YUKON, OKLAHOMA — He’s the kind of guy who wears his likes and dislikes on his sleeve, or on his head, or in his converted garage.
Jerry Stafford likes OU football, loves reading history, and reveres his time in the U.S. Navy.
“I was 18,” he recalls.
Stafford was just another recruit, just another bomb loader on the USS Ranger in 1962 when he sent away for something he found in a magazine.
“I thought it was really cute,” he says.
This little creature cost him $3 and some change.
He started carrying it around, and that’s how El Snid was born.
Jerry adds, “And then from there, that’s where I started drawing eye balls.”
Now, the Jerry of present day will swear that he was always respectful about where he drew his caricature on the Snid.
But the younger Jerry went crazy with a grease pencil, drawing the Snid like Kilroy on every bomb he loaded, on every wall he visited.
Everywhere he was, Snid was there too.
“They always knew where I had been,” says Stafford. “People were always going, ‘hey! You were over at so and so place.’ I went, ‘how’d you know that?’ ‘I saw your eyes.'”
His Snid habit didn’t stop with his Navy career either.
Stafford had a long stint with TWA.
He was a bus driver for a while.
Only his Navy buddies called him Snid, but Jerry’s little friend made so many appearances the cartoon started to circle back around.
He found his Snid on a hamburger menu in Oklahoma City.
He even heard about other people copying his idea.
“Somebody must have seen in somewhere,” he thinks.
Of course, there might have been other people who ordered the same item from the back of the same magazine.
Maybe they even had the same idea Jerry did, but he insists that’s not likely.
So if you ever spot something like this on a napkin or piece of scratch paper, or wherever, you can be pretty sure it came from a former Navy man from Yukon, Oklahoma who made it his calling card and still does.