Preliminary Greetings (with notes on hiking & the game yesterday)
Greetings, dear reader, on a seasonably warm and clear Sunday afternoon. I'd started writing this article yesterday.
Yesterday, in the early afternoon, as I'd begun to write, the crisp, blue autumn sky was calling me into the woods, for another hike! The light breeze would have been natural air conditioning. It's doing so, again today. Yesterday, I'd set aside the call to hike, for a couple of days, to tend to household chores, watch college football, and start writing this article. Today, the article is finished and published.
Georgia was off yesterday. Yesterday, I'd written, “Will Tennessee (#17 AP) beat Alabama (#11 AP), in Tuscaloosa? Writing this introduction, before the 3:30 PM kickoff, I predict, sadly, Tennessee 17, Alabama 24. Go Vols! Beat Bama!” Unfortunately, the loss was 20 - 34.
At halftime, the Vols were ahead, 20 - 7. I'd told Mrs. Appalachian Irishman that, if Tennessee wins, I'll put on an orange Vols T-shirt and walk around the subdivision. She could video record me, interacting with neighbors. I wish that I would have had to do that! In the second half, the Vols were scoreless, but Alabama awakened and scored 27 points. In the third quarter, Coach Heupel chose to go for fourth and a yard, on the Vols' 47-yard line. They could not get one yard. The turnover on downs led to an Alabama touchdown. Midway into the fourth quarter, the Tennessee quarterback fumbled, while being sacked. Alabama recovered and ran 24 yards, for a touchdown. That was the nail in the Vols' coffin! Without mistakes by the head coach and the quarterback, the score would have been 20 - 20.
Alas, this is not the 14th article, under the “sports” topic section. Let's move on, to Ratman!
Welcome to the 108th article, under the "humor” topic section! The most recent article and podcast -- on 10/18/2023, about my Bigfoot story -- recalled a few memories, from my senior year in high school. This is the story of Ratman. He originated, as far as I know, in 1978, during my senior year in high school. Ratman returned, sometime in the late 1980s. He re-appeared, on 4/11/2023. Ratman still lives!
Ratman, originated in 1978
My senior year was from the fall of 1977 to the spring of 1978, graduating that year. About 25 or 30 classmates and I were in Mrs. Minor's Advanced Math class. I believe that it was the spring of 1978. Mrs. Minor was a dear soul. We students, however, could get away with many shenanigans.
For example, once, during class, we seniors wove thin lines of wire around our desk and chair legs. Mrs. Minor didn't notice our stealth mischief. At the end of our class, while leaving, we stepped carefully over the wire web that we had set, to trap the next class of juniors. As those juniors started entering the classroom, we saw and heard quite of bit of tripping and carrying on, as the wires that they were stumbling into kept pulling desks around them! That was fun!
Student desks were set up in rows that ran horizontally to Mrs. Minor's desk. The row that I was in was next to the farthest from Mrs. Minor. My desk was at the front of the row, near the door. Behind me sat Larry. Behind him sat Phillip. The three of us involved ourselves in a good bit of non-mathematical mischief. (I'd overcome my grade school shyness.)
Ratman originated, as far as I know, in Mrs. Minor's advanced math class, at the Rogersville High School, in the spring of 1978. Phillip and Larry were artists. One of them invented Ratman. They drew his image several times, often like cartoon strips. They shared their Ratman drawings with me. I did my best to copy Ratman.
Several of us seniors had started an underground newspaper, which we distributed at the high school. We wrote under pseudonyms. Mine was I.M. Pitts. Ratman was in most every edition, as drawn by Larry or Phillip.
Ratman became a legend. He went into a prolonged sabbatical, for about a decade.
Ratman returned, in the late 1980s!
Skipping forward about a decade, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I were living in Charleston, Missouri. (See the 8/5/2023 short story, for more details.) Sam (short for Samantha) was a female barber, whose shop was on Main Street. Sam, several years older than me, and I shared a similar sense of humor, as she cut my hair. One conversation brought Ratman back to the forefront of my memories.
Ratman returned! One day, probably in the late 1980s, I drew the following image of Ratman.
The caption, by I.M. Pitts, my high school pseudonym, reads, “Revived from Mrs. Minor's Advanced Math class, Rogersville High School, 1978 -- RATMAN® lives!”
Ratman himself states, simply and profoundly, “I have returned!” I was glad to have brought him back, from his sabbatical, which had lasted about a decade.
Back in late 1982 or early 1983, I'd bought an new Bible, in the King James Version. (It's The Open Bible, by Thomas Nelson, publishers.) I still have that Bible, along with newer ones. I'd placed my Ratman drawing, in between two front pages of that Bible, for safe keeping.
Ratman re-appeared, on 4/11/2023!
I still have that Bible. It has been with me and used -- in Tennessee, Missouri, India, and Russia. Page edges are somewhat worn. I've written many notes, along the edges of pages and on blank pages. That Bible has been an excellent tool, for study, evangelism, ministry, teaching, and preaching. I've used silver duct tape, to strengthen the worn binder. My Ratman drawing was secured, in that Bible, where ever it was with me. Ratman, thus, became an international traveler!
On 4/11/2023, I had noticed my late 1980s drawing of Ratman, still in between two front pages, in my old Bible. I'd been using that Bible, while studying and interacting online, in the context of my then upcoming article that debunked the binitarian doctrine (4/18/2023 article). I scanned my Ratman drawing, as in the above image, to preserve it electronically.
Early yesterday afternoon, when I'd started writing this article, I took the photograph, below, of my late 1980's drawing of Ratman, resting on the Bible, which I'd purchased in 1982 or 1983. Unlike me, Ratman still looks the same, as he did in the late 1980s.
Yes, Ratman still lives! He's resting, as usual, back between two front pages of my old Bible. That Bible, along with newer ones, is readily available, in my home office.
I see that a reader has asked, “Who is Ratman?” The creator(s) of Ratman, back in 1978, explained to me that Ratman is a benevolent and good superhero. He uses his superpowers, to do good and to stop evil. As I recall, his creator(s) drew several cartoon strip episodes, in which Ratman, in his witty manner, took down various supervillains.
Yesterday, my youngest brother attained the milestone age of fifty. He had to work, doing inventory, on his birthday. I'd called him, late in the afternoon, when I knew that he'd be home from work. His wife and two teenage daughters were preparing his regular (pardon the pun) birthday cake. He likes a prune cake, on his birthday. The tradition started, when Mom, at his request, made him prune birthday cakes. It became a regular tradition. (Again, pardon the pun.)
Brother, I'd planned to publish this article, on you birthday. Here's your birthday present, a day late!