Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird . . . it's a plane . . . it's . . . Naked Man? Since when did this pint-sized hero join the super lineup?
Actually, Naked Man is a super anti-hero. Pooh calls him a "bad guy." Naked Man is a persona that Pooh invented himself, and it is Pooh who plays the role to perfection.
You will be relieved to know that Naked Man is not totally naked. He started out that way, but then his mama laid down the law: He had to wear at least his jockey undershorts, she decreed. Luckily for drop-in company and in the unlikely event of a surprise visit by the Division of Family Services, Naked Man agreed to these terms, and added a few other components to the costume as well.
One is the long foam sword with which Naked Man terrorizes anyone in close proximity, most frequently his sisters. Baby Bootsie is most often the victim, and, were the sword constucted of anything but foam--casusing it to bend into a right angle at the point of impact--she would have needed several sets of stitches by now. When not in use, the sword rests vertically at the ready tucked in its "underwear holster" (another Poohism--could you guess that?).
It is also a requirement that Naked Man wear boots. These may be any combination of Pooh's recycled winter galoshes--all black, but one pair gray-soled and the other red. Naked Man may or may not wear a matched set, but whichever ones he wears are rarely on the right feet, thereby giving the super-villain an even more ominous appearance.
Optional to the get-up is a red Superman cape that virtually floats on the air behind Naked Man as he scurries to supplant good with evil. Not optional in the least, however, is the scowl, a word we ran onto in a storybook and have practiced at great length since. It completes the visage of Naked Man to a T.
Due to the event of a new baby in the household, I had cause to spend most of last week in the threatening presence of Naked Man. He was a fearsome foe indeed, and I was fortunate to escape alive.