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2D Heels

Feb. 19th, 2007 | 06:02 pm

He's been the elephant in the room for long enough, dear readers. It's about time we talked about the fire escape guy.

I refer of course to that little green man, oft seen fleeing offices and other public buildings with a roaring fire licking at his two-dimensional heels.

We should probably sidestep the most obvious observation that he is in fact an arsonist and that he causes all of these fires himself (he is probably the same little green vandal that appears in this marvelous nonsense joke) in favour of remembering the fact that he is a symbol and like his friends the cross-the-road man and the alien abduction guys he lives in a universe of pure symbols.

Escape Guy represents the modern urbanite's tendency to desire escape. Are we not all looking for our own existential fire exit?

For a while I assumed that the little green man would be a logo or some sort of mascot for my escape-themed magazine project, The Escapologist. But it's too obvious innit? Plus he has negative associations: the health and safety officers of our workplaces like to hang effigies of the little green man all over our offices in order to remind us that we are physically able to escape at any time but fail to do so because of Sartrian Bad Faith. We are stupid and the little green man has been put there to mock us.

The other reason I've rejected him as a logo is that he's just not cool enough. I'm sure I've seen a version of the emergency exit man wearing a rather dapper trilby-style hat. This was possibly in Prague but I may be wrong as I can't see a photograph of it online (though there are plenty of the behatted German road crossing guy, Ampleman. If anyone would like to funk the standard emergency exit man up in photoshop or something, I'm pretty sure he'd make it into the magazine and probably the website too.

I wonder what is outside that door toward which he always sprints so nimbly? I fancy it is a world of solid offices for him to burn down and from which to subsequently flee. The little anarchist. (Suddenly he becomes an appealing mascot again). One thing is certain about what lies behind that door: the grass out there certainly isn't any greener than anywhere else. He subverts that cliche by living in a monochromatic universe in which there is only one colour green and he is it.

So kiss his swee' green ass.

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