Sunday, July 13, 2008

OPKs (Or, Ode To Thargas Anvilmar...)

Let's face it, it's not that hard to win the affections of Other Peoples' Kids (OPKs): the real parents get saddled with all the hard stuff (like preparing meals, housecleaning, filling up the SUV weekend in/weekend out, cramming into those silly little school desks on "Meet The Teacher" night) while you show up once in a blue moon armed with gifts to MC some special trip to a mall or museum or theme park, gorge on junk food, take in a matinee or two, and engineer a few extra hours of overcaffeinated frivolty past their usual bedtime because, y'know, your presence is a visit from Willy Wonka or a reunion of The Eagles (on second thought...).

I think I did a pretty good job carousing--dareIsay corrupting?--with my nephew and niece for a good part of the Clinton era (and the early Dubya years), each of whom were once enchanted with my various interests and indulgences and saw me as an escape from the Stalinesque rule of their parents' regime.
This weekend, we hooked up with Robin, one of Lidia's long-time friends, whom I had not seen since her wedding a good decade ago. She brought along her son Simon, who at the age of eight is already brimming with imagination, intelligence, and even a sardonic wit that instantly endeared him to me (and, no doubt, anyone else he meets!).
We introduced him to our personable felines, Maggie and Minnie, and then I showed off my sizeable collection of "cool stuff": autographed movie posters, my impressive DVD library, comic book collection, and smattering of limited edition statues scattered about my office and the TV lounge here and there. He seemed most impressed by my bust of "Hellboy", considering he was pumped for that afternoon's downtown trip and matinee: "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" (let me take a moment to reference, once-again, the fact that I worked on Guillermo Del Toro's second feature, "Mimic", too long ago now). Parents, take note: cool statues always work...anybody can pick up a cheap plastic action figure at Wal-Mart...
The weather held out (for a change) and made for a gorgeous summer afternoon for our leisurely stroll along Queen Street West to the new AMC digital theatre complex at Yonge/Dundas. Of course, we had to make a detour into Mecca--aka "The Silver Snail"--where Simon got a glimpse of what wonders his future could hold the instant he starts pocketing a steady paycheque--for instance, those collectible statues. Alas, the array of ridiculous choices brought about the day's first--and welcomely, only--dilemma: whither Hellboy 2, or World Of Warcraft? That is, which was the superior action figure to purchase: the one-time Anung un Rama, or Thargas Anvilmar, armoured dwarf berserker?
Thargas won, but thankfully, Hellboy delivered on the cinematic front. Del Toro delivered a dazzling, superior sequel, which everyone enjoyed. Back at our place, over dinner, our kitchen table became a battle arena as Thargas took on Shaun Of The Dead, Bill from "Kill Bill", and a tag-team of Superman and Captain Marvel from my collection. Krypton's only survivor won the melee by throwing Thargas into the sun. These Warcraft thugs sure are impressive, but they're no match for the Golden Age Of Superheroes. OPKs--meet the DCU.

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