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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Superhero's Analyst



In this post, composed while hosting youngest grandchild yesterday, the subject of the superheroic psyche is examined. After some disjointed discussion with a three-year-old who insisted upon being addressed as Iceman, my notes became somewhat complicated, causing me to assume the dual role of analyst and analysand in this vignette. I admit to some uncertainty about the format but that's never stopped me before.

Therapist: Please, sit anywhere you like. You understand, Geo., because we specialize in treatment of superheroes, everything said in this office is strictly confidential.

Geo.: I'm counting on it.

Ther.: Good. Now, since I don't recognize you, I assume you are in your secret identity. If I'm to do my job, I must insist on full disclosure.

Geo.: Ok, let me just get up and turn my back on you.

Ther.: Oh my gosh! You're Ditch Man! Scourge of unsightly strife everywhere! What could you possibly need help with?

Geo.: You are doubtless familiar with my secret origin?

Ther.: From comic books but I'd rather hear you tell it.

Geo.: Well, some time ago...

Ther.: In a galaxy far away...

Geo.: No, no, out front of my house. I was trimming along the roadside fence when a contentious couple distracted me with their mutual abuses and I fell in the ditch. They stopped arguing and chorused, "That poor man fell in a ditch!", then dashed to lift me out together. Argument evaporated and I ran away. It was then I realized every event in the universe, even petty quarrels, is affected, however faintly or obliquely by every other event.

Ther.: You mean...?

Geo.: Yes! If I could stop an argument, might I not also stop a crime, a riot, a war, an apocalypse by the same method? So I did. I'd see wrongdoings of all magnitudes, fall into a ditch and all differences dissolved as I was lifted out and ran away.

Ther.: Then what brings you here, a super-arch-enemy?

Geo.: Huh? No. Yeah, I guess so. I got old. Age is my arch-enemy. I can't run away faster than the jogging, healthy-eating, exercise-gym-going, people I have to rescue these days. They're a new breed of distress. If they catch up, my cover is blown.

Ther.: You mean people only see Ditch-Man's back, while he's in the ditch or running away?

Geo.: Yes! My front is my secret identity and it always worked as well as Clark Kent's glasses. Sure, sometimes people come up behind me and want Ditch-Man's autograph but I turn around and they excuse themselves. It works now but I'm in my mid-60s and soon, instead of pausing and reconciling in nicotinic meditation, the people I rescue will chase me with sheer stupid dog-like instinct and discover who I really am! I'm struggling with the idea of retirement.

Ther.: Can't you compensate by flitting away on some super device, something fleet that would ah ditch them?

Geo.: You don't understand. There's pavement and development everywhere. Old guy falls in a gutter, no ditch, who cares? People only help you out of ditches, not gutters. Fewer and fewer ditches. I'm a relic.

Ther.: What do you think would be a positive solution?

Geo.: Just what I have done, train a replacement. I been working with a kid named Iceman.
Ther.: Iceman can freeze things?

Geo.: No, Iceman's his given name. He's three. His super power is like this: People can be really grumpy and have quarrels and wars and apocalypses and say the most awful things but he can toddle up and say,"You can't do that around me; I'm cute as a button!" I've been coaching him on that line.

Ther.: So how's that going?

Geo.: Slowly. He needs even more snacks and naps than I do, but I'll keep at it. I'll be as strong as I need to be. We're making progress.

Ther.: Well, Geo., I think we made some progress here too, but our hour is up and we can continue next session. If you'll just turn around and let yourself out... OH MY GOSH it's Ditch Man! Where's my client? Where's Geo.?

Geo.: (Sigh).


21 comments:

  1. I hate to say this, but Ditch Man is also cute as a button. Iceman didn't fall far from the tree.

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    1. My blushes, E.C. You've made my evening!

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  2. I found the principle behind this parabolised (if there is such a word) conversation quite fascinating.

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    1. It's a good word, like 2 cymbals coming together!

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  3. So as ditchman heads to Florida with the snowbirds...the Ice man cometh. Love the picture of you and your protege.

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    1. Grandson isn't familiar with Eugene O'Neill. Not sure where he picked up "Iceman". Some days he makes me call him "Turbo", which isn't his name either.

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  4. The only problem with your blog, Geo, is that you don't post often enough. The highlight of my morning is when there's something new from you.

    But what I"m really intensely jealous about is grandkid. I'm very eager from that, but alas, my kids are ultra=modern and holding back on procreating.

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    1. Thanks Geezer! Most kind. I admit I'm still surprised that I have grandkids.

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  5. Dear Geo.,
    "What made you want to look up ditchman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible)." asks merriam-webster back instead of giving me an explanation (well, it mumbled something like 'a ditcher in a mine', but that left the diamonds of illumination somehow in the dark - ditch - mine.
    By the way: tell iceman, he/she is wearing a very lovely hat! (I'm an expert on that, though not on super-heroes)

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    1. "Ditch Man" has no formal etymology that I know of --we often goof off with words here. Norma put one of her hats on Iceman, probably to keep ticks from dropping on him. Superheroes probably shouldn't have vermin.

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  6. Unfortunately, we can't keep our collective covers forever.....(*sigh*)....

    Have you ever thought of writing for Hollywood? They desperately need you.
    Although I'm positive that your wit and brilliance would go far over many heads.

    It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's.......Ditch Man!!!!

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  7. Kind Jon! Tv writers amaze me. I know a couple people who can do it but I never had their kind of dedication. My mind wanders and pretty soon the story's tied in knots. Mainly, writing's fun and that's stabilizing. Without stability, I fall in ditches.

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  8. This had so much heart. I rather love how I feel after reading it. A couple of favorites:

    Age is my arch-enemy. I can't run away faster than the jogging, healthy-eating, exercise-gym-going, people I have to rescue these days. They're a new breed of distress. If they catch up, my cover is blown.

    and

    Ther.: What do you think would be a positive solution?

    Geo.: Just what I have done, train a replacement. I been working with a kid named Iceman.

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    1. Thanks, Suze. So glad you enjoyed superhero story. Now I notice I got a superfluous comma between "...-going" and "people". Can Ditch Man fix that? Ah, even superheroes have their limits.

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  9. Iceman is quite an anonym for such a young person.

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    1. Agreed. He's more of a cuddley fireplug-shaped person. I think he'll settle on a more appropriate supername by and by.

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  10. Geo, this brought a big smile to me and i so love the photo of you and your grandson.

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    1. Oh Margie, everything about my grandson is loveable.

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  11. Ditch Man! That made me laugh out loud, and I didn't stop laughing for the entire interview.
    Iceman/Turbo is a lucky apprentice.
    p.s. Have you seen the movie 'Turbo'? I've been hanging with my niece and nephew and just saw it...I suspect that might be the origin of the name. Turbo is a very fast snail.

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    1. Ah, that would explain it! Fast snail. I like that. Now I must solve for "Iceman". What next?

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  12. Quite a responsibility, training up a new superhero. Ditch Man has all the right skills for the job. Iceman is lucky to be that apprentice :-)

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