The Adventures of HandiMan and FiberWoman
Being as the election
is still a long ways away, I've decided to wander back into the past,
and tell of the amazing life my wife and I once led as crimefighting
super heroes. This
was back before our children Bonzo and Starfighter were born. It
was the 1970's. The Equal Rights Amendment was sputtering through
its abortive legislative process. The abortion rights movement
was sputtering through its judicial process. Curiously, Alice was
against the ERA and abortion, while I was for them, although we had no
personal stake in either matter. All this has nothing to do with
the story, it's just setting the mood of the era.
were living earnest lives of quiet desperation in the backwoods, trying
to make an impact by leaving no imprints. Oh, that's right, I remember
telling you about the goats... In the winter evenings
we'd sit around the woodstove, and I'd plunk on the banjo or try to fix
something, while Alice would work on weaving, or knitting.
If I wasn't playing the banjo, we'd listen to public radio. And
this is exactly what we were doing, when we heard on the local news
that a roof beam had cracked at the High School from the heavy snows,
and the gymnasium roof was ready to collapse, with the basketball teams
nearly to the tournament. I knew at once this was a job for
HandiMan. So I told Alice I was going to town for some groceries,
and drove off in our old truck.
It's not good for
married couples to have a lot of secrets from one another, but if you
have to obscure your secret identity as a superhero, fudging the truth
a bit should be allowed.
"Why not," you may ask, "just tell your
wife you're going to see if you could help fix the roof at the school?"
Look, life is boring enough if you do everything straightforwardly.
Anyway, I don't know why superheroes all have secret everyday
identities, since there are plenty of crimes and disasters to deal with
on a full time basis, but I guess everybody deserves a little time off.
And given that a minor slipup gave away my identity to the
nefarious Feminist Womanizer, I guess it all makes sense.
When I arrived at the Burning Prairie High School, I opened a rusty
secret compartment built into the back of the truck, and took out my
special heavy duty tool belt. When I inherited the tool belt
from the Zen Carpenters of Woodchuck, Minnesota, I learned the secret
of the tool belt. When you wear an elaborate enough tool belt,
you immediately become anonymous, and don't even have to wear a Lone
Ranger style mask, as everyone looks to see what cool tools you've got
on your belt. This would probably have even worked for
Batman with his utility belt, but he probably thought up the bat mask
first, which is indeed highly cool. So I donned the HandiMan
tool belt, and walked confidently under the yellow police tape
I won't bore you with the
details of the repair. Suffice it to say, that I successfully
battled the forces of the Custodian, School Board, the Building
Inspector, and the School Insurance Agency, and when I kicked out the
prop that had been temporarily supporting the roof, it stayed in place
perfectly. I left to the sound of happy teens and dribbling
baskets, and took off my tool belt at the truck, where I immediately
became just another guy, except I guess I was spotted in transition by
The Feminist Womanizer.. I went to the grocery store, threw a few
items into the cart, and returned home.
Although I was gone several hours, Alice was still knitting away on a
scarf, and she didn't remark on how long I'd been gone. We were
settled in listening to the radio again, when a news flash reported
that The Super Duper, zapped by weakening zeton rays, was hanging
perilously by his purple cape from the Crochet Tower, the mega craft
store of Lilac City. To make matters worse, the cape was
developing a small rip in it! Alice suddenly announced that she'd run
out of taupe wool, and would have to make a run to get some more. I
don't know why women can't plan their trips in a more orderly fashion,
as we were living miles away in the woods, and I could have just picked
up some for her when I was in town earlier... At any rate, she
was back in an hour or so, and by then the radio announced that
the super hero, FiberWoman, had rescued the Super Duper.
"Did you see that marvelous FiberWoman?" I asked. "There
aren't many superheroes that have a chance to bail out the Super
Duper... I wish I'd been there."
"Men!" She said. "If he'd done a better job sewing that cape in the first place, it wouldn't have ripped."
"What, you think the Super Duper sewed his own cape?"
"It sure looked like it! Er, I mean, from a distance I could see the inferior sewing job."
Just then the door swung open. It was the Feminist Womanizer!
"Don't you believe in knocking? " I asked.
"Knocking heads!" she replied. "I can't believe the sexist
stereotyping you are falling victim to. I know about both your
paltry double lives. Fortunately I've come to save you from
yourselves." She pulled out something that was exactly a hybrid
between a fairy wand and a ray gun, if you can imagine that.
"This Sex Role Swapper will soon settle your hash."
She fired before we even had time to resist futilely. There was a
puff of sulfurous steam, and she was gone...
funny thing is that it didn't do anything to us, no exploded body
parts, or even unusual swollen body parts. We both decided that
rather than a sex roll swapper, she was just a super nut cake.
Shortly thereafter, Alice mentioned that the washer had been leaking,
and she had an idea of how to fix it with some hose clamps and duct
tape. I didn't think she had a chance, but I'd been avoiding
dealing with the washer for a while, so she was welcome to her turn at
it. I said I'd see what I could scrabble up for supper. I
must have been hungry, because everything in the cook book looked good,
and not that hard to do. What's a little thing like spending a
couple hours prep time on making a 15 minute meal, considering the
results? And the results were wonderful! I was disappointed that
Alice didn't comment on the great meal, but I'd noticed she was quieter
All she said was, "I'm thinking if we overhauled the car engine by ourselves, we could save a bundle..."