A Penny's Worth

A Former Superhero

A former superhero, whose life and legacy has spanned both sides of the Pacific.

» Quotes by A Former Superhero

Citizens looking to help people and serve society typically become police officers, fire fighters and doctors. How did you decide to become a superhero?
A superhero doesn't choose his destiny but is chosen by destiny. Gold stars and participation awards aside, growing up, I always sensed that I was special. During high school I found myself able to consistently outrun three quarters of those in my grade and endowed with not only a keen sense of self consciousness, but an uncanny ability to conceal my greatness.
Great superheroes are preceded by matching reputations. Why aren't you better known?
Headlining a comic book doesn't make a superhero. In fact Captain Marvel can testify that even powers rivalling the very Man of Steel don't guarantee fame. Being super doesn't come from name recognition. In the real world, James Bond wouldn't be a famous secret agent, he'd be a dead secret agent. The measure of a secret agent is his anonymity and a superhero's reward is not in accolades, it's in knowing that the world is a safer place. Being famous makes you a target and being a target makes your job harder and no superhero wants to make saving the world harder.
Like a police officer's badge, a superhero's source of authority lies in his powers. Can you describe yours?
I was like Batman without the gadgets or money and my only transportation was parents who worked late.
A man's harshest critics often throw stones from his own backyard. Can you describe your family's response to your being a superhero?
Like a male ballerina, the fewer people who know, the better. Secrecy is a superhero's ally and his cloak of protection, so it's a burden I bore alone. To this day my family thinks I was simply tardy growing up, oblivious that I was often detained waging battles to decide the very fate of humanity.
Superheroes often dwell in secret hideouts and answer to no one but Lady Justice. Can you describe living at home with your parents?
It was a chaffing experience. Evil never sleeps and certainly doesn't need to be in bed by 9 o'clock on school nights, but my ability to save the world was hampered by a short leash and early curfews. I was peppered with questions every time I requested a ride and being dropped off in dark alleys was definitely out of the question.
The Green Lantern has his ring and Thor his hammer. What was the source of your power?
As a superhero you have to believe that you can do anything and there are only three things which make anything seem possible: Tony Robbins, Dr. Pepper and the Chariots of Fire theme song. They're lethal in the hands of great men and lethal to the lives of lesser men.
Heroes are usually inspired before serving as the source of inspiration. Who inspired you?
I've always admired a man who can sport a comb-over in windy conditions. That kind of courage can't be manufactured and if harnessed can turn the tides of human history.
Superheroes tend to dress as though they're heading to fancy dress parties rather than heading into battle. Can you talk a little about superhero fashion?
Anything is going to look good on someone who can origami corrugated iron, which is the reason superheroes have been granted free license to wear spandex. But in my experience its major drawback was the tendency to suffocate my skin and cause chaffing. A superhero has enough working against him without adding his outfit to the list. On top of this, spandex would have just raised questions which I'd rather have avoided when mom did the laundry. So for the sake of preserving a low profile, I simply wore a t-shirt bearing my logo so that evil could put a name to the face of justice.
Superhero names often sound more like those given to a family's pets. Do these monikers build or erode credibility?
A superhero's name is not simply a label, it's a weapon which strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies. But like a nickname, it's only as credible as the person who gives it and anyone who gives himself a nickname, to echo the sentiments of Willie Geist*, trying to be cool is the surest way to not be cool. In the end, all you can do is sow a few seeds by acting panther-like and hope that the public picks up on the cues.

*when will politicians ever learn, going out and trying to relate to the kids is the surest way to not to relate to the kids - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26852192/vp/33968380#33968380 1:15
Courage isn't the absence of fear, but fear is a requisite for courage. What do you fear?
Anything with brass knuckles and a comb-over.
Every hero bears an Achilles Heel. Which vulnerabilities afflicted you?
I have poor vision, am a weak swimmer and had a difficult time controlling my strength. On top of this, dust and wind are any contact lens wearer's greatest nemeses. Superhero or not, they render the greatest of men utterly impotent.
A superhero's conscience is often described by his adversaries as an Achielle's Heel. What is the Achielle's Heel of a villain who's not constrained by a conscience?
It's one thing for a man to be feared by his enemies, but entirely another to be feared by his friends. When fear silences not only a man's adversaries, but also his allies, its inevitable end is the emperor's new clothes and Robert Mugabe's mustache.
These days the "hero" label is applied liberally and hero status is conferred lightly. What makes a true hero?
It's not great deeds which define a hero, but great courage. Great deeds can befall any coward, but it's courage that drives a hero to pursue them. People talk about accidental heroes, but running over a cat can happen to anyone.
What message would you share with young boys hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Be an everyday hero first. Prove yourself faithful in the small things: make your bed, mow the lawn, keep your underwear dry. A superhero who's not first a hero is just a prefix. And if you can't be trusted to keep the bed dry, you won't be trusted to keep the world safe.
After embodying what every boy daydreams of becoming, why did you decide to abdicate your role as a superhero?
The long hours and constant travel were taking a heavy toll on my family and I didn't want my children to grow up knowing that their father was a hero, I wanted them to grow up knowing their father.