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I'm going to preface this post by stating that it has nothing to do with sports, entertainment, or anything within the traditional TUC realm. But I'm posting it because a lot of you have often asked who/what some of my major writing influences were, and this man was one of them.

I was pretty shocked to read online tonight that John Inman had passed away at the age of 71. Inman was the star of a 1970's British sitcom that I grew up on, called Are You Being Served? When I was 13, I started watching reruns of it on Detroit's PBS affiliate, and something about it just clicked with me. Keep in mind that most kids my age were watching The Simpsons or 90210 -- not a dated show featuring middle-aged actors from Great Britain.

Over time, the show and its players began to alter the way I approached language, comedic timing and general overall humour. My 9th grade English teachers didn't know where I was picking up words like "facetious", but they liked it. On the other hand, other habits weren't received with positive effects -- I got booted out of one class for reading D.H. Lawrence. Not aloud, mind you...just reading one of his novels. I couldn't help it -- if it was mentioned in the show, I had to know about it.

The show itself was innocent but camp; naughty yet sweet. Rife with haughtiness and double entendres, I couldn't help but absorb it, because my brain has this uncanny ability to record things I hear with remarkable accuracy. Even to this day, bits and pieces of the show's language and tone will seep out into things that I write or say. A perfect example would be one of the first calls I made to Jim Rome, where I referred to Jacques Martin as a toby jug. 21-year-old women don't say things like that. Guess where I got the idea?

Sometimes you really never know where your influences are going to come from. John Inman's Are You Being Served? was honestly one of my biggest.

If you want to read more about the show, check out this link.