I have been asked many times in my life how to tell if ‘that guy’ over there is the Phantom of the Opera or if I am just in my hospital’s local burn ward. Let me tell you it is not always easy. But I have come up with a few things to look for to help narrow down the possibilities. First thing you need to do is look around, are you surrounded by Doctors and nurses? If the answer is yes don’t be fooled since Doctors go to the theater too. What you need to look for is rubber gloves, white coats, and scrubs. If they are wearing all these then odds are you are in a hospital. The second sign would be if everyone lying in bed is dressed up like a mummy and it is not Halloween (this tip has helped me a lot). Next listen, is anyone saying things like “this is why we don’t drink lighter fluid,” and “We can fix that with skin from your butt.” Also ask yourself these questions. Did they make me wash my hands for ten minutes before I entered? Are there machines helping people breath and eat? Are you in a hospital? If the answer to any of the aforementioned is yes the guy you are looking at is not the Phantom of the Opera and probably doesn’t like being stared at.
To identify the true Phantom you should see things like young girls in low cut dresses with heaving bosoms. Well dressed sophisticates standing around looking haughty and a guy in a porcelain mask with a flowing cape (if it’s not flowing sorry that’s just not the guy). If you see him don’t get your hopes up; you still have to look for a few identifiers. Take a look around. Is the man in the mask looking longingly at a pretty girl or vindictively glaring at a guy talking to a pretty girl? Are people around you holding their hands up at the level of their eyes so as not to be strangled to death by a length of rope? If they are that’s a great sign. Now you can approach and start up a conversation. Look for some clues when talking to him before blurting out ‘are you the Phantom!’ Does he seem slightly psychotic from years of oppression and bitter loneliness? Does he call you his angel and make you sing for him? Or will he only speak to you if you do so in the right octave while standing in melodramatic poses? Are you in an opera house, theater, or in France ? Are you in a musical? If the answer is yes then congratulations the guy you’re talking to is probably the real Phantom of the Opera and you are not in the burn ward of your local hospital. Bad news is that you are an unimportant character and will probably be crushed by a falling chandelier very soon, so try and get an autograph before you die.