In this post, there will be no feats of superhuman vocabulary or super speedy typing. This sentence took me about thirty three seconds to type, longer than that to think of, and more often than not, my vocabulary mirrors that of a well-read eight year old. The words “super speedy” are evidence enough, as is the rest of this post.
Nor will one find an attempt to glorify any of my actions in any way. I have often found whatever I’ve done trite, inconsequential, and ultimately driven by some selfish desire. Arguably, this is inevitable: even if we do something for someone else, we are doing it out of a self-serving ritual. Their happiness makes us happy, their sadness makes us sad. As it is, selfless acts are just selfishness in disguise.
What I’m trying to say in the admittedly grumbling, groveling and incoherent speech that compares to an eight year old is that if you were looking for a hero, then look the other way.
I won’t pretend that I am anything but average, even by average standards. To call me heroic in any instance would do a disservice to real modern day heroes. You know, those that fight the bad guys, beat the criminals and make the world a better place. Those guys.
People like myself can’t be heroes. Not everyone can. To have heroes requires average day citizens who eat, sleep, and eat again and who are helpless against the world around them. These people – fickle, indiscriminate, amorphous people – just live their lives hoping not to step on too many toes. And if by some mistake they do, here come the heroes.
Villians can come too, and we can only hope that it’s the heroes who are there to catch us if we fall. Otherwise, some will say it’s a bird. Others might say it’s a plane. One guy might even exclaim it’s Superman. But then when the light is just right, they’ll all say: wait a second. Err. Never mind – no it’s not. It’s just a man standing there on the edge of a building waving his arms. He isn’t even waving them in unison. One arm is lowering faster than the other. And his glasses look tilted. And are those sweatpants? And what about that hair? Has he showered in weeks? And what about… oh. There he goes. Flying. His form is off, but he’s flying at the very least. And I mean, that landing was all right. It was exciting at least. Hell. It was bloody explosive.
And if they don’t say any of that, and no heroes come, then that’s that. The end. Poof. No credits. No story. Just a finish line that was crossed and can’t be taken back no matter if one tries to look back.
I think what I’m trying to say is that in this average life with its heroes and its villains, we’re scared of the own vacuum of our existence. As people in the background, we find ourselves living the same old day where we wake up, eat, do, feel, eat again, and then sleep sometime in between. The pulse of daily existence is weak and most of the time, we forget our own throbbing in the background. Though we may be our own protagonists, we forget this in an army of domestic triumphs, the success of others, and the never-ending pursuit of happiness. We are shadowed by our life and our expectations for them and so the only time we notice the importance of our lives is when we’re there on the edge clutching for survival and waiting for the hero to come.
Don’t think by realizing this I am saying that I any different. In fact, I’d argue I’m more of the same – I have a twin for Christ sakes.
At the same time, however, I think my clairvoyance has led me to one conclusion: to laugh even if I’m just average. Especially if I am.
In everything I’ve ever done though I would never have the audacity to claim it as heroic, I have tried to make sure I was smiling in the end. Every scenario is touched by this sliver of light bouncing from my teeth. However brief and however unfitting, I snicker in the darkest and the happiest of times alike.
Some think of me as annoying as a result. Others wait for me to pass a joke along the silence. I just think that a momentary giggle in a Universe that is as hilarious of a hiccup as we are is the only fair response. It is the only one that makes any sense in a senseless world.
Maybe that’s overdramatic and I’m sure some may think that. Not everything can be funny, they add. Nothing is funny about the Holocaust, they remind me. And I say I agree, and then I laugh. They ask me why am I laughing. I say because somehow, for some reason, the Holocaust happened and that’s funny; it’s funny how bad we can be. They say that I’m being bad. And I laugh again.
While I agree that each of my actions have often been touched by fear and self-doubt, sometimes even loathing, and my chuckles may be off-putting, I think that in this ability to laugh I am moderately heroic. I am a hero laughing all the way to the insane asylum or a funeral or the grocery store. I am laughing when I wake up. I am laughing when I sleep. I am laughing as I write this.
Because of instead of weighing the gravity of the scenario, instead of letting it swallow me whole, I trivialize it with a quip or a giggle. And in that way, I survive the evils of all the villains, myself included. I stop being an average citizen who is held up by the world and waiting to be saved, and I become my own superhero comic.