At first it was ok, I guess.
Stan Lee inexplicably showed up in my life completely unannounced, he’d make a joke here and there, spout off a one-liner or two, and me being the Marvel fan I am, I got a kick out of it and would laugh it off and call him “Stan the man” while giving him finger guns or some shit.
Pretty soon though, things started getting weird.
He said I shouldn’t be wasting my time with school when we all knew I’d be taking over the family business—by which he meant Marvel Entertainment.
Stan Lee started telling me little stories and anecdotes from his childhood and young adulthood that, while I found them to be nice background noise, were kind of strange, since it seemed like he was genuinely trying to pass on life lessons to me through them, and, I don’t know, it just felt like he was kind overstepping his bounds, since he is, after all, that Marvel dude, and not my dad, and doesn’t really have a place to tell me how and when is the “right time to approach someone and ask them if they’re interested in buying one of your boxes of Crayola crayons, since you went and made the rookie mistake of buying way more boxes of Crayola crayons than one person could feasibly use before they all dried up and became completely fucking useless and only made light, unsatisfying marks on the paper when you tried to use them” (his words).
Stan Lee got really mad at me for leaving a window open while the air conditioner was running ONE goddamn time. When I told him I thought he was overreacting, he flipped his shit and said he’d show me the utilities bill at the end of the month and see if I thought he was overreacting THEN.
Stan Lee invited himself to my high school graduation, where he actually broke down in tears and told me how proud he was in between choking sobs. He even made an incredibly powerful and moving speech at my graduation dinner, going on and on about what a pleasure it had been to watch me grow into the person I am today and how he can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, etc etc.
Then, when I started packing for college later that summer, he got all pissed off and said I shouldn’t be wasting my time with school when we all knew I’d be taking over the family business—by which he meant Marvel Entertainment.
At first I thought this sounded cool, but then I started to worry that there was someone else who was actually lined up to take over Marvel, and anyway, that seems like an awful lot of work I don’t particularly want to do. Stan Lee got all upset and distant when I told him this, though, and my mom, who I thought for sure would be on my side in agreeing that Stan Lee isn’t my father and doesn’t have a logical reason to expect me to take over his business, sat me down and had an earnest talk with me about how I should at least consider the option of skipping college to run Marvel Entertainment, and how it’d mean so much to “Stan” if I actually went through with it.
She called him “Stan” the whole time and seemed pretty firmly planted on his side of the matter. I guess I shouldn’t really have expected much else from the woman who, after I was ordered by Stan Lee to mow the lawn and “pull some weight around the house,” got super upset when I told him he couldn’t tell me what to do, and yelled, “Have some GODDAMN respect for your father and mow the FUCKING lawn!” I don’t even know WHAT that was about, but it was kind of weird, if you ask me.
I guess at this point, nothing should really surprise me anymore, and yet, I’m still kind of taken aback when I walk into the kitchen and see Stan Lee pouring himself a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper at the table. It also still gives me a little bit of a weird vibe when he kisses my mom on the cheek and tells her that after 25 years, she’s still the only woman for him. I’m just waiting for the camera crew that’s so obviously filming this whole thing to jump out from wherever they’re hiding and reveal the truth.
But in the meantime, I guess I’ll be passing my time in my new position as assistant head of the mailroom at Marvel.