The first red flag came when Pastrami Man arrived visibly inebriated at the ceremony to receive the key to the city, though he excused this at the time as due to being overly nervous beforehand. But later that fall he was involved in a barroom brawl which ended in him bludgeoning a patron in the head with hard salami. The individual sued over the incident and Pastrami Man was forced to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount. His public image was further rattled when in a radio interview he stated “I’m sick of people wanting me to hold their babies, I think babies are gross and I hate them all, each and every one of them”. After his messy divorce with Lady Mustard began dominating tabloids, it came to light that Pastrami Man was hopelessly addicted to watching videos of fluffy dogs getting haircuts and would watch hours of videos on a daily basis. One of his last public embarrassments involved him being chosen to throw the opening pitch at a baseball game. He showed up to the wrong game, twice in a row. In fact, the second time he arrived at a tennis match, leading to a great deal of confusion as well as several injuries. After this, it seemed the public lost all faith in the once idolized Pastrami Man, and his upcoming network TV sitcom All in the Pastrami was unceremoniously canceled. Not long after, he threw in the towel on fighting crime entirely, leading to a mostly unnoticed 0.2% rise in the local crime rate. Today, he resides in a humble loft above a butcher’s shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, and agreed to sit down with me for a brief interview to reflect on his life what he feels his fall from grace has taught him. The following conversation has been only slightly trimmed for length and clarity:
Ludwig: So, you’ve been living here for how many years?
Pastrami Man: About, two, maybe two-and-a-half, it’s not bad honestly, although one side of my room is a bit cold due to being located a floor above the meat-locker. It’s cozy though, and this neighborhood is fairly quiet.
L: How does it feel to be interviewed after all these years…you know, being out of the public eye?
PM: Well, you know I’ve never been able to fully leave it behind me anyway, I still get recognized from time to time, due to the costume and all. But honestly, this feels a lot more low stress to me, seeing as there’s no real pressure to make sure I leave a good impression anymore.
L: I see. Have you ever considered maybe just not wearing the costume anymore? I notice you’re wearing it now, and I would have thought perhaps you’d feel comfortable wearing regular clothes in your own home.
PM: No, no, nothing is more comfortable than this honestly; the spandex is just so damn soft, and everything else feels maddeningly scratchy. It’s just a matter of what I’m used to.
L: Ah, gotcha. Changing the subject, in the past, you were known to struggle a bit with alcohol, along with obsessively watching certain types of videos, has the lack of being in the spotlight helped you at all with managing your addictions?
PM: Oh of course, although I always thought the whole dog grooming video thing was massively overblown, like yeah, I know it was kind of weird, but I didn’t think it was article worthy weird. But, yeah, everyone obsessing over your every action kind of takes your already existing challenges with mental health and makes them worse. My drinking is now…well, moderate. And that’s good enough honestly.
L: I understand, yeah. And how about your previously stated view on infants, has that changed at all as you’ve gotten older?
L: Ah, okay. So what of your old past time of crime-fighting, do you ever miss it?
PM: No, honestly not at all. You see the thing is, over the years since I stopped doing it, I came to a realization. You see, crime isn’t really about the individual committing it, it's more of a symptom of a much larger societal problem. When a community fails to create a nurturing and forgiving environment for its most downtrodden citizens, the local government is just as much at fault for the resulting crime that occurs. How am I supposed to solve that by smacking some burglar in the face with smoke-dried sausage?
L: A solid point. So you now view your past goal of stopping crime singlehandedly as an impossible pursuit?
PM: Precisely. And unnecessarily violent if I’m being totally honest.
L: Thank you so much for agreeing to sit down and talk with me, Pastrami Man. If I may ask just one final question, is there any wisdom you think you’ve learned from your whole experience with losing the goodwill of the public that you'd like to impart upon others?
PM: I guess I’d say, if there’s someone you really look up to, just try and keep in mind that they’re probably just a person like you, a person who doesn’t always make the right decision, a person that doesn’t only have positive traits and inevitably disappoints people at times. If you keep that in mind, you’re not only less likely to put someone on too much of a pedestal, you’re also less likely to compare yourself to some sort of ideal human who in truth doesn’t even exist.
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