Super Spider Powers

I’m in the last push on a book (a bio of Flannery O’Connor), so here’s another summer rerun. Back to regularly scheduled programming soon, I hope.

“I don’t think it will really work. Do you really think it will work?” If Mark heard me, nothing in his demeanor showed it. He knew it would work. I was still fuzzy on the details, and I was pretty sure Mark was too. But his confidence had nothing to do with niggling details. Mark was an idea man. His confidence came from his grasp of the big picture. And we all agreed on the big picture: when a radioactive spider bites you, you get super spider powers.

From the cartoon on Channel 17, I never really understood how Spiderman got his powers, but Mark had the more authoritative comic books. He explained the whole thing: Peter Parker was in a science lab, and a radioactive spider got loose and bit him, and then he got spider powers. We ate this stuff up.

Mark was the youngest of several brothers, so even in third grade an air of worldliness attached to him. He knew things the rest of us didn’t. It wasn’t just that he knew things; it was his casual, can-do attitude toward life’s great mysteries. This was a young man, after all, who had baptized his own dog.

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Pantsed: A Story of Self-Possession and Sangfroid

Here’s an old favorite from the archives of Jonathan-Rogers.com. I hope you enjoy it again.

Think of all the amusing anecdotes you know about junior high football. I’m guessing 75% are set in that “magic hour” when the boys have arrived at the practice field but the coach hasn’t. Thirty junior high boys, no adult supervision. Something’s bound to happen.

In eighth grade, my cousin Brett got his pants pulled down at football practice. The coach was elsewere–wrapping up bus duty or finishing one last cigarette in the teachers’ lounge before facing the barbarians. Frank, the starting fullback, snuck around behind and snatched Brett’s pants in front of God and everybody. It was a beautiful pantsing, not one of those awkward affairs where the victim clamps his knees together and goes into a squat, clutching at his britches and his dignity. No, this was clean and quick. Brett’s pants went right to the ground.

Frank whooped and cavorted in his triumph. It was easily the best pantsing of the season. The other boys howled and pointed at Brett.

Who just stood there.

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A Tricycle, a Leg Trap

My friend Hilton grew up poor in South Alabama. He and his older brother didn’t have a lot of toys, but they did have one tricycle to share between them. Only Hilton’s brother wasn’t much of a sharer. He rarely gave five-year-old Hilton a turn, and when Hilton did get on the tricycle, his

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Audience Participation Friday: Valentine’s Day Disasters

When I was in college, I worked one Valentine’s Day at a florist’s shop. The florist, a favorite among students at my school, hired several students to deliver flowers on that very busy day. On my first delivery, the recipient met me on the stoop before I had even rung the doorbell. She blinked

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In Which My Uncles Are Mistaken for Bank Robbers

My grandmother’s brothers were driving across Florida in a Model T Ford–this was eighty years ago or more. The car had no windshield, so the bugs that would normally get splattered on the windshield were instead getting splattered on my uncles’ faces. They were resourceful young men; they got paper bags at a grocery

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In Which I Pay Attention

A while back I was in the library checking my email on the public computers. The patrons of the library’s public computers constitute what may politely be called a cross-section of humanity. At my library, they don’t just let you sit at whichever computer you like. They assign you one, and it’s right next to the person who sat down just before you did. Which is to say, there isn’t any of that natural spacing of the discreet whereby two people in an elevator stand in the back corners and the third person stands in the middle right by the door. No, at the library computers you’re spang up against the next fellow.

The fellow I was spang up against was managing his account at an online dating site. He was a white-haired, paunchy old boy with a long, straight nose that ran bulged off to the left just at the tip-end, putting me in mind of a train that derailed right before pulling into the station. Every half-minute or so, he chuckled at something some dating prospect or other had written in her profile, wagging his head each time and cutting his eyes over toward me. Clearly he hoped I would ask him what he was laughing about or otherwise engage him in conversation. I was determined not to. I was in a bit of a hurry–just trying to check my email and get out of there–and I wasn’t up to it anyway.

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Charlotte

Author’s Note: The following anecdote first appeared in a comment on this blog. My store of anecdotes is finite, as my long-suffering wife can (and often does) attest. I can’t afford to bury them in, say, the fifth comment on a post about some other subject. That’s just a rookie mistake. In blogging, as

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My Favorite Jokes: The Smoking Rabbit

There is great wisdom to be found in jokes. There is great foolishness to be found in jokes, too, of course, but I love the ones that sit right in that sweet spot where hilarity meets real insight. This is is one of them:

There was this lab where the scientists were doing research

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A Charlatan's Review of The Charlatan's Boy

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Charlatan’s Boy this week. The long-come-short: a loose confederation of book bloggers read the same book and review it the same week as a way of building internet traffic for said book, as well as for one another’s blogs. If you’re interested, a good place to start

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Audience Participation Friday: Scouts' Honor

A friend of mine spent a little time in jail in Carrollton, Georgia. By “a little time” I mean however long it took for his momma to come pick him up. (He had been driving on an expired license, in case you were wondering.) It was a short stint, but he was in jail

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