I have had the most awful day at work. I was a superhero. Putting out fires, solving problems and trying to save the day. You know what it’s like. I went to the Superstore after work to do another super-hero task: to find something well- balanced and easy for dinner. Dinner: the never-ending battle, kind of like laundry.
As I roam aimlessly through the aisles to get inspired, the day’s events play out in my head.
After receiving enormous applause from our readers from the first issue of our Captain Lighthouse comic book, we decided to do it again. Last year we handed thousands of comic books to kids both young and old at parades across Lunenburg County. It was very heartwarming to see hundreds of kids reading the adventures of the South Shore’s first superhero, who spreads the message of how important it is to read, to not spread gossip or rumours and that crime does not pay.
When we put the comic book out this year we received a call from an unhappy reader who felt we were promoting violence. She then went on to call our clients to tell them that they too were promoting violence. One client I spoke to said that the lady phoned and said the comic book was about someone who went into the Bridgewater Mall and started a mass murder of people. No one was injured in this comic book. The Bridgewater Mall was not even mentioned. Obviously the message of not spreading rumours and gossip was not received.
Being the mom of two young boys it is my responsibility to use good judgment in making sure that they read only what is appropriate for them to read. I would not let them read some of the stories that are in our papers, the Bridgewater Bulletin or Progress Enterprise or on the internet. The coverage of Karissa, for example, would not be appropriate for them, but the Newspapers In Education and our Young Readers section is great for most ages. I was mad. How can someone turn something that was so well-intentioned into something wrong?
I made it to the line-up to pay. The mom in front of me had two boys around the same age as mine. Her youngest was throwing a tantrum and wanting a box of Smarties. Just give them to him, I thought as I wondered if I had enough time to run to the pharmacy for some Advil. It was too busy to risk it. So I waited and noticed that her oldest son was standing silently and in awe reading the Captain Lighthouse comic that he pulled from the Bulletin in her cart. I watched as he read. I smiled. His mom was paying while he continued to read; his brother continued to cry. She’s a far better mother than I am. I would have caved.
“Mom,” the boy tugged on her jacket. “Look, it says Bridgewater in this comic book,” he said and pointed to the word while smiling proudly.
I start to feel better as I realize this little kid is why we do these comics. It’s not for the money, especially since we don’t make any on it, and it’s not for our average reader. But it’s for this kid. This kid with one front tooth missing who, for the first time, has read the name of his hometown in a comic book.
I came home to boys running to greet me. Evan had a golf shirt on as he does every day. Colin had on his pyjamas with a chocolate pudding stain on his face and a cape. He almost always wears a cape.
“What did you do today, Colin?” I asked.
“I fighted bad guys,” he said with excitement.
Yeah, so did I.