Monday, May 09, 2011


It's National Free Comic Book Day (Saturday 07 May 2011).

Before we enter the Puyallup Public Library, I deliver a short speech to The Child. "If you want a particular comic book and someone tries to give you something you don't want, then you let them know what you would really like to have."

We enter.

Seated at a table are four teenagers—two male, two female. "Happy Free Comic Book Day!" they greet us. We smile and nod at them.

One of the young women points at twenty-five or so stacks of different comic books. "The ones at this end are for kids and the ones at this end are geared more toward adults." We glance at the different titles. Thor. Darkwing Duck. Spider-Man. Betty and Veronica. Green Lantern. Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Star Wars! The gravitational pull of the adult side of the table is strong. The allure of mature knowledge titillates. The Force beckons. "Dad!" "I'll have to check it out first."

As I begin to thumb through it, to ensure that the material isn't too graphic, the young woman who spoke to us earlier holds out a Mickey Mouse comic book to The Child. "We've got Mickey Mouse," she entices as she waves it gently about. The Child looks at me, at the Star Wars comic book, at the young woman and the comic book in her hand, and back to me, with a bit of fear that Mickey Mouse will end up as the choice, the free comic. The Child whispers, "Dad, I really want the Star Wars comic book." "Then tell her," I whisper back.

"No, thank you."

The young woman looks at me and says, "It's okay, you can pick up to three free comic books." I shake my hand as though a head signaling "no" while I mouth, "It's okay."

"No, thank you," The Child repeats. "I'd really like the Star Wars comic book."

"Okay," says the young woman, seemingly somewhat deflated.

The Child takes the Star Wars comic book from my hand, beaming. I grab a copy of Jim Woodring's Weathercraft and Other Unusual Tales. We thank the four young adults and wander off to look at books.

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