You see them every day. You work with them. You might even live with them. They appear to be normal, blending in with relative ease. They fix your car, they deliver your mail, and they bring us the evening news. They spell ‘Spider-Man’ without the hyphen.
My first encounter with one of these blights on humanity was on a Facebook thread. This person just casually trotted out (TRIGGER WARNING) ‘Spiderman’ in their comment as though people couldn’t see what they were doing. It hung there, like a murder of crows circling carrion. A looming harbinger that portended the demise of our planet.
I tried not to jump to any conclusions. Sure, the offending spelling of Peter Parker’s sobriquet may as well have been a neon sign that exclaimed “I’m here to murder your children and make their cute little bellies into a fashionable line of coin purses!” but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. “What if it were a typo?” I thought. If it had been, then why was the ‘m’ in ‘man’ not capitalized? Not one missed keystroke but two? Impossible. This person meant what they typed and they meant to strike a damaging blow against all that is good in this world.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. Over the course of the next few years, I would see this insidious act repeated ad nauseam. Obviously, this was a threat to our way of life. An epidemic of evil, casually infiltrating our communities until our collective moral compass shrinks into oblivion.
At first, I tried to politely correct these people. Not wanting to publicly shame anyone, even these horrible monsters, I would private message them to let them know what they had done had been seen and how they could correct it. By that, I mean to fix it with duct tape. There’s no undoing what these awful people have wrought. The core remains damaged underneath the veneer of editing a comment to include a hyphen.
I was belittled by most of these people. I was called ‘pedantic’, ‘uptight’, and ‘You’re friends with Dave, right? You’re fucking weird. Don’t message me anymore.’. It’s one thing to make a mistake or to cave in to one’s inner wickedness, it’s something else when you fail to take responsibility after you’ve been called out. These people might have learned about responsibility from Spider-Man, if they could have bothered to spell his fucking name correctly.
Eventually, it became a no-brainer to block these people on social media. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Sadly, the answer is no. This is one bad dream that you have to open your eyes in order to see properly. Well, my eyes are open and they’re looking at the heart of darkness. My solution? To build a great wall around Earth to keep these heathens out.
A giant ladder will be constructed. A ladder of wood taken from the homes of people who spell Spider-Man without its all-important hyphen. The ladder will be used to carry building materials past the stratosphere, where the wall will be built. As the wall is constructed, the laborers, largely made up of hyphen dodging monsters and scratch-off lottery players, will set up camps on the other side of the wall to do detail work. Once the wall is completed, the laborers will be free to walk to another planet to live the rest of their lives away from us. We will be free to enjoy a world where Spider-Man is spelled correctly.
My plan may seem difficult to implement. I know this. I’m not crazy. However, I think the people of this world who still have good in their hearts will recognize the importance of this task. Nothing worth doing comes without a price and I feel as though completely blotting out the sun, causing widespread darkness and colossal weather disasters is a small one to pay to keep these hyphen-less abominations away from us.
As the last of our foliage dies off from the lack of sunlight, thereby cutting off humanity’s food supply, I will smile. I will die happy knowing that my fellow humans saw the despicable tumor growing within our ranks and said “No!”. I can only hope that the last child on Earth, as they tread, half-starved, through the perpetual winter we’ve created, I can only hope they know that humanity died free. Free from the evil of spelling Spider-Man without a hyphen.
Oh! Almost forgot. Brick. The wall will be made of brick.