The Return of My Arch Nemesis

The Joker will always be a better, more multi-dimensional bad@$$ then Bane. Bane´s pure evil is no match for Joker´s madness and his psychotic homicidal intensity.Running on a Sunday morning in Prague means running along streets, sidewalks, and paths littered with the remnants of the night before. There are empty KFC buckets, broken beer bottles, blood, scorched scarves, and many more pairs of pantyhose than seem reasonable. It’s returning to the scene of a crime I had nothing to do with.

Running on a Sunday morning also means quiet and solitude. It’s like having Prague all to myself so I can run and sweat and implore the heavens and cry and sing Led Zeppelin without any fear of embarrassment.

Today is no different. Mostly.

I am halfway through my route. I have crossed Výtoň Bridge and am heading along the river towards Palackého Bridge, which I will cross and head the 1.5 miles home. All alone, I am screeching my version of Gallows Pole, but hush when I notice a form in the mist up ahead and the little dog next to him. I recognize the scowl, the hunched shoulders, the hair.

“It can’t be,” I say.

But it is. It’s him.

Oh, I have lots of nemeses: my cat, pants, complex carbohydrates. But I only have one arch nemesis and he is standing ten feet away watching his dog poop. He is about 50 years old and has never worn anything but a severe, unhappy mug, the very same Cro-Magnon curmudgeon look he is wearing now. Oddly, he sports a punk rocker hairstyle. The sides are shaved in a purposefully crude manner and the top of his head is covered with curly blue hair.

Unlike other arch nemeses, my arch nemesis doesn’t have any real superpowers. He doesn’t have telekinesis like Magneto. He also has the normal amount of arms, he can’t fly, and he doesn’t have the ability to send fire from his fingertips. And he sure doesn’t look super intelligent like Lex Luthor.

My arch nemesis has never done anything bad to me. In fact, he doesn’t really do anything at all. My arch nemesis has two powers and they always work in tandem: the ability to be wherever I am and the ability to look more miserable than anyone else ever has. Ever. He spreads this misery like it’s the flu.

For one year I was never without my arch nemesis. He was wherever I was, like my angry shadow. He was on the same trams, buses, streets, and restaurants. No matter where I was, I could look around and see him doing what he was always doing – nothing. Just sitting and staring ahead angrily.

At this moment, he is working both of those abilities. He is the only other person on the river and he looks completely miserable. I hate him. And yet, we have never spoken one word to each other. In fact, my arch nemesis would be stunned to find out that he has an arch nemesis.

I cross Palackého Bridge, thinking happy thoughts to ward off his misery. I am almost done my run, then there’s coffee and a nice breakfast. On the other side of the river I head towards home. I watch Výtoň Bridge as I jog, the form shuffling across it, the little dog in tow. No.

I pick up speed – 2 miles an hour to 3. I’m blazing now.

Of course, we meet again as he reaches the bottom of the steps and I pass. Perhaps overtaken with what awaits me at home, I smile and say, “dobré ráno!” Good morning.

He smiles back and winks. “Dobré ráno!” he reciprocates.

Oh well, he’s not so bad.

Do you have an arch nemesis? Extra points if they are unaware of this.

  1. #1 by greg galeone on March 2, 2014 - 9:19 pm

    all you had to do was give the guy a chance-hi damo.

  2. #2 by Mary Widdicks on March 4, 2014 - 6:03 am

    My dog used to have an arch nemesis. We, too, would pass him in the early morning mist along the canal, but he was nowhere near as quiet about it…

    So you’ve got that going for you, which is nice 😉

    • #3 by Damien Galeone on March 4, 2014 - 10:35 am

      Well, to be fair, I was too busy sweating and praying for a quick death.

  3. #4 by Hokey Pokey Trainer on March 4, 2014 - 10:24 am

    I always thought Prague was a place where all arch nemeses went some thousand-and-something years ago to make a country (I think the first one was called Father Czech?)… Anyway, yours sounds quite cute!

  4. #5 by Shana O'Hara on March 7, 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Are you familiar with the show The Venture Bros? It’s a hilarious animated show that introduced me to/coined the verb “to arch”. There is an organization called The Guild of Calamitous Intent that pairs heroes with arch nemeses. During an episode you might hear the arch villain say to his wife, “I’m busy arching Dr. Venture”. It’s delightful.

    • #6 by Damien Galeone on March 13, 2014 - 9:31 pm

      How did I miss this comment!? I am sorry! This is great, I am going to check it out. Anything that involves a good new verb is OK with me.

      • #7 by Shana O'Hara on March 13, 2014 - 10:24 pm

        It seems like it’s right in your wheelhouse. Really enjoying the blog, btw.

(will not be published)