Friday, October 07, 2005

A Comic Book Story

When I was a lad, I served a term as office boy to an attorney's firm. I had a double major in Latin and Greek from an Ivy League college, so, really, what other choice did I have?

Anyway, as a studious youth (a.k.a. socially-backward tool), I regularly brought some reading materials with me to enjoy during lunch in the firm cafeteria. Then, as now, my reading consisted mostly of Classical literature and comic books.

One day, I was relaxing at lunch with a copy of the Aeneid (yes--in the original) and the latest issue of Wonder Woman. The head of the firm sauntered over to my table, shoved his thumbs in his vest pockets (it was the '80s, you know), and sniffed,

"I fail to understand how someone who can casually read Latin literature in the original
can also spend his time reading comic books."

I thought about explaining the classical grounding of Wonder Woman, my search for parallels between Diana's mission in 'Patriarchs' World' and Aeneas's nation-founding mission, or the more general equivalence between the iconic characters of comic books and the archtypes of ancient myth.

But I didn't. He didn't really seem to be asking for an explanation, more like ... an apology.

Perhaps I should have answered differently than I did, given that this was the guy whose name was plastered in gold letters on the cafeteria wall and the source of my salary. But one can only push a comic book fan so far, and, besides, where I'm from you don't let people push you around -- and certainly not a Princeton man, like this guy. I mean, really.

So I waited the proper comedic beat and a half, and replied, dead-pan:

"That's simple.
When the comic book gets too complicated for me,
I go back to the Latin."

Needless to say, I didn't exactly make partner, but the satisfaction I got from that moment will last the rest of my life.


Anonymous said...

I am both a classics major and a comic book fan and the two are inextricably linked. Poopoo on anybody who says otherwise.

Captain Infinity said...

I thought comic books were classical literature!

The Icon said...

It's common knowledge around the newspaper where I work as a reporter that a comics fan, and my editor is always, ALWAYs knocking them. You summed it up. It's as if he wants me to apologize for reading them.

Ragnell said...

First day of class in leadership school, my comm-skills teacher asks if I have any hobbies. I only really have one. He nods when I tell him I read comics, then mentions another teacher. "Have you talked to him? He reads comics too. He's really smart, though." Two minutes later he had to explain why he fet a need to defend the guy's intelligence.

As a plus to this, doing better in group dynamics lessons than anyone else in my class. Why? I'm paralleling the lessons to the Justice League and Green Lantern (The 4 main each GLs each correspon to different personality types.) Can't wait to see the GLC enter in the Storming Stage of Team Development in the next issue of Recharge!

Evan said...

Now you'll never be the ruler of the queen's navy. ;)

Scipio said...

Evan; you're the only person who caught that.

Gary; it's NOT my "username". It's my NAME. Yes, really.

Franny; D&D? EWWWW, GEEKY!!!!

Anonymous said...

You are my hero, man.


Anonymous said...

Gee, I only did three years of Latin at grammar school, is it too late for me? I am reduced to getting my niece, who is a classicist to produce latin quips for me when I need them.

Anonymous said...

It's seldom one gets a chance to drop the expression "vescere bracis meis" into lunchroom conversation, but man, that would have been the time. Still, your answer was better!