Comic Book Hero
Steve Manuel (1945-2002) Steven Alphonse Manuel was born backstage at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris, January 5, 1953, during the world premier of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting For Godot," shocking his mother, who had already given birth to him once, eight years before. Beckett, a witness to the birth that night, commissioned his own epitaph on the spot: "I saw a baby born with lunch money in it's pocket." For Manuel, it was the beginning of a relationship with the stage that would last decades, garner millions of fans, and inspire three Elvis movies. When he turned 16, Manuel's mother was crushed beneath the foot of a rampaging Indian elephant, and he struck out, alone, in search of his estranged father, who had left the family ten years prior in search of his own father, a rampaging Indian elephant. His adventure took him to all corners of the globe, and little Stevie grew fast and strong in the lamplight of the world's great societies: At 19, traveling through Central Africa, Manuel - with his shock of bleach white hair - was mistaken for Nzambi, the supreme god for all the Kongo Kingdom. Later admitting his indulgence in hair product, he was demoted to a "nganga," or a medicinal consultant in charge of rashes and phlegm. At 23, Manuel burned his draft card and moved to Flin Flon, Manitoba, where he met and married a local anesthesiologist named Ruby who had induce-slept her way to the top of a prominent medical practice. The partnership unraveled, however, when Ruby admitted to splitting a cab once with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. The marriage was annulled and all reference to it blotted out of subsequent Soviet encyclopedias. At 28, piecing his life back together, Manuel returned to his musical roots, and started a traveling harp-lute band. "It's 1973," he would often say. "And the world is ready for me and my harp-lute." But it would be another sixteen years of dingy bars and honky-tonks from Lisbon to Istanbul before Manuel would finally be able to say, "At last I can say, nobody likes the harp-lute, and nobody likes me, Steve Manuel, who plays it." Little did he know that success lay just around the corner. While rounding a corner at a market in Prague, Stashwan (as he now called himself) slipped on a honeydew and immediately remembered the lyrics to an original song he heard in a fever dream as a child. He jotted the lyrics down on a banana rind and faxed it to his friend Elton John, who informed him that the song had already been recorded as "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", although with completely different lyrics and melody. Devastated, alone, and still father-less, Manuel did the only thing he knew how to do: he courted investors, rented a stage on Broadway, and launched a musical based on his own life and experiences titled "Waiting For Godot." It was a smash success, heralded by critics for it's "rigorous use of the unities," it's "implacable interpretation of human life" and it's "generously early intermission." It was immediately embraced by audiences of toddlers and transients everywhere. Steven Manuel had become a household word, festooned with accolades and beclothed with rich coats of many colors (and also rich pants and matching boots of many colors). Yet Manuel would not admit success until 1998, when his name was used as a puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune under the clue "androgynous mysteries." Sadly, Manuel met with misfortune in May of 2002, when the airship he was attempting to fishtail suddenly burst into flames. He lingered in a partial coma for three weeks, emerging from his mental haze in short episodes long enough to swear vengeance on Schneider, before finally succumbing on June 17, 2002. He was 114. He is survived by his dog, Steven Manuel.
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