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Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Age of The Superhero

There is no one in the world who hasn’t pondered as to what super powers they would take on if they supplemented their morning smoothie with a healthy dose of Chemical X. Let’s get the obvious out of the way – we ALL want to fly. Then, there are some people want to be able to read people’s minds, I cannot think of anything worse. Some folks dream of controlling fire, or being able to shoot lasers out of their eyes, or even taking on the ability to become invisible. Of course a large majority of these people are 5 year old boys trapped in 30 year old men’s bodies. A real 5 year old boy wants to have daggers as fingers, be able to climb walls like Spiderman and at any point become an entirely edible entity made of chocolates and sweets – or so my younger brothers tell me with more enthusiasm than an energizer bunny on a caffeine drip.   
Carly: “When I was a little brat, I strapped cushions to my arms and spent hours practising take offs and landings in the garden.”
Ed: “Be honest, did that actually happen this weekend?”
Carly: “Shut up!”
Ed: “This is what surviving on minimal sleep does to a person.”
Ed had been contracted to produce a live TV show that aired at 05:00 in the morning and subsequently, had new office hours that started at 03:00 AM. I don’t know how he does it, but wine has proved once again, to be the best group therapist two best friends could find on a Wednesday night.
Ed: “Well, time to head home and try get some sleep”
Carly: “Time, what happened to that? If I’m not selling my soul to the devil that is my new career…”
Ed: “Or racing to get to a wedding, baby shower, engagement party, birthday…”
Carly: “Speed walking through the aisles of Pick and Pay with a calculator like a peasant…”
Ed: “Pretending that I’m going to finally make it to gym this week…”
Carly: “Or fast forwarding to the pivotal plot events of my favourite shows so I can keep up without actually investing in a whole hour…”
A perfectly timed gulp of wine goes down our throats as we swallow the realities of being grown up’s. I walk Ed out and before I start a pity party for one I realize how many of my peers are faced with a multitude of multi-tasking maddening’s in their own lives. I don’t even have another little life to consider, unlike my friend Nandi who is newlywed, underemployed and raising the most wonderful little sprite sans domestic worker or nanny. Now THAT is some kind of miracle.
I woke up this morning at 06:30, drove to work through the clogged traffic tributaries of northern suburbia and gave my best from 08:23 to 17:05. I raced from job one to job two to interview an aspirational South Africa leader for my next commissioned article and then dashed home in time to catch some Masterchef highlights and make 3 meals: Dinner, along with breakfast and lunch for work the next day. A 45 minute kickboxing workout and quick shower ensued just in time to miss that awful point where you are just too tired to be able to sleep. Lying in bed I could feel my body physically sapped of all energy – mental, physical and spiritual (meditation beads and mantra collecting dust at the bottom of a long 2013 goals list). I started thinking about what a real life superhero would be like, and if perhaps… I was slowly mutating into one.
We ALL want to fly, no matter how old we are or what our CV says we’re capable of. But maybe it takes someone with a little bit of Chemical X, to power on, no matter how many times they’ve grazed their knees trying like hell to lift off and reach new heights. Maybe we don’t have the lycra suits, the flapping red capes and the heroic reputation of Wolverine or Wonder woman to feel like we can conquer the universe, but what if we were unknowingly mastering another cosmos in our own galaxies – taking on mentors as our professor Xavier, aligning ourselves with other fearless freaks to win the battle for good while harnessing our own set of superpowers and formidable forces.
All superhero’s start out as unappreciated underdogs; working through life’s setbacks, all the time trying passionately to make their mark and find their purpose. The Hulk is an impulsive alter ego of the withdrawn and reserved physicist Dr. Bruce Banner. Clark Kent represents the 9 - 5, average Metropolis man just trying to make it through a day, transforming into Superman to save the world at the same time – how’s that for multi-tasking? Even Rouge from the X men considers her powers a curse and for most of her life, her potentially fatal abilities prevent her from making any physical contact with others.
I wondered if maybe, the real enemy of a superhero was an insatiable ambition to be better, to do greater things and to have been instilled with a fire incomprehensible to mere mortals. And maybe, being a 20 something year old trying, despite all plots against them, to find their place in this crazy comic book of life, is merit enough for a cape and mask.
I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams. - Spider-Man 

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