Oh, The Places He’s Gone

23 Sep

I’ve always had a fondness for Waldo.

You know, the bespeckled wanderer and star of the Where’s Waldo? series of books by Martin Handford.

Back in the day, I was a little obsessed. I collected the books. Most of my college admissions essays tackled the same theme: that I was very much like Waldo, an explorer who still hadn’t found what he was looking for. Freshman year (and maybe sophomore year too) of college I had a poster of Waldo in the Land of Waldos on my dorm-room wall.

And when my hair was longer and parted like so, people used to tell me I looked like Waldo. (No, I never did dress up like him for Halloween. I knew you were going to ask.)

Why do I mention this now? Well, Sunday was Waldo’s 21st birthday.

The first Where’s Waldo? book was published on September 21, 1987, and since then, Waldo has sold more than 46 million books worldwide.

Sure, over the years, as I’ve grown up (snicker, snicker), Waldo’s been less on my mind, but to this day, I enjoy the hunts and think of Waldo as someone I can still identify with.

Like him, some days I’m lost and some days I’m on a journey.

Some days I stick out in a crowd, and some days I blend right in.

Wherever Waldo goes, he’s got a smile on his face and he’s waving.

You never know where Waldo will turn up; he’s like Matt, that guy who goes all around the world dancing.

I actually have a picture of Waldo on my cube wall at work.

And though my glasses and hairstyle are different than they were when I was 17, I can still see a slight resemblance.

So as Waldo turns “legal,” I just wanted to wish him a (belated) happy birthday. If his travels ever bring him to Boston, I hope we’ll go out for a drink so he can tell me all about the places he’s been and the people he’s seen.

I can only imagine the stories he’d tell.

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