Yesterday, I had the pleasure of calling Tom “Smitty” Smith for a story I was working on. He’s with the Texas office of Public Citizen and I always learn something when I talk to him.
He wasn’t in the office. He was at home, waiting for the cable guy. It had been a long wait, and we laughed about how it’s always that way. I shared the little known fact that the actor (Daniel Whitney) created his Larry The Cable Guy by calling into radio shows.
Sam is a huge fan of Larry the Cable Guy, though not from his stand-up or his movies, but as Mater in Cars and Cars 2. During his sophomore year, he wanted to do his final paper for a film history class on Larry the Cable Guy. His humanities professor was reluctant, I could tell. He said his subject had to have made at least three movies. Lucky for Sam, Witless Protection was coming out. I showed him the IMDB web site, and he found some older movies, one of which was at the library, so he was in business.
Sam really went after that paper. He researched the actor’s biography and the nature of comedy. His critical thinking grew in the course of researching and writing that paper.
I’d learned long ago that when Sam is motivated about a topic, he will learn as well or better than any other student doing the same work in a more traditional way.
His analysis of the actor and his work almost had me respecting the guy for his talents. And then I remembered all the fart jokes.