So this ten-year-old boy was fidgeting in a Zayre’s checkout line. For those not in the know, Zayre was one of many ill-fated discount stores precursor to the now ubiquitous Wal-Mart. This kid was toiling about in that line during a time Mr. Walton had not yet fully exploited the Chinese manufacturing connection.
One thing grocery and discount stores has stayed crustacean on these days are the magazine rack brimming with tabloid rags, Cosmo and People, waiting for you at check-out to gawk at or even to do the aw-what-the-hell impulse buy.
But this kid lived during a time where Marvel and DC had a little more clout in nudging their fine works into the racked combine of magazines and tabloids. Not rare to see today in some store check-outs, but not as common as back in 1980.
And there it was, the savior to this kid’s boredom while his mother continued to goat-butt the person in front of her with a shopping cart in hopes of pushing the line forward.
This savior was giant-sized, to boot. A Marvel Super Special Magazine adaptation of Empire Strikes Back, with Darth Vader’s huge black face on an orange-red cover staring the boy down. Hey, this kid thought nimroddely, I haven’t seen that yet.
Giving in to his sad, demonic curiosity (okay, the kid was bored and held prisoner in a check-out line), he pulled the large comic book from the chicken-wire rack, doing so without the cautious, creepy touch of a comic book collector, and he flipped through the pulpy, colorful pages, taking in the newspaper smell. As if by fate, the kid landed on the very page of Darth Vader’s confession to ole One-Hand Luke.
If you’ve ever seen a teardrop fall and land on cheap pulp, you would see it nearly melt a hole through the paper. This kid only intended to view a tidbit of action, drawn pictures that posed no spoiler threat. Yet, it happened, the ruination to the secret that shocked the fan-people’s world.
The kid had eventually seen that morose installment in the Star Wars saga a week or so later, watching Empire Strikes Back with fresh awe and fervor, but the big punchline he already knew about came out onscreen like a forced belch: satisfying, but without surprise. (Spoilers suck: https://jackleetaylor.com/2015/08/19/spoiler-alert-everyone-dies/)
Decades later, this kid (grown fake-adult) is now in a different war beyond the dangers of spoilers dressed in magazine racks. A flick of the finger on Facebook or Twitter and the kid is toast. But he is going to go up to the challenge of waiting a week after opening day to watch The Force Awakens (yes, this is madness, indeed).
This brings on an interesting challenge of staying off the social network grid, avoiding the blabber-ass at work, and well… living like an information hermit. Sadly, this kid feels impending doom like the failure in the tree, but he will try to unlearn anything he has learned in the meantime.
This kid wants the impossible. Maybe that is why he will fail.
To those of you having to wait as well, may the force be with you.
Whatever our fates, Happy Star-Warlidays!