Hey hey! If Jennay can blog about him, why can't I?
Rick Sebak. If you know him, you love him. If you don't know who he is, forgive me. We Pittsburghers have this annoying little habit of failing to realize the rest of the world isn't exactly like us. I was in my late 20's before I discovered that the entire world doesn't refer to rubber bands as gum bands. Or that jagoff wasn't actually a real word in Webster's Dictionary.
Anyway, back to Rick. He's a regional treasure. A one of a kind guy who makes the world a neater place to live in. Neat. Yes, I said neat. He's pretty darn neat. Who else can make a cluster of grey insulbrick cottages along a strip of blacktop seem interesting? Who can send you off to Kennywood never able to look at it the way you did before viewing his documentary on it? No longer do I see crowds of unruly teenagers and smell dirty garbage cans (well, yes, I still see and smell those things but they don't seem to matter as much) because I am enamored with the history behind the park after Rick presented it in the way only he can.
For years I grew up watching Rick's specials on WQED, listening to that distinctive voice tell me about things I never realized were gone or still here in this great city I live in. I took for granted that there was always going to be another show to interest me. I never gave a second thought to where the shows came from, who was this man with the voice, what was he like in "real life" or how did he come up with his ideas? I never imagined that I'd end up knowing him personally.
And he's a cool guy to know. He's always cheery, always with a joke or something funny to say, always, ALWAYS with a cool story about some neat place or person. Even when he's in a bad mood - I feel bad because I laugh sometimes - but I still find him very entertaining! He's got a way of talking that just seems like he's spinning a yarn, there's hilarity and mayhem right around the corner. He's a man who loves his mother dearly and that makes him all the more endearing. He's the kind of guy whose father you would love to meet because you bet he'd have even better stories than Rick!
I often wonder how he comes up with ideas for his shows. Does he have a dream? Does someone pitch them? I've racked my brain for ideas for him and even pitched a few. No, no, he's never used one of mine. Volunteer firefighters - "Only volunteer firefighters would watch it." Hmmmm. Maybe he's right. Pittsburgh weddings, money dances, cookie tables! - He actually dug that idea but he'd be stepping on someone else's toes. I think next time I see him I might pitch campgrounds. You know, goofy golf, big sloping sided pools, riding around in golf carts, bingo... BINGO! Ooooh, that's a good one! Or Pittsburghese. I could see him doing a kick ass show on how we talk around here. Maybe if he did make that show I could tag along on a shoot and meet Jimmy Krenn! I bet he's just a normal guy too. Just like Rick.
For more about Rick, check out his Wikipedia page. Oh my goodness, it's hilarious that he has a Wikipedia page! I wonder if he's seen it?
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