‘Writer Boy Burt’ would make a boring action figure
Burt's Eye View
Sgt. G.I. Joe crept through the weeds in his black scuba gear and rubber flippers. He ducked as the Hot Wheels car full of bad guys jumped the green sand bucket.
With his perpetually frozen fingers, G.I. Joe signaled Chief Cherokee and Johnny West, who waited in shrubs on the other side of the pail. Batman, peeking from behind a cardboard box, saw it too. It was go time.
Suddenly, a shout rang out.
“Burton William, I told you to stop playing with your dolls and come in for lunch.”
“Mom, they’re action figures.”
“They’ll be inactive figures if you don’t get in here.”
I brushed grass and gravel from my T-shirt and jeans. “You guys wait here. We’ll have more adventures after lunch.”
Fifty years later, more dolls — I mean, action figures — than ever dominate the shelves of toy stores and high-end collectors’ shops. It seems that every superhero, rock star, fighter, athlete, mascot, dragon or pirate has an action figure all ready for adventure.
Writers, I suppose, are boring. There just haven’t been that many authors known as figures of action this side of Ernest Hemingway.
Rarely has someone begged for the thrills of watching me write.
First, I stare at a blank screen for 10 to 12 minutes before finally, carefully, typing “The.” Then my eyes glaze over for five minutes before I sigh, reach for the keyboard, and delete “The.”
I toggle over to the solitaire screen while my mind mulls over the exact word I need. Suddenly, as I’m sliding a black seven onto a red eight, I figure it out.
I spring into action. I toggle back to the story and type “The.”
I have been known to blaze through an entire paragraph in only 12 hours. It’s intense, exciting action.
I’ve heard people complain about how boring it is to watch golf on TV. They have nothing over us writers.
OK, so maybe we writers don’t make great action figures. So let’s consider theme music.
In the movies, you knew when the shark was coming because of the music. On stage, you knew when the Phantom was about to appear because of the music. At the baseball game, you know which guy is coming to bat because they play his theme music.
Maybe we writers could have some guy with a keyboard follow us around to play us into rooms. Maybe it would make writers more exciting — and action figure-worthy — if theme music played as we strode to our laptops, like it blares for wrestlers strutting to the ring for action.
Except, I’d probably get stuck with “Send in the Clowns.” It’s not quite the high-octane image I’m shooting for.
I suppose I could be molded into a bobblehead. Instead of creeping through the grass in dive fins like my G.I. Joe did, Bobblehead Burt the Writer Boy could go on big adventures in punctuation.
“Hey, Bobblehead Burt the Writer Boy, if I’m writing the contraction for ‘it is’, is there an apostrophe in ‘it’s’?” My head would bobble yes.
The problem is I could only bobble yes. “Hey Bobblehead Burt the Writer Boy, if I want to make a word plural, do I add an apostrophe before the ‘S’?”
My bobblehead better come equipped with a pull string so I could scream: “If you add one more unnecessary apostrophe, I’m sending G.I. Joe, Chief Cherokee, Johnny West, Batman AND the bad guys in the Hot Wheels car after you!”
Maybe I should just settle for a bobble belly action figure. It seems more fitting for the action of my figure.
— Go on adventures with Writer Boy Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.