All Aboard the Almanac
by Dr. David Jenkins
Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah in the fifties and sixties of the prior millennium, I was an avid reader for pleasure (though not so avid when it came to homework assignments). I faithfully followed the exploits of Chip Hilton and Bronc Burnett, high-school superstars who accomplished marvelous feats on the baseball diamond and American football field, on basketball and tennis courts. I kept close company with Bomba, Boy of the Jungle, who not only survived but thrived on hair-raising adventures somewhere deep in the Congo.
But not all of my fantasies were earthbound. Another of my pulp fiction heroes, Tom Swift, Boy Wonder, had a rocket ship he had designed built himself. From one novel to the next, Tom’s inventions rivalled those of Jules Verne. Like Captain Nemo, Tom also had his own submarine. There was Mr. Peabody on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show, who went Tom and Captain Nemo one better. Mr. Peabody, who was an amazingly intelligent and maddeningly pedantic dog, had a time machine. With his somewhat dense human sidekick, a boy about my age named Sherman, Mr. Peabody visited many admirable and notorious figures through the ages with just the twist of a dial. Like Sherman, I was happy to go along for the ride. Whether traveling back to the past or back to the future, Mr. Peabody rocked, rolled, and ruled. He ranked right up there with Dexter and his laboratory.
Years later, I gladly signed on to the crew of the Starship Enterprise to serve under Captain Kirk and go where no one had gone before. When Kirk relinquished his command of the Enterprise bridge, I quickly reenlisted under Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Later, I dutifully followed Picard to the X-Mansion when he was reinvented with the help of Stan Lee as Professor Xavier. With classmates like the mutants Wolverine, Storm, Pyro, Psylocke, Mystique, Rogue, Jubilee, and Beast, even Muggles would dutifully do their Harry Potter Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry homework.