What is a Superhero?

As a child my favorite superhero was Superman. I read the comics, awed at Christopher Reeve and even tried flying off my bed a couple of times. Clark Kent was the man, our only hope for when some alien robot spaceship would attack the weak race of humanity. You just don’t mess with the man who can dodge bullets!

I maintained my firm belief that Superman was unbeatable until about seventh grade, my first year of junior high. I met my future best friend, Courtney, who I immediately clashed with at the lunch table.
The first day a heated superhero debate ensued. She started with a simple off-hand comment,
“Batman would win in any situation, and he doesn’t need superpowers to kick butt.” I laughed and retorted,
“Well until you put him against superman.” And than it started, Courtney was pulling for Batman with her no-superpowers-equals-better argument; I fighting for Superman like Courtney was that alien robot spaceship that needed to be destroyed.

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It ended in a draw, with the terms that it would remain something of which we do not speak.

Years passed, neither of us speaking of the dilemma. As the new Superman and Batman movies came out we had an unspoken agreement that we wouldn’t see them together. We grew closer as friends, even getting jobs together at McDonalds; a dirty job neither of us wanted to go into alone. But with our oldest manager being twenty seven, it was an interesting place to work. I was dubbed the name “Pantsmonster”, its roots being my last name and their supposed resemblance.

We both came to realize how hard the work was but how easy it was to make friends.We all appreciated the work we did and had a blast doing it. When someone did an amazing job they were recognized for it and given the deserved respect. Though we worked our hardest and made everlasting friendships, there were still obstacles to overcome. The most memorable of these being a week long promotion we were running: double cheeseburgers for one dollar. Every day of this sale I was assigned the grilling job of meat and chicken. Though it seemed the lines were endless and the number of double cheeseburgers sold multiplied by the minute, I managed to keep my food levels bountiful; a feat that seemed near impossible. While doing this I also made sure my grill team stayed hydrated, constantly fetching drinks for the thirsty.

From this day forward I was known as the Majestic Pantsmonster, master of the grills, beacon of light to the thirsty. To them I was a regular superhero, whose epic battle was the week long double cheeseburger fiasco. It dawned on me that to be considered a great superhero, superpowers are not required. You just need a body of people in need who are looking for someone to pull them through the hardest of times. Like Batman was to the people of Gotham. And though to this day I won’t admit it to Courtney, Batman will always be the greatest superhero in my book. His ability to fight crime and win while being powerless is truly iconic and inspiring. While he may just be a comic book character, his message to fight for what you believe in, even if you are just an everyday person, echoes in the extraordinary actions of ordinary people.
As Batman waits for his next challenge, I await mine; whether it is next week at work or further into my future. I anticipate the obstacles that lie ahead, ready to leave my childish love of Superman behind.

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