1555 One Smart Fellow.

I worked in a comic shop for a few years, and a game store, so I’m familiar with the variety of odors nerds come in. Of course now that nerdy things are mainstream the smelly nerd is not so common as it once was. Now everyone likes superheroes and video games.

I haven’t been in a real comic shop in at least a decade and a half. Even the one I worked in was barely what would rightly be considered a comic shop for most of its existence. The town simply wouldn’t support it and it slowly evolved into a junk shop. Once everyone realized that they weren’t going to get rich selling 3 variant Spawn first issues that 15,000,000 people also had they gave up on the dream. Only the most dedicated readers were left, and half of them never had money for their pull list. It was a dismal place, always going out of business, with a toxic atmosphere. For a while there were Magic The Gathering competitions, but those eventually died off as well. As the company changed its focus on rare cards the players lost interest, not wanting to evolve with the game. I used to have some pins that you got for winning tournaments, but I don’t know what happened to them anymore. In the case of both comics, and card games, there came a point where things changed in a way that made them no fun anymore.
With comics it was a Marvel story called Zero Tolerance. I’ve talked about it before. It ended so poorly it made me not want to read American comics anymore. I never read a lot of DC and they had been floundering for a while around the time of The Long Halloween, so it was easy to just walk away. With magic there was a group of players that wanted to play with the new professional rules instead of the no rules version we played. Since so many cards were banned it ended up driving off everyone until it was just those few guys, and they stopped coming eventually when no one would play with them.
I got job at a real store after that, and never had time to go back after that. I sold my cards to the brother of a friend, and a man who is dead now. I hear they sold off the better cards in little increments, but what happened to the stacks of commons I have no idea. I thought I had kept a couple of decks, but if I did I lost them someplace. I honestly cant remember because it wasn’t important to me at the time. Although I can remember the general build of my favorite red deck.
I was unhappy. The girl I loved had left me and I was just going through the motions of life because I didn’t know what else to do. I lived like that for years. The only good to come of that time was probably passing on some of my weird wisdom to friends. I hear echoes of it sometimes when they talk. Little bits of how you keep living when you don’t really want to anymore. I was angry in a defeated way, and no one really knew how to help me. I’m not sure I could have been helped. It was just a trial I had to live through. In some ways I think I’m still living part of that trial.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do to achieve my goals anymore. Now I just kind of do things with a vague sense of trying to help people via my weird, pointless, stories. I know they help, because people tell me they do. That seems like a good enough goal. Just trying to make things suck less for as many people as I can, even if I can’t do the same thing for myself.

Anyway, I finally finished my anthology pages so maybe I’ll stop feeling so rushed all the time and can get some more of that patreon sketch backlog finished. I’ll keep you posted on the status of that collection in case you’re interested, when I have more information.

Teen Corner
today was a not so interesting day but ill blog about it anyways because I feel all the feels and I need to get rid of them. so we went to Walmart and I got my hair trimmed boring I know. the weird guy from game stop checked my out again. but I mean can you blame him? I’m super hot. just kidding I don’t believe that at all. I got to drive for an hour or so and that sent my anxiety through the roof. driving is terrifying to me it is more responsibility than I am comfortable with. I am so scared that I am going to mess up and hit someone and hurt them or hurt any one including myself. I am not comfortable driving over 35 mph because then I feel like I am going to wreck and I freak out and forget what I should be focusing on. so yeah there is that. as I mentioned I am newly single and there is this guy I like. I hung out with him last night and we watched a movie and talked and it was fun but I don’t think he likes me because well I’m me. I freak out about every little thing and I’m clingy. I debated whether or not to text him all day and finally gave in and texted him first around 6 and then I spent the entired time thinking I was annoying him. as you can tell I’m great at relationships (sarcasm) I am always afraid of messing up and not being pretty enough or good enough. typical teen things that I’m sure you’re already tired of hearing about. besides freaking out about driving and boys I’m still overthinking every little thing about adulting. I HAVE NO IDEA HOPW TO ADULT HELP ME. the faster my summer goes by the more anxious and freaked out i get about my senior year. I’m going to be 18 in three months and i don’t wanna. i wish i could go back to kindergarten and do everything over and spend less time trying to grow up and more time being a kid. honestly I just keep looking back thinking about how stupid i was for wanting to grow up. me and Jackie go to Walmart and he looks at legos cause he is obsessed obviously and I just look at all the little girl toys and realized everything i missed out on and now I spend the last of my teen hood freaking out about adult things i don’t understand and regretting every decision I’ve ever made. smart right? I have been super bitchy lately I’m sure Jackie would agree and i think its just because every minute I’m thinking about everything in the world examples. how does one know what insurance to get? how does one use credit card? what are bills? how was the world created?? WHY AM I LIKE THIS??? and the list continues. I feel very stressed out for no reason basically and I want to talk about it but i hate going to people to talk about things typing seems to come easier to me especially since I don’t know really anyone that reads this. I feel anxious, scared, depressed and tired and i can feel my summer slipping away as I waste it watching Netflix and I’m like i know i should do important things but i cant think of anything to do besides clean and organize randomly and at the same time i just want to climb into bed and never leave my room again. will my entire life be like this? IS THIS ADULTING? signed frustrated, anxious teen.


My comic shops are always fine!

For the most part. I am far too polite to point out when it’s not fine.

I try to stay clean before I do my comic shop visit. We’ve only got the one out here and it’s a charming little place. Shame they don’t carry any of the new stuff.

*EXPLATIVE!!!* I hated Operation Zero Tolerance. I’d read almost every X-Men comic since 1992 (when I was 10) and every single issue of every single spin-off since whenever Age of Apocalypse was. Then Zero Tolerance came and I dropped every single one of them. Sold as much of my collection as I could for store credit and started checking out what else was out there because I was done with Marvel.

I didn’t give up on American comics though and almost immediately started catching up on Preacher and Transmetropolitan.

I recall the comic shop I used to frequent when I was younger. I would be there almost weekly for these game days that they had on Saturday morning. Morning meaning starting around 11am. It was for those Click miniatures WizKids put out. While most of the people I played with were normal for teenagers, there were a couple guys who played some CCGs that were just… odd. I wonder of they ever became a more acceptable to the general public but part of me thinks that they stayed the same because they didn’t realize or didn’t care what people thought.

I’ve gone back a few times (I work about a block away from it now) and while I see some old faces, it’s just not the same. The smelly, awkward and downright odd people that used to frequent comic shops made them unique. Without them, we are all somehow lesser for it.

We’re lucky to have a genuine comic shop here in town and even more lucky to be friends with the owner and the manager. We have a weird little nexus of comic goodness here. Even our larger Vintage Stock has a good selection of comics (Vintage Stock originated here so we have 2 and one of them is in the mall in the space that used to be Montgomery Wards). I guess our town can sustain it, though how, I don’t know.

To the Teen:
Adulting is hard, so only do it when you have to. That’s my advice. I’m a little past twice your age, and I still haven’t figured out how to adult properly, so I try not to whenever I can.

I had lousy teen years, too. Everything turned around for me when I hit my twenties…Friends to hang out with, things to do, etc. I was more of a teenager in my twenties than i actually was in my teen years.

Sunday was a unique one. I went in, found 4 comics and a random novel to buy. Then talked series with the worker, his mom, and a friend of his for about 3 hours.

To THE TEEN …. the terror will be with you always. Embrace it. Be it. Become one with it. It is when the terror goes away that you know that you have slipped over the edge and become ONE OF THEM.

Just roleplay the part of an adult when you have to. The OTHERS never seem to catch on and you get to keep your version sanity. You will eventually find like minded individuals that you can call friends and life will be so much better.

I never really had money for comics growing up. Plus, I was pretty fidgety with paper. Books are OK in my hands because they are pretty sturdy, but comics are a disaster waiting to happen in the eyes of any collector.

To The Teen: Growing up and the whole “responsible adult” thing is a myth. I had a pretty jilted upbringing (it wasn’t bad at home, but my peers twisted that shit right up), and I only got through it by what I now call “the disconnect”, where I just stopped caring about societal norms, and just became this cold distant thing to practically everyone. Few people saw the kid in me that liked to have fun (and in hindsight, those people are worth more to me than the contents of a bank vault). My teenage years were severely delayed, and I started to experience them at the age of like 25.

The only advice I learned out of the bullshit is: just be you. If you’re interested in something, be interested in that thing. Who gives a shit if it’s “nerdy”, who cares if nobody else has the slightest interest in that thing? Your own happiness should not rely on other people’s opinions, because that way lies only disappointment.

It’s called grunge, guys; it’s a style, right?

Aw, dude, you actually read my latest journal? I’m touched.

Poor Teen. Maturity and responsibility crept up on her while she was having fun. I… am really not the one to sympathize. I had bought my first car by the time I was 19 and bought my first house when I was 21. I had to get out of my parents’ house because Mom was going through the ‘change’; it wasn’t graceful. I wish I could offer better advice.

I don’t really have any commentary on comic books since I didn’t buy my first comic until I was in my 30’s (Mass Effect, then Firefly – thank you ThingsFromAnotherWorld.com), and even though I have a tiny collection by any collector’s standard, they still don’t hold the mystique with me that I’m sure would have developed if I’d been into comics when I was a kid. I can appreciate the enthusiasm that some people have for comics though, and I read a fair number of online comics regularly (always adding to the list), so even if I don’t own a lot in print, I guess I’d consider myself a casual fan of comics. I’ve only been in comic shops a few times in my life, but they were a normal (?) experience like any other store to me, so nothing really stands out in my memory.

To the Teen: Some of the folks who posted before me have already given good opinions and or advice about adulting (fun word!), but for my part, I can offer a few tidbits from my four decades “growing up” that I’ve gleaned from observation, trial and error, and advice from older and wiser people than me.

1) Learn to change your perspective. The old adage, “Walk a mile in another man’s shoes…”, has some truth to it in my opinion, and trying to understand why people behave the way they do, whether it is good or bad, can help you figure out how to approach them when you recognize behavioral patterns. It’s more of a passive skill that you develop than a constant effort, but I’ve found that it helps me deal with others, particularly if they annoy or upset me, if I can come up with a reasonable explanation (in my mind) why they are acting as they do around me. People are people, and generally speaking there’s no avoiding bad behavior, but remembering that we’re all human (so far as we know, right?), can sometimes help remind you that everyone has a motivation for their behavior, and most of the time, especially with the negative side, it has nothing to do with you at all.

2) Goals and dreams are healthy and “good”, but do not underestimate the importance of living “day to day”. Life is not always easy, and everyone copes with difficult situations in their own way, but one great stabilizer can be to focus on “getting through the day” and taking it as comes, treating it as its own set of “to do’s” and “free time” outside of the larger picture. Speaking for myself, I have a terrible tendency to “make a mountain out of a mole hill” (more colloquial wisdom), and it took me a long time to learn how to break down tasks or situations into smaller, more manageable parts and deal with them one at a time, but it definitely makes a difference in your attitude.

3) Cut yourself some slack and learn to recognize your strengths (and weaknesses). Like was said previously, “just be yourself”, is generally very positive advice. There are times when life dictates holding your “full” personality in reserve in order to develop professional relationships and skills, or to more easily navigate daily life around difficult people, but otherwise it is advisable to be your genuine self and do what you can to enjoy life. Without a doubt we are our own worst critics, so make an effort to recognize and accept when you put forth your best effort, or when you do a good (or satisfactory) job on something, even if it is something as simple as washing dishes, making your bed, or finishing your homework. From what I can gather from your writing style, you seem like a generally positive, healthy-minded, and “normal” teenager, so cultivate those strengths and don’t sweat the small stuff, it’ll all come with time as you gain experience and discover more about who you are as a person.

Your mileage may vary with this advice, but hopefully some of it proves useful. the important thing to know is that you CAN do the “adulting” thing without help, it’s just more fun and often times easier with good friends and family (like Jackie). Life is a learning process, so stay honest with yourself, do things that you enjoy, and handle the challenges as best you can, and eventually you’ll work out “life” in your own way and in your own time. :-)

As for paying bills, finding the right auto insurance, managing your own household and other basic “living on your own” tips, it’s possible that your local community college has classes that cover these topics, or there may be other community resources available nearby that can give you a starting point. Certainly you can end up with more information than you can assimilate at one time, but take each duty separately and I bet you’ll discover that you can manage it all with a little practice.

Closing thought (because this post isn’t already hilariously long enough): It’s still June and Summer 2016 is only five days old (Solstice was June 20th). Take a breath and plan some fun activities and stop worrying about the end before the beginning has even had a chance to get started. ;-)

I second the Perfesser, very well said. You put into words what I was struggling to post in a coherent manner, and did it much more effectively. Also, don’t force yourself to grow up, it is going to happen anyway, relax, enjoy the ride and stay a kid as long as possible. I have managed it and I am a grandfather now.

Hey Teen! I completely understand how you feel, as I went through the same thing as a high schooler going into my senior year of high school, and then college… And now I´m out of college but I´m not so afraid about adult things because you do sorta get used to it! It´s good to write down all the things you need to do and go through them slowly. Don´t let anxiety stop you from doing things you love because then your life is going to just pass you by. Let things happen as they come.

So much “adult stuff” to process, and it’s all good advice on how to live on your own. But from what I can see it misses the mark on how to actually be an adult. It’s all about living on your own and faking it or pretending; fooling the outside world that you’re a “responsible adult” (all while “being yourself” whenever possible!) Now, for what it’s worth, the perspective from an affirmed Peter Pan (my theme song is “I Won’t Grow Up” from Mary Martin’s Peter Pan.)

Being an adult is mostly about just being responsible for yourself and your own actions (and eventually those for whom you are responsible: mostly it’ll be your kids and spouse, but may include those who work under you.) For example, when an adult spills hot coffee on their lap, they say “Huh! Maybe I should have kept the lid on.” Then goes and cleans up, and puts ointment on the burn. A child looks for somebody else to blame.

Much of the advice that has gone before is included under this concept. For example, when you have a car or home, the responsible thing to do is keep them maintained and insured against damage they may cause or may happen to them. Treating others as if they were intelligent people who are doing the best they can with the information they have is being socially responsible.

Being responsible can be scary. That’s why it’s best to take it a little at a time (it happened to me so gradually that it came as a complete shock to me when I discovered that I’d become my father! Especially since I’d vowed to myself that I would never grow up.) It may take a little while to get used to — and a lot of people I’ve met would rather stay children and “do the adulting” thing.

Unfortunately, our system of government can only be successful if most of its citizens are truly adults. May I encourage you to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And like Thracecius said: don’t worry about the end before the beginning has even started.

You know, reading back over what I said, it sounds more scary than it really is. I mentioned it in passing, but didn’t emphasize it enough: it’ll happen in its own good time. It happened to me, and I didn’t even want it! Just take it a day at a time. Enjoy the life you have, and help others enjoy theirs to the best of your ability. Don’t stress over it, for as Jesus said: “…don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Nicely said, T-Ray!

The most “difficult” part of being an adult is exactly what you said, being responsible for yourself and your actions. I put stress on the word difficult only because it varies so greatly from person to person as to how much trouble they have owning their actions and acknowledging whatever consequences they might incur. In support of that, I recently came across two quotes regarding maturity that may offer some comfort and/or “food for thought” on the discussion.

“Adulthood isn’t an award they’ll give you for being a good child. You can waste… years, trying to get someone to give that respect to you, as though it were a sort of promotion or raise in pay. If only you do enough, if only you are good enough. No. You have to just… take it. Give it to yourself, I suppose. Say, I’m sorry you feel like that and walk away. But that’s hard.” -Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign, 1999

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” -Madeleine L’Engle (1918 – ), “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art”, 1980

There are so many ways to live a happy and productive life, no matter your circumstances, and sometimes all you need is a little support along the way to help you develop the faith in yourself to make it happen. As you can see from the many positive comments here, it can be done, and we all believe you will find your way. :-)

Sometimes life is slogging through thick mud. Eventually you get tired, your legs are sore, and you ache all over. But in the back of your mind you know that you have to keep moving, even if only just a little. You know you have to keep moving because if you stop, you’ll get stuck.

And sometimes when slogging through those muddy times, we’ll come accross someone else slogging through the mud, too. Sometimes they’re better off than we are. Sometimes they’re stuck. Sometimes they may choose to use us and to drag us down. But, sometimes they’ll help us along. And sometimes they need us just as much as we need them, so it’s important to make sure that they’re keeping up and not just sacrificing themselves for our sake.

Keep moving. Help those that you can. Don’t give up.

So, Adulting.

– every week or month you will have some fixed costs like rent, insurance, gas, heating and so on. Make sure you always have that money at hand.

– Save up some money every month, so you have a buffer of say three months of spending after a while.

– Save for vacations and stuff.

– The rest is for day to day spending. Split it by about 30 and you get what you can spend each day. Stay in that region and you’ll be fine.

CREDIT CARDS: Get one and use it. Always pay off the debt asap because otherwise you’re stupid and a mark. After a while, see if you can find a better card.

WORK: My basic approach to being a success at my job is to be the go-to guy. Make sure you fix problems rather than just pointing them out, or not being able to fix them, or (worst) causing them. It’s not necessary to fix every problem, just get good at something. If you’re ambitious, increase your skill set gradually.

If you’re energetic and a self-starter, work life will be so much easier. But not everyone is. Sometimes you can fake it for a while.

Also, don’t get high when you’re working next day. Try not to be a pain in the ass. Give your older coworkers some respect and they will like you for it.

UNIVERSITY: I dunno, is it worth it?

LIFE: If you’re a girl, get married and have kids fairly soon. Don’t wait until you’re 30. Choose a good guy and don’t get divorced. Consult parental figures on whether the guy is good, because their hormones aren’t going crazy.

There, that’s basic adulting.

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