I just stumbled upon a disk that contained a mother lode of non-fiction book proposals of mine from—yes—a simpler time in the publishing world and world in general. Approximately fifteen years ago, I had a lot of ideas and literary agents, too, representing many of them. Some of the projects got past first base and were discussed in “pub board” meetings. However, in the end, salespeople typically had the final word and shot them down. Yes, the same men and women who champion their incredible knowledge of what sells and doesn’t sell in the book market by reciting a litany of books that have bombed. Countless titles—believe it or not—that the aforementioned all-knowing professionals somehow let slip through the cracks and see the light of day on bookstore shelves.
Anyway, that was a long, long time ago. I will say that the perseverance complex paid off for me in that I kept re-branding my ideas—after one rejection after another—until I hit pay dirt. What follows, though, is sample material from a proposed book—one that never was—entitled TV Dinners for the Soul: 101 Solutions to Life’s Problems and Riddles from Your All-Time Favorite Television Personalities.
Goober, you got real talent.
- Gomer Pyle to his cousin
Fall is Goober’s favorite season, he says, except for summer and spring. This is quintessential Goober: a simple man who loves life. Seasons change, but not Goober’s lust for living.
Simplicity defines Goober. It is the most admirable quality of Mayberry’s Forrest Gump. Like most of us, Goober experiences moments of despair in which he rues his lot in life. In Goober’s case, it’s pumping gas, changing oil, and fixing flat tires.
In The Andy Griffith Show episode “Goober Makes History,” the man grows a beard, endeavoring to erect an intellectual aura around him and cast asunder his image as lovable doofus. Goober takes a history class and pathetically attempts to dominate it with volubility decidedly out of character. In so doing, he transforms himself into an overbearing clod and achieves persona non grata standing in the community-at-large of Mayberry. Happily, Goober comes back to the reality of being Goober: kindhearted, ever loyal, and fun to be around. He accepts the fact that he’s not cut from the same cloth of William F. Buckley, Jr.
In yet another episode, “Goober Goes to an Auto Show,” he meets an old school chum and attempts to impress him with braggadocio. Goober tells his friend that he owns a chain of gas stations. This charade predictably blows up in his face and—one again—Goober accepts his lot in life.
What is his lot in life? For many years, Goober labored in Wally’s Filling Station, ultimately purchasing the place for himself. This is the American Dream personified and nothing to be ashamed about. Goober, the Big Kid, achieves self-sufficiency doing what he does best.
All men and women are created equal under the Natural Law. But reality tells us that individual human beings are hardly equal. Some are blessed with great intellect, while others are vacuous airheads. Some are imbued with enormous physical strength, while others are ninety-eight-pound weaklings. And, sad to say, some human beings are bereft of even a shred of decency or compassion for their fellow man and woman. Individuals are individual to the core.
Goober, for example, is recognized as a gifted mimic in the confines of Mayberry, North Carolina, impersonating Cary Grant and Edward G. Robinson with hayseed aplomb. Maybe at Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York City he wouldn’t be graded so high. So what! Goober starred on the Mayberry High football team and was the town arm-wrestling champion for four consecutive years. He also won a pancake-eating contest at the county fair, consuming—with butter and syrup—fifty-seven of the breakfast delights.
In other words, Goober excels at being Goober. When being himself he is a winner. When he ventures far a field into arenas outside of his special talents and God-given personality, he fails miserably. There are countless Goobers in our midst who fall prey to societal pressures and feel inadequate in the process. This low self-esteem often augurs problems like drug and alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors. Really, Goober Pyle is a role model for these confused souls.