Hang on a Sec...

Bloggified by Jake on Friday, June 2, 2006

The following is a long, rambling intro where I talk about my dad thinking I'm an idiot. If you'd prefer to get straight to the ha-ha, skip down to a paragraph or two before the Jimmy Olsen scans.

I've always had trouble getting up earlier than about ten in the morning, just like I have trouble going to sleep earlier than 1AM. There's just something about my internal clock that doesn't work that way. If I have to get up early, I will set my alarm for as much as two hours before I need to be ready just so I can spend an hour or more lounging on the couch and transitioning from "no longer asleep" to "actually awake enough to function."

In high school, I would wake up at five in the morning, just so I could be ready to go by 7:30. Unfortunately, the only thing on at that time was religious programming, infomercials, and Bozo's Circus.

I watched Bozo nearly every day of my junior and senior years of high school.

Bozo's hair (as you can see to the left) always went straight out from the sides of his head and curved upward. One morning in about 1991, for some unknown reason, the hair was limp and drooping down toward his shoulders. No one mentioned it on the air, as they would if it were part of some joke. Instead, it became the elephant in the room no one was talking about.

About halfway through the show, my father came out to the living room on the way to the kitchen to make his breakfast and pack his lunch. He paused to button the cuffs of his shirt and I--still drowsy and only about 20% awake--said to him, "I wonder what's wrong with Bozo's hair."

My dad stopped in mid-button and slowly tilted his head from side to side, as if trying to calculate the cube root of 592,704. Finally, he gasped, indicating he'd been so lost in thought, his brain had forgotten to tell him to breath, and held out his hand, his palm toward me as if he was one of the Supremes and was fearful I was going to break his heart.

"Wait here a second," he instructed me. "I'm going to go wake up your mother and I want you to say that exact same thing to her, because I want her to know that her son doesn't think there is anything wrong with Bozo's hair! Could it be that it's fire engine red or that it sticks out around his bald head about a foot and a half in all directions? I'm just thinking out loud here."

Perhaps I could have been more specific, but the point is that by watching Bozo every day, I came to accept bright red, gravity-defying hair as the norm. By that same token, when we read comics we voluntarily suspend much more reality than the majority of people can comprehend.

That said, it's surprising what things can take you out of a story when you're already accepting a world where babies from doomed planets land on Earth to become our protectors and being at ground zero of a nuclear bomb test could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

In "When Olsen Changed History," the back up story in Jimmy Olsen #127, Jimmy wakes up in a Revolutionary War camp, puts on his boots, and is immediately courtmartialed for stealing another man's boots. Jimmy escapes the kangaroo court by lying and doctoring up evidence to "prove" the boots are his.The general who'd threatened to both hang and shoot Jimmy thirty seconds earlier instead entrusts him with George Washington's watch, which needs to be repaired at the jeweler and returned to General Washington. Jimmy gets the watch fixed, but when he gives it to Washington, it blows up and kills the father of our country.Suddenly, Jimmy realizes something is off and runs away through the woods, evading Revolutionary soldiers. He follows a river until he gets to a freeway and confirms his suspicion that General Von Rick was really a movie producer who'd kidnapped Jimmy using knockout gas and built an entire replica 18th century town and hired hundreds of actors to recreate Revolutionary War battles and portray icons like Betsy Ross, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington.

How did Jimmy see through the elaborate hoax? And why would Von Rick go to such extreme lengths?Okay, this is where I had to step back and rub my eyes. Let's back that up and take it slowly.

First off, Jimmy figured out that the whole thing was a sham when Washington died during the American Revolution because he once saw a statue that indicated Washington died of natural causes. I guess the fact that Washington was the first president of the United States of America and, therefore, had to have survived the Revolution, never occurred to him? That's like saying, "I knew Neil Armstrong was an astronaut because I once saw 'N. Armstrong' scribbled on a notepad in NASA's mission control." Really? Was that how you knew? Because I think everyone else in the world was tipped off by that whole "walking on the moon" thing.

Second, why did Von Rick do it? Because Jimmy Olsen panned his film. The cub reporter at a local paper gives your film one star and you decide to kidnap him and spend hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of dollars to convince him he's been transported through time?

But, on the other hand, look at why Jimmy gave the movie a bad review. The science fiction film was based on a premise of a man going back in time to alter the future. Jimmy overlooked the acting, the direction, the special effects, the dialogue, the action sequences, and panned it because it contradicted his theory of time travel. That's like Christian Fundamentalists giving Jurrasic Park a bad review because it promotes evolutionist ideas.

In case you're wondering, Jimmy's review of Star Wars: "Faster than light travel is impossible. Zero out of ten stars." Lord of the Rings: "Elves and goblins aren't real. Not recommended." Finding Nemo: "Fish can't talk. Two thumbs down."

At this point, we either have to root for the kidnapper motivated by a retarded movie review or the retard who wrote said moronic review. Instead, you keep reading only holding onto the hope they manage to half-ass their way into an accidental murder-suicide pact... which they almost do.To prove time travelers cannot alter the past nor the future, Jimmy and Superman kidnap Von Rick and fly him back to the 1700's to the site of an Indian attack. Jimmy explains that he gladly threw Von Rick into the middle of a battle without any protection because history clearly states no one was killed in the attack.

Holy shit.

A) How did Jimmy get such accurate records? What if the guy writing the news report was the Perry White of his day and was more concerned with letting everyone know Patrick Henry was entering a pie eating contest than confirming the reports of an Indian raid on the outskirts of the frontier.

B) Just because no one got killed doesn't mean no one got their arm lopped off with a tomahawk or lost a leg to gangrene after being shot in the thigh with arrows.

C) I respect that Jimmy has a belief system and that he's committed to it, but seriously, was there no better way to prove his point? What if he's wrong and you actually can alter time? Von Rick would have the last laugh, but I doubt it would be a very satisfying one as the Indians tore his scalp from his head.

Why not go back and advise the captain of the Titanic to be on the lookout for icebergs? Why not tell Lincoln to post a guard outside the booth at Ford's Theatre? Why not tell the admirals at Pearl Harbor to be on their guard on December 7th? That way if you're wrong, you've helped divert a tragedy; if you're right, at least you tried.

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