Last night I stood in the kitchen, waiting in grim anticipation. In my left hand I clutched a freshly sharpened butcher knife that was wet and gleaming in the ambient light. I was waiting in the shadows, full of dark determination and patience. At last, a key was inserted into the lock, the doorknob turned. A hellish grimace contorted my face into something demonic and wicked as I ran towards the figure standing in the doorway, my knife held over my head in the classic assault pose.

"Hi E.C.," my target said nonchalantly, noticing me, his would-be assassin, "What's cooking?"

My eyes flashed angrily as the blade of the knife glinted. Macarthur Parker squinted, smiled and said, "Ah, I see you've finished stabbing the dishes. Good work."

He didn't run. He didn't shout in terror. He didn't even cringe, not even a little. There's something about me that just fails to inspire fear.

Maybe it was the Elmo t-shirt I was wearing.

I've always had this problem. In High School I was sharp-tongued and bitter, but everyone signed my Yearbook "to a nice and witty guy..." all the same. I remember this one guy, we'll call him "Arnie", who wasn't wrapped too tight. He would take anything, any teasing comment made about him very seriously, get insulted and try to pick a fight. Any insulting comment made by anyone but me, that is. I tried unsuccesfully for three years to piss him off. I would say the nastiest, most vicious things to him to see if I could get him to scream, and he never would. I recall one particular phone conversation where I spent 45 minutes coldly pointing out reasons why Arnie was an idiot and yet another 15 minutes making fun of his academic pretensions (He had the second highest GPA in our class, mostly because of cheating) but instead of calling me a string of four-letter-words, Arnie laughed. I spent nearly an hour deprecating him, and Arnie just laughed at every barbed comment and chuckled at every vitriolic remark. My entire purpose was defeated because Arnie thought I was witty instead of mean.

And now, even children and small animals are blatantly unafraid of me. I used to babysit a precocious three-year-old frequently, and I'd always try to be a stern authoritarian. It never once worked. I'd yell, Joshua would laugh, hug my legs and insist that I was Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. Buzz Lightyear? That's not very evil. I want children to think of me as Darth Vader, and somehow I rank only slightly above one of the Care Bears on the childhood menace scale. And no matter how much I scowl or glare, puppies and kittens always seem to find their way into my lap.

I'm fed up. What do I have to do to be taken seriously as a villain? Create a giant death ray? Front for a military coup in a small South American country? Clone that demonseed that stars in those obnoxious Pepsi commercials? It just seems that no matter how mean, cold-hearted, cruel, calculating and downright cantankerous I am, people just end up thinking of me as cuddly. Evil is not cuddly, dammit!

I'd have to say I've come across this problem myself.

And I must say, E.C., you're pretty accurate about how people see you. I mean, we've exchanged barbs nonstop for the past what, six years? I always thought of it as witty banter and such. But alas, I sympathize with your dilemma. No matter how many times I slap someone with the white-hot intensity of 53,486 menopausal Joan Crawfords, they just smile and laugh, and call me silly.

Dammit, I wanna be evil too.

See, the problem with being cute and clever is that nobody really ever takes you seriously. If I were to hide in a darkened room with a gun (loaded with blanks, of course) and fire the thing inches from my roommate as he walked in the door, he would look at me and smile. Then he would offer me a beer. In my experience, this would not be considered to be an appropriate response to evil.

This whole train of thought has driven me to wonder if there are, in the world of comic books, Superheros who dream of nothing but being the villian. Even as they save the day, they secretly have this burning desire to kidnap the beautiful secretary and lock her in a closet while they rob a nearby bank (blowing it up afterwards, of course). Maybe deep down inside, even Spiderman wishes he could be evil and nasty and cruel. Because let's face it folks, the truly evil, twisted, malificent creatures out there are the ones we can't stop thinking about in our dreams.

But no, we're good guys. Whether we want to be or not, that rosy bitch we call fate decided we get to be funny and cute. Life is so unfair.

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