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Meanwhile # 1 | October 2003
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Superheroes may have changed shape from Hercules to Aquaman, but they are still a force to be reckoned with. Travelling from city to city I realized that the modern Superhero won't be found on high rising buildings scanning the city for villains, but in our midst. How is that possible, you ask?

Well the heroes of the day should address the problems of the day. We still have street crime and power thirsty villains trying to take over the world, but there are bigger challenges facing us. The danger of travelling home from work and missing the latest sitcom, for instance. So we will investigate and compare two modern day superheroes.

On the one hand we have "Baldman" [fighting for the rights and well being of the businessman], against the
"Chickenshopman" [fighting for the working class immigrant].

When analyzing a superhero there are a few things to keep in mind, the determination, honesty and motivation behind the hero isn't always enough to convince the corner shop owner that a man in a bat suit will protect him. That is why the following criteria have been set up to see if our heroes can face up to the challenge. And it's not just about the speed agility and pure power of the hero, there is publicity to think about as well.



Also known as Norman Russell

Outfit: A tie with the "Baldman" logo in a repeat pattern, y-fronts, and a cape for flying.
Powers: Can do mathematics, accountancy and financial management at lightning speed. The ability to defy gravity.
Area of coverage: Business centre of the city 'Capitropolis'. Can be found on high rises scanning the city for fellow businessmen with suicidal tendencies.
Motto: 'A poor city has a disadvantage'.
Motivation: Working for the deprived, overworked and overstressed businessman, because the future is built on money.
Corporate identity: A simple logo consisting of the
letter "B", applied here to his tie in typical business-
tie fashion.
Love: Not only the stock market but also his secretary working for him in his regular day job as an ordinary businessman in the city [in the thick of things].
Equipment: Briefcase with laptop computer linked to the stock market for up to the second information. Pens firing anything form miniature missiles, to darts. Mobile telephone with satellite tracking, and communications unit.
Enemy: Fun loving criminals.

Q and A to Baldman
Q: Do you think of yourself as a hero / saviour?
A: I won't say saviour or hero, but helper. I strive to assist the businessman of today in his quest for economical stability. Our world is after all built on the economical process as well as progress.
Q: Do you have any heroes, people you look up to?
A: Yes, Richard Branson, for his intuitiveness.
Q: What do you think of Superman?
A: Well, he's living in his world with his problems and I think he has done a lot for the industry, but we need hero's that address the problems of the day in our city. He might be very strong and noble, but can he do financial management in tense life threatening
situations. I think not.
Q: What do you think of the 'Chickenshopman'?
A: I think he's doing good work in his city, but he's
got a different target market than me. And to tell you the truth I don't want his job. Working the streets, I don't know.
Q: What is your biggest fear?
A: That no one will be able to carry on with my work.

© MEANWHILE

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Q: How do you plan to overcome this fear?
A: Well, I started an academy where youngsters are able to learn the importance of business and finance as well as the fine balance that is needed to keep the mind in the right frame, so to speak. I'm trying to teach them that there is more to life than
making money, but not a lot though.
Q: Do you think your role will change within the next few years?
A: Not change, but evolve into something that people will see as an icon of development and hope.






Also known as Rashmal Bandi

Outfit : Modified fireproof grillers hat, apron and booties.
Powers : Can fry two-piece chicken with chips, while dealing with alcohol induced students. The ability to move at incredible speed with stealth, and accuracy. Speaks multiple languages.
Area of coverage : Usually the suburban areas of the city 'Hotwingalpini' [in the thick of things].
Motto : '2 piece'.
Motivation : Working to keep alcohol induced youngsters
out of trouble, and standing up for the working class immigrant.
Corporate identity : The letter C with an added chicken beak and fringe.
Love : A woman with a strange name in a far away
country.
Equipment : Modified fireproof grillers hat and apron, deadly spatula and tongs, replica mayonnaise squeezers used as smoke bombs or filled with anything from paralysing spray [works up to 2 hours] to old frying oil.
Enemy : Customs officers, street criminals.

Q: Do you think of yourself as a hero / saviour?
A: No, I see myself as someone identifying and addressing challenges put against my peoples and me. There are unions and organisations supporting all forms of life except the ones giving you food at 03:00 am. So I see it as my essential calling to help those who serve you hot food.
Q: Do you have any heroes, people you look up to?
A: Lobo, he's bad and mean and doesn’t care. I get too emotionally involved in my work, I would just like to take out the ones causing the havoc, but I can't.
Q: What do you think of Superman?
A: That's the guy with the blue and red suit isn't it, I think he should get a new taylor.
Q: What do you think of 'Baldman'?
A: I think he's fat and bald.
Q: What is your biggest fear?
A: That the ones in fortunate positions will go on ignoring the ones in need without a trace of remorse. That is what's happening at the moment and my task is just getting bigger and more difficult. No one wants to get involved so I'm fighting alone.
Q: How do you plan to overcome this fear?
A: I'm working on that.
Q: Do you think your role will change within the next few years?
A: Oh yes, street crime is getting worse and the immigration laws more strict, so I will have work harder and concentrate on high publicity criminals. This will improve my public status, and is after all the best way to fight these lowlifes.

Looking at our heroes I have to say that I am full of hope for the future, they do not decide the outcome of our society, but it will surely be a dull world without them. So if you have a hoard of villains raiding your city it might be a good idea to take up arms. Just remember that you will need some sort of distinctive power, a corporate identity and an outfit [even if it's just for publicity purposes].

Henk Esterhuizen