Monday, November 29, 2010


I'm going to stop using that dumb "In Which" thing as post titles - it's limiting me and probably contributing to the sorry lack of updates on this blog. Seriously, guys.

From the ages of two to ten, my family and I lived in a place called "up north". Being in Canada, this term "up north" meant two things: it was cold, and there were no people. My family raised chickens - some were for eggs,  but most of them were for our consumption.

Throughout the year, my siblings and I would grow close to these chickens and befriend them. Some of them were even given nicknames. However, just like in school, when the year is over, you and your school friends part ways... however, in this case, we slaughtered our friends, cooked them, and ate their flesh. Sorry, chickens... it's the circle of life.

Once a year, the local church would gather on my parent's property and start up a massive assembly line. There was a station for beheading the chickens, for de-feathering the chickens, for eviscerating the chickens, and for packing the chickens up and freezing them. The children such as myself were given the task that came before all of these: marching into the chicken shed, using a coat hangar to trip the chickens, then picking them up by their feet and carrying them to their doom.

We were the prison guards that would lead the inmates to their execution. Quite a power trip for a ten-year-old.

Anyway, there were quite a few leftover parts to these chickens when we were done with them - obviously the heads and certain organs were unusable. I, being an inquisitive child, was drawn to the chicken feet. Picking one up, I noticed a small white tendon sticking out of the bottom, begging to be yanked on. I yanked. Instantly, the talons contracted into a fist, before springing back into their original position.

I had discovered something amazing.

The following summer, I was shipped off to summer camp at Camp Widjiitiwin with my friend John. As we children settled into our rustic wooden cabins under the watchful eye of our counselors, I furtively slid my backpack under my bunk. They were not to know what was in there. They were not to know my secret.

Throughout the week of camp, tiny unexplained scratches appeared on the counselor's faces. They had no idea how they had gotten them - they did work in a forest, though, so they could likely be chalked up to branches.

Ten-year-old me snickered quietly in the background.

You see, I had brought a guest with me that week. I had thought, as a "prank", I would bring my Chickenfist. What I would do with it, well, I hadn't thought that far ahead. Until the first night. I woke up somewhere around 3 in the morning, and a fiendish thought crossed my mind.

I slid out of bed and slowly, as quietly as possible, unzipped my backpack. Chickenfist lay there in all its sickly yellow glory. I pulled it from its resting place and gripped it tightly. I put socks on so as not to be heard. I padded softly over to the counselor's bunk.

When I got caught, I got in a lot of trouble.

I remember being in "detention" or whatever they called it with another weird kid. I was pulling the legs off a grasshopper one by one, with him screaming about how I was killing "God's creatures". I informed him that I pulled the antennae off first, so  the grasshopper would feel no pain.

I'm probably going to grow up to be a serial killer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Which I Discuss Superpowers

I was one of the "Teen Program Leaders" when I worked at camp. This job consisted of my fellow leaders and I desperately trying to hold the attention of the teenagers that had been put in our care by telling embarrassing stories and otherwise making fools of ourselves.

Now that I say that, I think I know why I write what I do in this blog.

Anyway, usually at the end of one of our games, we would invite the winner up to the front of the room and "interview" them. We would ask the standard questions, such as name, favorite color, et cetera... but the last question was always the same: if you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Little did they know there was a catch. No matter what superpower they chose, we would analyze it and show them how in reality, their idea of a superpower was in fact horrible and they should be ashamed for even thinking of it.

Not even the other leaders were safe. Laura said she would like to shoot lasers from her fingers.

That's very unfortunate, Laura. Lasers will now be constantly erupting from your cuticles. Have fun trying to have any meaningful relationships with anyone ever again. It's hard to make friends when you burn peoples' guts out when you go to shake their hand.

Not to mention blowing your own head off when you point at something.

It seems obvious that superpower wishes should not be taken lightly. But some people thought they could game the system. How about super speed, thought one kid. Surely nothing could be wrong with that.

Sure, Billy, you can have your super speed. Have fun trying to pick up a pencil without accidentally launching it into orbit with your lightning fast reflexes. Or try stepping out of the shower without accidentally launching yourself through the wall and into the street, dripping wet and naked. How embarrassing, Billy. How embarrassing.

And I didn't even mention the G-forces ripping your body apart as soon as you actually try to run.

What's that Timmy? You want to fly? That's real great. First you need hollow bones.

Expect to spend most of your life in the hospital, Timmy.

And with that sobering thought, Bobby comes up with his idea of the perfect superpower. Mind control.

You could defeat any enemy, do anything you wanted. Little Bobby could be the king of the world. Nations would bow to his iron will, forced to carry out his every command.

Well, Bobby, you sound a little messed up and I'll be talking to your parents a bit later. But more importantly, what will you do when you've seen everything, owned everything, and done everything? You will live out a boring life and I'm sure you would eventually go insane. Not to mention that you would never know if your "friends" actually liked you or if they were just mind controlled. What a horrible, horrible existence, Bobby.

But hey, at least you got your superpower, right?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The P's: Episode 5 - SUPER SPECIAL #1


The P's present: Brave P and King Bomb: Mecha Madness

I can't be sure, but it looks like something just got real.

The raw emotion on everyone's face in this picture forces me to empathize with each character... and then realize I have nothing to empathize with because they are just stick men with angry eyes.


P's in: Defeating Bubbly Bomb!

I wonder what happens in this episode.


We pick up right where we left off. Bubbly Bomb is standing in front of the door to the War Room.

Ominous Voice: Come in.


Bubbly Bomb enters the War Room.


Brave P motions to his crew.

Brave P: Come on.

What are P and Propelly so happy about here? They are entering a War Room. There's not going to be any ice cream. Maybe they're just bloodthirsty freaks. I'd expect that from a mutant like Propelly, but not from P... I guess it's just another layer to his already extremely deep character. He's like the Dexter of the group.


Brave P dramatically enters the War Room, and Scaredy P does some ridiculous hop.

(laugh track)


The four adventurers stand, stock still, in horror at what lies before them. Scaredy P falls over.

Brave P: GASP!

Nothing like shouting the word "GASP" to convey your shock at a situation. Sadly, I know people that do this in real life.



King Bomb, the Master of Evil himself sits upon his pleather throne, smiling a toothy smile at his foes. His three deformed cohorts guard him on all sides.

King Bomb: Hello, Brave P.

If The P's was a movie, James Earl Jones would play King Bomb. I read every one of King Bomb's lines in his voice.


The P's take a moment to talk strategy.

Brave P: Propelly takes Bubbly Bomb, P takes Snake, Scaredy-cat P takes Burning Bomb, and I'LL take King Bomb.

How he knows all the minion's names, I'll never figure out. Maybe King Bomb puts out a Henchman Calendar every year that Brave P always buys. "Hey there, Bubbly Bomb... or should I say, Mr. February?"


A dramatic close up of Brave P's mouth as he snarls a single phrase.

Brave P: Get them.

Brave P is voiced by Sean Connery.


The P's launch their attack. This song probably starts playing. P jumps on Snake's back, while Bubbly Bomb leaps into the air to confront Propelly, a bubble beginning to fester on his backside. Burning Bomb unleashes an incredible laser volley at Scaredy P but unfortunately misses by millimeters. Brave P, with a roar, launches a flying kick straight into the abdomen of King Bomb.

Brave P: Aargh!

Again, Brave P uses his experience in dealing with bombs here. Physical violence appears to always be the answer, with no concern for the safety of anyone else.


The battle rages on around Scaredy P. P throws a punch at Snake, but Snake slithers out of the way. Lasers appear to shoot out of King Bomb's foot, but Brave P quickly dodges. I'm not sure what Propelly and Bubbly Bomb are doing, but they better not be smooching.



P falls to the ground as Snake lunges at him. P uses physical violence on King Bomb again, making a small dent. Scaredy P's squiggly lines disappear, as he finds the angry eyes within. Propelly and Bubbly Bomb continue smooching.

Scaredy P is probably secretly the only competent one in the group, but he hides it behind his squiggly lines... but really, all he's ever wanted... was to be loved. He puts walls up, not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.

Too bad no one cares.


Scaredy P launches into a wild attack, bouncing off King Bomb's head and knocking Burning Bomb off of the ceiling. Unfortunately King Bomb has trapped Brave P under his foot. P punches Snake, and Propelly and Bubbly Bomb have stopped smooching. The cyst on Bubbly Bomb's back no longer looks benign.


While the fighting continues, King Bomb says something idiotic.

King Bomb: Only the sword can get me!

Why would he say that. That is ridiculous. Your minions are losing, and you just decide to shout out your only weakness. If King Bomb was your friend on Facebook, he would obviously be the one posting every mundane aspect of his day for all to see.


Propelly removes the bubble from Bubbly Bomb's back. Bubbly Bomb immediately senses danger.

He's picking up a BUBBLE. Hands of an angel, that one.


Propelly throws the bubble bomb into Bubbly Bomb himself, causing a massive explosion of guts and gore which throws this comic into the PG range. King Bomb looks mortified.

Propelly didn't even give him a chance to surrender. That monster.

To be Continued...


They defeated Bubbly Bomb! Now just Snake, Burning Bomb, and King Bomb left! In case you lost track.

In the next issue, P punches Snake down. Really? I think seven-year-old me had no interest in suspense at all and really only cared about getting people to buy the next issue. I had clearly sacrificed plot for money. Seven years old and already a sell-out.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In Which I Look Back In Horror

It has come to my attention that my blog is what young people would call a "fail". So here I am to actually post something again. I swear I do try but my life has been very busy with me getting a new job and all.

At long last, I have left the retail sector behind me. I have completed my schooling, and like a caterpillar escaping from the cocoon that it has fought against for so long, I shed my uncomfortable cage and emerge, a beautiful butterfly with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems.

I feel that it is only appropriate now to reflect upon some of the interesting characters I have had the experience of working with.

Gross Cashier Girl

The retail business attracts many different sorts of people, many of them socially awkward and inept. One such example springs to mind now, of the interesting person I shall call Gross Cashier Girl. Although I was a salesman, occasionally I would have to go behind the cash counter to perform some task. This was something that I did not look forward to, as it would force me to engage in an awkward conversation with whatever person was manning the cash register at that moment. Normally, I would bury my head into some drawer, in an effort to look very busy.

This would usually work. But not this day.

I attempted to shove my head further into the shelf, hoping that I would, perhaps, find Narnia, if only I crawled in a little farther. Evil though the White Witch may be, surely she would provide a more engaging conversation than the one I was about to have.

Too late. I was being summoned. I drew my head out from the comfort of the underside of the counter and responded: "Yes?"

"Do you ever, like, burp, and then have puke come up into the back of your throat?"

"I think I may have, just now."

I quickly made my exit.

That, of course, is only one of the interesting staff members I encountered on a day-to-day basis. There was another:

Over-Friendly New Kid

Normally, when a new person is hired into a team, they spend a few shifts finding their place, getting to know people, before they begin to feel comfortable.

Not this guy.

This guy was instantly everyone's best friend. At least in his mind. The first day he was hired, I passed him as he left the store. What happened next was... incredible.

As I walked past him, we eyed each other, me nodding slightly to acknowledge his presence as a new member of the team. Thinking we had made the necessary greeting, I continued on, only to have my back patted vigorously, like I was a test subject in some sort of Massage Through Violence program. I whirl around to face my attacker, only to see the New Kid with his hands firmly planted on my shoulders. "Hey, Josiah. You have a great weekend, buddy!"

"...You too."

I stumble on, my mind shattered by what I had just experienced. What a first impression. How he knew who I was, I'll never know.

When I announced that I would be leaving the job, he approached me afterwards.

"Hey, Josiah. Um, so, I noticed that you talk to the other guys sometimes." (Yes, strictly at work, and only about work.) "So I was wondering we could, like, talk outside of work sometimes."

"Yeah, add me to Facebook or something," I respond. Unfortunately, my name does not show up in Facebook search. Oh well.

I can only hope that in my new job I can find people as entertaining and interesting as these to work with.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The P's: Episode 4

I know, I know, I'm a horrible blogger and haven't posted anything in two weeks. I have a plan, though. A firm update shedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Mondays and Wednesdays will consist of me rambling about whatever subject strikes my fancy, and Saturdays will be updates for this gripping drama.


An ominous castle looms over the face of the lined paper. I assume that the castle belongs to Evil Face. He's obviously a narcissist that feels the need to plaster his face on everything he owns. Or maybe I was planning on selling playsets and other merchandise down the road when the P's became a mega hit. Too bad it's a blatant ripoff.


P's in: Exploring King Bomb's Cas(tle?)

So I guess this King Bomb guy is Evil Face. I just cram in exposition wherever I can, you know.


Bubbly Bomb teleports into view in front of a door.

He has angry eyebrows so we know he's a villain.


Brave P teleports in just as Bubbly Bomb enters the door.

Brave P: Wha...


Propelly warps in from the netherworld.

Propelly: Brave P!

What a needy little turd.


P appears.

P: You guys!

Someone was feeling left out because he has no defining characteristics.


Scaredy P appears.

Scaredy P: Ohh...

*laugh track*



The P's sneak into the castle, but are instantly greeted by some sort of horrible bomb/man hybrid.

Brave P: Ack!

Another ripoff. So much for my merchandise deals.


Brave P unleashes a mighty punch, sending the bomb mutant flying.

Mutant: Auugh!

Yes, Brave P, the first thing you should do when confronted by a bomb is punch it. Brave P has no concern for his safety or that of his friends... he is too brave for such petty concerns.


The mutant explodes, sending debris flying directly into Scaredy P's eye.

Seven-year-old me apparently loves beating up on the weak and frightened. Parallel-universe-me: serial killer.


A pathway opens, revealing a long suspended pathway. Propelly falls down for no reason.

Apparently the secret password was... an explosion. That is bad security right there.


The P's venture forth.

Brave P has a massively smug look on his face, like he knew that's what would happen all along. What a loser.


A top-down view of the P's progressing along the suspended pathway.



The P's go through a door.


Bubbly Bomb suddenly trapezes in out of nowhere. Propelly makes a very weak attempt to touch his butt.

Brave P: Look!

Wow. There is just so much to say about this panel. So,  it seems like Bubbly Bomb is hiding his past as a gymnast from everyone. The P's were literally right behind him as he went into the castle. He must have had to instantly swing away on his little rope to get away. So weird. Tune in next episode: P's in: Cirque du Soleil.

Even weirder is Propelly's little butt-grab. What a horrible creeper. I hate him so much.


Bubbly Bomb knocks on a door subtly marked "War Room".

The P's are right behind you, idiot. You led King Bomb's enemies directly to his War Room. You are the worst henchman ever.

To Be Continued...


War Room! Now who do you suppose is in there? 
Saddam Hussein.

Next Issue: 1st Super Special! It's called Mecha Madness! Don't miss it!
Look at those great promotional skills. Four issues in and already a "super special". Perhaps we will actually reach five pages in the next issue. Although if the dialog is anything like it was in this one, it will all be filled with grunts and one-word exclamations. Truly riveting, ladies and gentlemen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The P's: Episode 3

So, I am a horrible blogger and I didn't write any real blog posts this week... it's Back-To-School time at Staples and thus all employees are required to become indentured slaves for two weeks. But I'm back for the weekly feature... another installment of the epic adventure of The P's.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them if you so desire.


Here we see some sort of grossly misshapen tube with what appears to be a flower on its head, giving us a toothy grin. Clearly this episode will be horrifying.


P's in: A New Friend!


In #1, P got slapped by Bubbly Bomb. In #2, the P's found out that Bubbly Bomb set the bomb.

Just another recap for those "slower" readers.

Brave P: Let's go!


The P's run forward but are stopped.

Brave P: Huh?

Voice: Unngh...


The P's bend over the grotesque form of a horrible tube creature.

Tube Creature: Ughh...

Someone's a drama queen.


The P's pick the creature up, and it kicks its legs as if trying to get away.

Brave P has a malevolent look in his eye... as if he knows that this perversion of a creature has no right to exist, and he should put it out of its misery.


P: What happened to you? 

Tube Creature: I got blasted by the bomb!

Apparently the flower attachment is some sort of propeller. This creature truly is disgusting.

And for a guy with the last name "Bomb", Bubbly Bomb's atom bomb sure sucked. It didn't even kill anything.


Brave P: Well let's go to Bubbly Bomb!

I really don't know how these guys know where Bubbly Bomb lives. Have they been stalking him?



The P's and Tube Creature run past the busted wall.

To a seven-year-old, three lines behind someone means fast movement. I remember spending many afternoons in my backyard running in circles, trying to see if I had lines coming from behind me.


Bubbly Bomb runs into some sort of house.

What is that, a mud hut? Are we in Africa?


The P's discover a hole in the wall.

Brave P: Here!


Looking through the hole, the P's see Bubbly Bomb talking into some electronic video device.

Bubbly Bomb: Nothing, boss.

Evil Face: Well, rebuild the wall!

So they blow this wall up, expecting to find something in it. Then they rebuild it. Then they blow it up again, expecting to find something. Then they rebuild it. And over and over again. What.


The P's flatten themselves against the wall as Bubbly Bomb leaves the hut.



The P's give chase to Bubbly Bomb.

I'm not sure why that "Later" caption is there. I mean, this just happened. Maybe Bubbly Bomb is a really slow walker.


The P's follow Bubbly Bomb extremely closely.

Here we see the P's give a great example of ghosting. 


Bubbly Bomb suddenly vanishes, much to everyone's surprise.

Or he turns into a star. It's unclear what's happening here.

PANELS 4 and 5

In a long drawn out sequence, each of the P's vanish/turn into stars as well.


PANELS 1 and 2

And the rest of them get vaporized too.

To be continued...

Seven-year-old-me is a pro at cliffhangers.


By the way, the little helicopter thing's name is Proppely. Apparently I was too caught up in the epic storyline to provide a name for the tube creature in the actual comic. Hopefully the characters read this page so they find out what its name actually is.

Now where have Bubbly Bomb and The P's vaporized to? Guess! Where would Bubbly Bomb vaporize to? A spa?

Apparently, three episodes in warrants a poster. A Very First Poster!, in fact. Obviously I planned on coming out with a lot of these. I don't think seven-year-old me exactly knew what a poster was... considering this one is about half the size of an envelope.

Also I have no idea what is going on in that picture.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The P's: Episode 2

Every child has a dream job that they want to do when they grow up. Some children want to be firemen... some astronauts... but me? I wanted to be a cartoonist. In fact, there was nothing seven-year-old-me wanted more than to have his drawings adored by millions. Seven-year-old-me also fancied himself to be quite the artist and storyteller. However, that dream didn't exactly come true. Now I draw things like this and amuse myself at other people's expense.

However, seven-year-old-me had ambition. And everyone has to start somewhere. I worked with what I had and forced my family to read my creations.

While I made thousands of little drawings, I did, in fact, create a fully-fleshed out comic series entitled "The P's". It was about a group of stickmen that fought evil. I think I titled it "The P's" because the letter 'P' has some sort of passing resemblance to a stickman... I was quite creative.

I actually managed to save these little comics throughout the years, and reading them now, I think, provides unique and hilarious insight into the mind of a seven-year-old whose greatest worry is misbehaving and receiving spankings.

Sadly, Episode 1 of The P's is lost to the sands of time. If memory serves, it involved an introduction to the main characters, which I will give you now:

Brave P

The leader of The P's. He's the brave one, so I guess it made sense to make him the leader.


The other guy. Virtually indistinguishable from Brave P. So bland he doesn't even have an adjective in front of his name. They appear to be  identical in every other way, leading to much confusion throughout the series.

Scaredy P

This is seven-year-old-me's idea of comic relief. A P that is terrified of everything, so much so that his body appears to have degenerated into squiggly lines. At least it wasn't another completely identical guy.

So in the first episode, there was some random wall near the P's house that kept crumbling down and being rebuilt. Apparently this is SERIOUS BUSINESS for the P's - they send out P to investigate, but something terrible happens to him, leaving us with a cliffhanger before Episode 2! 


Without further ado...

(click to enlarge the pictures if you so desire)


(My comments in bold)

Here we are introduced to the villain. The nefarious delinquent who would dare to tear down a useless wall and rebuild it again. He appears to be some walking bowl filled with bubbles and eyeballs. With limbs. Truly horrifying. He appears to have planted a circular device at the base of the wall... If you squint, you can see the words "Atom Bomb" on it. That is the smallest atom bomb I have ever seen.


P's in: A Lead!

Panel 1

The P's kneel over a badly mangled P. There appears to be some sort of flashlight next to his body.

In No. 1, the P's found a crumbling wall that kept being built. When they went to inspect, something happened to P! 

Brave P: Gasp!

A helpful introduction for those readers who had somehow gotten confused due to the complex plot. Also, apparently Scaredy P has been cured of his squiggly line problem? Now they are all completely identical. What a stupid idea on my part.

Panel 2

Scaredy P points at a mark on P's face.

Scaredy P: Hey, look!

P has a fading mark of what appears to be a slap on his face. One of the worst things that can happen to a person, as all seven-year-olds know.

Panel 3

P slowly sits up.

Brave P: He's coming round!

P: Uhngh...

That must have been quite a slap.

Panel 4

Brave P: What happened?

P: Well, when I went to inspect...

P is having a flashback here to when he went to inspect the wall. I did stuff like that before LOST.
Also, I'd like to note Scaredy P's smirk on the left. His friend just got smacked into unconsciousness and he obviously thinks it's hilarious. What a jerk.


Panel 1

P sneaks up to a ladder behind the wall with his flashlight on. Ominous pops and fizzes come from the top of the ladder, and a bomb with a lowly burning fuse sits on the ground.

P: There was a BOMB on the ground! Someone was standing on a ladder, lighting. I heard pops and fizzles.

Way to interrupt his smoke break, P.

Panel 2

A shadowy form drops from the ladder, taking P by surprise as he drops his flashlight!

P: He jumped down from the ladder!

Panel 3

The shadow punches/slaps P in the face, leaving a hand-shaped mark.

P: He slapped me!

Because you accused him of being a terrorist when he was on a smoke break.

Panel 3

Back in the present, the fuse continues to burn behind the wall...

P: But that bomb...

Scaredy P got his squiggly lines back. Seven year old's don't care about continuity.

Panel 4

A beautifully rendered explosion sends the P's flying. Those atom bombs sure do pack a punch.


Panel 1

Unscathed except for a few pound signs on their faces, the P's discuss their next move.

Brave P: About those pops and fizzes.

P: There's only one thing that makes a sound like that.

Roast pig?

Panel 2

The P's come to a conclusion, which appears to cause Scaredy P to faint. You can tell by the squiggly legs.

Brave P and P: Bubbly Bomb!

To be continued...

They seem to know this Bubbly Bomb guy. Ex-gang member? Uncle who stole their cutlery? Tune in next week to see the BIG REVEAL


Apparently I felt the need to include an info page at the end of the comic, just in case there was anyone who couldn't follow the many varied and complicated plot lines.

So, P got slapped. And we know know that Bubbly Bomb set the bomb. How they figured that out is simple: Please tell us, I'm so lost. First, we know there is only two people that set bombs: Bubbly Bomb and Burning Bomb. Oh, of course! Their last names are both "Bomb"... it's so simple! Second, there's only one person who makes pops and fizzes... These guys should be in the CIA or something. Really, top notch detective work, boys.

Now, in the next issue, they will be meeting someone new. So later, a new set of issues will be coming out. Watch for them! This "spin-off series" never came to be. Obviously I was being a little ambitious with creating a spin-off series only two episodes in. Seinfeld killed it in the ratings, and that was the end of that.

Seven-year-old-me thought an ordering sheet would be necessary, in case any of my siblings decided they wanted to order back-issues. You know, like #1, the only other issue in existence at this point. 

There's many more episodes where this came from... I'm thinking I'll make it into a 'weekly feature'. Hopefully my reader will tune in every Saturday to catch the future episodes of this gripping drama. Check back next weekend for Episode 3.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In Which I Provide Excellent Customer Service

I work at Staples, and because of this, I have the wonderful pleasure of dealing with many "interesting" types of people. In fact, just today I dealt with the loveliest heroin addict I ever did meet, who was absolutely convinced that our laptops were microwaves, and that if I did not sell him a microwave right that second, well, he was just going to get up and leave the store. I told him that was fine with me.

But that's not what I'm talking about right now. I'm going to tell you the story of the most interesting fellow I ever met at Staples; the craziest customer ever.

I was standing in the printer aisle when I saw him. I was busying myself checking price tags, but when I saw this gentleman's entry into the store, his swagger, his air of misguided confidence, I knew:

This was going to be good.

I approached him, asking in a non-committal tone "Do you need help with anything today, sir?"

He swiveled his head to regard me with an unblinking stare. "Why, yes, yes I do. I have a question, actually."

"Well, that's what I'm here for, sir. What can I do for you?"

He glanced back and forth, licking his lips nervously, like some sort of giant reptile. "I have it on good authority that... laptops... emit harmful radiation. This is true, yes?"

"Well, sir, any radiation that laptops do put out is largely harmless, so I don't think you have anything to w-"

"Now, now, now, I know that's not true." His eyes widened further than I thought any normal human's could. "I know, young man."

I fidgeted with my hands behind my back. "Well, I-"

"It's the cellphones, son! You kids and your cellphones, the radiation from those is melting your brains! The gray matter!" He tapped the side of his skull, attempting to emphasize his shaky point. "See what I'm saying?"

I was beginning to realize whose brain was melted. I didn't think it was mine. I cleared my throat. "Sir, the cellphone radiation has been proven to be harmless. I really don't think that cellphones, or laptops, are any cause for worry in terms of radiation."

The man sighed, and looked up at the roof, appearing to be searching for something. I assumed it was his sanity. After a long, awkward pause, he slumped his shoulders and looked at me again. "I didn't want to tell you this... but this is how I know." He stepped closer to me. I took a step back. "Laptop radiation effects the reproductive system. Because of laptops, I... can no longer have children."

what is wrong with you

I had no answer for that. Staples may meet all your business needs, but this was not an area that we covered. I just opened my mouth and stood there for a second. "I'm sorry to hear that, sir."

He stepped back, all business, as if nothing more important than an exchange of business cards had just taken place. "My question to you is this. Do you carry any lead sheets that I could put over my lap while working on  my laptop?"

"No, sir, I'm afraid we don't."

"Well, do you know where I could find them?"

"...may I suggest a dentist's office, sir?"

A smile lit up my customer's face. He gripped my hand and shook it warmly. "Excellent idea. You have a wonderful day, son."

And off he went, into the cruel world, in search of his "protection". I can only hope the dentist provided him with an excellent lead undergarment.