One of our children — my inner one, to be precise — received a treat in the mail today: the new Electric Company best-of DVD.

I don’t remember a whole lot about my earliest years, but if anything can jog my memory, it’s this. I haven’t seen an episode in nearly three decades, but The Electric Company was a major cultural staple of my preschool years in the mid-1970s. (This would have been before the year my dad gave my brother and me matching Farrah Fawcett-Majors T-shirts for Easter.) It may also be the reason I became a writer — or at least the reason I did not become an accountant.

I was just an infant when The Electric Company debuted in 1971, but my brother, Tim, was older and savvier. He knew the show aimed to do more than just entertain him, and he wasn’t having any of it. When my mom encouraged him to watch, Tim informed her, “I’m too young to learn how to read.”

Even without the show’s influence, he hasn’t done too poorly, though. At 38, Tim is successful in his numbers-crunching field. And I’m proud to say that he’s reading at a 44-year-old level.