...a potent blend of Miss Manners and Batman

Monday, August 27, 2007

Introducing... Voice of Society Man

I have never admitted this to anyone but my wife, my children, and some of my closest friends, but it's time I went public with it: I have an alter ego. His name is Voice of Society Man. This alter ego can't fly or stop speeding bullets, but he does have the ability to butt into other people's business in a single bound. Voice of Society Man is everyone's nagging grandmother, pesky uncle, and nosy neighbor who is always right. People say that it takes a village to raise a child, but people no longer live near their relatives and that 'village' has nearly disappeared. Voice of Society Man is a traveling village.

Superman originated on Krypton, sent to Earth before the fiery explosion of his home planet. Voice of Society Man's origins are murkier and not as exciting. He was born in a K-Mart in Australia in 1989 (see my next post) but lay dormant for several years until resurfacing during a crowded subway ride in Manhattan when I got tired of staring at the inseams of young men whose testicles apparently needed their own seat. His first words were "Excuse me" as he indicated one of the spots beside the young man. This clever ploy worked, and soon I had a seat next to a dude who had to squeeze his entire crotch into only two seats. It was a small victory, but it propelled me to bolder moves. I realized that simply by speaking up where no one else dared, I could perhaps effect a small change in my surroundings. Voice of Society Man was born.

In truth, VoS Man has to do more than ask for a seat or be the first to clap after the lousy piano playing of a cousin. He has to speak up for what is right (or at least against what is wrong). In fact, his main goal is to Teach Someone a Lesson so that the offender won't repeat the offense. But my alter ego's actions require powers beyond speech. Let's say that someone is smoking in a playground. VoS Man must first use his keen sense of smell to detect the offending smoke. Next, he has to be aware of local laws; if unsure, he will consult the sign at the entrance to the playground. Finally, VoS Man has to be aware of potential disasters that could arise from informing members of the general public of their shortcomings, so in the case of the playground smoker, he uses his keen sense of tact to deftly announce the regulations regarding smoking in playgrounds.

When confronting members of the public, there are two approaches that Voice of Society Man can use:

VoS Man can use disarming tactics, such as saying, "It's so annoying that Big Brother has made all these rules about smoking, isn't it? Gosh, it must be hard knowing where you can smoke. Anyhoo, my children all have lung cancer, so could you, um, kindly put out that cigaret after taking one more puff for good luck? Thank you so much for your sacrifice."

When VoS Man senses a need for sarcasm, he first disarms his foe with a confusing opening statement: "Ya know, when I first joined the Scouts, my Scoutmaster told me that I'd have to stop farting in other people's faces. I bet it's like that with smoking. But every once in awhile I slip up. I won't mind if you smoke if you'll let me fart in your face."

It is perhaps clear that Voice of Society Man must also rely from time to time on one other skill: his highly developed sense of running away fast

Without further ado, I present

The Numerous and Varied Adventures of....

Voice of Society Man!

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About Me

My pesky alter ego who will set you right if you break one of the unwritten rules of getting along