Howdy, pardners! It’s time to grab your partner and romp through another edition of Tact is for the Weak, the article that would NOT marry its sister…even though she’s really, really hot…
It’s inherent in our natures to emulate the qualities of the people (fictional or not) that we admire. In that sense, it isn’t difficult to understand that, deep down, all of the comic book fans out there (well, the superhero fans) would absolutely LOVE to fly around helping people and fighting villains. But, before you run out to see X-Men 3 and Superman Returns this summer, allow me to provide a scenario for you to keep in mind before you bolt out of the movie theater for the nearest costume shop:
Let’s say you have decided to become a masked vigilante; good for you! Swooping down to save the helpless, punishing the wicked; should be fun! Too bad you don’t have any super powers, though (that thing you can do with your navel does not count as an ability, nor is it the surefire chick magnet you believe it to be). So, the first order of business is to get some skills to make up for the fact that, instead of flying around town, you’ll be taking the bus.
Now, in the comics, non-powered heroes such as Batman or Green Arrow have spent years learning and perfecting their chosen fighting methods. They literally removed themselves from society and, through discipline and study, mastered their craft. YOU, on the other hand, can barely sit through an entire episode of Family Guy without, at least once, switching channels to see what else is on. So, I’d say that you’re more likely to get a book about karate from the library, spend maybe a day (two at most) at the gym before getting tired and sore, and simply study martial arts by watching as many Bruce Lee movies as you can find.
The other thing non-powered comic book heroes have is technology and weapons. Now, knowing that you’re a comic fan, you may have an extensive collection of fantasy swords, letter opener knives, and Green Lantern rings; unfortunately, none of these are useful against a glock in the real world. You’ll need to go out and get yourself some pepper spray or mace, an all-purpose pocket knife, and (most importantly) a cell phone, to call for backup (or a ride home). Forget utility belts and grappling hooks; there is simply NO SUCH THING as a pocket-sized gadget that can transport you up the side of a building (maybe if you had gone to the gym more often, it would have worked!).
Another thing you have to worry about is protection (because brother, if you think you can just go out on the streets and clean up the city, you are gonna get raped to bejeezus and back!). Actually, I’m talking about body protection (and not merely of the anal variety). When deciding how much protection one requires, you must look at the balance between maneuverability and strength of armor. Now, if you can move well, bulkier protection would merely weigh you down; however, since you only spent a couple of days in the gym, you probably don’t need to worry about being limber! So go ahead, bulk up with as much body armor as possible! I’m talking Kevlar, bullet-proof vests, wrist guards, elbow/knee pads; why not play it safe and get a bicycle helmet while you’re at it?
Well, you’ve got your outfit assembled; now it’s time to head for the streets! But before you leap into action, recognize that you may run into opposition (besides the criminals you’ll be hunting). The police don’t look kindly upon vigilantes that want to take the law into their own hands (plus, your mom probably thinks it’s just a phase, and your girlfriend will probably tell you to get a life…before she leaves you). So, you’ll need to keep one eye on the criminals, and one eye on the cops; chances are, they’d sooner go after a masked man with body armor and pepper spray than anything else.
So, once you know they lay of the law, you first need to establish what area you will be covering on your patrols; will you be guarding the inner city neighborhoods between 4th and 12th streets, or does your turf range from your front door to the bottom of the cul-de-sac? Also, how are you getting there? I know I mentioned bus earlier; you could also take a train, or if you’re of the suburban variety, you may as well ride your bicycle over to the scene of the crime (now aren’t you glad you got that helmet?). Tricking out your car with stealth spoilers, GPS, police scanner, body paint, and surface-to-air missiles may seem like a good idea at the time, but things get tricky when you have to drive your veritable tank to work the following Monday.
Which brings us to my final, very important point: maintaining your identity. Chances are, you’ll want to think of a codename. Now don’t kid yourself; “The Orclord of 8th Avenue” won’t be feared or even recognized by ANYONE unless you tell your friends about your new hobby; your codename is mostly for your own benefit, so you can feel better about yourself while hiding out for eighteen straight hours in a dumpster behind McDonald’s, waiting for a crime to be committed. And, while you should probably wear a mask and may not wish to make your real identity known, you should DEFINITELY, ABSOLUTELY carry at least two forms of real identification with you at all times…because brother, if you actually do go to a crime-infested part of town and try to fight criminals, you’re going to get your ass BEAT seven ways to Sunday, and the police are going to NEED that ID to figure out who the f*** you are when they peel you off the ground!
Well, I hope that was informative. Sadly, there is no Tactless Book of the Week Award this week; for the next month and a half, any and all articlesI send in will be infrequent and sporadic. I just wanted to be up front about it; I’m going to CHINA with the University of Georgia Drumline / Redcoat Band, and following that, I’ll be up in Ocean Grove, New Jersey for a month-long seminar on marimba (I don’t know what the internet connection situation will be up there, but if you’re in the area, give me a buzz and maybe I’ll catch it!). In the meanwhile, there are plenty of other columns here at Sequart.com to sustain you; but when I get back, if you’re ANYTHING more than “just friends,” I will F***ING KILL YOU!
And have a good summer. Viva loco, bit**es!