Loose Cannon: Issue #26

Fri, July 6th, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Larry Young, Columnist

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SIXTEEN TONS

The only thing that cheeses me off more than late-delivered comics is the inbred, born-in-the-back-of-a-truck, isn't-it-a-shame-when-cousins-marry, I've-got-a-BA-in-Liberal-Arts, pabulum-eating, micro-brew-drinking, $80-haircut-having jarheads that pass for "civilized" members of our fair city.

The sort of folks who sleepwalk their way around town with nary a thought to those who actually are on a schedule, or have someplace to be, or have figured out for themselves a long time ago how the world works.

You see this on airplanes a lot… every once in a while there'll be a guy who'll stand in the middle of the aisle with a guitar case looking like a lost sheep because the guitar won't fit under the seat in front of him. I can't believe this is his first time on a plane…

Anyway.

I'll go so far as to say that perhaps this particular behavior I'm about to elucidate for your edification (and my off-staving of that incipient angioplasty) is that these (and there's no other word for it) bastards are inflicting on me just by their very existence... is... endemic upon this great big land of ours as well.

The whole country, that is.

What is is that disturbs, you, Larry? The folks that just don't have the concept of standing in line.

[US Post Office]Picture this: I'm standing in line at the local Post Office, where the men and women of the U. S. Postal Service whisk millions of pieces of mail all around the country for the small price of 34 an ounce, first class. I've got tucked under my arm a package that'll be $3.50, priority mail. I know this going in, and, to speed along the process, have thoughtfully pulled out four George Washingtons and have got 'em clutched firmly in my hand. There's about five people ahead of me. Let's review 'em, shall we?

1. Old Lady Jones. OK, for some reason, the frail little old lady at the front of the line feels the need to pay for her three books of stamps with pennies. Great. Actually, this doesn't raise the ol' hackles that much because she probably was a WAC in the Big One. God bless her. I'll practice my Zen.

2. Skippy the Smack Addict. There's some unwashed, six-foot, 120 pound speed freak vibrating like he's from Earth-2. Calm down, Skippy. You're next in line. Deal with it. You're almost there.

3. Olive Oyl and Swee' Pea. This lady is always good for a laugh. "What kind of stamps do you have? Do you have the flowers? Do you have the 'LOVE' stamp? What about Bugs Bunny? How can you be out of Bugs Bunny?" Lady, NO ONE CARES. They're 34. Just send your goddamn phone bill with whatever stamp they give you. No matter what the stamp folks say, you're not making a statement with your postage.

A statement is made when people care.

No one stops what they're doing, in the hallway, after getting their mail, and says to themselves, "Huh. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Olive Oyl for sending me this lame-ass picture of her illegitimate monkey-spawn slathered with Amelia Earhart postage. Wotta gal." I repeat: NO ONE CARES. Get your stamps and let's get a move on.

4. Lance, gettin' jiggy wid it. Obviously the unfortunate victim of some boyhood-head-dropping incident, this guy makes Mr. Furley from Three's Company look like he belongs on Mr. Blackwell's Ten-Best-Dressed List. AND he smells like tired horse. Take a shower, Lance.

5. The Squealer. Most powerful and annoying of all of them this sorority sister squeals like a red-hot railroad spike has insinuated its way into her nether regions every time one of her collagen- and silicone-modified Stepford friends walks by outside. With ear-shattering clarity, she screams the time-and-date of their last meeting for all to hear: "AAGGHH! I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU SINCE BIFF'S LAST DAWSON'S CREEK PARTY! AAGGHH! Or: OMIGOD! WHERE DID YOU GET THAT AWESOME, THREE-PIECE DONNA KARAN?

How about this, girlfriend? OMIGOD! SHUT UP!

Finally, I get my turn at the counter, and who is the rocket scientist behind the wheel? A guy who looks suspiciously like Goober from The Andy Griffith Show.

Me: "I'd like to send this Priority Mail, please."

Goober (making conversation): "Goin' to the ol' En-Why-Cee, huh?"

Me (not wanting to make any friends, just wanting to pay for my goddamn postage and leave): "Yep."

Goober: "OK; that's $3.50."

Me: "Here ya go."

Goober: "Have a nice day."

So. I did my part for the cats behind me in line, by knowing how the process worked and doing what I could to streamline my part of it.

What does this have to do with comics?

Well, just that it's not exactly a secret how the world works.

If you have a waiting audience for your comic, you should produce your comic and ship it. Your audience will buy the comic, and they will give you money. You can use the money to pay your bills, and to produce more comics. Which more people will buy, and will give you even more money. This cycle continues until you retreat to your secret underground base in one of the non-descript fly-over states to plot your world domination.

Or.

You may have an idea to advance the distribution or the printing or the marketing or the retailing of comic books.

Or.

You may feel, as a comic book reader, that you are being overlooked or oppressed or marginalized.

Or.

You may feel that "people" are not responding to you, or to your opinions, or to your work.

Or.

You do not like how things are going, in general.

Well, it's not exactly a secret how the world works.

In fact, Tennessee Ernie Ford sang a great song about it in 1955.

If you don't like how things are going: change it.

Pick up your shovel and walk to the mine.

When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is larry@comicbookresources.com

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