Ode to the weird kid

00aacd65fba817fc93135ac052c3fada(How people of my childhood saw comic book readers)

In pondering the many influences in my life, I find it hard, at first, to dig up the past.  Not that I had an awful childhood; nothing of the sort.  I grew up in the idealistic nuclear family with both a mom and a dad (I know right?) and two kids counting my sister who came along 7 years after me.  Now, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that my parents were perfect.  But, despite their issues with each other and the world surrounding them,  I grew up in a rather normal home.

So what happened to me?

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I laugh when I write this, but I often wonder.  You see, when I was growing up, it wasn’t normal for older kids and, especially, teens to read comic books.  And I didn’t just read them, I caught Saturday morning cartoons about them, the live action tv shows about heroes like Spider-Man and the Hulk and, once they started hitting the theaters, I gladly watched movies about them.  There were others out there, obviously, but most of the older fans covered their tracks better than I did mine.

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It was also not normal to obsess over ‘true’ stories about ghosts and aliens.  I remember fawning over my dogeared copy of CHARIOTS OF THE GODS.  As I became further and further entrenched in my Christian faith, I began to question my fascination for those things more and more.  But I can’t deny that I had my ‘faze’.

Most normal kids didn’t stay up late on Friday night to catch the weird movies.  You know them;  the wild and woolly horror and scifi movies of the time.  Everything from Godzilla to Frankenstein to THE BIRDS to giant Japanese robots fighting to save all of Tokyo were my obsession after midnight every weekend night.

Normal kids also didn’t read the dictionary.

You heard me right.  I scoured the sea of words for some sign of cool names to call comic book characters.  You see, I not only wanted to read comics.  I wanted to write them.  And I will soon, I promise you (as soon as I find an artist).  And between the World-book and its dictionary, I found no better source for character names.  Yeah, encyclopedias; LONG before the internet.

So, I still find myself wondering where it was I took a detour from the mindset the rest of the world.  During my teenage and college years, once I wondered among my supposed peers, I really wondered what was wrong with me.  I’m sure my parents did just that day after day as I grew up.  But now, looking back, I realize it wasn’t a matter of what was wrong with me but was what was different about me and how I got there.

I’m not even sure that matters anymore.  In this day and age, I’m not sure kids wonder so much about that.  Today, weird and strange is the matter of everyday life.  In fact, the different is celebrated more and more and those who chastise the weird and unusual are chastised themselves.  I’m oversimplifying things of course.  For, as long as man is on this planet, they will find ways to ostracize the different.

But, I digress.

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Yeah, I was weird and I struggled with it through the 70s and 80s and, yeah, even to adulthood.  But, looking back, it was just the building blocks of who I was to become for good of for ill.  And those days of reading comics, idolizing writers and peering through dictionaries were just part of the journey.

 

THINGS COMIC BOOK READERS HATE HEARING

Young, eager ears and wise words

mother and child baby daughter reading magic book in dark
family mother and child baby daughter reading magic book in the dark

Welcome to my inter-most thoughts and discoveries as I journey here in the dirt like all of you.  The only leg up I have over a great many of you out there is that I know who speaks the wise WORDS of life!  Besides that, I’m just like you.  I’m just trying to keep my path as straight as possible.

In trying to reach back into the dark recesses of my memory for some coherent beginning, I find myself in my bed ready for sleep.  I’m not sure how old I was.  I know I was young.  As I fight the weight of slumber,  my mother would read to me.  It was a simple thing.  Doesn’t take a great deal of talent or training, but we parents miss the simple power of our position, some times.

It was during this transitional time between the running around and dreaming up adventures to the winding down and fading off to sleep, that, as much as I wanted to fight it, my young ears were eager for the words my mother spoke so softly to me.  Probably the first stories that pumped life into my adventurous imagination were from a set of books that she would read to me religiously.  Odd that I would use that word.  For the books were stories from the Bible itself.

stock-photo-70518427-father-and-daughter-reading-book-at-bedtime(Fathers can do it too!)

I’m not sure if understood even a tidbit of the significance of the good Book where these stories came from.  All I remember was my awe at the illustrations and my wonder at the amazing stories of arks and giants, prophets and priests and of men and God.  Before I gained my fascination for Greek mythology or mythology of any type, for that matter, I learned as a foundation about the all powerful, ever present, completely knowing God of the Old and New Testaments.

Was it here I gained my amazement for the power kept in the words and pages of this mysterious book?  Could this be where my gift for discernment and my thirst for the very real stories that I’ve come to know and respect in adulthood?

I’m not sure.

All I know is that I would not be who I am and would not feel how I feel about the scriptures if those stories were never read to me.  So, I salute all parents who take the time to open the Word to their little ones.  Those of you who take the time to pour the love from the Bible onto these little ones lives are now among my personal heroes.  I’m afraid of the many things that I failed at in my short time here on earth, my failure to pass on my love for the WORD of GOD is, sadly, high on the list.

So, my admiration for those who take the time is coupled with a warning to those who don’t.  It’s never too late.  Don’t waste the time.

And to my mother who so faithfully read to me, I am in deep appreciation.

Thank you, Mom.