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Nathan

Tidings of Comfort (Part 5)

Something different today. The final part of this story will go up on Thursday.

I have nothing of interest to discuss, so today I am going to tell you a story from my childhood.

I have enjoyed art since I was very young, drawing since before I can remember. I drew my first comic at the age of 4, took a couple of mini-drawing classes.

Noah, on the other hand, as far as I know, has never had much of an interest in such endeavors, which made it actually quite surprising upon reflection that he agreed to accompany me to a week-long art “camp” at the University in the summer between 7th and 8th grade. This camp offered a variety of mediums, naturally I was attracted to drawing, but the camp involved taking two mediums. Drawing was a definite, but the second option was up for debate. I believe I was interested in painting, or sculpting . . . something like that. Noah had his heart set on metal smithing. Why? I will tell you why.

Swords. Noah wanted to make swords.

I could dig that, as I was not quite sure what “metal smithing” was. I didn’t think that an art camp for kids would involve toiling over a hot anvil making swords, but I had no experience to contradict him so we ended up signing up for drawing and metal smithing.

The drawing class started out weirdly. The teacher knew Noah’s dad, and spoke with a very thick Russian accent. She showed us her art, which involved thick, vague shapes slathered over canvas, barely forming figures.

Even at that young age, I was a horrid, snobby bastard. I was not impressed by her art. I was here to learn to draw! Not paint vague shapes that I would have to explain to people. Thus began a student-teacher relationship of resentment and bitterness.

I entered the class with some knowledge of art, as I was drawing comics at that time (this was shortly after Noah and I began our first project, one that came a couple years before “Gamer Candy,” known today as “Good in Theory”). Noah entered the class and began his first project, which involved drawing dozens of Kennys doing various things. We sat next to each other, and he would occasionally ask me for tips on how to draw something, how to shade things, etc. This only irritated the teacher more, who I would assume viewed this as undermining her.

Noah and I bickered constantly, which is something that really has not changed much today. The other people in the class described us as like an “old married couple.” I want to say that it was not the last time we have been described as such.

The drawing was fairly uneventful, and remained that way for the rest of the week. Where things really were stirred up was when we attended metal smithing.

The first thing we noticed was that the class was filled with girls, making us the only males besides the teacher. This seemed odd for an instructional course in the construction of instruments of violence and war. We also noticed a distinctive lack of anvils, another unusual trait for the art of sword-crafting.

The class turned out to be, in fact, a “jewelry-making” class. We learned many fabulous things, such as polishing the metal, drilling holes to make earrings or places for a chain to go. We ended up making three significant things:

  1. Lambda pendants
  2. The logo of our current comic project . . . on a pendant.
  3. Shivs.

Yes, shivs. We carefully cut and sharpened a piece of copper so that it had a handle and a rather sharp point.

The teacher was not very impressed with our lack of enthusiasm for the class. He slowly circled the table, complimenting each of the dedicated students on their work. He finally came to me while I was working on . . . I believe it was a “DVD case holder,” which was essentially a giant piece of copper that I had bent and drilled holes in with the intent of storing the case of whatever game or DVD I was currently using. It was very creative, thanks.

Anyways, he came to me and said, “That’s really . . .” and then he immediately turned and walked away without finishing his sentence. It was amazing. I also hated sanding and polishing so I always just blasted the metal with sand and textured it.

At the end of the week, some of the student’s work was placed on display for parents to observe. The display case for the jewelry featured none of our incredible works (we had already smuggled the shivs out).

I believe my shiv stayed in my mom’s car for several years before I finally threw it out. I doubt Noah still has his. All relics of this event have been lost to time.

The only remaining record is this post, that you just read. Deep, right?

-Nathan

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