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Philip Maramba: This hero saved the night

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Your Daily Mail is put out by any number of comic book nerds, including yours truly.

As a result, I rarely lack for conversation or company when long-awaited superhero movies come to town.

These past few years, film studios have been taking advantage of this deeply deranged subset of the movie-going public by offering midnight showings of their features on the night before their weekend premieres.

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It became the thing to do: After work, my colleagues and I would meet up late in the lobby or parking lot of the local theater and sit with all the other geeks bent on getting the first look at the shiny new thing.

There was something irrational and adolescent about it, which added to the allure for this father with small children. My house was well asleep at midnight; nobody was going to miss Daddy for a couple of hours.

Last year, with the final installment of the "Batman" trilogy set to debut, I found myself torn.

The franchise had been spectacular, and I was looking forward to watching its finale. But I learned that "The Dark Knight Rises" clocked in at almost three hours, so it was likely I wouldn't be home until about 3 a.m.

At the time, I wondered whether I should just roll the dice and take my chances that our toddler son would sleep until 6 or even 7.

I found myself pondering adulthood - specifically parenthood - as I ruminated over a decision that could determine whether I'd be fresh for the possible pre-dawn rise of my son.

It occurred to me that my choice on taking this gamble was somehow a reflection on how my priorities had shifted.

Obviously, they had. I just knew I had to be there for my child or my wife in the wee small hours of the morning. And I realized I wasn't just living for myself anymore.

The movie would always be there. So, too, you could argue, would be my family. But I guess I've learned about myself that there are responsibilities I can't or won't shirk.

If I'd known the boy had been sleeping through the night without incident, I could rely on a few good hours of sleep to get by on before I was needed.

But at the time, his sleep schedule had been uneven - including a few 2 a.m. screaming sessions.

Up until that point, my wife had been amazingly indulgent of her man/child of a husband, having given her blessings for previous midnight comic book movie premieres.

But I wasn't going to impose on her graciousness by watching a three-hour film aware of its potential consequences in the hours that would follow.

I chose not to go and I went to bed around midnight.

As it turned out, I guessed right. The boy woke up crying around 4:30 that morning and, after he was soothed, the two of us lay on the couch until sunrise - not quite asleep, but at least quiet and still.

The day wound up being a little hairy, but not the nightmare it could have been on one hour of sleep. All things considered, I considered that pretty super.

Contact writer Philip Maramba at or 304-348-1248.


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