Thursday, January 28, 2010
My Life With Comic Books: Part # 41
MY LIFE WITH COMIC BOOKS: THE HISTORY OF A COMIC SHOP - Part 41
My store was located across the street from City Hospital and the Worcester Area Mental Health Center. We would often get people wandering into the store from the Mental Health Center after they had their doctor appointment. We realized that many of these people had serious problems so we tried very hard to be kind and patient to them. One such man came to be known to us as “The Talking Toilet Guy”. He would come into the store twice each week and politely ask us if we had any half-dollar coins. We didn’t get them in normal change but we knew that he’d like it if we had some for him. We made a special effort to get some for him each week when we went to the bank. He’d come in and ask, and we’d exchange his dollar bill for two half-dollar coins. He would get quite excited, he’d giggle, he’d thank us and he’d leave. It seemed like a simple way to give this guy a little happiness in his life. Unfortunately, this only encouraged him to stop in more often. He began visiting the store four days each week. He continued asking for the half-dollars coins but now he added a new request. He would say (with slurred speech), “ Sir, do you have the 1974 Good Housekeeping magazine with the Talking Toilet on the back cover, sir?” We tried to explain to him that we didn’t have any Good Housekeeping magazines in stock but we’d watch for one for him. As the weeks went by he got more and more frantic in his desire for this magazine. He would ask us multiple times on each visit. After a few months of this it became annoying to all of us.
We all thought it would be harmless fun to play a joke on my competition in town. We told “The Talking Toilet Guy” that we had just opened a new store across town. We gave him directions to my competitor’s store. We explained that the Good Housekeeping magazines were in the very back of the store and we told him that the “manager” of this new store would probably claim that he didn’t have any of these magazines in stock. We encouraged him to insist that he wanted to see these magazines. We all had visions of my grumpy competitor trying to convince the Talking Toilet Guy that he really didn’t have the 1974 Good Housekeeping magazine with the talking toilet on the back cover. We thought it was really funny. A few days later, the Talking Toilet Guy came into my store and explained that our “new store” manager was very rude and he wouldn’t let him see the Good Housekeeping magazines. We thought about sending him back again but we didn’t want to upset him again.
He continued coming into my store four or five days a week asking the same question for a couple more months until we couldn’t take it anymore. One day when he came in, I said, “We just got in a collection of Good Housekeeping magazines. Let me see if the issue with the talking toilet is in it.” I bent down in front of him and pretended I was looking through a box of magazines. Keep in mind that there was NOTHING in front of me! He watched intently as I pretended to flip through these non-existent magazines. I finally said, “Sorry, but there are no magazines here from 1974.” The Talking Toilet Guy looked disappointed and asked if he could look through them! He wanted to look through a box of magazines that didn’t exist! I finally had to tell him to leave the store and I asked him not to come back. We never saw him again.
Next chapter: The “Smelly Lady” and the “Candy Man Guy”.