While at Waldbaum's for the usual stocking up of my weekend party supplies (Chicken Vegetable Cup Noodles and Diet Mountain Dew), I noticed a rather enticing advertisement. The crudely photocopied ad hung in the window of a local stationary store.
I have and always will hold a soft spot in my heart for stationary stores. While growing up, almost my entire disposable income was spent in two places. The first was a deli mere blocks from my house, where I spent countless hours and countless dollars on Chocodiles and Street Fighter II. Although I had always though they were called "Choco-Diles" or possibly even "Choc-O-Diles", Google confirms the correct spelling to be the rather blah, hyphen-less version.
The deli was my second love. The first was a stationary store next door to our local Waldbaum's (a different Waldbaum's, oddly enough... although I guess that's stretching the acceptability of using the phrase "odd") named Stage.
This card store sold everything I could want as a child. Sure, I could want more, but at the very least I could live happily on everything Stage could supply me. Stage had all the necessities for an eight+ year old boy: Archie comics, Bonkers, and all those candies that seem to exist solely in card stores, such as Alexander the Grapes. I never loved those little boxed candies, but they were always a solid investment, since after spending money on comics and full size candy the leftover change allowed me to purchase them.
Stage was also where one of my many ill-fated ideas to make money took shape. I purchased pack after pack of New Kids on the Block trading cards, thinking that I could both enjoy them, as well as store them. Since, obviously, they would be worth a lot of money in the future. For some reason, this idea never panned out. I'm not sure whether it is because the cards were damaged by storing them loosely in a metal tin, or if it is due to the New Kids' popularity waning slightly. We will never know.
Before we delve too far into uninteresting childhood blather, let us return to the point at hand: stationary stores, and their inherent incredibleness.
I must have passed this sign dozens of times, thinking it advertised something within. Be it a mylar balloon or some other other licensed product, having a piece of paper advertising Spider-Man in the window of a card store makes perfect sense.
Today, however, I happened to look closer. I had to edit the picture because I don't want to ruin the surprise. However, if I waited to post it, the unappealing wall of text would not have been broken. It was a piece of printer paper, with an image of the movie version of Spider-Man, with the title SPIDER-MAN FOR HIRE.
Color my interest piqued.
Had Spider-Man gone the way of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, selling his superhero protection to anyone who would pay him? Alas, that was not the case - it was merely a Spider-Man imposter dressed in his costume. Instead of fighting crime, he would show up at your child's birthday party and entertain the kids while the adults feel uncomfortable.
Admittedly, I have never met Spider-Man. I looked on as he posed for pictures at Islands of Adventure, but never felt the need to get a picture with him. Come on, that's just lame.
Besides, I had to get on line to pose with Doctor Doom.
What was especially unsettling about Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure was his butt padding. I guess when someone is slim enough to get in the Spidey suit, they tend to have little to no posterior. So to give Spider-Man the round buttocks that the kids expect, they always have this weird padding stuffed in there.
I should probably be more ashamed that I noticed that than I am.
Besides "Birthday Parties", the sign manages to list five other possible times you might want Spider-Man walking around. I'll let them slide with the next two, mostly because they're so vague and similar I can't be bothered to protest. "Special Events" and "Special Occasions" really should have been grouped as one, but I assume they didn't want to throw off the balance of the sign, so I'll let that slide.
"Holiday Events"? Unless it's Halloween, I don't see it. Even if it was Halloween, I don't see it. "No, I didn't wear a costume, but I hired this guy who did." Not so festive.
I'm not really sure what goes on at a block party. I always lived on a street that was too busy for us to have one. Our family was also like Boo Radley with the neighbors, so we didn't know anyone on the side streets that would enable us to go to their parties. I have seen them as I drove by, and as far as I can tell they involved picnic tables, loud awful music, and the occasional bouncy castle.
And seeing as I am not allowed to go in the bouncy castle anymore since I'm "too old" and "too big", I could honestly not care less about block parties.
I fear this may be a bit anticlimactic, because I honestly can't think of much to say about the grand finale. Because honestly, how do you even begin to describe the logic behind hiring Spider-Man to appear at...
I thought of the best way to approach this, and I really don't see how. There is no real way to add more humor to a concept that is already this ridiculous. Although hiring Spider-Man to show up at some one else's wedding... now there's an idea. The bad news is that I really can't extrapolate on the Spider-Man at your wedding idea. The good news is that I don't have to. It's just that great.
Despite the fact that I spent the past dozen or so paragraphs doing so, I don't want to knock the guy. Hopefully, this isn't his career. I'm assuming he's just a normal guy that happens to own a Spider-Man suit (which sort of lowers the "normal guy" bar a bit lower, but I'm not one to talk). So on the very off chance that he gets hired for a birthday party, he makes some cash for hanging out in a costume for a few hours on a Saturday. It's some quick tax free money, and it looks great on his resumé.
And, worse case scenario, there is no way he can do as bad a job at entertaining kids as Shrek:
Talk to me Now or Later