Danger Assessment: Tug on Superman's Cape, Spit into the Wind, Pull the Mask Off The Old Lone Ranger

Clearly, messing around with either Jim or Slim is unabashedly dangerous - so much so that their exclusion from our poll is warranted. I for one can’t recall Superman, wind-borne saliva, or The Lone Ranger cutting a person hundreds of times in addition to shooting them twice.

Of the options provided, which would be the most dangerous?

Tugging on Supe’s cape would probably just get you a “Can I help you?”.

Spitting in the wind gets you wet.

So, by elimination, the Lone Ranger. Plus, of course, threatening his secret identity is going to put him on his guard, although he apparently has never killed anyone.

I agree for all these reasons. Plus, assuming the Lone Ranger doesn’t punish you, you’re now under the threat of bad guys who want to know his identity coming after you.

It’s a complicated question, since it depends on what you mean by “danger”. Spitting into the wind is pretty much a guarantee that something bad is going to happen to you, but it’s not really all that bad. On the other hand, tugging on Superman’s cape is almost guaranteed to not have any negative consequences for you, but if it does, those consequences have the potential to be very negative indeed. The Lone Ranger, I think, represents the (un)happy medium between these extremes, so that’s what I picked.

As an aside, what’s the deal with a government-endorsed law enforcement officer without any identifying information? Shouldn’t he at least have a badge with his name on it?

Superman would just ignore you, and, if you did piss him off, he does have his code not to kill.

Spitting into the wind is not dangerous, just messy.

The Lone Ranger probably wouldn’t do anything himself, but you’d fall victim to the Iron Rule of Secret Identity: anyone who discovers a secret identity will die. Maybe a rock fall, maybe a meteorite, maybe Tonto. But you’re a dead man walking once you find it out.

Ignoring spitting into the wind, as that’s gross, not dangerous…

Superman, of course, could mess you up a lot worse than the Lone Ranger, but by the same token, he’s much less likely to mess you up at all.

He’ll just give you a Look.

The Ranger, on the other hand, might break your jaw for you if you pulled something like that.

I’ll say tugging on Superman’s cape is the worst.

Now, what I personally see here is that the reason no sane person would do any of these things is the inevitability that No Good Will Come From It.

As may be. Tugging on Superman’s cape is not, most times, such a dangerous thing - he’s prolly got a LOT of people looking for autographs - but be careful not to startle him by doing so. If he’s had a nervous-making day and he jerks around in reflex… what’s left of your head should reenter the atmosphere any day now. And smile when he turns around to see who it is this time dammit, because if he - or indeed, the Lone Ranger - decides that you’ll benefit from a lesson in manners, the lesson will go hard, no matter with what justice and fair-play it’s taught.

None of them are as bad as messing around with Slim (or even Jim).



I think a little anecdote will clear up any confusion.

A local board of education decided that the key to successful sex education was teaching the students before they learned a bunch of bad information from other sources. So they decided to start teaching sex education to the first grade.

So the teacher, Mrs Smith, went in to teach the first class. And she wasn’t sure where to begin. On the one hand these were first graders who might not have any idea what sex was. On the other hand, with the internet and everything, they might know a lot about sex. So she figured the first thing she should do is find out what they knew.

“Good morning, class. Today were going to learn about sex. Does anyone here know something about sex?”

One little boy, Johnny, shyly raised his hand.

“OK, Johnny, can you tell the class what you know about sex?”

Johnny turned a little red-faced and asked, “Can I tell it like it’s a story?”

“Of course you can. Go ahead.”

“Well, imagine it’s back in the days of the old west and the Lone Ranger is riding his horse Silver across the plains. And when he rides between these two small hills, ten Indians ride out from behind each hill and attack him! And the arrows are flying and the bullets are flying! But when the dust settles, the Lone Ranger is the only one still standing.”

“Okay, Johnny, but what does that have to do with sex?”

“I’m getting to that part. Now imagine the Lone Ranger is riding his horse Silver across the plains some more and he rides between two big hills. And twenty Indians ride out from behind each hill and attack him! And the arrows are flying and the bullets are flying! But when the dust settles, the Lone Ranger is the only one still standing.”

“Johnny, I still don’t see what this has to do with sex.”

“I’m getting to that part. Now imagine the Lone Ranger is still riding his horse Silver across the plains and he rides between two mountains. And a hundred Indians ride out from behind each hill and attack him! And the arrows are flying and the bullets are flying! But when the dust settles, the Lone Ranger is the only one still standing.”

“Johnny, what does any of this have to do with sex?”

“Well it just goes to show you don’t fuck with the Lone Ranger.”

You wanna talk about something that will fuck you up? Try tugging on Batman’s cape.

Well, since Superman and the Lone Ranger don’t exist, I’ll go with spitting into the wind as the worst option.

“So he was knocked unconscious and I took the opportunity to look under the mask. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Lone Ranger was not anyone I had ever seen before…”

Yeah, exactly. Superman’s secret identity is something important and kept hidden, but the Lone Ranger is just one of a bunch of rangers who wasn’t killed in the massacre but everyone thought he was. So, who would know him? Plus, he doesn’t stick around the same area. Spittin’ in the wind has a clear negative consequence.

But the song specifies the Old Long Ranger. So are we talking about an octogenarian Lone Ranger?

I think the way that I always hear the song (I KNOW what the actual lyrics are, but I was a kid newly infatuated with Star Wars when the song was still somewhat popular) is the most dangerous… “You don’t pull the mask off that old Darth Vader”.

Well, if you attempt to pull off Darth Vader’s mask, and fail, it will indeed go very badly for you.
However, should you happen to succeed in pulling off his mask, Vader would actually become less dangerous, no?
BTW, my vote was for spitting into the wind, 'cause wind ain’t fictional.

It isn’t so much danger assessment as it is recognizing that a stupid act can have unpleasant consequences. Spitting into the wind, therefore, is my choice. Tugging on Superman’s cape is unlikely to have any consequences at all, unless you happen to be Lex Luthor or maybe Brainiac. Pulling the mask off that ol’ Lone Ranger might, depending on the context, might actually be a good and necessary thing. There were many times in his adventures that he was injured and the mask would had to have been removed for him to receive treatment. The mask would need laundered from time to time, as well, so we can be sure that his valet pulled it off him whilst helping him prepare for bed. Spitting into the wind? That’s always going to result in messy, bad consequences. Unless you are somebody like Wifey (yes, that Wifey) in which case it might be a necessary career act.
So, spitting into the wind for most people.

But, doesn’t the fact that, if the Lone Ranger shoots you and misses, you get a bunch of expensive silver bullets, balance the risk in some way?

Well, this was right after the first Star Wars, before we really were shown that the mask was Vader’s high-tech super-asthma inhaler.