Gurus have disciples. Sorcerers have apprentices. Sheriffs have deputies. Priests have acolytes. Attorneys have associates. Queens have ladies in waiting. Magicians have pretty young assistants. Heroes have sidekicks.
And bad guys have henchmen, flunkies, hatchet men, leg men, bag men, underlings, enforcers, and minions.
No wonder defeating the forces of evil is such a challenge, even in the movies.
This whole line of thought began a few weeks ago with the Sunday crossword puzzle. A clue of "subordinates" for seven down led us to an answer of "minions." Not the correct answer, as it turned out, which was "juniors." I found that unfortunate, since "minions" was a much more interesting word.
That same afternoon, we watched a family member onstage, playing an evil henchman. He was good enough at it to make me a tad bit uncomfortable, given that he is the father of the little person who, when he or she shows up later this year, will be my thirteenth grandchild.
So I distracted myself with important philosophical questions. Specifically, who is a more important bad guy, a henchman or a minion? This required research.
The "hench" in "henchman," I discovered, comes from an archaic term for "stallion." Therefore, a henchman was originally a horseman. A "minion," on the other hand, is described as a lackey, a toady, or an obsequious underling. Besides, a henchman can have minions, but a minion just has lesser minions.
A horseman or a toady? The hierarchy seems pretty clear.
So, if you're ever engaged in a battle against the forces of evil, and you have a choice in the matter, take out the henchman first.
Don't worry about the minions. You can deal with them in just a miniouet.