‘Holding out for a hero’

I was watching television last week when a catchphrase uttered by someone I didn’t recognize stuck in my head. As I said, I was watching the box, I wasn’t listening to it, so I missed the person’s name. The aforementioned phrase was “The world needs more heroes.”

The conversation was centered around some athlete who had tarnished his image by using a performance-enhancing drug. I’m not sure his ability to whack a ball or puck or whatever it was that he did would have qualified him for inclusion on my personal list of heroes.

My hero list dates way back to early childhood and I keep adding to it frequently. It’s pretty long by now and notable for its diversity. It includes the names of some famous people: Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, Charles Lindberg, John Wayne, Mister Rogers, Mickey Mantle, etc. Everybody knows them, but there are a lot of the heroes on my list whose names I don’t even know — any volunteer fireman or woman, any member of any police force, any member of our armed forces, the folks working food pantries and driving Meals on Wheels to shut-ins, nurses, ministers/rabbis/priests, teachers — all those who truly serve their fellow man. These are also heroes.

So, the problem isn’t that we need more heroes. The problem is how to recognize the heroes we have. Back near the beginning of time, when I was young, it was easy to recognize heroes. They dressed funny. They all had their own special costumes. Superman, Batman, Captain America, Underdog, Wonder Woman, were not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill hero. Their costumes set them apart. It’s a trend I think should be brought back.

I’ve always considered myself heroic in a mild-mannered way. Maybe, I pondered, if I could come up with a good costume I could help bring back the uniformed hero.

First, I’d need a cool name. I thought about, “The Silver Fox,” but dismissed that. I’m not really silver on top, more flesh-colored, and fox implies an amount of cunning I’m not sure I possess. I finally settled on “Super Senior.” Simple and to the point.

Next, the uniform, I considered starting with a pair of The Queen’s black pantyhose but then I remembered how hard it was just getting my socks on in the morning and quickly dismissed the idea. I needed something that went with the whole senior theme. Searching the back of my closet I came up with the perfect thing. I found a pair of plaid polyester bell bottoms with a white belt. Near it was a nylon Hawaiian shirt covered with bright festive flowers. I needed a cape so I tied the arms of my Snuggie around my neck. Perfect! The only mask I could find was a Sponge Bob Square Pants one left over from Halloween, but that didn’t make the fashion statement I wanted to make. I found a pair of the really dark sunglasses the doctor had given me to wear after my cataract surgery. You know the kind, the ones that look like welding goggles. They looked great.

I slipped on my orthopedic sneakers with the Velcro fasteners and decided my outfit was complete. At the last minute I added my “Darn Seagulls” baseball cap to hide my distinctive hairless pate and I was off to right the wrongs of the world.

I took off the Snuggie cape because I kept sitting on it and choking myself. I headed to the senior center to see what my peers thought about their own superhero. The first three guys I saw when I got there were dressed pretty much like I was and they weren’t trying to be superheroes.

I went home to consult with Telly, my trusty canine companion and fashion consultant, about possible changes to my outfit. He told me I was his hero no matter how I dressed. I guess that’s enough for me. We took a little nap; it had been a busy day.

Thought for the week — We never really grow up; we just learn how to act in public.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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