I guess it's just the way of the world: the older we get, the more changes we'll see.

One of those changes can't be avoided: death. There's wishing, hoping, and praying, but nothing, at this point, can be done about it.

There are few things that make me contemplate my mortality more than when one of the icons of my youth passes away. Johnny Carson, Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), Peter Jennings, Mr. Rogers, my parents - people who either helped shape me as a person or kept me entertained. Their deaths all had an impact on my life, reminding me that we are not permanent.

The latest passing: Jack Sheldon. You may not know his name, but if you grew up in the 70s, you know his work:

"Hooking up words and phrases and clauses". Who would have thought that those words would be in a song, much less be memorized by so many kids around the country? Well, the people behind Schoolhouse Rock did. And it worked, helping to not only keep kids entertained but teaching them all the while.

Jack Sheldon was the voice behind some of the Schoolhouse Rock "hits", including Conjunction Junction (his debut for Schoolhouse Rock) and the song that introduced me to the legislative process, "I'm Just a Bill":

That one used to make me sad until the day the light bulb came on: if you do the right things, and have patience, good things will come your way. That's what I learned from "I'm Just a Bill". Along with the process of a bill becoming a law, of course.

Jack Sheldon began had a great career as a jazz musician, finding most fame as Merv Griffin's sidekick before landing the Schoolhouse Rock gig. According to Wikipedia, Sheldon also voiced "Louie the Lightning Bug" in a series of PSAs aimed at teaching kids about the dangers of electricity.

Sheldon died on December 27, at the age of 88.

Mr. Sheldon, thank you for your talents, as they have undoubtedly made a great impact on this world. I know that they made an impact on mine.



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