The One Person Superman’s Secret Identity Actually Worked On

| Friendly | January 6, 2016

(It’s Halloween, and I, in a stroke of genius, have decided to dress up as Clark Kent — fake glasses, a fedora with a press pass in it, slacks, and a partially-open button-down shirt, under which is a Superman t-shirt. I’m walking through the quad on my way to lunch when this girl I don’t know suddenly calls out to me:)

Girl: “Hey! Hey, who are you supposed to be?”

Me: “Hmm? Oh, I’m Clark Kent!”

Girl: *she gives me this confused look* “Who?”

Me: “Clark Kent? You know, Superman’s alter ego?” *I whip off the glasses and opened up my shirt for her, as I’d done a numerous times that day for others*

Girl: *still clueless* “Um, what’s that?”

Me: *I’m now looking a little confused myself* “Um, you know, the guy Superman is when he’s not Superman?”

Girl: “But he’s always Superman.”

Me: “Well, yeah, but he’s got another life too. Clark Kent is Superman when he’s not doing Superman stuff.”

Girl: *she’s now very matter-of-fact and seems to think she knows what she’s talking about* “No, he’s always Superman.”

Me: “No, you don’t understand. Clark Kent is his secret identity. Sort of like how Peter Parker is Spider-Man, or how—”

Girl: “I don’t know who that is, but Spider-Man is Spider-Man.”

(At this point, it dawned on me that this girl had absolutely zero concept of what secret identities are. I tried futilely for the entire lunch period to explain the idea to her, but she wasn’t having any of it. She believed with complete vehemence that superheroes were never any other person, that they didn’t have any lives or jobs outside of being superheroes, and that they didn’t even have any names other than their superhero names. It was sort of that mentality that little kids have when they think their teachers live in their classrooms. I never did manage to get the idea through her skull…)

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