You may have noticed from all those 'Films you need to see in 2012' that one or two of them feature superheroes. Batman is rising, Spiderman and Superman are rebooting and Ironman, Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Samuel L. Jackson are getting together to be Avengers.
I'm assuming that this costumed collective will be very much like my son's superhero-themed sixth birthday party. Although little Darren's attempts at Thor were limited to bringing a hammer over to our house and Kieran's attempts to be Hulk meant that all our furniture is still green - as is he. That'll teach him to use indelible marker pen.
Now, with the exception of Samuel L. Jackson, most of these heroes have secret identities - Superman dons a pair of specs (and, TRUE FACTS FANS, parts his hair on the other side) and becomes unrecognisable as Clark Kent; Batman puts on a business suit, slicks his hair back and he's Bruce Wayne; and Iron Man is Sherlock Holmes or something.
And, let's face it, these secret identities do save them a whole load of trouble.
The fact is that getting on the bus with your pants over your trousers, donning Morgan-Freeman-designed Batwear or wearing a clunky iron suit is going to get you a heap of unwanted attention.
There's no way that Clark Kent would hold down his sub-editor's role at the Daily Planet if he sauntered in clad in spandex every day - HR would have a fit.
Meanwhile Peter Parker avoids hours of merciless teenage bullying by keeping his dayclothes over the top of the homemade Spidersuit. A costume which simply makes him look like a gimp who knows how to colour co-ordinate.
Yes, superheroes have got the whole secret identity thing down. In fact, the only down side I can see is the chafing. Imagine wearing a full spandex bodysuit under your own clothes all day on the off chance that you may run into some violent crime. By the end of the evening, you're going to need to more than talc to get rid of that bad boy. E-45 Cream, at the very least.
So why don't more of us mere mortals adopt secret identities? Imagine all the trouble you could save yourself by having an alter-ego.
Your wife catches you having an affair? 'No, darling, it wasn't me, I don't wear a mask. That was Rock Van Cleef. I was at work.'
You insult your boss at the Christmas party? 'That wasn't me, I don't wear glasses and I haven't got a limp. That must have been Serena Tendrill, people often confuse us.'
Need to run a marathon, lose weight, give up smoking - you might not be able to do it but sure as hell Chuck Hunter or Carmina Burrana could pull it off with ease.
Avoid slipping into schizophrenia territory and you're golden - you'll be able to do anything because YOU won't be doing it.
And if you want final proof that secret identities work - then imagine all the fuss Jesus would have saved himself had he had an alterego called Joe Carpenter. During the day, Joe is a mild-mannered, bespectacled, ponytailed, smooth-chinned chippie but when you need a miracle - off come the specs, down comes the hair, the beard grows and, SHAZAM, Jesusman appears. Pow, water into wine; Bam, raising the dead; Biff, healing a leper. And then back to the workshop.
So, given that secret identities are good enough for caped crusaders and iron-clad capitalists, and knowing now just how much more saving Jesus could have done by being Joe Carpenter, then I think we should make it our collective and belated New Year's Resolutions to all have secret identities.
And finally, just a word of advice, you must choose your secret identity wisely. One superhero simply thought sticking a bag over his head and calling himself John would fool people - poor effort, Elephant Man, very poor effort.
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