Friday, September 25, 2009
How Superman, a fictional character, has truly improved my life ...
Ok, Superman isn't real in the proper sense. But this fictional character has nevertheless affected my life and it has probably been for the better!
Here are some ways the Man of Steel has affected me:
1. A daring spirit?
I recall at age 8 or so, jumping off my grandfather's chicken coop roof wearing a red cape. Silly? Maybe, but leaping off a 15-foot-tall roof (fortunately onto grass) was no small feat for someone that age. Superman's legend promoted me to be more daring.
I eventually tried to climb my other grandfather's taller barns in Idaho (not jump off, but to conquer). I did have some accidents and the wind got knocked out of me once when I slide off such a barn roof.
2. Superman's legacy seemed to make me more positive.
As a first or second-grader, I recall having a recurring nightmare about being in the middle of a large field and a bear coming along to get me.I just stood there, waiting for the bear to reach me. No weapon, no escape. That was my first nightmare.
But as I hit my late teen years, I recall having that dream a few more times and the outcome was different then. After reading hundreds of Superman comics, I would simply fly off into the sky now to escape that bear.
I had other weird dreams too, not so much nightmares, but about uncomfortable situations or sometimes attacks. Bullets would bounce off me or I would fly away.
3. As it turned out, I became a real-life newspaper reporter. Perhaps a coincidence, but Clark Kent was surely one factor in that choice. (I can and do dress up as Clark Kent on some Halloweens, cause that's a doubly relevant character for me.) I have also written about Superman and comic books in my newspaper job for the past several decades.
4. My reading skills were off the chart by 7th grade. I recall being in a reading class and taking a test. When you read the short story, you were suppoed to go up front and get a comprehension test from the teacher. I recall sitting there for minutes and minutes, not wanting to be odd and be done far ahead of the rest of the class. I'd wait until I could see at least one other person on the last page .... I got 80 percent or higher on the comprehension test too. How does this relate to Superman? That's the bulk of what I read in elementary school -- comic books. I credit them for great reading skills.
5. A stress reducer. Today life can be hectic and stressful. One way I relax is to pick up one of the 10,000-plus comics and re-read it. 99 percent of my comics are Superman or Superman-related.
Sure Superman is a fantasy, but he's shaped my career, spurred my imagination and made my life better and those are REAL things.