He knows a hero when he sees one. Too few characters out there, flying around like that, saving old girls like me. And Lord knows, kids like Henry need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams. Aunt May, Spider-Man 2
So some apologies are in order. I spent the past couple days decompressing. I was exceptionally selfish, I didn't return any phone calls, do any chores, think too deeply about anything other than how soft my cat Storm's fur is.
Part of that is due to a migraine, first one in months, and let me tell you, they were NOT missed, not one bit.
But, here's a tale I'd like to spin,
of wild adventure and spirit within.
A tale of a man who left it all on the stage...
And I'll put it right down for you, here on this page.
He felt a little insane as he prepared to take the stage. Pulling off his clothes to reveal the private thing beneath, he felt a twinge of fear in displaying himself in such a manner. That fear, however, was countered by something else. A straightening of the spine, a pounding in his heart, an exhileration he didn't quite believe could actually exist. Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, he awaited his turn in the wings, trying to calm his nerves and concentrate on the task at hand.
Then he heard his name. Well, it wasn't "his" name, his given one anyway. Tonight he was using a pseudonym, an alias, something he created out of nothingness, leaving himself behind with his clothes in the staging area for the performers.
"Be athletic," he told himself. "Be graceful. Be energetic, and charming. Be fluid, and stylish and witty and funny. Be seductive and proud, and all in between."
He stepped out from behind the curtain, music and cheers and the feeling of nakedness threatening to overcome him. A cartwheel, a hop, and a crouch, with a smile to the crowd he leapt to the stage like a man half his age. When the sounds begin to abate, they asked him his name.
"I'm the ArachKnight," he said proudly while striking a heroic pose, his midnight-blue spandex outfit seeming to shimmer some under the lights.
Ok, here's how it went down. Last Monday I heard there was a Marvel Super Heroes live action show being held here on Friday, and afterwards a "Superhero Tryout." So in a rush of creative enterprise, I assembled a costume, complete with neck-to toe spandex, a maroon sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off at the shoulders and a styilized spider spray painted on the front, the obligatory Utility Belt, and a domino mask to top it off. The idea was similar to "American Idol" or "Who wants to be a SuperHero, complete with question and answer session, interview, and performance.
Wow was I scared though.
But it was good. I had a really good time putting on a show for people, explaining my powers of super speed, and that I was an homage or legacy to my hero, Spider-Man, and did battle in the style and example he set out for us. I didn't have a plan, or a script or anything for myself, everything I did was completely done on the fly, from the hip, off the cuff, or other euphemism for "I made it up as I went along."
Now, I've been known to play Spider-Man for birthday parties, but this was different. This was me, but not, out there. It was frightening and exhilerating. I felt naked yet invulnerable, confused yet profound, and a dozen other contradictory things that somehow worked for me that night.
A lot of it passed by me in a rush, I remember that I made sure that I asked everyone to applaud for the tryouts that came before me, and I remember being really excited and it was hard to concentrate, especially the q&a session. I remember of course being asked the pertinent questions such as:Q: "Where did you get your powers?"
A: "Off the internet. Man, you really CAN get anything off of eBay."
Q: What's in your Utility Belt?"
A: "That's classified, sir. You might be a Super-Villain in your secret identity."
Q: "Do you have any weaknesses?"
A: "Do red-haired girls count?"
I got a lot of laughs, which was great, and it's a hell of a thing when the crowd responds to you positively. I only lost them at one point, when I was asked what I was fighting for.
I answered that I didn't want them to believe in me, but that I just wanted to give them something to believe in.
That was met by some crickets, so I amended my answer to "Truth, Justice, and the American way!"
That brought them back.
Other things are kind of a blur. They asked for a demonstration of my powers, so I did a couple of flashy high kicks, and asked for a volunteer to join me on the stage. I picked out a kid, who came up there with me. His name was Javier, and I made sure to tell everyone to clap for him too.
So as I stood there trying to come up with a suitably impressive demonstration of my super speed, I channelled Muhammad Ali (the boxer), and a cut scene from the movie starring Will Smith about his life.
I told him I wanted him to hold his hand out in front of him, with the palm towards me. I got down on one knee and explaiend that I was going to hit his hand three times in the time he took to blink once. I asked him if he was ready a couple of times, and he started to flinch some. I watched his eyes very closely, and he didn't take them off my right hand, which was poised in a fist and prepared to strike the target he had displayed for me.
Timing it just right, I waited for him to blink, and when he did, he flinched. Grinning, as I had actually stayed motionless, I looked at him and said:
"Did I hurt you?"
The crowd loved it, I loved it, and I'm pretty sure Javier did too.
So that's my super-hero story. I had a great time doing it, and I don't even cae if I get any callbacks or invitations or job offers or anything else. The icing on the cake was Spider-Man shaking my hand as I left the stage, which put me at a 47 on the scale of 1-10 on the geekometer. I had a great time, and everyone else did too.
Especially the New Vixen Mafia, who seemed to believe that a super hero costume consisted of lingerie and a cape.....
But that my friends, is a tale for a different time.