Thursday, December 11, 2008
The People We Was
The shop had a group of regulars that... regularly... went to movies together, celebrated holidays, and acted kinda like a family. It was kinda nice, actually. I figured I'd go ahead and make a post about the people that I actually chose to spend time with. Besides, my little blurb in Lying In The Gutters sorta could sound like I'm an angry, bitter loner. I'm not alone.
The leader, or Sam Malone, of the outfit was the owner. I won't get too much into him now, as I have a great big post on him later. He was in law enforcement, looked like Freddie Mercury, was obsessed with the 1980s and was a pretty cool guy. If he wasn't your boss. He turned out to be the worst kind of boss. More later.
For the longest time, his sidekick was a guy we'll call Sarcastro. He had a biting sense of humor as befitting a comic store employee, which he was for a couple of years, although that seems three years too short. He was always there in my high school days. He was a big, husky blond guy who lived at home until he was married. In some ways, he fit a stereotype in that he was occasionally mean, lived at home, didn't date around too much. But when he was cool, he was authentically funny (not just comic shop funny), was young and close to me and my best friend's age so he liked the same music and shows. He seemed to buy video game systems and other gadgets as soon as they came out. He met a religious chick and promptly married her off and is now a father of three (or soon to be three), living in a nice big suburban home filled with nice things, like Tivos, and probably Blu-Ray players and Nintendo Wiis to boot.
Their mutual friend shared qualities with the both of them. The Weatherman worked at the Weather Channel, although in an off-camera capacity. Like Sarcastro, he could be a world-class dick, but most of the time was geniunely funny and cool as well. Hell, he invited me to his wedding, so that was kind of flattering. He went to high school with the owner, and mainly bought books probably just to socialize. He also liked Godzilla.
My closest friend from that group was a guy who I can't name but comments on here as Bryan Ferry's Mom. Probably just to give me shit for insulting Anglophiles. He's also a huge fan of Roxy Music. And cock. Just kidding ya, BFM! He was super-generous with CDs and DVDs, and had a sweet job where he basically worked a four day week as a result of being such a pimp at it. He likes a lot of hip stuff and looks far younger than his age. Never a nasty word from this guy. He alone shall be spared my vitriol.
There was a southern democrat who was probably a hippie at some point, but you would never know it to hear or see him. He was pretty nice, and was older than all of us. Hell, he went to high school with my mom, it turns out.
There was a funny black guy, that kind of had some Don Cheadle qualities to him. He went through some ups and downs and didn't really come in during my tenure as an employee. He's married with two kids now, and I have his email somewhere. He hung out some with this reformed alcoholic who looked a lot like Jimmy Palmiotti and was in the Air Force when younger. He later had two kids with a lesbian. Sweet! He worked with BFM and Sarcastro at an old person's nightclub for awhile.
These three guys worked for a local distributor that wasn't Diamond. They had a warehouse we would visit to get gaming cards and other shit I didn't care about, but they were really cool guys. One was an Italian guy who had some stories to tell, I'll not tell you what. Another was a guy with an unfinished Venom symbol tattoo on his back and a wife who worked for Warner Bros. The other was a guy with Weezer glasses, a shaved head and a long goattee yet was a Republican. Go figure. I actually really liked these guys and I think they all stopped coming in when the store was sold. I wish I still had their contact info.
The last guy I can remember was a huge, and I mean huge, guy from New York. He lived with his parents, I think. He worked for a long time at Barnes & Noble, despite the fact that he had a degree in Teaching. They canned him after he took some medical leave due to ankle/leg issues. The owner thought he might've had a lawsuit on his hands if he wanted to pursue it, but I guess he didn't. He ended up working at a Lowe's unloading trucks at 5 in the morning. He was in his mid-30s and really should have had a better job. He was the most obviously nerdy in regards to appearance, but oddly enough was not into computers, video games or the internet in the slightest.
As for me? Some say I look like a white version of Jemaine Clement from Flight Of The Conchords. And I am just as shy-at-first, socially awkward and funny as any numerous hip nerds. So, a cliche. And I'd be remiss if I forgot my two "real world" friends, my best friend and former roommate who was a tall, good-looking Harvard grad (who is now engaged ladies), and my former other best friend, a portly red-head who lived with a girl who looked like a supermodel and got big into booze and coke and works as a waiter at a bar. I guess. I haven't talked to him in two years. I'll probably see him at his booze-and-coke caused funeral.
What seperated us from most comic shops is that we were the comic shop you could take your hot, shallow girlfriend to. The place wasn't wrecked, we listened to the "hip young white people" alt-rock station, we could talk South Park, Simpsons, Arrested Development, The Office, etc. In fact, rarely did we talk comics. We didn't dress in X-Men shirts, we didn't have ponytails, we showered. We were the "cool" guys. Now, I know every shop considers themselves the "cool" shop, and we weren't as hip as the comic shop/indie music store that was in the hippest area of town and sold more Eightball than JLA, but still.