Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boy's simple question makes the funnies

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Saying 'Amen' at the end of a prayer isn't common sense to everyone, especially to those of us still learning the way of the big, wide world.
'Why Mom and Dad? Why do you say 'Amen' at the end of the prayer?'
The question came from 8-year-old Isaac Romer of Lorena early this spring.
'He asked it at the end of our prayer meeting,' said Mom, Brandy Romer, adding that prayers are routine in their household.
In response to Isaac's question, Dad (the Telegram's Paul Romer Jr.) offered this explanation: 'It's what you say when you agree with what was said in the prayer.'
But Isaac wasn't satisfied. He wanted to know what people said when they disagreed.
His parents couldn't answer. There was an awkward silence, Mrs. Romer said, until one of the other three children changed the subject.
Silent for the remainder of the evening, Isaac's brain was still pondering the subject. The conclusion he came to was this: 'Awomen.'
'To him, it made perfect sense,' Mrs. Romer said. 'The opposite of men is women.'
Isaac clearly remembers when and why he started asking questions about 'Amen.'
'My sister prayed that I would start liking Barbies,' Isaac said. 'And I don't.'
Come Sept. 21, Isaac's 'Awomen' solution will be the subject of a Pickles comic strip.
How that came to be is the result of some coincidence, a blog and Granddad.
The blog belongs to Romer Jr., a lover of words and professional writer. He logs his family's accomplishments, discusses his views on religion and life and shares funny stories and memories.
The coincidence is that Granddad (Paul Romer Sr. of California) is a childhood friend of Brian Crane of Nevada, the creator of the nationally syndicated Pickles comic series. (Romer Sr. was unavailable to comment because he's on vacation.)
'We lost track of each other,' Crane said. 'But we knew each other from kindergarten to middle school.'
The comic strip artist sought to re-enter Romer Sr.'s life after stumbling across Romer Jr.'s blog.
'I do routine Internet searches on my name and Pickles to determine if there's been any illegal use,' Crane said. 'I found that my name mentioned in (Romer Jr.'s blog).'
In one of the entries, Romer Jr. had shared a story about how the senior Romer and Crane 'used to make hand shadows on the wall when they were kids.'
'That made me want to call (Romer Sr.),' Crane said. 'So I emailed (Romer Jr.) and asked him for his dad's current contact information.'
During Crane's attempt to get in touch with Romer Sr., he became a semi-regular reader of the junior Romer's blog, which is where, of course, a full account of the 'Awomen' conversation is located.
'I asked the family for permission to use it as an idea for my comic strip, and they agreed,' Crane said. 'With 365 strips a year, I'm always looking for ideas. You name it, and I look there. The Internet, conversations, sidewalks - they're all places for ideas.'

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