When I was a little smackerel, I used to love to watch a big heap of cartoon. I was a little picky about it. I definitely had my favorites. The early ones were the best.

Before I started off to school — and my longstanding relationship with The Black & White Habits — I had the luxury of watching Captain Kangaroo. As far as I know, I was able to view his show most every day. I’ve written about those episodes many times before. But there was one cartoon in particular, which I loved. Tom Terrific.

It was drawn in a simple black-and-white style. Very amateurish. Like a kid’s drawing. But the thing I loved about it was that Tom Terrific, the hero of the story, could transform himself into anything he wanted. He had this magic, funnel-shaped “thinking cap,” which also made him WAY smarter.

Plus, he lived in a treehouse. AND, he had a dog. Those were like three of my greatest wishes in life when I was four-years-old. (The dog’s name was Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog. And the arch-enemy was named Crabby Appleton, whose motto was, “I’m rotten to the core!” ). I loved the all of it.

Sometimes, after watching, I would go to our corner kitchen drawer, third one down, the real deep one, and fish out a funnel. I would put that thing on my head and run through the house like crazy. I’d be instantly smart and my dog Manfred would be by my side. Loyally.

There were a lot of other enemies, but I only remember Crabby Appleton. That is the only one I fought.

Tonight, I went out in our kitchen and put a funnel on my head. Clearly, the endeavor was completely unsuccessful. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a hat like Tom’s? It would help us to know things in an instant. PLUS, we could also transform ourselves, into all sorts of things, in order to save the day.

When Tom shape-shifted, you could always tell it was him. There would be a big tree standing right in the middle of the trouble, and there would be Tom’s face about midway up. Or on a Rocket Ship. Of a water pail. His face would be smack-dab on the thing. The morphed-object all depended on the scope of the infringement.

Tommmmmmm Terrrriffffffic.

Yes. We all need the hat.

Epictetus, the great Philosopher and Teacher from the land of early Greece, once challenged us to “Throw out your conceited opinions, for it is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

Most of the time, a whole big bunch of us, think we pretty much know it all. You can see it all around, from the very early ages, to the old and creeky.

But we don’t know it all. Not even just a smidge. Yesterday, in particular, was a real eye-opener for me. New situations do that. New people. Emerson once said, “Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn from him.”

If we only allow ourselves to put away our arrogant opinions. I keep getting reminded that the Universe is a very big and connected place. It will nudge us this way and that from time to time, and mostly, we HAVE to take notice.

Most days, we are all just Tom. But if we keenly observant, we learn something, and we get the Magical Funnel Hat. Terrific.


“Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness”
― Epictetus


“Men are not afraid of things, but of how they view them.”
― Epictetus


“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”
― Epictetus


“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” — Unknown