Random Loiterer: I need to pick up a manual.
Me: The print shop is across the hall.
RL: They're very angry over there, so I thought I'd give my business to you.
Me: Thanks. But this is a comic book store.
RL: But you can print a manual for me, right?
Me: No. I don't have a printer.
RL: Then where did you get those?
She points to my subscription sheets.
I point across the hall.
RL: Fine. Sorry you don't want my business.
Years ago, when I worked for the other comic book store, my coworkers would tell me of the former manager who had a nervous breakdown and would show up for work but leave the lights off, keep the door locked, and sit in a chair in the middle of the store, wearing a captain's hat and shaking his head when people tried to get into the store.
I'm not sure if he had a breakdown or if that was his way of preventing a breakdown.
I'm not advocating the captain's hat. Or the staring at the door while it's locked. But I am completely understanding of the occasional urge to just lock the door and go do cartwheels in the streets for a while until the world seems a little more whimsical and less aggressively weird.
I just prefer to fight that urge, and to channel all my confusion through social media posts.
Man comes in with son at 5:30 and picks a few comics out of the back issue bin and tries to pay for his $3.50 worth of comics with a $100 bill.
Me: "I can't break that right now."
Random Customer: "How late are you open?"
Me: "We close at seven."
Man and son return at 6:45, decides not take the comics he initially put aside, but picks a new pile of books, equalling $23. Pays in quarters and dimes.
Is now cursed.
He will stub his toe every time he leaves a store where he hasn't used exact change.
Random Loiterer: "Hey, I sold you guys a bunch of comics about ten years ago."
RL: "Do you still have them?"
Me: "I have no idea. I wasn't here ten years ago."
RL: "I sold them to get an engagement ring. And it went pffffffffffffffffffffft. So I was wondering if I could get them back for cheap."
Me: "Oh, almost definitely not. If you want to come in on Friday or Saturday, the guy who probably bought them from you will be here. If he remembers you, he might be able to help out somehow, but I'm imagining we've sold most of them by now if it's been a decade."
RL: "Yea. Yea. I figured. Hey, I have a bunch of Spider-Man number ones signed by Stan Lee, are those worth anything?"
Me: "From the 60s?"
RL: "The 90s."
Me: "What issues are they?"
RL: "They're the first twenty issues or so of the 1990s series."
Me: "Signed by Stan Lee?"
RL: "Yea. It's all his art."
Me: "He's a writer."
RL: "Maybe he did the covers."
Me: "As far as I know, he's never been an artist for any book. He was a writer in the 60s, and he was an editor for Marvel almost forever."
RL: "No. He wrote a bunch of issues in the 90s."
I do some Googling and some Wikipediaing
Me: "Nope. He wrote the occasional annual or backup story, but he didn't write a run of Spider-Man comics in the 90s."
RL: "He did. I own them. They're not Amazing Spider-Man. They're just Spider-Man."
Me: "The Todd McFarlane issues?"
RL: "Yea! He wrote those."
Me: "No. He didn't. McFarlane wrote them. Then Erik Larsen, then a few other writers. But not Stan Lee."
RL: "Then why did he sign them?"
Me: "I have no idea."
RL: "Are they worth anything?"
Me: "There were a ton of variant covers for the first issue. A couple of them are valuable. But with someone else's autograph on them? I guess you'd have to find the right collector."
RL: "Why would he have signed books that he didn't write?"
Me: "Because he's a gracious guy and someone handed him some books to sign? He did create Spider-Man originally. I bet people have him sign Spider-Man comics that he didn't write all the time."
RL: "What if McFarlane signed them?"
Me: "Do you have issues signed by McFarlane?"
Me: "I don't really have any way of looking that up. You could go online and ask some people. Who knows, maybe there are people out there looking for Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man signed by Stan Lee."
RL: "Yea, maybe my ex-wife."
RL: "Don't ever get married."
"Oh, are you my little purr factory? Yea. Do you make your purrs all by yourself to sell via The Internet? Yea. Your happiness doesn't depend on some underage child working for slave wages, does it? No. The only one who suffers for your happiness is you. Good girl."
* - I left the space between "TooHighToCount" and the hashtag symbol because I didn't want this filed along with people on illicit substances who were unable determine the worth of numbers.
Taking a walk around my neighborhood this morning, I noticed, for the first time, that there are about a half dozen rainbow flags hanging from various houses on the block I live on. I also noticed that all of them are upside down. I just don't know if that was done purposefully.
Random Loiterer #1: "I didn't know you were into comics."
Random Loiterer #2: "Oh, I don't buy them. I'm just into the culture so I go into stores and kill time reading them sometimes."
If any of my coworkers are looking for the scissors in the future, I've embedded them in his eyes.
Pro Tip: When trying to convince your current girlfriend to buy some comics that you enjoy, maybe don't mention that you "tricked" your last girlfriend into buying comics so that you could steal them from her when you broke up.
How she didn't leave him right here in the store Baffles Me.
Not surprisingly, they left without buying anything.
Poe Dameron came in today and started talking about small businesses and a recent trip to Seattle.
PD: "It was great. They sent me over to the Fantagraphics store, and told me about this art festival they were having. It was this big street fair with cheap food and flaming tetherball."
Me: "Flaming tetherball?"
PD: "Like tetherballs on fire. Not, like, a really gay game of tetherball."
PD: "Although....John Barrowman playing tetherball against Neil Patrick Harris......."
Names My Cat Will Respond To If You Are Uncomfortable Referring To Her By Her Actual Name (Motherfucker Goose):
Selina Ribcage responds to:
Shut The Fuck Up
Shut Up, Cat
(the sound of a sneeze, which I haven't figured out)
Random Loiterer: Do we have to stay here? You know this isn't my kind of store, you big nerd. Can we just go to Shake Sh-- OH MY GOD, THEY MAKE BUFFY COMIC BOOKS?
Ruffians and Gentlefolk, it's only January 16th but we have a contender for The Fastest Nerd 180 of 2017.