Friday, January 16, 2015

The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley

I went to the smallest elementary school in our district that had about two class sections per grade. I was the fastest runner in my class and when I got to the much larger middle school, I was devastated to find out I was really not the fastest runner in town. The protagonist, Jimmy Gownley, has a similar experience when he's the star of his basketball team in a Catholic school before he comes down with the Chicken Pox and pneumonia, resulting in the team losing the championship and blaming him to some extent. His grades start to slip at that time as well and he struggles with feeling average. He loves comic books and creating them and decides to give his friend, Tony, one that he has made in his spare time. Tony tells him it is not very good and that Jimmy should write about the two of them. Jimmy's response? "That's the Dumbest Idea Ever!"

Jimmy mulls over the suggestion and decides to write a comic in high school. He self-publishes the book and the townspeople living in his small mining town go crazy about it. He's in the news and on television. He gets a cute girlfriend in school. He's feeling special again until he goes on a field trip to the Metropolitan Art museum. He breathes in the Monet's and Van Gogh's of the artist world and realizes that he is not that good of an artist in comparison. But, Jimmy's a positive person. A person who is happy when his basketball team loses because he can see his progress. A person who doesn't give up. He's a hard worker and loves drawing comics so much that he is intrinsically motivated to continue regardless of the obstacles that come his way. And whether or not he is a great artist, he is okay with that.

The author's note at the end explains how he actually self-published a comic at age 20 and mailing a copy to Tony who was battling leukemia. He died shortly after. Gowley explains that his book is about new beginnings. He shows that perseverance and doing what you love in life is reward in itself even if you are only average. Generally speaking, people who stick with something for a long period of time tend to get better and better at it. Tony didn't have such a dumb idea after all.

4 Smileys

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