A BOY NAMED SPARKY
The late Earle Nightingale, writer and publisher of inspirational and
motivational newsletters, once told a story about a boy named Sparky. For
Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in the eighth
grade. He flunked physics in high school, getting a grade of zero. Sparky also
flunked Latin, algebra, and English. He didn't do much better in sports.
Although he did manage to make the school's golf team, he promptly lost the
only important match of the season. There was a consolation match; he lost
Throughout his youth Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually
disliked by the other students; no one cared that much. He was astonished if
a classmate ever said hello to him outside of school hours. There's no way to
tell how he might have done at dating. Sparky never once asked a girl to go
out in high school. He was too afraid of being turned down.
Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates...everyone knew it. So he rolled with it.
Sparky had made up his mind early in life that if things were meant to work
out, they would. Otherwise he would content himself with what appeared to be
his inevitable mediocrity.
However, one thing was important to Sparky -- drawing. He was proud of his
artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In his senior year of high
school, he submitted some cartoons to the editors of the yearbook. The
cartoons were turned down. Despite this particular rejection, Sparky was so
convinced of his ability that he decided to become a professional artist. After
completing high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He was told
to send some samples of his artwork, and the subject for a cartoon was
suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon. He spent a great deal of time
on it and on all the other drawings he submitted. Finally, the reply came from
Disney Studios. He had been rejected once again. Another loss for the loser.
So Sparky decided to write his own autobiography in cartoons. He described
his childhood self -- a little boy loser and chronic underachiever. The cartoon
character would soon become famous worldwide. For Sparky, the boy who
had such lack of success in school and whose work was rejected again and
again was Charles Schulz. He created the "Peanuts" comic strip and the little
cartoon character whose kite would never fly and who never succeeded in
kicking a football -- Charlie Brown.
A Boy Named Sparky