I recall my sorrow many years ago when I learned that Superman, at least in one updated and “improved” version, would no longer fly or even wear a cape. I was dismayed not only by the fact that an American cultural icon had been toppled in the name of progress, but also because it seemed to me at the time that there were a diminishing number of traditional heroes in the modern world, especially those of the super variety.
In fact, upon further consideration, wine lovers have never had a superhero of their own, and so I am considering undertaking the project of personally providing one. While it is true that I am neither faster than a speeding bullet nor more powerful than a locomotive, I do wear glasses, I am very mild-mannered, and for many years I wrote for a great metropolitan newspaper.
I have even decided on a heroic name (Vineman), a logo (a “V” decorated with grapes), and a costume (svelte burgundy tights, claret shirt and cape). As Vineman, I would pit myself against wine criminals and their nefarious deeds, at least on this Web site.
I took my first test as a superhero earlier this week, when I went to the local mall to buy part of my superhero uniform – the tights, to be precise. I was a bit abashed when the first salesclerk I approached at Dillard’s referred me to the women’s lingerie department, and I admit that I told the young lady who waited on me that I wanted to buy a pair of burgundy leotards for someone with a “full figure.”
Alas, when I got home and examined my purchase, I discovered that the tights were not, after all, burgundy, but a more sensitive color – magenta. I suppose that this initial setback confirms the fact that that part of the schooling for those with a newly-assumed superhero identity is the discovery that their vocation can involve trials more complex than those one expects in combating vinous villains and detecting their heinous wine crimes. In short, the world will test Vineman in unexpected ways. But I am fully prepared to meet all manner of challenges, and besides, after donning my tights and studying myself dispassionately in the mirror, I have to admit that, at least in my opinion, Vineman doesn’t look too bad in magenta.
Note: I first published this posting in 1997 as a frame for one of my wine columns, and I still think that the wine world needs Vineman, despite the very vocal doubts of my sons, all of whom had the insolence to suggest that the entire idea is preposterous. Well, that’s what they said when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, though, upon reflection, that might not be a very effective example to employ in a counterargument. At any rate, I still think that it would be of immense benefit to the wine community if I were to drive around the country in my Vintage Van, which would sport all manner of wine-related pictures and paraphernalia, as a deterrent to wine crimes, whatever they might be. As for my disrespectul sons, I have decided that will they will all be the leading candidates for the demeaning job of comic sidekick to Vineman, and while I have not yet settled on a name for their group, I am considering both Yeast Youths and Bouquet Brats but favoring Grape Goons. As a much-put-upon father, it would be deeply satisfying to turn to these unfilial brutes and say, “Quick, Grape Goons – to the Vintage Van!”