Since nobody visits this blog, I decided to make it a place where I can just vent all my scattered thoughts and frustrations. I mean, who really cares about me? Nobody. It is a fact that I see on the faces of everyone I know, on the faces I love. People think I’m stupid. I’m smarter than they realize. I know they really just don’t care.
To those who wish I’d just go away, It’s very possible they’ll get their wish. My body is failing. My mind is failing, too. My mind is really all I have … and it’s leaving me. My time on Earth is getting shorter. There so much I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to LIVE! It’s okay. Maybe in the next life.
Until then I’ll just come here from time-to-time to rant like the insane person I’m becoming. Just watch as I transform into a monster.
My own anger and frustrations have sent me into exile. I am alone. I will always be alone. Spoiler Alert: we are all alone. We pretend we’re not. It is a pleasing lie we tell ourselves. The truth is, no one gives a damn about anyone else in this world. We are alone. To escape the crushing pain of loneliness that eats away at me, I either sleep or I watch TV or I read comic books.
People ask me, “You are an adult. What is it with you and comic books?” People with small minds who don’t understand will never understand. Fuck, to be honest, I don’t really understand my fascination with comics, comic collecting, comic book movies – any of it! But after a LOT of thinking on it, I uncovered a memory that’s been buried in the back of my addled mind under a pile of unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. It may hold the answer. It involves me, my dad and comic books…
My dad and I were never all that close. My mom and I were best friends. I mourn her passing every day. But my dad and I just never got on the same page, no pun intended. I know my dad loved me. When I got older, there was just too much between us. We couldn’t be close. But there were times when we connected. This memory is pretty old. It’s a bit fuzzy. More than a bit. However, it may contain a kernel of meaning and a little understanding.
The memory is from when I was very young. I can’t be sure if it took place after I got sick (diagnosed with RA) or before. I was diagnosed at age 5, so I’m fairly sure it was after, but not long after.
It was morning. I remember being in bed. Sick. In Pain. Not understanding why. I remember my dad coming into my room. “Hey, dad,” he said. (My dad called me “dad.” Don’t ask me why.) He said he had something for me. He then explained to me that a friend of his from work gave him some comic books to give to me. I remember not being sure what to make of it. Then I saw my dad kneel down beside my bed so he could read them to me. My dad read comic books to me when I was sick! I can’t be sure, but I think they were “Thor” comics. I remember him reading to me, page after page. He couldn’t read for too long. He had to go to work. For that little while I was whisked away to another place. I loved it! The action! The characters! I remember asking him to tell me all about the different heroes I saw on those tattered pages. My dad didn’t have the answers, but he tried very hard to satisfy my curiosities. My dad kneeling by my bed to read “Thor” comics to me. It is a beautiful memory that I find myself revisiting often.
As I got older, my love of comic books grew. Somewhere along the way, someone handed me an “Incredible Hulk” comic book and I was completely hooked. I loved the drawings. I loved the colors. Most of all, I loved the story. I loved the Hulk, but I bonded with Bruce Banner, the man who became the Hulk. Banner and I were like kindred spirits. You see, Banner saw his alter-ego as a disease. Forever Banner searched for a way to cure himself of the painful burden…a predicament I keenly connected with. After all, I too had a monster inside me. Banner’s handicap was the Hulk. Mine was Arthritis. I loved seeing the green monster use his muscles to put an end to his foes. Hey, I wanted to be that unimaginably powerful, too! But I felt for Banner. His struggle was my struggle.
When I got a little older, my dad did not try to suppress my love of comics. I remember him driving me to a comic book store in Pitman, I think. A very heavy, scruffy-looking man with tattoos ran the place. I remember being intimidated by him. His tough exterior hid a heart of gold. On one particular visit, I remember him just giving me a big box filled with old comics! He just GAVE them to me! I was overwhelmed by his generosity. I think my dad was, too. Most of the comics were “ROM The Space Knight” books. I read them all! (I wish I still had them!) My dad took me back to that store many times when I was a kid. I remember each visit feeling like a trip to Disney World!
I either sold or gave away all the comics from that time – except for one. It is a very old Hulk from the ’60s. I still have it because I remember when I bought it at that very store. It’s not worth much, but it means everything to me. It links me back to a happier time so so so long ago.
I’m sure my dad expected I’d grow out of my love for comic books. And, in time, other priorities in life did take precedence over comics and collecting. But, even as I became an adult, I still found my way back to comics. Even now, at age 49, getting a new comic book, reading it and putting it into its own little plastic bag still brings me immense joy.
But why? Well, maybe it has something to do with a memory of my dad keeling by my bed reading comic books to me.