Ben Fields: All hark to the tale of Gary America (Opinion)

Ben Fields

Ben Fields

Sit back and allow me to regale you with the astounding tales of heroism concerning the amazing, spectacular Gary America.

What’s that? You’ve never heard of Capt. Gary America? Well, it’s time you did.

Gary is an unofficial member of the Avengers. Well, wait, let’s back up. He’s actually a very nasal voice I started doing long ago to make my son laugh at bath time. Eventually Gary began appearing at the dinner table, or in the living room. Whenever the world, or, well, our house, needs a hero who might, but probably won’t, get the job done, Capt. Gary America is there.

How to describe Gary? My wife likes to think of him as a bit of a frumpy klutz, whereas I picture him as the type of guy who will waste 15 minutes of your life telling you about the time he was misdiagnosed with Celiac disease. Paraphrasing a bit from the film “The Other Guys,” Gary most definitely audited his parents sometime around age 11. And he found some discrepancies.

Gary probably wears a Captain America-type mask, with corrective lenses over the eye holes (maybe Rec Specs when going into battle). The rest of his attire is likely work casual. Like Captain America, Gary has a shield, but he’ll be the first to tell you he doesn’t use it very well, mainly owing to his multiple back ailments.

Gary’s a team player, although he doesn’t like fighting alongside Iron Man much, because Tony Stark exhibits a level of confidence that makes Gary uncomfortable. Plus, those bright flashes from Iron Man’s repulsor rays trigger Gary’s migraine headaches.

Gary never shouts “Avengers, assemble!” He does have a variety of his own battle cries, including “Gimme a sec,” “That looks dangerous” and “I’ll be in the car.” He’s allergic to almost everything — from dairy to being punched in the face.

We haven’t really developed a roster of villains for Gary, though I suppose there have been mentions of the nefarious Baron Von Adequate Male and the sinister Ms. Parking Ticket. While he can’t prove any wrongdoing, Gary has an uneasy feeling about Dr. Sven European Union.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure Gary has actually ever faced a real villain. He did once call Thanos “ridiculous” (not to his face) and wonders what happened in Dr. Doom’s childhood that has made him so dysfunctional. (“That guy is always bellowing ‘Doom demands this,’ and ‘Doom commands that.’ You don’t ever hear me say ‘Gary demands his heating pad.’”)

In point of fact, Gary spends most of his time complaining about his superhero contemporaries, whom he regards as showoffs with whiter teeth and nicer hair. Gary doesn’t see the need for the SHIELD Helicarrier when his Mercury Tracer serves just fine, thank you very much (this is just sour grapes, as heights make Gary rather nauseated).

Gary’s greatest superpower in his world is being highly annoying. His real-world superpower is bringing laughter, whether it’s me, my wife or my son doing the voice and spinning the tale. He’s also handy if you’ve had to read the same book three nights in a row at bedtime. On that occasion, you can certainly rely on Capt. Gary America to show up and save the day.

Ben Fields is the Gazette-Mail opinion editor. Reach him at, 304-348-5129 or follow

@BenFieldsWV on Twitter.

Funerals for Friday, November 15, 2019

Flint Jr., William - 1 p.m., Graceland Memorial Par, South Charleston.

Geiger Jr., Berley - Noon, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Charleston.

Hines, Kathy - 1 p.m., Weirwood Community Church, Weirwood.

Jeffers, Neal - 2 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Jeffrey, Harold - 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home, Chapmanville.

Kearns, Pamela - 1 p.m., Foglesong-Casto Funeral Home, Mason.

Loftis, Anthony - Noon, Richmond Cemetery, Spurlockville.

McFarland, William - 1 p.m., Preston Funeral Home, Charleston.

Neal, Betty - 1 p.m., Smathers Funeral Chapel, Rainelle.

Pennington, Jack - 1 p.m., Rock Branch Independent Church.

Richards, Jimmy - 11 a.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation Inc., Grantsville.

Terry Sr., Watson - 1 p.m., Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Carbondale.

Welch, Brenda - 11 a.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

Wise, Barry - 6 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.