I went to work at the School of Peace wearing a Superman t-shirt one day. Silly me, I thought this wasn’t going to be a big deal.
What I didn’t realize is that to the kids, this is more or less a challenge. “Superman, huh? We’ll see about that!” Penis Boy (now a ninensei) was the first to step up. You know, since I last saw him, Penis Boy’s gotten a bit bigger. He used to be kinda scrawny, but it seems as if he’s caught up with his classmates at least. Mr. Kancho on the other hand, is still as puny as ever. I think he may have shrunk even, like someone left him out in the sun for too long and he shriveled up like a California raisin.
Anyway, Penis Boy comes up and pats me on the logo of the shirt. “Oh, Superman! Super Teacher!” he says. He then grabs the shirt and pulls it up. “Hey!” I protest. “What the hell are you doing?” “I wanted to see if you were all ripped like Superman,” Penis Boy says. Sorry kid, it’s just a shirt.
And believe me, no one is more disappointed about this than I.
Gropey comes over and grabs a handful of chest. “Wow, now THAT’s hard!” he says. What can I say? I’m like an improperly cooked Pilsbury cookie or something – hard on the outside, soft and chewy in the middle. I’m working on it, damnit. Note to self – next time you break a collarbone, in your inability to move/properly exercise, don’t just order delivery pizzas for dinner. Additional note to self – don’t break your collarbone again, but in the unfortunate event that it happens, don’t rely on delivery pizza.
But why is it that every time I walk down this particular hallway of this school, I end up getting gang-molested? I remember back when I was in high school and they had us poor guys so freaked out over the whole sexual harassment in the workforce thing, it was like you couldn’t even wave your penis in the general direction of a female co-worker without the threat of getting sued. Now I’m getting felt up worse than a drunken sorority slut in Cancun during Spring Break. How does this work?
*Ahem*. But I digress. The Superman shirt even caused a stir in the teachers’ room, with most of the teachers having to remark about it at some point. “Oh, Clark Gable!” one teacher says. Well, that’s in the ballpark at least. Although Clark Gable as Superman woulda been some shit, I would have loved to have seen that. “Oh, Spiderman!” one teacher says. …That’s not even close. They’re not even the same comic book company! Poor, poor Superman, he gets no love in this country.
Amazingly, this wasn’t the first time I’d seen Spiderman confused for Superman. I was watching Quiz Millionaire once (the Japanese version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”) and one of the questions pretty far into the game was “Kryptonite is a weakness for which superhero?” The options were Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and some fourth hero I don’t remember. Must have been someone unimportant, like Aquaman or the Wonder Twins. The woman in the hot seat was completely stumped – first she used her 50/50 lifeline which reduced it down to Spiderman and Superman. Then she used her telephone lifeline, but in Japan the phone lifeline is completely useless. It takes 10 seconds for the contestant to read the question and answers, then it takes 10-15 seconds for the idiot people on the other line to confirm the question and answers and in the remaining 5-10 seconds they pretty much just go “Ah…hmm…that IS a difficult question, isn’t it?” *CLICK*.
The woman eventually settles on Spiderman. Then the host starts the process of just staring at her for like two minutes (in the last minute, he opens his mouth as if he’s going to say the answer, but he’s not), and just as you think the answer’s gonna come out the damn TV show cuts to commercial. Two minutes later, we rejoin our clueless woman in the hot seat as she confirms Spiderman as her final answer and we have to go through this process ALL OVER AGAIN. Meanwhile, the lady’s friends and supporters are praying that Spiderman is indeed weak to Kryptonite, and somewhere in the world, Spiderman realizes that if he ever wanted to just go apeshit, Japan would be the perfect place to do it because they’d have no idea how to stop him. “Kryptonite … big can of Raid … a large broom … a cold wet fish … damnit we’ve tried everything but we can’t stop this rampaging spider-like man!”
So yeah, sorry Man of Steel. Maybe if you had spiky blond hair and could shoot fireballs and shit, and you always had a crowd of people watching your fights and analyzing what a fighting genius you were, maybe just maybe you could be popular in Japan too.