On my birthday my allowance got raised to FIFTY CENTS!
I was rich! With my new fortune I could now afford to buy TWO comic books AND some modeling clay every week. Over the next few weeks I collected enough clay in enough colors to make pretty much anything I wanted, plus in a month I could buy all the comic books I loved most.
Mom and Dad didn’t approve of my taste in literature. I held that it was MY allowance, and I could spend it on anything I wanted. Dad said that if I didn’t have the sense to spend it wisely, he’d cut it back to a quarter. We ended up agreeing that I could by one comic book a week.
I didn’t keep my word. I bought all the comics I could afford and smuggled them into the house using the ingenious trick of rolling them up under under my pants leg.I hid them in a cardboard box under my bed. I swore my sister, Linda, to secrecy. The only problem was that I had to be nice to her or she would tell.
I used the clay to make models of my favorite superheroes. I was especially good at Superman and Batman.
When I wasn’t drawing superheroes or making clay models of them I was inventing my own characters.
Mom and Dad decided that if I was going to devote so much time to drawing I should get lessons.
One day after school Mom dropped me off in front of a big, imposing house and left. I was too scared to go in, so I sat on the front porch until she came and got me.
The next day she went in with me and made sure I got settled.
What a stupid waste of time! We didn’t draw animals or cars or buildings or people. All they wanted me to do was draw things like spheres and cylinders and cubes and pyramids and to practice shading and perspective.
Back home I could draw and sculpt whatever I wanted, and to heck with dumb boring art school homework.
I drew Superman and Batman leaping over evil spheres and defeating enemy cylinders and pyramids.
One day I brought my brilliant clay creations in to show the art teacher. My plan was to dazzle him with the fruits of my unique artistic genius. He would then realize that it would be best to let me do things my way.
He stared at them for a long time.
“Uh…what are these?”
I tried to explain how Batman and Robin and Superman were examples of great art. I described the delicate intricacies of blending colors in clay, and talked about the dexterity required to recreate these superheroes down to the tiniest details, but he was mystified.
When Mom picked me up after class, the teacher asked to speak to her. They talked for a long time. Then Mom drove me home.
I never went back.