A Google search on Paul Benedict produced this image. I recognized it instantly; memories suddenly began bubbling up from my subconscious. I knew that brush, I knew that bald head–I knew every brush stroke leading up that moment.
A few clicks and I was reacquainted with the Mad Painter, a character Paul Benedict played periodically on Sesame Street. As you might guess, the Mad Painter painted numbers on people (or objects) to comic effect. A great way for kids to learn their numbers.
I'm sure Mr. Benedict helped me learn my numbers, but it was the way he painted those numbers that inspired me. Today, watching Mad Painter clips on Youtube, I became cognisant of the impact this man likely had on my young psyche. I must have been transfixed, watching his steady and confident hand paint all those numerals.
Thank you, Mr. Benedict, for inspiring me when I didn't even know it!