reading Rediscovered! Rare, Star-Studded 1992 CBS-TV Holiday Spot

Copywriting Freelance: Profit and Prosper Without Pants | Intro

This is the intro to an eBook I am writing about the joys and challenges of freelance copywriting. I love writing freelance. Have made a good living at it. And want to help others do the same. “Can I thrive, even survive, as a freelance copywriter?,” you ask. Yes, you can. You can make a … Continue reading Copywriting Freelance: Profit and Prosper Without Pants | Intro

St. Louis V.I.P: Jaschek Wins With Humor

This post transcribes an interview with me from Advertising Age in 1989, when my taste in funny advertising exceeded my taste in ski sweaters. That photo, oy! Did I not own a normal shirt? Article transcribed from the version published in Advertising Age magazine, March 19, 1989. BY JUDITH VANDEWATER ST. LOUIS – Walter Jaschek … Continue reading St. Louis V.I.P: Jaschek Wins With Humor

Review: Revealing new Stan Lee bio tests “True Believers”

Walt reviews the book True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, a page-turner for the Stan-Curious.

New Stan Lee bio by Abraham Reisman is in hardcover, Kindle and audio book on Amazon. Check current prices.

#affiliate
Here are my 10 take-aways from this terrific tome, a well-researched bio that tells a lot (maybe too much) about my favorite comic book writer.
  1. It’s a “toupee-and-all” tell-all, and I’m all in.

The book works to be clear eyed, to peer through the mist of myths surrounding Stan to something more layered, more substantial, and ultimately sadder, than previous bios, many of which merely amplified the breezy public persona he crafted. That was “Stan the Man,” which became “Stan the Brand.” But it’s Stan the (lower case) “man” who gives us pause, as we examine his great talent and great personal flaws.

2. The Marvel Method < Rhythm Method.

Turns out the Marvel Method of creating comics – art first, then script – was created by Stan in the 50s, as a way for artists to get paid faster, not having to wait for, you know, scripts. That part is cool; I’m in favor of artists getting paid faster. Where that gets tangled later is in “who-created-what” debates and lawsuits. I’ve followed Marvel for decades. Who created what? The artists who wrote the stories in pencil art: Jack Kirby. Steve Ditko. John Romita. Don Heck. John Buscema. And Stan Lee. After the art was turned in. The process was wonky and fraught with danger, but it worked. In that regard, The Marvel Method is like birth control’s rhythm method, only slightly more reliable.

3. The book’s biggest surprise isn’t.

The hog-the-credit aspect of Stan’s story arc is well known. His books and interviews basically rewrite history so that it seemed like he came up with every character and character name. This comes as a great surprise to absolutely no one. It’s no less exasperating to revisit, though.

4. When he moved on, he moved on.

Stan left Marvel’s day-to-day operations in the late 90s, and seldom followed Marvel’s books thereafter. For example: When the producers of the (now beloved) 1990s animated X-Men series approached Stan for approval on their adaptation of the Wein-and-Cockrum-created characters, they realized he didn’t know who these “new” X-Men were. Can you imagine? I can just hear him saying, “These characters don’t look familiar. I like the guy with the claws, though. What’s his name? Wolverine? I like it. In fact, I created it. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

5. He had a job description to admire. And a salary to desire.

A 1998 lawsuit revealed that Marvel was paying Stan one million dollars a year for quote “basically doing nothing” unquote. I pass no judgement, because that is, in a nutshell, my exact career goal. He continued to be a cheerleader, of course, at cons and everywhere. True story: at San-Diego Comic-Con in 2010, I was walking down a packed-with-people corridor when I almost ran into Stan, who was with Joan. He wasn’t happy with the dense crowd, or with me in the way. He grunted past me. So my one real-life interaction with Stan involved him being annoyed at my physical presence. I decided not to ask for an autograph

6. His Third Act was filled with the third rate.

Stan was sadly surrounded the last third of his life by lawless con-men and grifters scheming and double-dealing behind his back. And sometimes behind his “Face Front!” Before Stan Lee Media went bankrupt in 2000, stock manipulation took it from $9 a share to pennies a share to into The Negative Zone. Even Reed Richards couldn’t bring it back. Stan said he “didn’t know a thing” about all the stock hi-jinx and bad behavior, but he should have been suspicious when his partners kept greeting him with, “Hail Hydra.” But seriously, all these lawsuits, all these downward spires: was he that bad a judge of character? Or was bad character seeking same?

7. “Striperella:” For completists. Or masochists.

The biggest series success Stan had after Marvel was the Spike TV animated cartoon “Striperella,” voiced by Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson. That’s right, I said his biggest series success. so that sets the bar right there. All Stan came up with was the name, and the pitch to Pamela. When the showrunners, who were to write all 13 episodes were given the name they asked who the character was. And the answer came: “Whatever you guys want to do with her.”  They went with an out-there “adult” humor, not for me. I went to YouTube and watched a few minutes of the character throwing a sledgehammer at a villain’s testicles. He was in pain, I was in pain, it was all about the pain.

8. Celebrity begats celebrity.

Stan sat next to Bill Clinton at a big Hollywood fund-raiser. There’s no record of whether or not they ever shared a cigar.

9. For richer, for poorer, but especially for richer.

Stan’s wife Joan, by all reports, went through his earnings at lightning speed, buying everything in sight at the speed of light. If she was a Marvel character, she could be called … The Slender Spender. (Slender Spender trademark Walt Now Media.) Stan and Joan held lavish cocktail parties at their L.A. home, many recorded on video. I can be glad there’s wasn’t yet Tik Tok. But it was a long and happy marriage, by all accounts, symbiotic at least, real Hank and Janet Pym stuff, without anyone being lost in the Quantum Realm.

10. I’m still a fan.

Stan is one of the top writerly influences in my life. I read his work almost daily as a kid then teen from 1963 to 1973. His voice, style and point of view are all over my work. I can relate to Jim Shooter, who, when asked to write a tribute to Stan, said, “Everything I write is a tribute to Stan.” But my fandom has limits. I find it good, nay, healthy, nay cautionary, to examine and consider the journey of a talent too easily flattered, too reckless in judgement, too quick to pass responsibility.

Ah, responsibility.

I hear it comes with great power.

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee is available on Amazon. Check current price. #ad

Latest from the Blog

My Copywriting Tips and Advice from 1984

“Positioning + creativity + guts = effect.” That was my formula for successful advertising, as quoted in this 1984 article from the Colorado Springs Business Journal by Ron Wallace. I was 29 years old. The Ad Vantage: On Words And Up Words“Positioning + creativity + guts = effect”By Ron WallaceColorado Springs Business Journal, January, 1984 … Continue reading My Copywriting Tips and Advice from 1984

How Jerry Berger Rocket-Boosted My Career

Copywriter Walt Jaschek remembers St. Louis Post-Dispatch ad columnist Jerry Berger, and being lifted from obscurity by the reporter’s generous coverage. Certain graces boost us in our careers, inadvertently or otherwise. In my career, one of those graces was named Jerry. Newspaper writer Jerry Berger (1933-2021) was on the advertising and marketing beat for the … Continue reading How Jerry Berger Rocket-Boosted My Career

Smirk Du Jour: Slightly Bent Panel Cartoons

The lost art of the panel cartoon came roaring back when comedy writer Walt Jaschek teamed with illustrator Tony Patti for Smirk Du Jour, a series of gags about life, love and laughs. These New Yorker-style panel cartoons originally appeared in Slightly Bent Comics #1, an American humor series distributed to comic book stores in … Continue reading Smirk Du Jour: Slightly Bent Panel Cartoons

Question: Have I Just Been Insulted?

Humorist Walt Jaschek ponders the connection between a recent series of “unintentional insults” and his sudden desire to launch a memoir.

“Have I just been insulted?” I’ve been asking myself.

“No, wait, that was an unintentional insult,” I think.

In fact, a series of recent “unintentional insults” made me think it might be time to finally write a memoir.

How do these things connect? I’ll explain.

First, though, I ask: Have you ever been unintentionally insulted? You know, when somebody says something insulting to you, but they didn’t realize they were insulting you (probably,) so it sort of doesn’t count?

Here. Let me describe four situations, and you tell me. Intentional or “un?”

Seemingly Unintentional Insult #1.

This story begins with me grabbing a late-night dinner by myself after teaching a college class. It was an ethnic restaurant here in St. Louis County, and I won’t say which ethnicity, ’cause it doesn’t matter. Visualize your favorite.

I had just taken my seat, when the 20something, male server approached with a notepad. I could tell from overheard moments seconds before that perhaps English wasn’t his first language. That’s okay, too; I’m not a “Speak American” guy. I speak no other languages; I admire people who speak at least two.

He smiled big at me and said:

“Yes, Old Man, can I take your order?”

Old Man?

I choked back a laugh and said, “Yes, sure,” and proceeded to order.

For context, I’m a grey-haired 66 and look it. I don’t look much older, but I don’t look much younger, and I am every bit a proud Senior Citizen.

I was just struck by the non-ambivalent wrongness of whatever he thought he was translating. I truly believe he thought he was saying something else, such as, “Yes, Distinguished Gentleman, may I take your order?”  Or “Yes, Greying Wizard, may I take your order?”

But sure enough, when my meal was done, he approached again, and said, “Yes, Old Man, may I bring you the check?”

This time I just smiled and nodded. I paid the check, tipped well. I’m sure he didn’t mean the insult. It was unintentional. Right?

I mean, I don’t know what “Distinguished Gentleman” would translate to in his language. So how can I expect him to know?

Dinner was great, by the way.

Seemingly Unintentional Insult #2

A week or so later, I was checking out some items at the local grocery. It was early morning and I was gathering a few items pre-breakfast. I had some black tea bags, a bottle of orange juice, and a Wall Street Journal.

The very tall, middle-aged woman clerk scanned the items, noting, “Wow, you have your coffee; you have juice; you have your paper; you are ready for the kitchen table.”

“Yes, I am,” I said, smiling.

“You are going to be a happy little man,” she said, handing me my receipt.

Happy little man?

I know she was tall, but come on, I’m five-foot-ten. I’m not that little. I’m average.

She breezily went about her business.

My wife heard this story and got a kick out of it. Every once in a while, when she sees me engaged in stuff I love – eating oatmeal with granola while reading a comic book and listening to movie scores – she’ll say, “Look at you. You’re a happy, little man.”

I’m sorry to say it’s caught on.

Seemingly Unintentional Insult #3

Recently I drove my wife and me to a family gathering. It was very fun, very nice, and during it, a family member who saw how I had parked my car outside his house, said, “Who parks your car?”

I said, “I did.”

“Oh, my God,” he said.

We looked and I had parked poorly… like three feet from the curb, almost as if in the driving lane. This family member went outside, took a picture of my parking job, and texted it to another family member…. Can you believe this? Everyone seemed to agree this parking was so bad, it could be a meme.

This, therefore. might not count as an unintentional insult. Because:

(A.) My parking job was pretty bad.

(B.) There was nothing unintentional about these remarks. It was more like, giving me shit for something I should be given shit for. I can take that, I’m plucky!  So was it an insult at all, intentional or not?  Riddle me that, readers, and also, note: you shouldn’t ever ask me to park your car.

Very Quite Intentional Insult #4

This also involves cars, broadly.

Recently I was driving a winding country road, doing the speed limit, but being careful because after all, I am of a certain age.

Tailgated by a black truck in a big hurry, a wrap-around-sunglass-clad 30something at the wheel was not enjoying my driving-the-speed-limit thing. He flashed his lights. Navigating those curves, I had no room to pull over for at least a quarter-mile, when finally, some gravel on the side gave me room.

He showed me a scowl and a middle finger when he drove by.

Okay, okay, there’s no ambiguity there. That was of course an intentional insult. Almost a relief in its lack of ambiguity!

Plus, I am getting immune to the flip-offs, horn-honkers, cut-offers, no-signallers and general impatient craziness of Drivers on the Road Today.

[ Old Man Waves At Cloud ]

But there’s a bigger point here, and, honestly, believe it or not, it’s one of gratitude.

I am grateful for these intentional-or-not incidents. They’re content, baby! They mine comedy gold from otherwise mundane situations. 

I mean, if you are looking at life seeking out material – as a copywriter and “humorist,” I guess I always am – then these zingers, intentional or not, are like unexpected gifts from the Don Rickles and Rodney Dangerfields of the Great Beyond.

Conflict makes stories, and stuff like this has an internal conflict: even if it’s… “Should I be offended by that?”

Which makes me think: “Wait! Is this the beginning of a memoir? One in which I explain my quirky, funny life to at least myself?”

Sure!

Let’s call it… “Walt in Progress.” It’ll be about developing life resiliency and internal harmony by honing senses of humor. And coffee.

After all, I’m not getting any younger. Or getting to be any better of a parker.

So (A.) thanks for reading…

(B.) Thanks for commenting…

and (C.) Please be assured, I am indeed…

A happy little man.

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Corp Rut: Funny Comic About Careers

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Christopher McKarton: Teen Detective (1971)

Amateur “action-thriller” film made by Walt Jaschek and friends as sophomores at Jennings High School introduces Walt’s long-time detective character, played by him.

Jennings, Missouri. 1971. A quartet of juvenile delinquents makes a daring escape from a detention center and heads for a hide-out of gambling and drugs. When Christopher McKarton, teen detective, learns of their escape, his ire is raised. These are the same delinquents that earlier involved McKarton’s girlfriend in a kidnapping scheme. So for the teen detective, recapturing these delinquents isn’t just his job. This time, it’s personal.

That’s the summary of the first, pilot episode of “Christopher McKarton: Teen Detective,” a film shot on 8mm by Walt Jaschek, Marc Stephenson, Rudy Johnston, David LaChance and Bill LaChance, based on Walt’s script for his original character.

All players were sophomores at Jennings High School in St. Louis County.

Walt Jaschek as Christopher McKarton


Credits

Starring
Rudy Johnston
Bill LaChance
David LaChance
Marc Stephenson
With Walt Jaschek As Christopher McKarton
Written By Walt Jaschek
Directed By Anybody Who Held The Camera

Filmed With The 8mm Camera Marc Recovered From a Trash Can In Jennings
(True Story)

Filmed On Location In
Downtown St. Louis, Missouri
Jennings, Missouri
The LaChance Residence

Original Film: Lost in a Box in the Basement Until Now!



A little backstory from Walt:

In 1971, my high school buddy Marc Stephenson found a working 8mm movie camera in an outdoor trashcan in Jennings, Missouri, where we lived and went to high school. (That would be Jennings High.) This, we decided, was an omen. We would make a Movie. Or at least a TV Pilot. We scraped together allowances and chore money to buy and process 8mm film (expensive for 15-year-olds,) then gathered friends and spent a few weeks across North County and St. Louis City running around, dodging traffic, stunt-fighting and shooting… “Christopher McKarton: Teen Detective.” The original 8mm reels were shown on a projector in my parents’ basement, and groups of high school friends enjoyed this “action/thriller” – well, at least those of us IN it did. But shortly thereafter, the already well-used film was lost to time, and only recently (here in 2021,) did I find a few reels in the bottom of a box marked “High School.” I had the film converted to digital (this is as good as these faded 8mm scenes can look) and tinkered in iMovie to add some titles and music to the original silent movie. Yes, shooting this at age 15 was Great Fun. What a blast. David, a year older, already had a car, and he shuffled us to multiple locations. (That’s the pink Cadillac I’m shown driving, even though I didn’t have a license. Or permit.) As per the parenting morays of the day (“be home when the streetlights turn on,”) we were mostly left to our devices, playing in traffic, popping out of underground pipes, climbing down buildings and bridges, and being blissfully careless. The only time we caught any attention is when we threw a dummy off the bridge by Northland Shopping Center. That drew a Jennings Police Officer to the scene: when he learned what we were doing, he laughed, asked for a ticket to the movie, and left. Missing from reels I recovered, alas, was one flashback scene involving McKarton, his high school girlfriend, and one of the “delinquents” delivering her back to McK in a kidnapping scheme. Or something like that. Suitably ridiculous, I know. But no more ridiculous than any of the rest of the “plot.” But the missing scene helps to explain why McKarton turns into such a vengeful, Dirty Harry-like killer near the end of the first episode… Ooops! Spoiler! Thanks for watching, and remember: Christopher McKarton will return.

Christopher McKarten did return – in 1974, as a comic strip by Walt in the UMSL Current, the student newspaper at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

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