I get many e-mails on a fairly regular basis. Improbably, some are actually not spam (strange but true). The following is not an e-mail I ever received.
Dear Mr. Lasser,
Some say that you're addicted to British car shows, love a good English fry up, and that your encyclopedic knowledge of motor vehicles is second only to your knowledge of Hummel figurines. All we know is that you failed to write a piece discussing the season premiere of Top Gear and the alleged unmasking of The Stig. What happened?
Your Own Imagination
Dear Your Own,
Thank you so much for writing. As you accurately pointed out, I do in fact love a good English fry up – there's just something about it, perchance it's the beans, that hits the spot. As for Hummels, I can't say that I have any idea what a Hummel figurine is – only that Mark Greene's mother collected them back in the day, so you're probably right on that score too. As for the latest episode of Top Gear, the season premiere, I did in fact hope to get an article published more quickly, but much like Michael Schumacher in the Suzuki Liana, I often feel like I'm going backwards, not forwards.
Speaking of Schumacher – which I gather, Your Own, is what you wanted me to do – on the season premiere of Top Gear, Michael Schumacher revealed himself to be The Stig. Revealing the show's tame racing driver was something that the folks on Top Gear had promised the viewing audience, but speculation runs rampant about whether or not Schumacher – who certainly appeared in The Stig's garb and doffed the helmet – is the one and only… if there is in fact only one.
I would like to put forth the argument that there is in fact only one Stig, except for "Black Stig" (so named because of his suit color) who was originally thought dead following driving a Jaguar XJS off the HMS Invincible at 109mph, but reemerged from the sea several years later. Yes, some would argue that many different individuals have worn The Stig's outfit, but I'd like to think that if that's true The Stig's suit has some sort of special, magical power, a power that allows The Stig persona to take over the body of whomever dons the suit – like Venom from Spider-Man.
Or, perhaps put more realistically, I think that the it's the legend of The Stig that is the important thing and that to know exactly who is wearing (or has worn) the suit is both disappointing and irrelevant. It is the idea of The Stig that gives him power, not the name of the actual individual in the outfit. The notion behind him is that he is the best driver around, that no one can handle a car like The Stig, that The Stig is the best at what he does. If there are or have been 12 Stigs, all different people, they can't be equally good, can they? Examining who The Stig is only hurts the very idea of him (and no one has yet given me a compelling enough reason to believe that we need to know).
In short, The Stig is a legend and it hurts the legend to try to dissect the tale and come up with the reality behind the story. Consequently, I'm fine with Schumacher revealing himself as The Stig provided that Schumacher isn't The Stig. And how could he be, after all…
I am The Stig.