Jessica Gross

Middle-Aged (Spider)man

In people watching on September 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm

A man, 45-ish, boarded my bus last night sporting khakis, a blue raincoat, and a Spiderman umbrella. This umbrella was serious, with Spiderman-themed fabric and a tiny, plastic, Spiderman handle.

There are two options:

(a) The man has children, including a Spido-fan. These children pile their umbrellas in a heap next to the door. As he was running out into the rainstorm, in a rush to make his appointment, the man grabbed the first umbrella he could find. Spidobrella.

(b) The man loves Spiderman.

On the bus, I rooted for (a), for the man’s sake. What if he was off to a business dinner with that umbrella? “Heavens, don’t let it be so!” I pleaded.

But say he just likes Spiderman and all associated gear. Would that be so bad? Most fun things are off-limits to adults, who have to trade in tree-climbing and licking the brownie batter off the spoon for art museums and wine. Adults go to art museums and drink wine often enough to convince themselves they like it, but the thrill is more in showing all the other adults how adult they are than in the activities themselves. Who deemed comic books and brownie batter kid things, anyway? Picture a world of fifty-year-olds trolling the streets with Dora the Explorer backpacks and lollipops in their hands. Who doesn’t want to grow up now?

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  1. I’d use a teenage mutant ninja turtles lunchbox.

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