Call me Sir Splendid. The Mostly Invincible Sir Splendid. He Who Splends. Friend to All, Regardless of Stature, Station or Splendidness. The Man That Santa Forgot.
Or don’t. Honestly, names aren’t everything.
My real one is David Robert Henne, for example.
Not a particularly impressive title, I’ll be the first to admit. Doesn’t elicit images of a thick-haired, musclebound Lothario. Typically generates the portrait of a balding man with irritable bowels who cannot eat baking chocolate after 6 p.m., despite his every effort.
“Sir Splendid” on the other hand. Sir Splendid is my superhero moniker. Was my superhero moniker — have to get used to saying that.
As of two months ago, I no longer hold the mantle of Sir Splendid. The super powers upon which I built my legacy are no longer in my possession. A series of atrocities, of which I am completely innocent, led to my losing the very source of those gifts. And now I’ve reverted to the eczema-riddled David Robert Henne again.
…You know what, I’d prefer it if you did call me Sir Splendid.
As my thrilling tale opens, I am tactically maneuvering through a job application at Bushwick Industrial Tannery and Cannery — Brooklyn’s premier canning and tanning concern.
Since I no longer possessed superpowers or Splendid skills, I was out of a full-time job.
Like many out-of-work superheroes my age, the only viable employment option available to me was unskilled labor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t what traditional hiring managers considered “employable.” I hadn’t exactly “graduated” from an “accredited high school.”
“With my Sir Splendid abilities I could speak any language, and comprehend complex concepts such as photosynthesis or remedial Earth science.”
Considering I was a classically trained superhero from age 16 to 33, I thought my lack of formal education understandable. Besides, my powers granted me numerous intellectual advantages that rendered high school superfluous.
With my Sir Splendid abilities I could speak any language, and comprehend complex concepts such as photosynthesis or remedial Earth science. I could access the quadratic formula at any time, day or night. I could also fly, manipulate time and disperse subatomic matter through punching. Good luck finding a DeVry grad who could accomplish all that!
But that was the old me. As the unilingual, periodic table-less David Henne, I was less than brilliant.
Since the start of my job search last month, hiring managers always managed to find more desirable candidates over me. Candidates who knew the mysteries of proper grammar and office social graces, without the aid of superpowers. Candidates with diplomas from Ivy League schools, or state schools, or community colleges. With actual references. And a good pair of pants.
Well that was fine. I didn’t need a white collar gig. I’d go back to doing what I did best as Sir Splendid. Lifting things. Except instead of hoisting villains, I’d be hoisting boxes of freshly canned cans. Instead of putting away child molesters and murderers, I’d be putting away pallets onto dollies. Or dollies onto pallets. Whichever was preferable. Because I still mattered.
“I logged 15 years on the job. Rescued swarms of damsels and saved scores of whatever the masculine form of damsels is. Damsirs?”
I was still impressive beyond belief. And, most importantly, still relevant. It was no surprise then that my warehouse application paperwork was going well. Super well in fact, as far as warehouse applications went.
I’d just thwarted the treacherous Education section with some expert misdirection. (I listed a former professor, Professor Magnets, as a reference.)
Next up was the Previous Employers area, which would be a breeze. Not as misleading as certain earlier prompts, such as Home Phone Number (this was the year 2017; I had no landline) and Home Address (I was between homes).
When it came to previous employers I’d only had the one. So I listed my former work as follows:
Former Employer’s Name: The Super Alliance.
Former Job Title: Sir Splendid, protector of the sacred talisman of Splendida and heir to the Splendid throne.
Responsibilities and Skills: Restoring justice to the afflicted • Producing high energy beams from my Splendid crown to smite the wicked • Flight • Super strength • Microsoft Office Suite.
Address:Secret Base on the Dark Side of The Moon (don’t share that bit, I could get in trouble with some former co-workers).
Supervisor: Gloria Feinstein AKA The Destructible Woman (her secret identity isn’t technically public, so please do not share that bit of information either).
My old gig was a sweet one. As a member of The Super Alliance I got to save lives with like-minded superheroes, work flexible hours while showcasing a variety of punches — and the benefits! My goodness. Travel, lodging and expenses comped, no questions asked.
I logged 15 years on the job. Rescued swarms of damsels and saved scores of whatever the masculine form of damsels is. Damsirs?
That was all until seven Sundays ago, when I was abruptly robbed of my power source. Literally left naked and superless. Evicted from my Splendid superhero lifestyle.
It was difficult to resist the urge to linger on the super past. Especially during tedious application paperwork. Thankfully before I could fire the necessary nostalgia neurons, a diminutive fellow burst through the Bushwick Cannery and Tannery warehouse’s reception doors.
He stood about 4 feet high and wore a flashy form-fitting suit. Curious attire, and an even curiouser height, for a warehouse worker. He made a beeline to where I sat and held out his hand.
“Hey, friend! I’m the foreman of this warehouse. You must be… ?”
I stumbled to attention, the best way I knew how.
“Good morning, sir! I’m Sir Splendi—dah, David. David Robert Henne is my birth name. You can call me Dave. Or David … Sorry, I have a lot of names.”
I stood up straight, then immediately hunched lower to shake the diminutive foreman’s hand.
“Fantastic. I only have the one name: Foreman. And the one title: Foreman.” That was his actual name. Foreman the warehouse foreman. And what he lacked in height, he made up in smiling. “What’d you say we head to my office, and get started?”
I gathered my briefcase and trailed the Foreman down the hall, making extra care to not step on him. And only asking pleasant questions about the weather, and not questions about debilitating height issues.
This was key to gaining trust and amenability: not asking the hiring manager about his super puny stature. No matter how adorable he was.by