Friday, December 3, 2010
The Perils of Geekdom: Summer 1978
This particular issue, though, nearly killed me.
I was at the store with my mom, and didn't have the money to buy it, so 14-year-old me sneakily tucked it behind something else on the newsstand, and made plans to come back and buy it later that day.
When I got home, I scrounged up the money from the various caches in my room and hopped on my bike. The store was about two miles from my house. It was an easy ride - I made the trip often.
But that was a very hot August afternoon. Sweating, I made it to the store, and bought the magazine. I rolled it up carefully and tucked it under the handlebars of my ten-speed, with the brake cables holding it firmly in place. I was hot and dehydrated, but I hadn't had enough money for both a drink and the magazine, and dammit - I had to have that magazine. Issue #3 of FF was full of behind-the scenes articles on special effects, with long interviews with Douglas Trumbull (2001, Silent Running) and John Dykstra (Star Wars). There was an article on the new Star Trek II TV show (sigh). Most importantly it had photos of the models from the upcoming television "event" Battlestar Galactica - the very first glimpses of the Viper and Cylon Raider - and I had to have those!
So, eager to get home and immerse myself in all that 70s sci-fi goodness, I pedaled furiously down the long, unshaded highway back toward my house. You could see the heat rising off the asphalt. Sweat was dripping in my eyes. Suddenly, one foot seemed to slide off its pedal, I felt myself falling - and then, blackness.
It is amazing how clearly I remember all this. I woke up on my back on the hot pavement, my head pounding. A man was standing over me, looking down at me, asking if I was all right in a voice I didn't know. The sun was so bright, I couldn't make out his face. I tried to stand up, and fell, dizzy. The guy lifted me up, and helped me to his car - a Volkswagen Beetle. His wife was in the passenger seat, and there was a girl about my age in the back. I think she was pretty, but I can't say for sure. She never spoke and I never really looked at her (clearly, I had brain damage!). He helped me into the car, all the while asking me if I knew where I lived. Woozy as I was, I remember still thinking that was a stupid question.
Anyway, this nice family - whose name I never learned - drove me home. My mother helped me in and onto the couch, whereupon she discovered that I had a bump on the side of my head about the size of a golf ball. After making me comfortable, she asked me what happened - and I remember anxiously asking her to send my dad to get my bike... and my magazine. I was very insistent on that point.
I had a mild concussion, but although I remember everything above very clearly, I don't recall if I was taken to the doctor or emergency room. I do remember lying on that couch on that hot August afternoon, my head throbbing, sipping cold Kool-Aid and pouring over my copy of Fantastic Films #3 - which survived the accident without so much as a crease - from cover to cover (including ads).
I still have that issue, no longer mint, but intact and in a box next to my desk.