Ask Dr. Eldritch

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Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
Ask Dr. Eldritch Superretired     Dangnabbit! What is wrong with superheroes these days? It's a wonder they ever have time to fight supervillains, being so busy mooning over someone they can never have, or whining about how they're not happy! Whatever happened to heroes with character and a proud work ethic? Next thing you know, they'll be asking villains to validate their heroic abilities so they can boost their self-esteem, or some such rubbish. Ridiculous!

That's not how we did things back in my day, I tell you what! We lived the quiet lives of our alter-egos until it was time to assume our secret identities. We'd put on our costumes, beat up the bad guys and haul their butts off to jail. At the end of the day we could hang up our capes and feel good about a job well done, not brood about our miserable lives. And we were grateful! I'm thinking I need to come out of retirement to show these whippersnappers how it's done!

-- Captain Aardvark (Ret.)

Dear Captain Aardvark,
    Do you remember mimeograph machines? For decades they provided a multitude of classrooms with blurry, purplish homework assignments and pop-quizzes. Every machine was hand-carved by trained craftsmen, who were devastated when electrophotography technology pushed the mimeograph workhorse out to pasture. Sure, the new "photocopiers" weren't as reliable, and school children could no longer breathe fumes until hyperventilation made them slightly dizzy so they could smugly announce to their chums that they had "gotten high." But the world was changing.

I'm sure those mimeograph-machine carvers were just as bitter about the youthful, arrogant copier repairmen that replaced them as you are about the new generation of superheroes. It's traditional for every retiring generation to believe that the current one is woefully inadequate compared to them. (Most of my readers are probably thinking right now "Oh yes, like how the veterans of the American Civil War dismissed those who fought the Spanish-American War!" because that's the sort of keen observation they would make). There may be other examples, but my point is that the cultural needs and goals of each generation are different. The skill sets and superpowers of today's generation may appear inferior to you because they're evolved to fit a changing world. A world where wearing a cape means you're still living with your parents.

I'm not saying you had it easy in your day, but at least the villains had the courtesy to dress in a manner that screamed "Evil Person!" You could quickly identify them, defeat them using your superpowers (I'm assuming that your superhero name and ability have something to do with an oversized prehensile tongue, which is an image I really don't want in my head), and as you say, haul them off to jail. Perhaps not easy, but simple.

Today's heroes fight for truth and justice, just as you did. However, the greatest threats to our safety and security are no longer global domination by Evil Geniuses or Communists, but greedy corporate executives who raid profits and pension plans, and greedy politicians who sell government to the highest bidder. Today's woes need today's heroes, such as Ethicsperson. She's a mild-mannered stand-up comedienne, but after being bitten by a radioactive member of the Congressional Ethics committee, she now fights malfeasance and corporate crime wherever she finds it. You'd like her; she's nobly striving to restore a sense of ethical accountability that could make America proud again.

She does, however, agonize over whether she should continue her comedy career, and suffers her mother's constant badgering about when she's going to have children. And she thinks she might be gay. But that's just the way things are done now.

However, this doesn't address your problem, which you failed to fully articulate. You're bored. After a life of fighting evil, you just can't get excited about feeding squirrels in the park or watching daytime soap operas. Perhaps everyone down at the Senior Center has grown tired of the stories of your exploits and they've politely asked you not to come back. What you need is a creative outlet, one that will allow you to work with younger members of your profession. Have you heard of the Association of Retired Superhero Executives? This organization pairs experienced crime-fighters like you with those just starting in the field. I can't guarantee that they'll actually be grateful for your advice, but you'll at least you'll be able to explain to them what they're doing wrong. Doesn't that sound like more fun than spending your days on the porch yelling at local teenagers to stay off your lawn?

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-- Dr. Eldritch

(DISCLAIMER: Anyone intelligent enough to be reading this should understand 1) Satire, and 2) That following the advice given may result in physical, mental, or spiritual harm to beings living, dead, or undead. The author does not suggest that anyone other that the originator of any given letter follow his advice, and cannot be held liable if anyone else does.
If you need more, read this Advanced Disclaimer!) All content © 2011 Evan Nichols