The Epic of Waldo: The story of a serendipitous photo history

by Jake Sporrer


My friend Chris, you may remember him holding an adorable puppy in one of my previous blog posts, recently sent me this image of Waldo:

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I replied to him with my recreation:

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In thinking of a topic for blog posts, I often just look at the most recent image on my phone and see where it takes me. This one was tough. Do I talk about beard growing? Yoga? Finding peace? I could spend this blog talking about my sick Perry the Platypus pants. They were handcrafted by my loving mother, the seamstress responsible for my tear-off jeans and several other significantly more important things (some strangers’ wedding dresses, my high school mascot, my sister, etc.). In the end, I decided to spend a few words talking about following in Waldo’s footprints.

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To see the tearaway pants in action, click here:

First, Waldo has made it a priority to travel. He always seems to be in some sort of mall and there are only so many malls in each city. Students are always told traveling is a good idea, and I’m here to reinforce what everyone is telling us. I spent some time in England and it was definitely worth it. Study abroad in China, work for a Swedish bike pump manufacturer, sing your way through the churches of Italy. It doesn’t matter how you do it, make it happen. As my Grandma told me at Ledges State Park this afternoon, “the world has it all wrong. The young people have no money and all the energy to travel, and by the time they become old people, they have the money but not the energy to travel. Get out there!”

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My sister, grandparents, and I demonstrating traveling at Ledges. Pictured is the grandma with the aforementioned sage advice.

The next thing Waldo has done is make himself diverse. He’s always hanging out with tons of people and they never have the same clothes as he does. Diversity can come from meeting people from different places, but it can also come from being around or learning from people in different fields of study. Make yourself the kind of person that, when someone talks to you, they feel diverse. If you study the mechanics of plant growth, go learn why writing parallel fifths is a bad idea sometimes. If you study oil painting, spend some time learning about the internal combustion engine. It might make you better at what you do and it’s what Waldo would do.

Lastly, according to our comic, Waldo found himself. I have been spending much of this semester trying to find out what would make me seem appealing to grad schools. I’ve been writing personal statements about my goals, background, and experiences. It’s really helped me refocus on what I’m working towards and why the work is worth it. I can look at my coursework less as how can it be applied to the world and more as how it can improve my preparedness for a discovery that hasn’t been thought of yet. It has really helped me stay awake in the 57th minute of learning about fast Fourier transforms.

This blog post is one of the few where including my uncle Ron actually makes a ton of sense. He just returned to Brazil, where he is launching a branch of his company, from dirt biking in Colorado. If anyone is following Waldo’s example, it is Uncle Ron.

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Uncle Ron with the triple duty: Finding himself, being diverse by hanging out with a different species (not sure whose dog that is), and traveling (this was taken in Brazil)

I hope you learned some things about Waldo and yourself today. Shout out to Chris for accidentally being the most recent image on my phone. Thanks man!

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Here is a picture of my Grandpa herding farm cats to make your day better.




One comment on “The Epic of Waldo: The story of a serendipitous photo history

  1. Bryce McCloskey says:

    After the story “American Sniper” this story by Jake Sporrer is the most inspirational I have ever read. Very nice photography too!

    Bryce McCloskey

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