On Being Super

I’ve always wanted to be a super hero. For as long as my little brain can recall, it’s been my over-riding dream. Whether it be wielding Green Lantern’s power ring, battling villains with Captain America’s augmented strength or speaking in Batman’s gruff voice, I WANTED IT ALL.

Growing older has not diminished my zeal. Far from it in fact. It’s simply given me more resources to pursue it. But one thing has changed as I’ve grown older, and that’s my view of the whole mythology and ecosystem of heroism, as it were.

Comics are fantasy. It is escapism at it’s colourful best. Pick one up and be transported to a world where no-one questions men who dress as bats and are accompanied by underage boys. It’s a glamourous world where the heroes are lauded and applauded. But would it really be so glamorous?

I’ve thought about it a lot. Like A LOT a lot. And the more I think about it, the more I realise that it would just not be feasible.

Consider this. If you were a hero akin to Superman, who could plug up volcanoes and quell tsunamis, the world’s reliance on you would become unbearable. As it stands now, people find it easy to blame God for calamities that occur daily. What would make you different? You would never be allowed a moments rest. People would begin to hate you as you gradually found it harder and harder to be everywhere at once. There’s a reason why omnipotence is a godly trait and not a human one. No one human could handle the responsibility of guarding the entire world. Heck, even watching over a city would be tough enough. How do you decide which task is more important? If two people are getting mugged, who gets your attention? What makes one person better than another?

Unfortunately, we have an obsession with celebrity. People would hound you and anyone who might possibly know you to find that elusive secret identity. And what then? Have your very life taken from you by the people whose lives you are trying to protect? How would you have a relationship, have a life, hold a job?

On the topic of jobs, how would you swear allegiance to any one country? If a country possesses a man who can catch missiles and sink ships with his eyes, that’s enough cause for concern. A rumour of weapons was all America needed. But inversely, aligning yourself with an organisation such as the UN means that you’d need to apply yourself globally. And that leads into problems as mentioned earlier. Plus, how do you promise your service and loyalty to an administration whose policies are unsound or filled with corruption?

Is there any good news? Well, kinda. The adoration of all those you haven’t disappointed by not being there when they slipped in the kitchen, I guess. The fact is, you would help people. But what of the guilt of all those you never got to in time?

Do I still want to be a superhero? Well, the dream is there. But that’s all it is. A dream. I’ll keep it in between the pages of the comics.  The reality is far more depressing. I’m quite happy to stay in a loving relationship, work out my humdrum job and live my anonymous life.

I think being me is about as super as I need to be.