Being part of the super hero community, as I am, every now and then we receive directives or requests from top secret organisations around the world. These are usually sixteen-page forms (in small print) and are sent through regular post so they can’t be picked up by any spy satellites or CB hacker or other means of digital espionage. The envelopes are simple and brown, and have no return address on them. They are addressed, also simply, to ‘The Occupier’ so even the postman doesn’t know what he is delivering. And, if by chance the postman manages to mistakenly pop the letter through the wrong letterbox, and the person at this address mistakenly opens it (bearing in mind they will think that it is addressed to them, being the occupier, if they don’t read the address properly) it will look like junk mail from a double glazing company, a car insurance firm, or an invitation to participate in some money scam.
We super heroes know the difference between regular junk mail and these extremely classified and very regularly life changing directives. And we also have the necessary equipment to prise apart each of the sixteen pages without tearing or removing any of the print on them. The ‘false’ claim that I can buy two double glazed windows for the price of four, I’ll find cheaper car insurance elsewhere or if I send £2,000.00 I’ll receive the next part of the letter, dissolve away in this process, which also ‘re-hydrates’ the sixteen pages to their normal paper size and staples them together. The letter is also delivered without a stamp. Technology nowadays is a wonder!
I received the latest sixteen page document today from The Human League. That is The Human League International organisation, who have offices in all countries, with the head office being somewhere in South America, I think. Or France. I always get the two mixed up. Not the places, I hasten to add – I’m quite good at geography – no, I get The Human League mixed up with The League of Humanity, who are based in Portugal, or Cyprus or somewhere like that. No, they’re based in France… Oh, I give up! However, I do get this Human League mixed up with that old pop group of the same name on occasions, although I haven’t been in the situation that Stretchbob1247 found himself in, when he went to a Human League concert and ended up being sent on a top secret mission to Mars.
Today’s request is for information. Information about people. Everyday people. Not that I think for one moment that there are other types of people, like those who only appear on a Tuesday. Although, I think I worked with one of this type of person once, so I may be wrong. I digress. This request is looking to establish patterns of stereotypical behaviour in people around the world. I have been given an area in which to observe and gather information. I can’t say where, due to confidentiality, but I have to watch both male and female people, and then categorise them into the closest stereotype bracket on the form. I’m not allowed to let anyone know that I am observing them, so if you feel you are being watched and look around to see someone shiftily look away quickly, it may be me… I’m on a mission, so please don’t blow my cover, but I doubt you’ll notice me watching – I’m an expert people watcher. It’s one of my favourite pastimes in the summer.
The form isn’t interested in the ‘normal’ stereotypes that the word ‘stereotype’ brings to mind, these have already been recorded in the survey last month, which was phase one of the project, and everyone on the planet was documented, listed and grouped back then. (We know where all the vampires are!). This form is looking specifically for ten groups, or sub-stereotypes, for reasons that are known only to a select few, and I’m not one of them. I just do what I’m told. The sub-stereotypes are:
1. The Lost Wanderers
The form describes these as people who wander slowly and aimlessly in the middle of the road, without regard for their own safety or the fact that vehicles are waiting to drive passed them. Usually young males, show offs, or groups of young mums with prams fall into this category, but there may be others.
I think this is a spelling error on the form, as it wants to document people who are balanced, loving, loyal, romantic, idealistic, charming, stubborn and indecisive, which sounds like a textbook description of a Libran. I don’t think I’ve met a librarian with all of these qualities.
3. Television Voice-Over People
This one is a tricky one to spot when people watching, but there are tell tale signs that indicate that someone either works in voice-overs, or wants to. Market traders and town criers may also fall into this category.
4. Road Rangers
Another spelling error, I think. I’ll have to clarify this with the Human League, but they may be referring to the Freds of this world. Unless they are referring to people who patrol the streets. These stereotypes are not that cut and dried.
5. Left-handed Strawberry Pickers
I have no idea why they want to know this information, or how I’m supposed to observe such people, living in a town and all, but I can only do what I can. I think there is a left-handed strawberry picker convention on in Birmingham later this month, so they may all be out of town anyway.
6. Tree Gorillas
I’m presuming they are referring to tree guerrillas, but may be wrong. Luckily for me, I never got around to planting any trees otherwise I’d have to be watching myself now.
The form says this is a type of person who visits websites and forums but doesn’t comment or participate, and not those who wander the streets (who may be included in category A). Not an easy stereotype to spot.
8. Vampires and Speed Readers
Ulp. I’m NOT a vampire. Nor can I speed read. Although I have no idea what the connection is between these two… and we did vampires last month…
9. Think Dancers
This group are people who, in their minds, are dancing exceptionally better to the same piece of music as everyone else. In reality, they are shuffling their feet and pointing.
10. Survey Creators
Those outside of the Human League who create surveys to find people’s views on pot holes, black holes, watering holes, and other mysterious holes that appear from time to time. Other surveys are not included this time.
I’ve seen a few people already that fit into these categories, so I’m already off to a good start. It’s quite hard though, trying to fit someone into a stereotype without being judgmental. Still, it passes the time!