Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Was A Teenage Nerd: My Comics Chair

Everyone should have a comics chair, a place to sit and read their comics. It should be comfy, and large, and able to accommodate a bowl of popcorn (or the snack of your choice). It should be kept in a place of honor, off limits to others (except once-in-a-while snuggling occasions).

I had a comics chair, and I loved it very much.

The story of my comics chair begins, I believe, before I was even a comics reader. For a handful of years, my brother and I spent our days before and after school at a daycare center. The road home took us past the corner of Washington Boulevard and Nowata road, at which there stood a small motel called the Green Country Inn. In front of which, one day, was parked a large 18-wheeler trailer, minus the 18-wheels. On it was a sign that read: "Beanbag Chairs - Cheap!"


Now, understand that my parents were not, as a rule, indulgent. We got our NES in 1990. My brother drove Mom's car throughout high school. One of my earliest memories is asking my mother if we were going to eat at McDonald's that night, her saying "I doubt it," and me asking what that meant. They knew when to say "No."

But God bless that woman, that day she said "Yes."

My beanbag was pure white, about twice as big as I was, and of that perfect level of comfort men pay La-Z-Boy thousands of dollars a year for. The World's Most Comfortable Chair had nothing on that baby. We're talking the perfect balance between support and give. Outside of brain-crippling orgasms, I have never been as relaxed as that chair made me.

It assumed a place of honor by my window-box (have I mentioned how much I loved my room as a kid?), and by the time I started stacking short boxes, I had my comic chair.

I didn't discriminate; I'd read my weekly pulls, or a classic run, whatever caught my fancy. The day I won the county spelling bee, my mom took me to the comics store and told me to treat myself; I bought "Kraven's Last Hunt" in back issues, and, when we went home, retired straight to the chair. I had reading to do, dammit.

One of the things I liked to do was put the chair on my bed and sit in it, Lord of All I Surveyed. For a 5'4'' thirteen-year-old, having my eye that high was a rare and wonderful thing.

Jean Grey and Scott Summers got married in that chair. Aunt May and Ben Reilly died there. I had all-night Bone read-a-thons, my annual "Age of Apocalypse" reread, my prodigious "Let's see how far I can get into the Clone Saga before I throw a comic across the room in disgust" experiment. I wrote one of my first short stories in it. And, sometimes, when I was sure no one was home, and I'd just had the day from hell, I sat in it and cried myself to sleep.

I took that fucker to college.

The day after I graduated, we drove me back to Houston from Atlanta. Somewhere around Biloxi, I realized I'd left the chair behind. I never saw it again.

I miss my beanbag; I could have used it my first tumultuous year in New York. But I figure that someone at Residential Services picked it up, stuck it in the back of their car, and took it home. And somewhere in Atlanta, there's a little boy or girl who loves that chair just as much as I did.

If that boy or girl is reading this, do me a favor: Every once it a while, plop down in that chair with your favorite snack and read something you love. It likes that.

1 comment:

Lea Hernandez said...

Did you ever read Zot! by Scott McCloud? The character Ronnie, who had ambitions of being a comic writer had a special reading chair, too, a yard-sale recliner.

I love this story.