Editorial #5 – For the henchmen

Dear Henchman,
I just want to say, thank you. As a henchman, you probably don’t get a lot of credit. You showed up for work, on time, for your first day. Your mother needed a hip replacement, and Shredder just happened to have an opening in the Technodrome for a new member of the Foot Clan. Lucky for you, you were a decent martial artist and about 6 feet tall. You were on a coffee break, of all things, when it happened. Four mutant turtles busted through the ceiling and with one nunchuk to the face you were finished.

Dead. Murdered on your first day of work, and you didn’t get a pretty lady holding your head while you took your last breath.

You didn’t get an orchestra playing you off while we watched flashes of your best moments. You didn’t even get a pause in the scene. Those turtles just made a pile of you and your new friends, and whooped and hollered on down the hall.
Henchmen are people too. Just because they wear a uniform and don’t have much individuality or common sense doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to live.

If all it takes to erase one’s humanity is a uniform and similar behaviour to one’s cohorts, then I will shed no tears the next time a kids’ soccer field suddenly becomes a hot sauce volcano, burning the little robots’ eyes and noses.

One major point I will concede against the everyday henchman is his lack of spirit. What kind of a man gets shot once in the arm and dies? Maybe now and then by freak accident, but today’s henchmen are taking way too many dives. It could be that knowing they are on the wrong side saps a henchman’s will to fight, but shouldn’t a share in world domination inspire just a little more pride than that? At the end of the day, however, we must admit that even though henchmen greatly outnumber their foes – the “heroes” – they are actually outmatched.

For a masked henchman, the ultimate Unknown Soldier, to put his life on the line by being the first one to run wailing at Batman in a dark alley, that takes real guts. If he is killed by a roundhouse kick, he knows his final thought will be “Really? A roundhouse?” and no one will ever know his name. The best a henchman can hope for is a cringing “ouch!” from the audience.

This isn’t for The Bride. This is for the Crazy 88 who died by his own sword in the House of Blue Leaves. I know you had a family, and friends, and hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Screw Gimli, this is for the fourth Orc back, three rows over, in Return of the King, who got crushed by part of Minas Tirith. I didn’t know you, but I’m sure you were a pretty good Orc.

I didn’t care much for Officer John McClane, but you, henchman who got shot through a table in Die Hard, I feel for you. Someday, I will visit your grave. I’ll look for the one marked “Henchman #14: Hero to someone.”

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