Random Con Man: "Hi. How much can you give me for this comic?"
Me: "Nothing. I'm not the buyer. You'd have to come back Wednesday night, or next Friday during the day."
RCM: "Can you tell me how much it's worth?"
Me: "Nope. I deliberately didn't train to evaluate comics."
RCM: "Could you look it up?"
Me: "Nope. You'd have to come back Wednesday night or Friday during the day."
RCM pulls out his comic, which has been *rolled up* in his pocket.
A Regular Collector who is a friend of the store is in, and wanders over to peek at the comic.
RCM: "It's in mint condition."
It had been rolled up in his pocket.
RCM: "And it's one of the first appearances of the Avengers."
Me: "Nooooo. It's definitely not one of the original appearances of The Avengers. It's from, I'd say the mid-70s, so about fifteen years after the first Avengers issue."
RCM: "I looked it up and the first appearance of The Avengers in this condition is worth several thousand dollars."
ARC walks away, uneasily.
Me: "I can't help you there. You should come back Wednesday night or Friday during the day. I don't price the comics."
RCM: "Oh, I see. It says 'The Avengers'. I thought it said 'Introducing The Avengers'. Still, it's probably worth fifty bucks, right?"
Me: "Probably not. But, AGAIN, I don't evaluate the comics. I can't tell you how much it's worth."
RCM: "Maybe I'll try and sell it on the street. But I don't want to undersell it. Y'know. It's from the 70s, so it's worth a fortune."
Me: "Uhhhhhhhhh. Sure."
RCM: "I used to have everything. Every comic in the world. I had it. Then my house burned down. I must have lost billions. You know?"
RCM: "Hopefully, I'll sell this for tens of thousands of dollars, and be able to come in and buy all the issues I really want."
Me: "Good luck."
ACM: "That was a reprint issue. It's worth, maybe, fifty cents in mint condition."
Me: "I didn't want to tell him that, and then have it only be worth thirty-five cents, and have him be mad at me."
Random Lonely Person: "Hi."
RLP: "How are you?"
Coworker: "I'm good. How about you?"
RLP: "Well, my middle niece got married last week, which means I Am Old. Ha ha. The wedding was pretty beautiful, though. And she wore a green dress, and..."
Me: "I'm going to go get something to drink, do you need anything?"
(In the background: "...even though it doesn't look good on anyone, but that's my sister's family for you, no regard for color...")
RLP: "I mean, I guess if you're a frog. Ha ha...."
I am gone for about fifteen minutes.
When I get back, they are both standing in the same place.
RLP: "...a lot of people don't realize that it's a callback to the third episode. Well, I gotta go. Hasta la bye bye."
CW exhales deeply.
Me: "You didn't even know that person, did you?"
CW: "Never seen him before in my life."
Me: "Stop asking strangers how they are. Their responses will never improve your life."
CW exhales deeply.
I'm all for guys sending me pics of themselves standing in front of their bookshelves, but if I zoom in and see that their shelves aren't arranged in some sort of logical order, I'm not messaging them back.
One of my favorite customers came in, and we were talking about wordless comic books, his problems with Marvel (not right wing ranting, just "I am tired of characters coming back from the dead." Which is a legit stance), why he loves Valiant comics, etc.
In the middle of a conversation about Chris Claremont, his phone rang.
Favorite Customer: "Yea. Yea. I'm in the comic book store. Ok. Wait. Say that again? What? How would I even do that? Think. Think for a second. How would I have driven Both Cars to the comic store? Do I drive one a block, get out, and then drive the other one two blocks, then get out and get the other car, and drive that one two blocks? It doesn't even make sense." He then took his phone out of the store to continue the conversation.
But now I have new rubrics for selfish people, and for climate change deniers.
"Man, that guy hates the environment so much, he drives TWO cars to work."
While my coworker gets to deal with the very nice botanist looking for comics involving plants, her...partner?..sidekick?..antagonistic wingman? comes to the counter and pretends to steal the sandwich I'm eating for lunch.
Fuckhead: "You've been working in comics for a long time, huh?"
FH: "What do you think about how Marvel is destroying comics with leftist politics?"
Me: "By destroying, you mean increasing sales and bringing more people into comics?"
FH: "Sure, sales, fine, whatever. But you're a purist like me, right?"
Me: "You want to keep reading the same stories with the same characters who never change over and over for forty years?"
FH: "No, but just making a character a woman or whatever" Reminder: 'or whatever' is a reference to when Captain America was Sam Wilson, who is Black, that is literally always what ugly ass middle age white guys with bad haircuts mean when they say 'or whatever', so if you ever hear an ugly ass middle age white guy say 'or whatever', kick him in the dick until he can't rape-roduce again. "it doesn't make the stories interesting, you know?"
Me: "Jason Aaron has been writing Thor for about a decade now. He wrote some kind of okay stories about Odinson Thor, but the most interesting part of his run was when Jane Foster became Thor. She was battling cancer, and every time she picked up the hammer and became Thor, it undid all of her chemotherapy. Eventually, it killed her, and now Odinson is Thor again."
FH: "That sounds really creative. But I see a lot of stories on websites about..."
Me: "Every person who writes articles about how diversity is ruining comics is too fucken stupid to think critically. Marvel has been 'pushing leftist politics' since they introduced the X-Men in 1963, since Steve Rogers punched Hitler in 1941. People who write about leftist politics destroying comics are moronic trolls with zero friends, and no concept of history. They don't read the books they bash, they just reminisce about how they imagined things were when they were kids and still had hopes that anyone would ever find them lovable. But those people don't have friends, and no matter how much money they spend on comics, no comic book store employee has ever liked them or wanted them in their store."
FH: "That's interesting. I guess I'll let you get back to eating your lunch."
Random Clod: "Are you sold out? Should I go to your other store?"
Exasperated CVS Employee: "That's not our other store. That's Staples. We're CVS. They might have the computer you're looking for over there. We don't sell computers. We're a pharmacy."
RC waves her hands: "Can you call? I don't want to go all the way over there and find out they're sold out, too."
ECE: "They are right over there. It is a one minute walk. And they are A DIFFERENT STORE."
RC: "So you're not allowed to call your other stores? That's ridiculous."
ECE walks away.
RC starts walking towards the cashier who is about to ring up my transaction.
RC: "Excuse me, I--"
Me: "Nope. You don't get to be crazy at this person until I leave the store."
RC huffs. But she also waits.
After a Very Long Day Of Work, Owen Grey stopped by the store and asked if I would like to go out for drinks. Like a fool who'd never been to Cambridge before, I said yes.
After our first round of drinks, I mentioned watching Stargate.
Owen: "Did you hear about Patrick Stewart coming back to Star Trek?"
Me: "Yes, I--"
Really Entitled Guy: "I have feelings about Patrick Stewart."
Me: "Of course."
REG: "As someone who went to Harvard..."
REG: "But who dropped out. I'm not An Elitist."
REG: "I am a waiter at a Corporate Restaurant, and I could have been A Manager..."
O H N O O O O O O O O O O O
REG: "but I don't believe in corporate bullshit. But My Manager asked me who my favorite President was. I asked 'Can I pick two?' but he said..."
REG: "So I picked LBJ. People only associate him with Vietnam. And, ok, he is responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, but people forget he did a lot of good domestically. I went to Harvard.."
W h a t h a p p e n e d t o P i c a r d?
REG: "and My Manager is smart, but...you look Smart."
REG: "I'm a little drunk. Sorry. But, I grew up in Boston. And I'm Working Class."
Both Owen and I make eye contact with the shame-filled bartender long enough to get another round while he waxes pendantic.
REG: "Obama was ok. But people forget that Clinton promised the Rust Belt jobs, so when.." LOTS OF RACISM HAPPENS "...The Rust Belt said..." SO MUCH MORE RACISM "I'm not racist but" AN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION OF RACISM "Which is why Trump won. Now, I'm Gay, but, and I don't tell Most People this" BECAUSE I'M A RACIST "but I voted for Mitt Romney" BECAUSE I'M A RACIST "And I say this as a Jew" which he almost definitely was not "whose mother is a Catholic" which is more likely "but I dated one of The Twelve" which is not impossible but fairly unikely "so I know to vote Mormon..." AN EVER EXPANDING UNIVERSE OF RACISM "Sorry, I'm prosteletizing."
Me: "It's fine. You've got my vote." He doesn't, but I'm very curious what's next. Aside from Round Three of Dark & Stormys.
A repetitious half hour or so passes.
REG: something something election Ohio "What's the name of the county?"
Owen lists actual counties from Ohio. Where he lived.
REG:"No. Let's call it" Not An Actual County Name "so the people there have short term electoral memory and..." RACISM RACISM CLASSISM
My mind wanders far enough away to order food and another drink.
REG: "And I'm Gay so I can say" A WORD HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO SAY EVER "and you get to go home and sleep with your beautiful boyfriend while I have to stay awake worrying about The World."
Where and Who is My Beautiful Boyfriend?
REG: "Could I have another round?"
The Bartender gives him a Gansett and a shot of Frenet. I Know This Guy.
REG: "I went to Harvard.But I'm not An Elitist. I believe when you see a Homeless Person..." he grabs my hand...THE FUCK?..."You pull the next one up." WHEN DID I END UP IN A MARC SMITH GROUP PIECE? WHAT IS THIS FUCKERY? "Every night I find a homeless person, and take them to rehab. Which I pay for."
REG: "These White People" so....us "they think of themselves as middle class, but you and me" NAAAAAAAAAAAAAH "you and me know we are more like" DON'T SAY 'THEM' "them...The" RACISM RACISM RACISM "Do you think $33/hour is better than minimum wage?" YES. IT IS. IT IS MATHEMATICALLY PROVABLE. "I was on a boat with my cousin, Ted Kennedy..."
REG: "I wanted to talk to him about Something, but he said 'Cousin, I want to talk about Nothing. Let's just sail together.' So we did." He mimes sailing. Poorly. Like he's driving a bus but is not tall enough to see out the windshield.
Me: "The Kennedys still owe me hundreds of dollars for a catering job they never paid me for."
REG: "Where are you from?"
REG:"I'm from Working Class Boston. My mom is working class, but The Kennedys....Let's just say I could wake up on a beach in Hyannisport..."
HYANNIS, YOU ELITIST PIECE OF SHIT
REG: "And it would be" *kissing sound* "I've gotta pee."
Me: "Did you notice he spent that whole time talking out of the side of his mouth?"
Owen: "I did not. Did you know he is from Boston? And Ted Kennedy was his cousin?"
Me: "No. Every time I take a drink, I do it to keep from laughing in his face."
Owen: "I want to talk about poetry."
REG returns: "Politics are poetry. The results are prose."
SHUT THE ENTIRE FUCK UP.
REG: "I said that to my roommate in boarding school."
Me: "What school?"
REG: "Why do you want to know?"
Me: "I went to Northfield Mount Hermon. I'm just curious."
REG: "Oh. The" ELITIST VOICE DIALED UP TO ELEVEN says the guy who also went to boarding school "International UN School. I went to Working Class Boarding School"
"at Governor's Academy."
BWAHAHAHAHA *cough cough choke cough wheeze choke* BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa *ahem*
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Working Class Boarding School BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhaahaaahaaa hoooooooooooooooooo
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA BWAAAAAAAAAHUHHH Huhhhhh hoooooooooo boy
(Note: the laughter is all in my head. But it is LOUDLY in my head. I can't look at anything but my glass or I will explode.)
REG: "Next month I'm going down to Texas..."
Owen: "Are you moving down there?"
REG: "No.I travel a lot." But I only fly Working Class. "And I'm going down there to unseat Ted Cruz. Are you familiar with Beto O'Rourke."
Owen: "A little."
Owen: "Not really."
REG: "He's Very Important."
Owen: "Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "
REG: "No. No." HEEAAAAAAAPING MISOGYNIST RACIST CONDESCENSION. "That's a one off. This is Real Change. New York needs another Cuomo. I'm gay." He stands up AND PUTS HIS DICK ON MY KNEE "But I'm old school."
I move my knee.
REG: "I'm going to change the world." Great. Now I'm in a Taylor Mali po----his dick is on my knee again.
I grab the check, and my credit card.
Me: "I've got to go."
REG: "Most people just watch the world change around them. But we're going to do something." He grabs my fucken hand again. "Pull the next one up. The Blacks, The Hispanics, The Jews ---"
REG: "Most people don't think about the dishwashers." FUUUUUUUUUUCK OFF. "But that's who changes the world. I'm Irish, and last century, the governors were Irish and we did it for each other." He grabs my fucken hands again. "I'm all about freedom. Except those Muslim women in burquas. I'm pretty old school about that."
Me: "Holy fuck."
Owen: "I'm from Boston and I'm working class, and Catholic, and Jewish, and gay, and my cousin is Ted Kennedy."
Me: "I hate him So Much. After he stood up, he kept putting his dick on my knee."
Owen: "Oh no. I didn't see that."
Me: 'It didn't feel that impressive."
Random Clod: "You guys don't have Monstress?"
Me: "It's right behind you."
RC: "This is volume two."
Me: "Yeup. Volume one should be behind it."
RC: "I need volume three."
Me: "Sorry. It doesn't come out until September."
RC: "But I need it for my anniversary, which is Thursday."
Me: "It's not out yet."
RC: "Can you get it for me?"
Me: "How can I get you something that doesn't exist yet?"
RC: "It's for a special occasion, though. Can you make an exception?"
Me: "How would I even do that? The. book. doesn't. exist. yet."
RC: "So you can't get it from another store."
Me: "Not until we fix our time machine."
RC farts and then starts flipping through She-Hulk trades. He is, thankfully, not making any noises.
When a friend has a bad breakup, and mistakenly turns to me for comfort, I always remind them "There are plenty of more worms in the graveyard. Maybe you could use one of those worms to go fishing, but most of the sea is pumped with trash and poison. Better to just stick with the worms."
Settle an argument no one is having:
You walk into a store where a section is closed off. There is a ladder with boxes blocking one entryway. A stool with boxes blocking the only other point of ingress or egress. All of the counter space is covered with paperwork and piles of books. The person working in the store says "Sorry, that section is closed on Mondays. It will be open again tomorrow."
A. Push the boxes off the stool and start to pick at the piles that you've been asked not to touch.
B. Say "That's ok. I'll only be over there for a minute. I'm looking for something in particular."
C. Laugh. "This is so totally my life. Look, I can't come back tomorrow. Can you just move all this stuff, so I can look. You probably don't have what I'm looking for anyway."
D. Scoot the stool over, and act incredulous when the person loudly repeats "THAT SECTION IS CLOSED TODAY."
E. Paw at the nearest piles and ask "Is it anything good? Is it on sale?"
F. Loudly belch and announce "That's what I think of THAT."
G. Argue that the section is not, in fact, closed on Mondays, but is closed on Tuesdays. Letting the clerk, who's never seen you before, but has worked here for the better part of a decade, know "I've been coming here A LONG TIME."
H. Tell the employee you're good friends with the owner, dropping the name of a former owner who's been dead for enough years that his close friends should probably be aware.
I. Lean on the "DON'T LEAN ON THE TABLE!" table, so that the whole pile of hardcovers and trade paperbacks slide toward you.
J. Loudly grunt and leave.