Henceforth, Jim the Comic Book Guy Who Can't Shut Up will be not-so-affectionately nicknamed 'Pip', after a conversation with mint_tea
this weekend reminded me of the Ben Stein-voiced character from Animaniacs. Jim was last referenced here.
I made an arrangement to catch Pip at the weekly Flea Market he sells things at on Sunday; I brought along the 2nd Edition AD&D books about which he'd expressed interest. This gave him a chance to examine the goods, regale me with a few stale stories for the thirteenth or fourteenth time, and demonstrate one of his new quirks.
See, Pip asks 'So what have you been up to?' I'm not sure if it's conversational filler for him, or what, but I have a theory. Of course, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. Once per conversation. The fourth time, it's a little excessive. Asked and answered, Pip, please move on. Of course, the frequency of the question has increased since I talked to him about one of the goings-on at work a while back. See, our university shares a campus with a community college. We used to be one institution, but the state is mandating that we be split into two. This helps no one and causes massive headaches. Pip has persistently brought the subject up in every conversation since, because 1.) I think he's under the misapprehension that I have more to do with it than I actually do, and 2.) ranting about the "stupid" people running the government fits very neatly into his hopelessly constrained world view.
Pip rambles about how the local comic market is poisoned by the dealers who are rude to customers. I just kind of smile politely through that portion, because I think the local comic store owner does a pretty good job, and his business is successful, so.. eh. Pip picks out the books he wants from me and I go through them. Normally, with 2nd Edition books - which are almost entirely useless to me as I never intend to play that version of the game again - I cut people a deal for about a third of the old cover price. They're kinda scarce, but not collectible. They just take up space in my house.
For Pip? 50%. Because I want room to negotiate down, and because I already have an inkling that this will not be a cash deal. So I count everything up based on my roughly 50% price point, and come to approximately $250. Pip offers the Grant Morrison run of Doom Patrol I'd expressed some interest in. He has it priced at $250, he'd previously offered to sell it to me for $200, and it's probably actually worth $150, if that. On the other hand, it's stuff I don't own, and haven't read, and takes up less space. So I go for the even swap.
So, our business concluded, I'm ready to go, but Pip's not done. One of the recurring themes of conversation with Pip over the last two months is his printer saga. Well, not so much a saga, as kind of an epic-length whine. See, he needs a printer to make cover letters for brochures for his 'business'. Single-quotes to be explained in a moment. So he inquires my advice about different kinds, and mainly uses the topic to rant about the high price of printer ink. That one's easy to sympathize with, but I don't need to hear it every time. Of course, his dilemma about printing problems is less sympathetic when he tells me that his uncle had given him a printer, so the whole conversation is kind of moot, he just hasn't had time to set it up yet.
Cut back to Sunday, and his printer still isn't set up, but he's prepared an envelope for me with his 'business' brochure. And before we part ways, he rambles on about multiple streams of income, and having read a fascinating book written by a real-estate mogul, and I'm thinking the whole time that it sounds like those dodgy 5:30 AM infomercials where the rich guy offers to sell you his money making secrets for $250. And it turns out I'm right on the money, and there's even a bonus. When I get home and look at the brochure, it is not only exactly that sort of crap, it is also a pyramid scheme
. Once you buy in, you get a cut of the membership fees of people you get to buy in. I thought these things went out of fashion in the 1980's!
So now I wonder if Pip's naive enough to believe in the money making techniques, or cynical enough to take advantage of people knowingly.