Life was so much simpler when you could shoot people with lasers

In the last 5 minutes before I walked out the door to work yesterday I dumped a directory full of cartoon theme songs to CD, to listen to at work. I collected them all back in the heyday of Napster, and I haven’t listened to them in almost 5 years. Two of my all time favorites cartoon themes are on there:

Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors


I used to run home after school in 5th grade to watch M.A.S.K. It came on right at 2:30 and if I cut through the neighbor’s yard (and of course I did) I could make it in the door just as the opening credits were finishing. Also in 5th grade, I was invited to join a program called E.T. (Follow me, this is going somewhere…) Sadly, it had nothing to do with friendly stumpy-legged aliens. It stood for Exceptionally Talented. It was a very free form classroom environment, where the students pretty much picked their own projects to work on… and then spent their time goofing off. The course culminated in your Type III project, which was supposed to be the chilled glass of creative and imaginative juice that each student could squeeze from their mind grapes.

Knowing what I do now, I think it was somebody’s attempt to inject Waldorf/Montessori style education into the deeply regimented public school system.

In Dalton, Massachusetts.

At Nessacus Middle School.

In one classroom in the basement.

To that end I guess they succeeded. They also succeeded in making me very upset that there were no Reese’s Pieces involved. I have no idea how or why I was selected. I do, however, remember my “interview” with the program’s director, Ms. Graham. When she got to the topic of the Type III project, and asked if I had anything in mind that I’d like to do, I told her that I thought it’d be cool to make a M.A.S.K. mask – with blinky lights and everything. It wouldn’t actually do anything, like make me levitate (sooo cool!), because as my cousin Eric loved to point out, “Light can’t do that”. (Blasphemer!)

This is when Ms. Graham rewrote the selection criteria for the E.T. program.


3 responses to “Life was so much simpler when you could shoot people with lasers

  1. Yes, clearly ET helped us all achieve extra talented status didn’t us! Lots of presidents and high falutin lawyers amongst us. Perhaps that wasn’t the point. Was it?

    My project was on the symmetry of nature. You know butterflies and leaves and the whole bit. I’m pretty sure my mother came up with the topic and I’m pretty sure Miss Graham was totally elated over it. I was a real favorite then for some reason.

  2. I remember that woman spending a week trying to get me to understand the concept of “x” as a number. problem was she never did explain that it was just a symbol for an unknown. After that I didn’t have to do anymore of the math stuff.

    My final project…geek alert…
    I dropped out and joined Mrs. Walsh’s reading class so I could spend the rest of the semester reading the Hobbit and LotR.

    Didn’t you do that calendar thing with Dave Cachet as yours?

  3. I had the entire set of MASK figure and vehicles.

    I even had that thing that they all sit around and it lowers the masks onto their heads…

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