COMIC BOOK CLUB.
Alright, so maybe you didn't know what that means. In fact, I'm sure you had no idea, and if you were to guess, comic book club wouldn't be your last guess, because it wouldn't be a guess of yours at all. I mean, sure, summer can mean a lot of things: swimming, sunshine, rainbows, four-leaf clovers, pots of gold, red balloons, (I never really understood why red balloons are one of the featured marshmallows...are they lucky? irish-oriented? worshipped by red-headed-6-inch-men? General Mills really needs to explain that, or at least let us know what they were thinking or what they were on when they decided that red balloons blended perfectly with Irish stereotypes. I think a pint-of-beer-shaped marshmallow would be much more fitting, but that's not kid-friendly, which is why I don't work for General Mills. Because I would get fired.), but to me, summer mainly means CBC. Yes, there is even an acronym for it. (C-comic. B-book. C-Club, in case you're one of the slower folk; I like to make everyone feel included. I am so nice!)
CBC all began with the confession of a love for comic books and the action of a friend throwing his entire collection in the back seat of my car one night for no particular reason but to share the joy. And believe me, the joy. WAS SHARED. In forms of G.I. Joe animations, it was shared. It was at that moment that three friends became much more than friends, but became founders. Founders of a club that would take place every Wednesday for the rest of the summer. Of course, there were always complications.
"Our FIRST Comic Book Club meeting! The tradition has begun! No one can stop us! Nothing can get in our way! We are founding fathers of a club that will last throughout the ages! GO GO GADGET COMIC BOOK CLUB!"
"Uh...Dean can't make it."
"He's going to his grandparent's for the day for his grandpa's birthday."
"But he's a founder."
"But he can't make it."
"He's also our only other member."
"We could just wait until next week?"
"CBC CANNOT BE STOPPED!"
"I mean...we haven't even had a meeting yet...so technically it hasn't even begun."
"CBC MUST BEGUN!"
"I think you mean begin..."
"CBC MUST BEGIN!"
"Dean's gonna be pissed."
"No. He'll be fine."
"No. He's gonna be pissed. He's a FOUNDER, and this is our FOUNDING meeting. What if Samuel Adams couldn't make it that day to sign the Declaration of Independence?"
"I'm sure we would still be independent considering the fact that a shit ton of other people signed that thing."
"YEAH, but he wouldn't have a BEER named after him, WOULD HE."
"Okay, so no Comic Book Club today?"
"What? Of COURSE we're having Comic Book Club! Dean's gonna be pissed, but you're gonna be pissed if we DON'T have it..."
Okay, so we never really chanted "C-B-C" because this isn't some Mighty Ducks movie, but we did go without one of our founders, and since we found it to be quite pathetic to have a "club" that consisted of two people (which could have been cool since I'm sure we would have made history that way - the first duo pathetic enough to call themselves a "club" because they have no other friends), and who were related nonetheless, making it even more pathetic, we decided to randomly invite a third person.
"KYLE! Welcome to...Comic Book Club!"
"Uh hey guys. So, what do you guys do in Comic Book Club?"
"We go to a comic book store."
"And then we buy a comic."
"Then we go to another comic book store..."
"And then we buy another comic..."
"And then we go read them somewhere."
"Is that it?"
"What do you mean 'is that it?' "
"You buy a comic, go and read it, and then it's over?"
"NO...then we do the same thing next Wednesday!"
"YOU BET IT'S COOL."
What started out as "beginner's lack of luck" turned into "it happened another damn time" when Founder Dean went out of town, then resulting into a third ridiculous mishap, which turned into Comic Book Club becoming more of What Random Person Will We Fool This Wednesday Into Thinking They're Actually A Part of A Serious Foundation. Which made it even better. And one of them even stuck with us, creating a club now consisting of a total of FOUR. MEMBERS. We were ecstatic. Our dream was coming true. Soon, every guest we invited had already heard of us, and had already been fantasizing about "The Phone Call" from a CBC member inviting them to the next meeting. We were famous. We were founders. We were gods.
"Hello, is this Mr. Johnny Rochester?"
"Yes...is this C---no, no it can't be. Nevermind. Yes, this is Johnny."
"Well, Johnny, today is your lucky day. You have been cordially invited to this afternoon's Comic Book Club. Would you like to be our featured guest for the afternoon?"
(The last question, we soon realized, was completely unnecessary, and therefore we eventually stopped asking it.
"ARE YOU SERIOUS HELL YES I WOULD THIS IS THE BIGGEST HONOR I HAVE EVER BEEN GRANTED IN MY LIFE."
(Quotation may or may not not be verbatim.)
"Well then, the CBC-mobile will pick you up in 15 minutes!"
(CBC-mobile may or may not just be my '98 Volvo.)
(It serves many purposes.)
(Like the Batmobile.)
(But better. 'Cause it's the mutha-fukin' CBC-mobile.)
"OKAY OKAY I'LL BE READY IN FIFTEEN MINUTES I PROMISE I JUST HAVE TO CHANGE CLOTHES REAL FAST BECAUSE I JUST SOILED MYSELF OUT OF PURE EXCITEMENT."
(Quotation may or may not have ever even been said.)
Following "The Phone Call," The Guest would climb into my car (climbing is mandatory when it comes to getting into my car. I am like Oscar the Grouch, but with a larger, misshapen trash can that is often mistaken for some kind of Sudan.) and, as long as they had 5 bucks (for the comic, not for me, though chauffeuring fees were once considered), become part of a tradition that has not only not been forgotten, but is now on literary record. This may possibly lead to war with our arch nemeses, Card Collectors, but until that day, we shall continue to fuel our superpowers through strong imaginations and leather-suit-obsessions.
Of course, spending between 4 dollars and 20 dollars every week became an obstacle due to the fact that none of us were employed and we were all frugal people to begin with. (Yes, I do understand that 20 dollars could buy me novels that would last me weeks, but I trace this all to my past: I was a picture-book-kinda-kid, not the "chapter book"-I'm-a-show-off-cause-every-other-page-in-my-book-has-a-big-number-at-the-top-of-it-kinda-kid. Screw Goosebumps. Long live Where's Waldo.) So, after a month or so of expanding our personal comic collections and boasting about who had more (Nerd? WORD.), Comic Book Club then evolved into Random Shit Club, as long as the random shit was purchased at a comic book store. (We didn't want to stray too far from our original theme.)
I, feeling like we were betraying the Comic Book Gods up in Olympus somewhere, stuck with the comics, while Dean and my sister skipped along to "greener" pastures, pastures filled with none other than: TOYS. No longer did our club only have 4 members! (Not that 4 is not a great, huge, prime-club number.) It now had SIX more. (Six plus four is what? TEN THAT'S WHAT SUCK IT CBC RULES.)
Our 6 members were highly appreciated, if not worshipped, by Dean, my sister, and me. The first extra ingredient to the concoction was Trinity. Trinity didn't add much to conversation, since she was a doll, but we all understood her pain. On top of losing the love of her life, Neo, she herself was no longer alive, and whatever pill brought her to Barbie life I'm sure was one that had been slipped into her drink, not a choice offered by Morphius. We never brought up such sore subjects, though, since she did have a gun glued to her hand and could aim it anywhere, since she was gifted with double joints. Later, we think, she went through some kind of mental breakdown, for she never once complained about Dean taking off her tiny clothes and setting her naked atop the dashboard. (She needed a tan. We needed lives.)
Serving as foils to the timid Trinity were all five of our other members: Kevin, Brian, AJ, Howie, and Nick. If you were a kid in the 90's, or a man with highlights in the 90's, then no, this is no coincidence. Dean had learned to accept the cheesy tunes that were sometimes played/blasted in my car. This acceptance of my volvo's musical nostalgia erupted into a dominance. Shamelessly belting out to everybod-ay to rock their bod-ay and asking the people if they could see, see how their love is affecting our reality (listening to this again at the age of 18, I realized that "wishin' I could thank you in a dif-fer-ent way" does NOT mean saying "thanks" instead of "thank you," which is how 10-year-old-Natasha had interpreted it) soon morphed into forming a deep emotional grasp with showing someone the meaning of being lonely and finally understanding that it really doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, or what you did. You could be a Chip 'n' Dale's dancer from the fiery pits of Mordor who was breast fed by your mom until you were 23, because none of that matters, as long as you love me.
I feel ridiculous even taking the finger-tip-muscles to say this, but I must keep in mind that some people who read things on the internet are the kind of people who sit in their parent's basement and never leave, and therefore would not understand what I have been talking about for an entire paragraph. BACKSTREET BOYS. Google 'em, you sad, sad, bunch.
Enough. The moral of the story is to not neglect your inner nerd. Your inner nerd must be fed, and nourished, and it must schedule a meeting with itself once a week to be unleashed. The Summer of '09 has forever been marked as The Unleashing of the Inner Nerds. It has been 3 seasons now that this inner nerd has been suffocated, but this summer, IT SHALL RISE AGAIN!