Thursday, June 24, 2010


While I am totally a fan of the instant-gratification model of doing things, because every human being is, at our horrible little infant cores, I can be convinced to wait for something every once in a while. This waiting model, prided by abstinence-model sex-educators all over this continental landmass, can lead to some insane Christmas-morning countdown type behaviours. And sexual behaviour, come to think of it, but, in the great tradition of abstinence-model sex-educators all over this continental landmass, let's just gloss over that part and move on, okay?

I'm thinking specifically of pop-culture events, like movies or music or books, because waiting for those in this day and age seems almost...old school. I remember back in 2004, when the Beastie Boys were releasing To The Five Boroughs, seeing the CDs stacked up behind the register at my local record shop and just being absolutely mental with anticipation. I begged the startled teenage clerk to sell it to be a day early. After Hello Nasty, which I was 100% obsessed with for, like, three years, TT5B was six years in the making. I read about it in magazines and online, little snippets telling listeners that the Boys were in the studio, that there had been delays, that they were working with an old-school sound and OH MY GOD IT'S BEEN SIX YEARS ALREADY GIVE ME THE MUSIC.

When you're anticipating something so hard, it begins to take on mythical proportions. This Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever, this birthday is going to be the wildest birthday ever, the Ramadan is going to the hungriest Ramadan ever. Little kids are especially prone to this kind of OTT excitement. Not surprisingly, since little kids are also the demographic with the most excitement-building accessories: from advent calendars to visits with the mall Santa, from hand-written birthday party invitations to putting the tooth under the pillow the night before. Children are trained in the art of fully losing their minds about an upcoming event; by the time they reach adolescence, they're more than happy to wait in line at midnight on a Monday night in three-degree weather for a video game or concert tickets.

Clever marketing schemes abound for building intense levels of interest and anticipation. Currently, even though it stars Michael Cera and he's a totally miscast noodle, I'm stoked for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the new flick from Edgar "Shaun of the Dead" Wright. It's based on a Canadian comic that's set in Toronto - not some anonymous large hipster-infested city, but Toronto, my chosen city - and populated with various hipsters and nerds and music goofballs and psychotic teenage girls. And it promises to be funny. And I'll probably start dressing like some of the female characters, because I'm easily influenced. Scott Pilgrim's website currently offers a chance for potential audiences to remake themselves in the image of a Brian Lee O'Malley character, complete with stubby legs and outlandishly coloured hairdos. I'm obsessed.

The last thing I looked forward to with this kind of intensity was also a comic book: Brian K. Vaughn's impeccable Y:The Last Man. Starring Yorick Brown as the titular Y, Vaughn's comics chronicle the "gendercide;" while women are fine, Earth's males have all suddenly and simultaneously expired. It's a ten-volume series comprised of 60 issues. I started reading them right after the ninth volume had been published, and, new to the comic-book world, assumed that the final volume was somewhere on the horizon.

More than a year later, delirious with need for resolution, after re-reading my nine volumes with a Talmudic intensity, the final chapter was published and purchased. And read. And re-read. And scrutinized, and discussed with fellow nerds and nerdettes. Finally, with the satisfaction that can only come from waiting for an experience to be complete, I slid the book onto the shelf with all its comic-book brothers and surveyed the scene.

Be it a book - I was highly invested in the wait for Jonathan Safran Foer's sophomore novel Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, which was lovely but not the masterpiece I'd been hoping for - a video game, a movie, a clothing line, a vacation, a concert, a wedding day, a new car, a trip to the amusement park, or even just an icy can of Coke Zero, waiting for something can be so deliciously fraught with it's-going-to-be-good tension that it almost overshadows the actual event. In the best of all possible worlds, the built up excitement is met head-on by the awesomeness of the experience: the waiting buck buys the best possible bang. And for all those schmucks who were conned by their abstinence-model sex-educators all over this continental landmass, that bang might be more literal. For the rest of us, well: "We're going to Disneyworld!"

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy your blog as always. This is more about the mention in your previous post about killing zombies...

    It seems that "A Cat Parasite May Be Controlling Our Minds!"

    The real question is how can we distinguish between those of us who are infected and those of us who aren't.