Monday, July 15, 2013


Somebody stole my bike.  Somebody stole my bike!  SOMEBODY STOLE MY BIKE!

My ELECTRA CRUISER RALLY SPORT with the fat frame and fat tires was a significant part of my life.  Every sunshine day I ride my bike (the one that was STOLEN) around WASCANA LAKE in WASCANA PARK.

And you did not know this about me, did you?  And I’ll bet you didn’t know that I run three miles every day and that I lift weights at least three times a week.  These behaviors are those exhibited by my other self, my secret identity self.

But I’m not the only person who has a secret identity.  SUPERMAN has a secret identity – CLARK KENT.  BATMAN has a secret identity – BRUCE WAYNE.  The HULK has a secret identity – BRUCE BANNER.  The list goes on.  Need I mention SPIDERMAN and the FLASH?

Unlike these super heroes who have elements of fiction in their separate persona's, and while keeping their true identities hidden through the disguise of a mask or a costume, the rest of the ruck (the rest of us) are not so lucky in our deceptions. My dynamic self is that of a busker.  My alterity is the one that runs long distances, lifts weights, and rides a bike.

Who would know that this folk busker thrumming the twelve-string and blowing the harpoon has another identity, that of a reasonably fit Psychology consultant?

I'm going to compare Superman with his secret identity, Clark Kent.  Superman wears a blue suit with a red cape; Clark wears a dark dress suit.  Superman has x-ray vision; Clark wears thick horn-rimmed glasses.  Superman wears boots; Clark wears Clarks Wallabees.  Strangely (maybe not so strangely) Superman and Clark look identical, save for the glasses and suits. 

Now I'm going to compare my busker self with my secret identity, the Psychology consultant.  Busker Neil packs a guitar and harpoon; the consultant packs a synthetic brief case.  Busker Neil wears shades; the consultant wears contact lenses.  Busker Neil wears workboots or sandals; the consultant always wears dress boots.  Busker Neil wears a t-shirt in summer; the consultant always wears a long-sleeved white shirt with a collar.  Busker Neil wears jeans, and so does the consultant. Strangely (and maybe not so strangely, too), Busker Neil and the Psychology consultant look to be identical, save for the boots and shirts.

Superman fights crime.  Busker Neil sings songs.  Clark Kent is a news reporter. Neil Child is a Psychology consultant.  Superman flies.  Busker Neil stays on the sidewalk.  Clark Kent has an office and so does Neil Child.  Clark Kent and Neil Child, both, are demure; whereas, Superman and Busker Neil perform feats of derring-do.  Superman and Clark Kent, Busker Neil and Neil Child are, all, mutable in the sense that they can change costume whenever necessary on a dime and in a phone booth. 

Ah, but I am not alone in this particular double identity regard.  For example, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS has a million and a half members in Canada and the United States, and over two million members world-wide.  Members of NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS have over 60,000 meetings in 131 countries.  None of these attending members are donning a physical disguise.

Bringing it home, do you really know the members of your family?  Do you really know your neighbors? Do you really know your work colleagues? Do you really know the familiar strangers at your gym? Do you really know any of the people in your community? 

You know their secret identities, their mostly presented selves, but you do not necessarily know their doughty alter egos. Two hundred and fifty million Americans, your family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, familiar strangers, and total strangers are all strolling and strutting on American sidewalks, flaunting their everyday selves, baring their secret identities. 

Who would know the 3.4% of these people that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?  Who would know the 3% of these people who cheat on their spouses?  Who would know the 26% who suffer a diagnosable mental illness?  And who would know any of the 1% afflicted with SCHIZOPHRENIA?

Shall I mention, too, that 3.2% of Americans are under some form of correctional control; and those not in prison, who are on probation or parole are sharing your sidewalks and nudging next to you in crowded shopping malls?   

These rather mundane secret identities compared to the more dynamic identities are like a Yin and Yang, a Jekyll and Hyde, a metamorphosis, a transmogrification, or a shape-shift.  The vanilla-bared secret identity people that we know can be in stark contrast to those same, but valiant adventurous expressed people that we do not know.

Some, indeed, are in costume, especially those in transgender. Those in prison are wearing the stripes.  On a seduction, spouse cheaters are dressed to the nines. Only when a person with Schizophrenia is having an episode, will the bizarre behaviors be evinced, will the sufferer be found out.

I must get back to me.  My coin-tossing consumers do not know that I’ve another life.  My consumers on the sidewalk only know my public busking alter-ego.  They do not know my sidequests as a Psychology consultant, a counselor, a teacher, and blogger. 

My busker self is forever seeking the most munificent consumers.  My busker self is continuously searching conversaziones, places where people are willing to visit and part with some of their hard-earned coins.  Some of these conversaziones include: SHOPPERS (Mondays and Fridays), ITALIAN STAR DELI (Tuesdays), MADAME YES (Wednesdays), (EXTRA FOODS (Thursdays), and VALUE VILLAGE (Saturdays and Sundays).

On a whim I shall compare the phenomena of people and their secret identities to people on the planet in general.  Every morning at 5:30 I read Al Jazeera news while sipping my morning coffee.  Thus, every morning I am reminded that our planet Earth can be an Augean Stable for most of its occupants.  However, every afternoon when I go busking in the afternoons, I am reminded that it need not be so.

Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:

  • Tyson, a harp player, approached while I was busking in the downtown square in front of Madame Yes.

“Mind if I join you,” he asked whilst I strummed.
“Not at all,” I replied.
“Thanks,” said Tyson as he pulled out two harmonicas, one in the key of G, the other in the key of E.
Tyson accompanied me for twenty or so minutes, playing marvelously on the G, adequately on the E.

  • Carlo, owner of the ITALIAN STAR DELI, came up to me whilst I strummed on his storefront patio.

You’ve got to come here Thursday, my friend.  We’re shooting a film and we need you to busk.  This conversation took place on my regular Tuesday busk at the ITALIAN STAR DELI.
I did go Thursday and was greeted warmly (as usual) by Carlo, and by Ian, director of the film.  Entitled, Prairie Diner, the documentary on the ITALIAN STAR DELI, was being shot by City TV. 
Every lunch hour hundreds of people line the counter ordering the specialty Italian sandwiches.  This particular noon hour I strummed my twelve-string and blew my harpoon from several angles into the camera.  Sometimes I had to stop abruptly; sometimes I had to strum loudly.  I found the experience to be edifying and the busking, sweet.  (One customer even tossed me a hot Italian sandwich!)   

SOMEBODY STOLE MY BIKE!  And that somebody has a secret identity.

That somebody is an adolescent male wearing a baseball cap and backpack -- I know this because, on our security camera, I watched his burgle identity pedal out of our parkade!

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