Cedar Rapids Billboard Message: Be a Willie, Not a Ted
Do you remember Goofus and Gallant?
The adventures of the two young boys appeared regularly in Highlights, the children's magazine that was wildly popular with baby boomers growing up in the '60s and is still being published today.
The boys were the stars of a one page, six panel comic strip that was created in 1940 by Garry Cleveland Myers. The premise of the Goofus and Gallant page was to show children examples of behaviors that were polite and correct as opposed to selfish and incorrect.
As you can probably guess by their nicknames, the boys were polar opposites. Goofus was always taking shortcuts, being sneaky and often acting recklessly. Gallant was the polite, thoughtful and considerate one, and he was always doing the right thing.
I thought about Goofus and Gallant this morning while driving to work on Blair's Ferry Road where I spotted a billboard campaign that resonated so deeply that I simply had to laugh.
There are times when we can all be a bit like both Goofus and Gallant. We all can behave selfishly at times, often without even realizing it. And at times we can also be more like Gallant, willing to do the right thing simply because it's just how we were raised to behave.
The deep freeze and snowstorms that recently blasted the United States pushed Texas into a pickle. Millions of people were affected and left without power or clean water.
Knowing it could be days or even weeks before things return to normal for Texans, Willie Ray Fairly of Cedar Rapids loaded up his BBQ truck. He and his volunteers quickly headed south. These heroes who had worked so diligently over the summer to help Cedar Rapids after the damaging derecho were now hauling supplies and support to strangers in Texas.
As you can guess by our story, Willie is our idea of a "Gallant".
A certain Senator from Texas is the Goofus in our story. Ted was photographed catching a flight to Cancun, Mexico in the thick of this stormy crisis, not a very gallant thing to do.
It's what gave me a chuckle when I saw this billboard today.
Good manners still matter. But only if we make them matter.
Today I'm going to try my best to be a "Willie" and not a "Ted"