Friday, July 2, 2010

The Archie Club

When my daughter was 12, or so, the pianist sent her to Simpson-Sears to pick up a prepaid purchase. The mail order clerk asked for some indentification and the only thing she had in her wallet was her membership in the Archie Club. There was no hassle from the department store since a member in good standing of the Archie Club would be deemed to have some status and good taste in men. Archie was cool but also beautifully naive, a characteristic that endeared him to hundreds of young girls. They didn't want to identify with the sly, the macho, the slick. The clerk would have recognized a fellow traveler, albeit only twelve. Even though Archie struggled with the usual trials and temptations, he seemed to effortlessly overcome them with a continuing good nature. What's not to love? Certainly the Archie Club card today won't net you much headway at the airport or the customs office, but it tells us where your values are. Even more beautifully naive was Beaver! He was a bit younger than Archie but still had that endearing characteristic that never provoked fear, always comfort. Funny comfort! You could rely on Beaver to say what he thought. He was a normal. In my daughter's days the kids were classified as baddy-bads, goody-goods and normals. My kids always described themselves as normals, but I am not always sure they were honest about that. The principal said to Beaver, "Why do you want to be a garbage collector when you grow up, Beaver "? He replied, "Well. you don't have to wash your hands so much, and people don't mind if you smell. " Beaver was not ready for Betty and Veronica at that stage of his life, but the candor he displayed would eventually give Archie " a run for his money".

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