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Monday, February 15, 2016

Mo's Birthday

Uncharacteristically, I forgot to take my Nikon with me when we went out to celebrate Mo turning nineteen. Given a choice of restaurants, she chose Stroud's, big surprise. Fried chicken has always been a favorite of hers. I remember on a road trip a few years back, she finished her fried chicken at the Hays House in Council Grove, Kansas, and I heard a loud crunching sound and thought at first she'd bitten the bone in half. No, she'd just gnawed the gristle off the end because she didn't want that piece of chicken to be over.

Corinna's first instinct was for us to host. Which is what we've done in the past. But my nephew is allergic to our herd of house pets (just three cats and a dog now, I think we've had three of each at once), Corinna's energy levels are very hit and miss, and while I can fry chicken, it's definitely a project, especially when you're expecting thirteen people.

I was conflicted about whether to make a from-scratch birthday cake at home. That's been a tradition going ten years now. But the past couple of years, Mo has run from the room when the candles are lit, refusing to be in the room while we sing or to blow out the candles. And it's her birthday, so who am I to force something on her that clearly freaks her out? And Corinna can't eat chocolate these days, and me and Mo sure don't need 8,000 calories of leftover cake and cream cheese frosting to split between us. And the Stroud's folks brought her out a cupcake with a sparkler in it, and she didn't freak out or run from the table so it all worked out.

I actually like the project of making a birthday cake, if she seemed more positive to the idea I'd have probably made her one for Sunday. It's hard to get a straight answer out of her (autism, you know), on a lot of things but you can generally tell the things she has a strong feeling about because she gets really adamant in the negative or consistently positive. Take Deadpool, for instance.

Her sister had been to see it Friday night, and was adamant that it was too 'adult' for her sister. Her sister who is a whole thirteen months younger than her. I know the autism translates as a certain childishness at times, but as I clicked through a list of movies I've taken her to in the past year or two, movies that she's seemed to really enjoy, it includes It Follows, which is about as sexual as movies get, and The Revenant, which is every bit as graphically violent as Deadpool, but with the difference that the violence in The Revenant is mostly believable. We'd also recently taken in The Boy and The 5th Wave.

So I decided of Mo would get up early enough for us to hit the matinee (it's pretty much always a matinee when we go to the movies, I'm not made out of money), we could do Deadpool. I wanted to see it myself and when I showed her the trailer, her response was 'Oh yay yay!' which is not something she says when she means maybe.

So anyway, like I say I forgot my Nikon. And while my iPhone has a sensor with almost as many megapixels, phone cameras are, uh. It's a stinking phone, it's not for photography. That said, it's a really kick ass phone and it's better than nothing.

Oh, and Deadpool, she loved it. So did I, I think it's the best comic book adaptation I've seen since the first Iron Man or the Ed Norton Hulk film from a few years back. It's not something you should take a nine year old to, don't get me wrong, but that R rating draws a line at seventeen and I'd say that's a fair cut off for this one. It's raunchy and profoundly violent, to be sure, but such fun.

I think the apparent controversy surrounding it stems from a popular misconception among people who are ignorant of comic book literature. And yes, friends, it is a literature. And not one I have read deeply, the only comics I own are Watchmen, the complete Milk & Cheese, and I think I have a copy of the complete Maus somewhere around here. I might have a few Eightballs somehwere. That probably sounds like a lot of comics to someone who hasn't read any, but really, compared to the comic book nerds I know, I'm illiterate.

Some of my friends in high school, part of the appeal of comics was that they went completely under the parental radar. Like my own Dad, their parents would confiscate LPs that offended parental sensibilities (I personally bought most of AC/DC's early catalog both on vinyl, then on cassette when the records were taken away, then lost the cassettes to bad hiding practices). They'd set limits on what movies the kid could see, what he could watch on TV, especially if they had cable with the good channels that showed women's breasts from time to time. But comic books were assumed to mostly be Archies and/or the Adam West Batman TV show. Deadpool wasn't around in the 80s, but there were plenty of sexually explicit and graphically violent offerings and some of my friends had huge collections of this stuff right under their puritanical parents' noses.

And just in case you're a bit puritanical, let me put your mind at ease. None of my friends who were into that stuff back then (and this is 30 years ago), went on to commit a mass shooting (or even a single shooting as far as I know). I don't know of any of them having to register as a sex offender or getting into any more general trouble than your average non-comic-book-reading Dane*. To the extent I've stayed in touch with these characters they've all gone on to raise families that are at least as functional as anyone else's, and I doubt any of them has sacrificed a goat to Baphomet or anything like that.

*'Dane' was science fiction convention slang for someone who was 'mundane,' who did not read science fiction, horror, or comic books and who was basically missing out on the best stuff ever.

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