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Thursday, February 17, 2005

What Not To Say

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that no one in America ever needs to go into a comic book store and say: "I remember when these things were ten cents/a quarter/fifty cents each!" ever again.

It's one of those phrases that you hear all the time working the counter, always uttered by someone apparently under the impression that they're the first person over the age of fourteen to enter the store, and it makes me wonder if they do that in other places. Do they wander around grocery stores talking about how much canned peas used to be in 1964?

One such guy was in the store today, and boy was he dropping pearls of wisdom like there was no tomorrow.

He was an older guy, I'd say about 70 or so, wearing a white t-shirt over a pot belly and jeans, and was standing with his grandson while the poor kid tried to look through the con stock.

"I remember when funnybooks used to cost a nickel!" he shouted. I gave my standard response to this statement, which is pretty much composed of half nod and a shrug with a polite eyebrow raise. Most people would take the meaning to be "I really don't have much interest in what you're saying," but it never fails to convey "Please go on at length about a topic of your choosing" to these cats.

The old guy looked down at the boxes of comics and snorted. "Eight dollars? For a funnybook!" He shook his head in disbelief.

Right away I knew he was a winner.

My suspicions were confirmed after he left for a few minutes and then wandered back in and up to the counter with a new query.

"What kinda business is that next door that all those black people keep goin' into?"


I honestly didn't know what he expected me to say after that one, so I went with the truth: "Uh... CDs."


"CDs. It's a music store."

"Oh. That explains it. They're flockin' in there like birds."

I shrugged. "Everybody loves music, sir."


Blogger Phil Looney said...


2/17/2005 11:03 PM

Blogger Mark W. Hale said...

It doesn't even have to be a comic book shop. Just read a comic anywhere outside your house, and some old fuck's bound to come up to you and talk about how they used to cost half a dry fart and negroes knew their place, boy howdy.

Actually, I was lucky enough to know a number of adults in my high school years who read comics when they were younger and just wanted to know what the characters were up to. I like those guys.

2/18/2005 1:48 AM

Blogger autryman said...

Just wanted to let you know that I laughed so hard at this post, that I almost woke up my wife. When she wakes up I'll ask her why black people like Cds so much. I've been meaning to ask her that. In fact, if you yourself have any questions about the preferences of black people, forward them along and I will give them to her so that she can answer for her people. Ha! What a maroon.

2/18/2005 6:00 AM

Blogger Jim Shelley said...

Maybe the old guy is really on the bleeding edge and was surprised people still bought CDs. Y'know, like "How 90s!" Probably figured everyone listed to mp3s now.

What I think is funny, is all the people who come in and want to know what such and such a comic is worth. The guys who are going to pay their rent this month by turning selling 20 copies of Brigade #1.

I would love to see an article on those cats.

2/18/2005 8:40 AM

Blogger J. Kern said...

i remember when black people used to cost a nickel...


Boy! Fetch me a mint julep!

2/18/2005 6:08 PM


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