FREE LUNCH FOR LIFE PsychomentalSpotlightshow Biofiles Wackydaft

Little Dick Rides Again

DickTracyI was 9 years old then.  The film, Dick Tracy, had been out for about a year, but it was fresh on my mind.  I visited Montgomery Ward with my father one Saturday afternoon.  Something there would allow me to actualize any fantasies I had of becoming a great detective, just like Dick.  In the boy’s section, amid the Bugle Boy pants and silk shirts, I found it.  It was a beige London Fog trench coat.

“Can I have it, Dad?”

I imagined all the adventures I’d have while wearing this thing.  Solving mysteries, saving damsels in distress, narrowing down suspects and putting them away: that was the only way to go.  I had a book at home called Nate the Great.  It was a children’s book about an egotistical little boy detective.  He had a trench coat, a Sherlock Holmes hat, and a magnifying glass.  I had a magnifying glass already.  I’d had it for years.  Never solved a mystery with it, but I had burned plenty of ants and pieces of wood.  That was gonna change.

We had a coat rack next to the front door.  It would be pretty exhilarating to rush out the door after snatching that thing down from the coat rack and throwing it over myself.  A sense of urgency and purpose should always be accompanied by donning on a uniform.  It does something to cement the gravity of the moment.

Here’s the rub.  I imagined walking to school and being recognized as the go-to guy for adventure and mystery.  I would be the boy Sam Spade, the child Eddie Valiant.  However, when I rolled up to school wearing this thing, it was all pretty anti-climactic.  A few people said, “Hey, you look like a detective.” But that was about it.  On top of that, I actually felt kind of stupid and a little silly.  I just couldn’t relax and be matter-of-fact while wearing this trench coat.  I was too self-conscious, and the novelty had worn off quickly.  The bloody thing ended up folded (actually scrunched up) and placed in my backpack.

Son, you’ve only worn your jacket twice.

Upon another visit to a store, I came across something that really got me going.  It was a nice hat: an off-white fedora.  Yellow would have been better, but this would do.  I thought about the hat taking residence above my trusty London Fog on the coat rack.  It looked beautiful.

“Can I have it, Dad?”

He held it.  Looked it over.  ”This is nice.”  The price tag? 80 dollars.  I’ll never forget the transformation on his face.  For half a second, he thought about buying it, but then he was struck by something.  That was epiphany giving him an open-handed slap to the face, like it does to parents lucky enough to experience clarity.  ”Wait a second, are you trying to look like Dick Tracy?”  I didn’t really have a chance to answer because the thought of his 9 year old son almost duping him into throwing a lot of money away on a Dick Tracy get-up made him crack up.  It made him crack the hell up!

I never wore that coat again.  It was handed down to some other little boy.  Maybe he wore it once or twice.  Maybe he had better sense, or a really nice fedora.  Till this day, my dad still brings up the time I wanted to look like Dick Tracy.

Some things are better left fantasized about.

  • Share/Bookmark

5 Comments

  1. Cat Schwamm
    Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    When I was wee, I really wanted to be Harriet the Spy. I got a typewriter and my best friend Kathy Chrisner and I would dress up and solve mysteries. Often she would be the dame that would come in with trouble and I'd help her crack the case. That typewriter was so heavy, especially lugging it from my house to hers. My room was on the second floor so typing on it was deafening for people in the kitchen below me. There was a lot of hassle involved with being a girl detective, but I still played it for a long time.

    PS I also had Nate the Great. And loved it.

  2. Posted Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Huge Dick Tracy fan sitting here!

  3. savorycharacter
    Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Heh. I think I had a Batman/MacGuyver complex going on too. I would tool around the house, trying to make gadgets and wonderful toys. I emptied a confetti popper of confetti, and replaced it with cayenne pepper. I also made my share of smoke bombs. Never caught a bad guy, though.

  4. Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Heh. I think I had a Batman/MacGuyver complex going on too. I would tool around the house, trying to make gadgets and wonderful toys. I emptied a confetti popper of confetti, and replaced it with cayenne pepper. I also made my share of smoke bombs. Never caught a bad guy, though.

  5. Posted Friday, May 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me sritaght.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

blog comments powered by Disqus
FireStats icon Powered by FireStats