As a kid, I meticulously printed out five or six issues of Snewyear on unlined yellow paper. It was a spoof of the Long Island newspaper Newsday, complete with headlines, articles, comic strips, ads — all very silly.

• Earl Wilson's column

Earl Wilson was a (some might say the) gossip columnist for the New York Post in the '50s and '60s. One day, Earl mentioned that comedian Buddy Hackett was starting a support group for overweight people, and I wrote in suggesting that the group be named the League Against Ridiculous Dieting (LARD). Earl put it in his column and mentioned my name — and sent me a handwritten note reading, "Very clever! I'll tell Buddy!" This probably counts as my first professional publication....

• Soupy Sales

I don't watch much television today, but, in the '60s, The Soupy Sales Show was must-see TV. I collected all the merchandise. I went into Manhattan to sit in the studio audience. And I was a member of the Soupy Sales National Fan Club. Which published a thick, amateurish volume of writings by fans. Such as, for example, my several-page poem, "The Midnight Ride of Soupy Sales." Which, I remember, began:

Listen, my children, no cries, no wails,
And I'll tell you the story of Soupy Sales....

The Salk Sentinel

For grades 7-9, I attended Jonas E. Salk Junior High School in Levittown, NY. The school newspaper, The Salk Sentinel, was pretty low tech. My friend Josh Lane and I were listed in the staff box as Humor Editors, and our "Josh and Josh" column was a regular feature. As evidenced by the one copy I have in my files today (of the March 31, 1966 issue), it was not, alas, a particularly funny feature....

• The Gargoyle

When I arrived at the University of Michigan in the fall of 1969, I got involved in two student activities: the campus radio station (WCBN) and the campus humor magazine (The Gargoyle). The only thing I remember actually appearing in the Garg was an "interview" with Santa Claus, but I think there must have been more.

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