Stuff I Did in the '80s
Roll a Saving Throw vs. Velour
Roll a Saving Throw vs. Velour

Rob Carlo threw a big Halloween party in 7th grade. This was intimidating, exciting and terrifying all at once—not because of the holiday but because there were going to be actual GIRLS attending. Since Dungeons & Dragons was all the rage in 1981, I thought I would impress by dressing as a high-level wizard.

Now my mom was like Betsy Ross with a needle and thread. She could turn a bolt of corduroy into the Sears Summer Collection for all three of us DiTerlizzi kids. I wanted a Royal Blue robe with gold stars so we traveled to Joanne Fabrics and found my color in velour.

Velour is velvety and perfect for upholstering a chair or, in my case, making the sacred robes of a warlock. Mom and I worked on my costume for weeks, right down to a cotton ball beard. When we were finished I look like I'd stepped right out of The Dungeon Master's Guide.

I donned my finest party attire, then pulled on my wizard's robe...only to realize that velour doesn't breathe. In minutes I was drenched in perspiration. The only solution was to lose my clothing and wear my tighty-whiteys under the costume. This wardrobe malfunction, along with costuming my brother and sister for trick-or-treating, meant I arrived at Rob's party late.

By the time I rang the doorbell, most attendees had shed their costumes in favor of casual attire, which I was encouraged to do, but this wizard could not remove his magic cloak. Consequently, I sweat so much that my beard fell apart, leaving a trail of damp cotton balls wherever I went. However, my wizardly appearance did add to the mood when we played “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.”

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Introduction Half a Boombox I’m Not a Member I was Simon Le Bon (For Fifteen Minutes) Motown 25 Watch Whatever, Whenever Snowblind You’re the One That I Want Call Me Your Kiss is on My List Electric Boogaloo Dear Daryl Hall and John Oates Where Shopping is a Pleasure Dialect of a Decade I’m Alright The Sunshine State Shazam! It’s Just a Fantasy I’ve Got a Secret Sunday Funnies Impeachment American Top 40 License to Drive Risky (Show) Business Jumping Someone Else’s Train Yakety Sax I Want to be Elton John When I Grow Up Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Tetherball, Dodgeball & Flag Football Sk8 or Go Home Roll a Saving Throw vs. Velour Piano Man The Duckman Cometh Money for Nothing Waiting for the Bus More Than Meets the Eye The Legend Begins Whip It When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best Master Chef Muppetmania I Want to Ride My Bicycle WW III My Octopus Teacher Some Like it Hot Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs Dare to Be Stupid Keeping the Faith
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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.