Senior Prom, or why I never owned a goat

Praise for Senior Prom "We have been fortunate to have his unique views of life played out in his columns...while gaining a devoted following. His gentle humor and (writing) style masks one of the sharpest minds we have ever met." - From an editorial in the Anna Maria Island SUN, 0/21/11 We've been saving your columns to re-read when life gets too serious." -Betty and Duke Haas "I find myself laughing out loud. It feels great!" - June Cobb "There'll never be another column like yours!" - Jeanie Akers "Your columns greet me with joy and laughter! You are amazing!" - Jill Rodd "I smiled, then I laughed out loud at your style of writing and your wonderful gift of humor. Thank you for making my day." - Rev. Donald E. Baier "Your Column is the first thing I turn to when the SUN comes out!" - Birgit Quam, Anna Maria Island, FL. What you are about to read may cause extreme heebee-jeebees. It's true that my writing style may be slightly off the wall, so be on guard for a few surprise departures from the "norm." It began with TIME magazine's distinctive style up until the 1960s or so, when it discarded that intoxicating personality for some unclear reason. As an editorial staffer on TIME from 1938 to 1951, I loved the fun readable writing and editing that included: our own madeup words that sounded O.K. in making a point, but were nowhere to be found in any acceptable dictionary; purposely misspelled words, such as "prolly" for "probably"; use of the ampersand (&) wherever it fits in comfortably, as in "man & wife," "black & white," "cats & dogs"; connecting two words to make one, i.e. "cinemactor," "deareader" "millionheir"; turning a noun into a verb, as in "He CPA'd my tax return"; and on rare occasions transposing a phrase or sentence in the interest of simplicity-like "No vegetarian he" for "He is not a vegetarian." Cabish? Most of these tricks were invented by TIME's co-founder, Britton Hadden, the partner of fellow Yale grad Henry R. Luce in 1923. It was Brit who Hadden eye for amusing writing style. If, perchance, you're wondering about this book's title and subtitle, pages 3 & 17 will solve the mystery. The first of these columns (see page 1) appeared in the inaugural issue of the Anna Maria Island (FL) SUN on 27 September, 2000. When I had to leave Anna Maria Island for old age (89) reasons in March, 2007, I dropped anchor in Keene (NH), a mile away from daughter Judy (& Bob) Perry-computerrific-and their three generations of begats. (My new home: The Woodward, a small "gracious assisted living residence" with less than 20 inmates.) The daily Keene Sentinel also bought the column in 2009, and soon there were more deareaders and their phone calls, visits and letters. Here's my self-styled "Senior Prom" job description: write a weekly column on any subject, as long as it is fun to read, nostalgic or amusingly informative. Several deareaders helped by sending ideas, Internets, books ("Useless Information," Ignorance is Blitz," et al). The education you will be getting so painlessly while you (I hope) laugh is a special ingredient. For how I got back into writing and editing after several years in PR (lotsa writing) on Madison Avenue, see "Jack Who?", pages 208-210. P.S. If you don't agree that this is one of the funniest books you've ever read, ask for your money back in your next letter to Santa Claus. I don't wanna hear about it. ~Jack~

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