It is with regret that “Geist”, a self-appointed “real-life superhero” is unable to accept your request for friendship. “If you don’t have a secret identity,” he writes, “for your own safety and protection, I’m afraid I’ll need to turn down your kind request to become MySpace Friends.”
Geist, a resident of Minnesota – real name and age unknown – spends his spare time dressed up as a masked Lone Ranger, attempting to “make my city of Rochester a better, kinder and safer place”. This he does by, in one instance, helping out incognito during a recent flooding episode: “My equipment and methods are completely legal,” he states on his blog, but: “I’m prepared to make citizen’s arrests.” Fondly, he recalls the time a man in need “called me his Personal Masked Avenger”.
Geist meets other Real-Life Superheroes online: “Street Hero”, a former prostitute, wears a black eye mask, matching bustier and knee-high boots to protect women working the streets of New York (she is also a martial arts expert); “Red Justice” patrols the New York subway in red briefs and red cape fashioned from an old T-shirt and a sock with eyeholes, encouraging young people to give up their seats to the elderly. “The Cleanser” picks up litter in a white cape and yellow rubber gloves. “The Super” fixes minor electrical faults in a red cape, a yellow shirt, green braces and green tights. Their cause is noble – “an unorthodox approach to doing good” – but is it surprising when “The Super” admits that in real life he has few friends? “A lot of real-life superheroes stumble along the way. And part of it can definitely make you feel isolated, like nobody understands you.”