Improbable Holidays

 So, we’re around the breakfast table this morning and Michelle announces “Hey – it’s Free Comic Book Day today!” What? “Free Comic Book Day. You go to any comic book store and you get to take free comic books.”

Understandably, I’m dubious. This sounds a little too much like “Hey it’s Free Twinkie Day at 7-11 – you just go to any 7-11 and put as many Twinkies as you want in your pockets. Don’t ask the guys at the counter about it, though, because they’re reaaaally busy and don’t want to be bothered. Just go in, load up on Twinkies and skip out. Honest!”

I give Michelle my now-patented What-Nefarious-Deception-Are-You-Practicing-On-My-Offspring glare, and she looks wounded.

“Really – I swear. Free Comic Book Day. It’s like Christmas, but with comic books.”

If I was hoping to head this off, I’m too late – Miranda and Jeremy are enthralled with the idea and mob her with questions: Can you take as many as you want? Are all the comic books free?

Michelle is starting to make this sound convincing: It’s a once a year thing. No, not all the comic books are free. Publishers put together an assortment of comics specifically for Free Comic Book Day. Those are the free ones. And the rules vary by store – some places have a limit, like two or three per person, while others will let you take all you want. In theory, at least – apparently there’s an elaborate etiquette surrounding behavior on FCBD, such as not taking books that you could just as easily borrow from siblings.

Miranda looks at the clock and laments – no way there’s enough time for us to get to (Michelle looks it up) Lee’s Comics and back before she’s due up in Menlo for her Saturday afternoon D&D session [an aside: have I told you recently what a joy it was to realize that we’re raising full on nerds? Makes a dad proud].

But I’m starting to believe her. Can we go later, after picking M up from D&D? Michelle makes a couple of phone calls. Lee’s got a good shipment of free comics (so she claims), but who knows how long they’ll last – the later we wait, the more we’re pushing our luck.

So we work out a compromise – after dropping Miranda off for her troll-bash, the other three of us will swing by Lee’s and bag our legal limit, dividing the spoils between Jeremy-appropriate and Miranda-appropriate ill-gotten gains.

As we pull up into the parking lot, I’m almost disappointed that Michelle wasn’t lying. A banner above the door proclaims the improbable truth, and the crowd milling about the tables set out in front confirms it.

Free Comic Book Day – who would have guessed?

Michelle and Jeremy quickly home in on Spiderman, Serenity, Star Wars and – failing the alliteration test – the Hypernaturals. But the lure of the non-free comic books within the store is too strong, without realizing it, we find ourselves cruising the back aisles, looking for Volume Two of The Runaways, and The Original Avengers and, well, anything else that looks good. By the time the nice man in the Wolverine t-shirt hands me back my Mastercard with a $78 hole in it, I’m realizing that perhaps Free Comic Book Day has motives beyond pure altruism. But it’s hard not to get caught up in the fun of it. Some people blow money on the lottery. For my money, Free Comic Book Day is a helluva a lot more fun.

One response to “Improbable Holidays

  1. Pingback: May the fourth be with you! | geek&sundry·

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