Keen-eyed readers will note that last week there was not a third installment of Risk Legacy. We had to cancel it, but never fear: it will return next week! (and stay tuned to our Twitter account where I’ll probably swear at the other players some more when we play tomorrow night).
I’ve been thinking about another sort of legacy recently, though: passing down my interests to my children. My son is three now, old enough for me to indoctrinate him in all sorts of ways. He can already sing all of They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)“, and while I know it’s trite to fawn over mispronunciations he says “Even old New York / Was once New Hamsterdam” and it’s the cutest damn thing ever.
There are other things that I don’t actively experience now but which I think are still important, or at least beneficial, to know. Football, for instance: I haven’t kept up with the Bills since I was a freshman in high school, due to a combination of my sports-loving friend moving and the team not regularly going to the Super Bowl anymore. Football is the English language of sports: fairly complex, full of special cases and yet (at least in the US: the analogy is breaking down) almost required for full cultural assimilation. If I don’t watch it, will he learn the game? Aren’t I obligated to watch it for his sake?
This line of thought has led me to check out the price of The Beatles’ box set on iTunes a few times. I’m not a Beatles fan per se, and don’t own any of their music, but I still know and appreciate most of it. It seems downright irresponsible to not include The Beatles as I teach him what good music is. And yes, I would have to get the anthology: if it doesn’t include Norwegian Wood, Eleanor Rigby and (ideally) Strawberry Fields Forever then I won’t be sated. I could probably be okay with Anthology 2 since I’m of the firm opinion they weren’t that great until all of the drugs.
I was recently able to start some of his training, in the form of comic books. It’s rather disgusting how marketing dictates a child’s interest: at his second birthday party he got a bunch of Cars toys, furniture, etc, and would you look at that: suddenly he’s way into Cars and we’ve bought both movies, Cars wall decals, Cars Duplo sets, Cars underwear… (Possibly equally as gross is that, when I couldn’t remember if it was his first or second birthday, I was able to search my Amazon orders and see the dates I bought the Blu Rays).
Overt materialism and subconscious programming are okay when it’s stuff I like, though, so I was fine when he got bubble bath bottles shaped like Hulk and Spider Man. Guess which two super heroes he likes now? I had been wanting to start reading comics again for quite some time, but I couldn’t get past the price: even $2 for a digital issue on Comixology was too much when I would read it in five minutes.
Enter Marvel Unlimited. $10 gets me access to their library of back issues: it’s not complete, and everything is at least six months behind, so it’s not a perfect solution. But as someone who hasn’t read comics for at least 15 years, I’ve got enough to catch up on. I thought I’d start with the Civil War, but that was obviously playing off of past events, so I took a trip to the Wikipedias and added the Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Decimation and Secret War storylines to my queue. I got halfway through House of M in the first month, so I don’t need to worry about running out of things to read.
I’ve been using the subscription to read old issues of Spider Man to my son as bedtime stories (sorry, Mercy Watson). If he’s going to like something he should know the source material, after all! My thinking is that the older ones are less complex and are more “Spider Man vs A Bad Guy.” Why, issues 119 and 120 have the Hulk in them too! What fun we had. #121 has the Green Goblin? Let’s keep reading!
It was about halfway through the issue when I suspected I had gotten myself into trouble. A quick check of Wikipedia on my phone confirmed my fears: The Amazing Spider-Man #121 is the issue where the Green Goblin throws Gwen Stacey off a bridge and you see her neck snap (albeit in a 1970s non-graphic way). That issue was rushed through at the end: “andthenspidermanwasmadathimtheend.”
The Marvel Unlimited app isn’t perfect. Sometimes issues don’t load, presumably because the Net Serpent is gobbling up all the packets. Spider Man: House of M #1 was nothing but a series of blank images. But, dammit, I’m getting my X Men fix and I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of headache. I’m also unfortunately being reminded of the sexist crap that can sometimes be inherent in superhero comics.
And then there’s beer. He’s three, so not exactly CBW’s biggest customer, but as I said last week I’m making a conscious effort to have beer (and alcohol in general) not be a mysterious forbidden fruit: it’s something I actively enjoy, as opposed to the passive/past enjoyment of everything else I’ve written about here.
Of course, while I can introduce my son to everything I like there’s no guarantee he’ll take to it himself. You can lead a horse to Blackwater Bay but you can’t make it drink, and hell: he’ll probably rebel against me anyway, coming home from college as a (shudder) wine drinker, with his hair cut too short and a tenor saxophone in his hand that he plays in a soft jazz band.
I’ll look up from the couch and say “Watch Doctor Who with me!” and he’ll whisper, “No.”