Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
It doesn't just happen to me. This is from a former coworker circa 2012:
Please note this wasn't a Comic Book Person being weird, this is just a weirdo who comes into a comic book store and is aggressively baffing to a specialty retail employee:
I Swear I wish I was making this sh*t up...
Rando: "Do you have Baaahhbeezze? I need a weddin days Baaahhbeeze."
Me: "Sorry, we don't carry Barbie Dolls"
Rando: "You got supthin against Baaahhbeezze?"
Me: "Nope, we just don't carry them here. We are a comic book store."
Rando: "My daughtah needs Wedding Day Baaahhbeeze"
Me: "Sorry, you might try Target or Toy's R Us."
Rando:"Ugh, Do I look like a Communist?"
Me: "I'm sorry?"
Rando: "Never mind... You think Booksmith has Bahhbeeeze?"
Me: "Probably not they are a..."
He turns around and walks out the door as I speak.
I am going to start carrying a flask to work I think...
My mistake, today, was in opening early. It's ten minutes before I'm even supposed to be giving the stink eye to the heroin addicts when a guy comes in with one of our plastic bags, throws it on the counter and says "How much for these?"
I am in Qughincy, so I can barely muster an eye roll. "What are they?"
"A bunch of old comics I found in my attic. They were my dad's. He says they're worth fifty bucks."
I open the bag, a little suspicious that his dad has one of our plastic bags up in his attic. Sure enough, the comics he has found in his dad's attic include such antique titles as Brightest Day #4, The Return Of Bruce Wayne #3, and Batman #700, which came out back in the dark ages of June 9th, 2010. "I think your dad is playing a practical joke on you. These comics are about two weeks old. We already have plenty of these items in stock, and no interest in buying more."
"That other guy who works here. The chink. He usually buys my stuff. It's valuable."
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd we're done. "You're welcome to come back when he's working. His name's Tom, by the way. I'm not buying these from you."
And I walk over to the children's section to straighten out the books.
While I'm doing that, he meanders over to the dollar section, and starts picking up books at random. "Hey, buddy. How come these books ain't got no ratings on them?"
I am not getting roped in to this conversation. "Because they don't."
"They safe for kids? I got a nephew."
"Depends on the age, and the kid. Some of them are violent, some of them may have strong language and adult themes."
He giggles when I say adult. "So they nudie books?"
Eyeroll. "No. None of them have any nudity."
"Because I got a Superman book here once where Lois Lane puts a dildo in Superman's butt."
"Well," I say. "I tell you what. You go home right now, get me the DC comic of Lois Lane putting a dildo in Superman's butt, and I'll give you five thousand dollars."
The guy stares at me. "Really?"
"Yea. The dildo issue is one of the rarest comics in the industry. So you should go home RIGHT NOW and get it."
"Five thousand bucks?"
I walk toward him. "Six thousand if it's in mint condition. But you have to get it now, I'm being relieved in an hour, and the other guy will probably try and rip you off."
"I don't know where it is."
"Well go find it. It's worth FIVE THOUSAND dollars. Isn't that worth going through some drawers? An attic?"
Seriously parents of Brookline? You just gave me crap for having How I Met Your Mother on the TV? Your twelve year old daughter is wearing a napkin as shorts.
These things always seem to happen in Qughincy. Which speaks volumes about why everyone hates working in this store.
Probable Child Molester: "Ummm...do you guys have the red, yellow and blue Pokemon cards that come out tomorrow?"
Me: "Well...no. It doesn't come out until tomorrow."
Probable Child Molester: "But you have them right? I just...I just came all this way from Hingham because I need to have them for tomorrow."
Me: "We don't have them. They're not out yet. And, honestly, I'm not sure if we'll even have them tomorrow. We haven't been restocked on Pokemon cards in months now."
Probable Child Molester: "But...I mean is there any way you could get them for me today?"
Customer Loitering By Back Issues: "Your kids bugging you to get them?"
Probable Child Molester: "I don't have kids."
Customer Loitering By Back Issues: "What are you forty-five and you still collect Pokemon cards? Why don't you stop wasting this guy's time and go spend your money on some online classes or something. Pokemon's a children's game. Are you a children?"
Probable Chld Molester (ignoring him, and talking to me): "Could I have a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh! instead?"
A hipster douchebag in Coolidge wearing SHORTS, a t-shirt, a head scarf and goggles looked at me in my hat and coat and said “You look ridiculous.” And smiled at his girlfriend, who was dressed all in purple and glitter.
The first in a series explaining why I'm losing my hair:
Two guys in their mid-twenties walk into the Qughincy (the "ugh" in Quincy is silent, but always present) Store. One is looking for "The List" series from Marvel. So I lead him to The List section, show him what titles we have, tell him that I JUST sold the last two copies of the Daredevil and Punisher issues. He is clearly about to say something along the lines of "shucks", "rats", or "goddamn it" when his friend, from across the store starts shouting "You needs to get Fantastic Four The List. And Halo The List. And Superman The List. You needs to get GIJoe The List and--"
"Buddy." The first guy says. "Those comics don't exist."
"Yea, they dos. I saw the movies."
We continue looking for non-List comics, pretending we didn't hear the movie comment. But after a minute or two, the guy starts up again "You needs to get GI Joe, it was bomb-ass. And Daredevil was the shit. You seen the Watchmen comics? Shit be like--"
The first guy interrupts. "Look, if you like those comics so much, you should buy them. God knows it wouldn't hurt you to read every once in a while."
The second guy pulls his cap rim down and says "Fuck you, dillweed. I reads. I reads the youtubes all the time."
”I’ve always had a thing for Thumbelina. You know what I’m talking about?”
NO. NO I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.
I am watching Justice League: New Frontier for, approximately, the three hundredth time. This is not an exaggeration. At the end of January, we got a preview screener of the movie, and watched it three or four times a day until the DVD came out. Since the release of the DVD it's been on pretty much non-stop in every store. I should really hate this stupid movie, but I. can't. stop. watching. it.
It has one of my favorite comic book (and now animated movie lines) of all time, when Batman, having just met Martian Manhunter says: "My instincts tell me you're to be trusted, but make no mistake--- It took a seventy-thousand dollar sliver of meteor to stop the one in Metropolis. With you, all I need is a penny for a book of matches."
There are currently seventeen customers semi-circled around the TV watching this movie. They have been oohing, ahhing, cheering, and owing. It would be almost cute IF I HAVEN'T HAD TO GO THE BATHROOM FOR THIRTY MINUTES. I am staying calm, though.
I appear to be excelling at calm this week. This morning, I got to work a bit early, so I headed down the street to get some breakfast. I was standing in line behind a typical Brookline sneery woman. She ordered an egg and something sandwich, sounded like she said cheeze. I only noticed because she sounded so phony with the way she said cheeeeeeeeeeeeeezuh to the Mexican woman behind the counter. Typical rich, well-to-do- "open minded" person explaining something to a "stupid foreigner".
I ordered my bagel while she and her haggard, preppy looking boyfriend sat down and argued. Well, argument is an overstatement. She berated him for the condition of his jacket, while he nodded and mumbled apologies.
She let out an enormous sigh when her number was announced, and trudged over to the counter. "What's this?" She asked.
"It is an egg and cheese sandwich." The Mexican woman behind the counter said, without a stereotypical accent, or any offensive tone.
"Egg and cheese? No. I said egg and CREAM cheese. This is ridiculous. Where's the manager?"
"Sure." The employee said.
I swear I herd the boyfriend say "Jesus Christ, not again." But I can't be sure. But even if I just imagined it, it was enough to get me giggling.
Of course, the woman turned on me. "What's so funny?"
"You. Why talk to the manager. Clearly, they misunderstood your order. It took two minutes to make, at most. They could probably make you a new one in the time it takes to get the manager out here."
"Well, I'm not paying for..." I stopped listening. Wasn't my argument, and I wasn't finding it funny any more, just annoying and sad. I grabbed my bagel and headed over to the comic book store.
I had just unbagged my bagel, when someone started pounding on the door. Cream Cheese Queen. She'd followed me.
"We open in forty-five minutes." I said through the door.
"I want to talk to you now."
"Sorry. You can come back in forty-five minutes when we open."
She pounded the door one more time, and walked away. I've spent the rest of the day dreading her return. So far, nothing.
But I have had other typical Brookline people. The mid-fortyish father with no control over his son. Not a particularly bratty son. He wasn't loud or obnoxious, but he started watching New Frontier, and after a few minutes, the Dad was ready to go. "Liam, it's time to go."
The kid made a meep-meep noise and shook his head.
"Ok, another minute, and then we have to go."
This repeated for over a half an hour. The dad would spend a minute or two looking at the kids' comics and then sternly tell his son it was time to go. His son would refuse, and he would go back to looking at other comics.
Eventually, the dad turned to me and said, "Hey could you turn off the TV for me?"
And I wanted to say "Could you learn how to be a parent, you gigantic pussy of douche?" but I didn't, I paused the DVD, and the kid shook his head, and very politely asked me to turn it back on.
I was getting ready to say "I have to turn it off now so that you can leave." When the dad said "I guess we'll just have to stay to the end, then, eh tiger?"
Tiger? Really? Why not just buy him something to reward his not listening to you. "I'm going to get you this nice Bone comic, too, okay."
Without looking away form the TV (which I still had not unpaused), he said "I want two Bone books."
And I unpaused the DVD, because this kid was clearly Damien or something much more powerful.
There is clearly something wrong with this part of Boston. Zuzu has a prospective tenant to her apartment who has been living in Brookline for the last twenty years. She calls herself Penny Wisdom Snidely. None of those are her actual names, it's just what she likes to call herself. She must have been so jealous to find out that Jethro Q. Bonwackit Bozitstabon Boot Walrus Titty had already been taken.
Penny-Wisdom is a self-called Spiritualist Writer For Children (I've googled her, didn't find any of her work anywhere). In a conversation with Zuzu, she informed Zuzu that the Jews (the religion she embraced a couple of months ago) were called The Chosen People, not because God chose them to be in a covenant with Him, but because someone has to take on all the world's suffering, and they're so good at it. I don't see her being very popular with other Jews, other spiritualists, children, writers, or really anyone, except possibly people with silly names. What do you think, Morris Stegosaurus? She probably has a large group of friends here in Brookline, though.
I'm too congested to ponder this any further. Luckily, one of the nice Brookline people that I've been kvetching about heard me cough, and gave me a couple of Airborne placebo pills to help me feel better.