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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Anticiwaiting: Is It Worth It?

If you're a human over the age of ten, you know about waiting, in the same way you know about breathing and eating. (If you're not human, than allow me to be the first to welcome you and point out which meatsacks you should kill first, my Metal Overlord.)

Some people consider waiting to be the same as procrastinating, or just being impatient, whereas others see it as an activity in its own right. I'm in the latter category; not only do I think of it as an activity, I think of it as a noble endeavour. Pretty much the minute everyone heard of the internet, there were people decrying its promise of instant access to everything, wringing their hands and worrying: How can something have value if there's no struggle to obtain it? Usually, those people are luddites that would destroy everything that even looked like it might do something more than display sports (Hi Dad!), but there are those of us that hold similar, though nowhere near as extreme, views. We appreciate instant access, but also see value in waiting and joy in anticipation. Call us... Anticiwaiters.

I want you to think back to the Dark Ages, a.k.a the pre-internet era. Think back to when you’d go to your local newsagent or drugstore and pay for issue #147 of a comic you bought just because the muscly dude in the cool outfit punching a guy on the cover looked cool. You did this each month, until you had finally gotten a grasp of the goings on in the Comic Book Universe; you’d puzzled through retcons, reimagining’s, and rebirths, figured out who was really dead and who was really coming back, and you had finally come to grips with comic book logic. Then one month, you find that all you can think about is what will happen to Muscly Guy next month. His sidekick has been captured by Evil Man, for God’s sake! Would Muscly Guy get there in time to save him? He’d better, because Sidekick Boy is utterly useless, so there’s no way he’s getting out of there by himself! And so it began… a whole month dedicated to thinking about how they would get out of that situation, a whole month of scribbling crude drawings in your school books of your heroes being all kinds of heroic, then arguing with your friends at lunch about who was the fastest, the smartest, the strongest; all this to kill time until the next issue finally arrived. And at the time, you were relieved to finally have the answer to how Muscly Guy defeated Evil Man and saved Sidekick Boy.

But here’s the thing: What you just remembered was the waiting. Can you even remember how they won the day that time? I can’t. The anticipation, the waiting, those are the emotions that I recall the most. The Anticiwaiting.

And this is why we really need to step back sometimes, as fans, and keep ourselves in the dark. There’s a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated solely to feeding you all the information you can handle about your favourite thing; games, comics, movies, music. This in itself isn’t a bad thing. Knowledge never is. But foreknowledge? That’s a different story. Do yourself a favour: Let yourself be surprised from time to time. Is it worth it? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.
I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out.

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