“Hi there. How is your day, ma’am?” asked the young man who began scanning my items in the Wal-Mart check-out lane.
“Just fine,” I said, removing the value size box of tampons and placing it on his check-out belt, “And how are you?”
I should not have asked this question. I should have just nodded thanks and told him all was well. No, I had to ask how he was, not realizing how anxious he was to share. Then this happened.
“Well, thanks for asking me because today is a pretty great day,” he beamed, “There’s a new premiere of My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic.” Yes, the approximately twenty year old male Wal-Mart employee was now ecstatically intent on providing me with a proper education of My Little Pony. I shit you not.
“Oh, yeah,” I nodded and smirked, “I’ve heard about you people.” He didn’t seem at all daunted or upset with my snide comment as I clearly referred to him as the other – you people. “What do you call yourselves again – Bronies?”
“Yeah,” he quietly acknowledged, “I don’t usually use that term, but yeah … so you know about the marvel of the show then.”
I nodded politely back at him. I don’t know if he had just been waiting all day to talk about his fanboy fascination with My Little Pony, and I was simply the first customer to ask in return how his day was, or if he saw something in me that made him want to spill his guts about this guilty pleasure. I seem to have an aura about me that alerts others (accurately or otherwise), “I want to hear all about you. Go ahead. I won’t judge.” Truth -- I was judging.
“Yeah, well most of us who are big fans are also computer geeks, so we understand the astonishing amount of work that goes into that animation. It’s really quite impressive, you know. That was the first thing that drew me to the show. But, I mean, it’s just so great in so many other ways. Do you want the two year extended warranty on this, Miss?”
“Hmmm …?” I had to ask as I had begun to drone out his praise of My Little Pony.
“The warranty? Do you want the warranty?” he said, referring to the Leap Frog purchase I had made for my daughter’s holiday gift.
“No thank you,” I said, and then, in the hope that I might detour him from further adulation of My Little Pony, “Don’t you find their voices obnoxious though? I have to admit the show kind of annoys me.”
“Oh, I suppose I see where you’re coming from. Cheerilee can be kind of irritating at first, but once you fully understand the show, you just ignore that because the content is simply brilliant.”
BronyCon -- Yeah, this is a thing.
I arched my eyebrows and nodded my assent again, quickly scanning to see how many items remained in my purchase to assess how much longer I would have to endure his lesson.
“Yeah, I mean, it actually includes a great deal of satire. You do know what satire is, right? Well, yeah, and it alludes to a lot of great novels and television shows. They have made references to Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I bet you didn’t know all of that or you would really appreciate the series so much more. Yeah, I’m just kind of bummed I’m at work today and missing the new episode because I can’t afford TiVo. But, usually the creator will have new episodes up on YouTube the next day. I don’t know how he does that either. I don’t know if you understand how impressive that is.”
I suppose I did not understand, but I now began to pay more attention to his speech realizing what a wonderful opportunity for a blog post he was now presenting me with. These people are for reals! Grown ass men have a serious addiction to My Little Pony, and they apparently have no qualms in sharing their obsession with complete strangers.
“The coolest part, though, the thing that really cemented for me how amazing this show is was when one of my favorite actors voiced a villain in one of the best episodes ever. Do you know who John De Lancie is?”
“You don’t? Wow. Well, he played Q in Star Trek. Most people know that.” Now I suppose he was insulting me, but I really didn’t mind either. This comment was definite evidence that my friends and his did not travel in the same circles. “Well, he played one of the villains and it was amazing. Of course, the ponies won because they have the power of friendship on their side. It really teaches us to value our friends, you know?”
I was most definitely valuing my friends right now. I prized our conversations about music and literature, and cherished even more the absence of long, extolling exchanges about cartoons. In my circle of friends, cartoon-centered dialogue was more akin to this, “If I have to watch Dora’s holiday special one more fucking time, I’m going to gouge my eyeballs out. Ugh, would you order me another martini?”
“Well, you have a nice day now Ma’am,” the Brony finally told me after I had made payment. “Oh, and always remember that friendship is magic.” Okay, okay, he didn’t really say that last part. He just wished me a good day, but I thought it sounded far grander the way I wrote it. So, you too now know that My Little Pony is the most epic cartoon ever and friendship always conquers evil. Have a nice day, and also know to never ask the Wal-Mart employee how his day is.