Tag Archives: Superheroes

Man and Superman

He is no ordinary hero, because he is an ordinary hero.

Wherever Superheroes, and indeed Supervillains, who are just Superheroes who’ve made bad career choices, gather, they speak in awe of Ordinary Man, the one who stands out from the crowd by being part of the crowd.

His costume consists of a tweed jacket, corduroy trousers, and brogues, though in light drizzle (in other words, this being Ireland, on about 150 days a year) he adds a New York Yankees baseball cap.

He has a back-pack, his equivalent of a utility-belt. In this he carries his sandwiches, a book of Sudoku puzzles and, at the very bottom, his driving licence, though he is unaware of this last bit and has in fact been searching the house for the licence for the last six months.

He carries no weapons, though the Sudoku book could, if rolled up, bring a sharp sting to a miscreant’s ear.

He has a Man-cave, exactly like a Bat-cave except that it is not underground, and is constructed of wood. It is, to be honest, a garden shed, but he has equipped it with a small TV that picks up Sky Sports, a fridge with four cans of Heineken, and a dartboard into which he can actually place the darts, since the cave is only four feet long.

He has gadgetry, like James Bond. His car has a Sat-Nav, which is unfortunately of little use since every village in Ireland has a Main Street, a Dublin Road and a The Square, and the Sat-Nav girl’s voice has started to complain of a headache and to ask for a transfer to a country with postcodes. He has a smartphone, capable of many things, but on which he simply has his collection of music, mostly Coldplay. It has a single App, one which he downloaded by accident, which sends him a text every time a goal is scored at Euro 2016, and which has been curiously silent for almost a year now.

He has a side-kick too, though others simply call it Dad Dancing – an odd little hop that he gives when he’s dancing along, at weddings, to the chorus of Sweet Caroline.

Like all superheroes he has one superweakness – the ghastly man-flu, an affliction so awful that God has spared all of womankind from ever having to suffer from it. Man-flu seems a fit unfair, because the burden of his superweakness is not balanced out by the thrills of any superpower.

Unlike Superman, he can’t fly. Unlike Spider-Man, he can’t weave a web. Unlike Thor, he can’t use a hammer – actually, that one isn’t true, he can use a hammer, usually to put up shelves, or to hang pictures of his children.

He could probably talk the Penguin out of bank robberies by offering to lend him a few quid, talk the Joker out of blowing up the world by laughing at his jokes, talk Catwoman out of her sexy outfit by sheer Irish wit and charm, but such opportunities never come his way.

Yet he does fights crime – by paying his taxes to help fund the police force. He fights political corruption and incompetence by voting for the other crowd at the next election, and fights white-collar criminals by pointedly ignoring them when he meets them in the bar of his golf club.

He solves crimes, too, mostly while watching American cop shows, with his by-now famous maxim: “whenever you have eliminated the impossible, then it was probably that guy over there in the ski mask, running away”.

And he saves the planet, by trying whenever possible to cycle, to re-cycle, and to use the eco-wash cycle.

So let’s hear it for Ordinary Man. He helps to make the world a better place.




Behind Every Good Man

Sidey’s Weekend Theme this week was “women”……………………


The book club was in full swing. In other words they had mentioned the selected book, all admitted that they hadn’t read it, and had now settled into chat, which was why they had all come.

“He was out all night again last night,” said Mary-Jane.

“Mine too,” said Lois. “Came in at five and collapsed onto the bed snoring, leaving me awake for the rest of the night.”

“I’m awake all night most nights,” said Vicky. The others moved slightly forward in their seats, but she said “Not like that. Unfortunately. We have to have the curtains open all night in case the Batsignal appears in the sky. I’ll tell you, being Mrs Batman is not easy.”

“Well, in fairness,” said Pepper, Mrs Ironman, “they have to be out at night, because that’s when most of the crime happens.”

The others looked at Pepper. She was the most recently married of them all, and still looking at life as a Superhero WAG through honeymoon-pink spectacles. Lois Lane, Mrs Superman, snorted.

“Wait till you settle into it, Pepper,” she said. “I spend all day in the shops buying Clark clothes, because he keeps leaving his in phone booths.”

“I have to fill my guy’s Bat Utility Belt every morning,” said Vicky Vale, Mrs Batman. “I’ve to make sure he has Bat-Rockets, Bat-Rope, Bat-Laser-Cutters, and two cheese-and-tuna sandwiches.”

“Mine has a big lunch-box,” said Lois.

“Lucky you,” murmured Mary-Jane, Mrs Spiderman.

“I spend a fortune on sea-sickness tablets,” said Steve Trevor. “All that spinning around in a circle makes Diana really dizzy.”

There was silence after this. The girls had never been sure whether to let Mr Wonder Woman into their little group, but since they were all a little jealous of her they’d been hoping that they’d get some good gossip out of him. They had always known that as a Superhero’s husband he’d be really whipped, and they were hoping to find out if there was more than one meaning to that phrase.

“The thing about it is,” said Vicky, “we have to remember that they’re good men, doing good work. It could be worse. I met Mrs Penguin at bridge last week. Her husband spends half his time in jail, he walks like a duck, and she thinks he might be having an affair with Catwoman.”

“Really?” said Mary-Jane. “I always thought that Catwoman fancied -”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence,” said Vicky.

“I met Mrs Riddler at the supermarket yesterday,” said Pepper really quickly, to change the subject. “Or rather, ex-Mrs Riddler.”

“Holy Alimony, Pepper!” said Vicky. The others glared at her. “You promised you’d stop doing that,” said Lois.

“Sorry,” said Vicky, “but if you had that twit Robin in your house all day you’d eventually start talking like him too.”

“The Riddlers are breaking up?” asked Steve.

“Yes, she said that she got fed up with his riddles,” said Pepper. “She was going to the shop one day last week and asked did he need anything, and he said “what’s made of beef but is called ham, and comes in a bun, not with raspberry jam?”.”

“Did she figure out what he needed?” asked Mary-Jane.

“Sort of,” said Pepper. “She figured he needed a good smack in the head with a frying-pan. That’s why they’ve split up.”

And Everything I Would Like to Be

At this week’s Writing Group our prompt was simply “Hero”, with this handout to help suggest ideas…

2013-02-07 18.51.23


They called themselves, simply, Superhero.

Action Hero was the leader of the group. People called him Plastic Man, though not to his face. He had piercing blue eyes, hair the texture of a carpet and hands in a shape that couldn’t quite grasp a gun.

Romantic Hero would get off with any girl involved in a case. He could charm a damsel out of her dress quicker than you could say “damsel in distress”. There was more to him than mere testosterone, however, he could also bring down a villain from a hundred yards with a well-aimed box of Cadbury’s Roses.

Antihero was Action Hero’s auntie, and fought crime with knitting-needles, endless cups of tea and an inability to spell.

Guitar Hero had grown up watching El Kabong in Quick-Draw McGraw cartoons, and would fell bad guys by swinging his guitar, frying-pan like, into their face. This worked even if the bad guy had, say, a grenade-launcher, somehow the distance advantage that this gave villains never seemed to occur to them.

Celtic Hero could only fight crime during the week, since at the weekends he was busy playing football against Rangers or Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Byronic Hero was part bionic, part biro, which meant that while chasing criminals he could write down their licence plate number (with his finger, behave) and draw an artist’s impression for the police to distribute later. He could also pick up Radio Luxembourg on his bionic nipples. This wasn’t actually any help in fighting crime, it was just something that happened.

Tragic Hero had actually died, tragically, two years earlier, but they still regarded him as part of the gang and so they brought him on missions in a little silver urn.

Folk Hero bored villains into submission with dreary dirges about the environment, about how war is wrong, or about the fact that if he had a hammer he would hammer in the morning.

Germanic Hero would take villains into custody by placing his towel upon them.

Reluctant Hero was their voice of reason, constantly warning them not to go into that burning building, not to fight that giant gorilla, or not to leave it till two seconds to go before picking the right wire on the bomb.

Culture Hero developed bacteria that they could slip in a villain’s drink. In other words he fought crime with yogurt.

The Avengers laughed at them. The Fantastic Four laughed at them. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen laughed at them. But they too fought crime as best they could. Superhero deserve our gratitude, and their place alongside The Thing, essentially a walking coalshed, or Captain America, whose superpower seems to be that he can hold a shield, or Wonder Woman, who simply spins herself dizzy.

Other Lives

The problem with having a secret internet life, with alternative names and activities, is remembering that not everyone knows it.

Recently in our house Tingirl and I were looking through the massive book mountain that has grown in the hall outside my bedroom door for a particular book. One of the books in the pile was Philip Pullman’s book The Tin Princess.

”Look, Honey, that’s you,” I said, and exactly as I said it I thought ”she has no idea she’s called Tingirl.”

She looked at me as if I was an idiot which, in fairness, at that moment I was.

Then last night Tinson1 arrived home from college, and I asked him how was Archery Class. Again, I realised one millisecond too late that it was Bardson1 in my Shakespeare post who is actually learning archery.

I wonder do superheroes have this problem?

”Bruce, did you watch The Apprentice last night?”

”Of course not, Mother, you know I was saving Gotham from Catwoman.”

”What did you say?”

”Er, I said I was waving my bottom at a fat woman.”

”Really, Bruce, it’s time you got a girlfriend.”