Davin Arul has a great piece today about Spiderman – the superhero most like us and, perhaps, the one we’d most like to be like, doing battle both against evil-doers and our own personal weaknesses. Arul looks at the decisions that make a superhero:
You can’t quit now: Every fibre of your being hurts: from the pain of those broken ribs, to the strain of holding up that collapsing ceiling while flood waters swirl about your waist, rising with each second.
You want to just give in, submit to the blackness that’s hovering at the edge of your vision. But Aunt May will die, because she’ll never receive the medicine that’s in your belt if you give up. And so you resolve not to.
No odds are impossible: The Sinister Six, a collection of your worst enemies, have beaten you down and they’re now set to carry out their diabolical plans. Thousands could die if they aren’t stopped. You’re the only hero present, so it’s all up to you. Individually, they’re tough to handle – let alone all at once.
So you put that genius intellect of yours to work. You prioritise your targets, you formulate a strategy, you determine which enemy’s strength you can turn against him. And then you get to work.
If about to crack … just crack wise: The enemy you face is implacable, and has every desire to do you harm. Reasoning with him hasn’t helped, and you feel little tendrils of panic tickle the back of your brain. So … you let loose a stream of banter and wisecracks, and it keeps your mind off the seriousness of the situation.
Your foe scoffs at first, but then the banter gets under his skin. He starts to get careless, while your resolve grows and you can sense that you’ve won. Levity over gravity, my man.
You think you’ve got problems: Sure, the rent is overdue, Aunt May’s medical bills are piling up, and that tightwad boss of yours is threatening to cut your photo rates. But that family you saved from a fire last week has to live in a community hall for the next six months.
And that elderly guy you grabbed just before a bus hit him – your keen senses picked up the rattle in his breathing that told you he was really sick. But he was genuinely happy to be alive.
Think you’ve got problems, hero? They don’t add up to a hill of beans next to some other folks’ troubles. And if they can cope – then maybe you can, too.
Do the right thing: Even if it means admitting an earlier “thing” was wrong…
…When “moral” and “legal” decided on one of their frequent trial separations, you chose the former, determined to correct your mistakes and honour the sacrifices of your comrades.
With great power: And now we stand at your beginning. Something has changed inside you. Where you were once weak and reticent, you’re suddenly brimming with vigour and confidence.
You’re standing on a ledge, considering your future. It really isn’t that far to the next rooftop, but it seems like a mile away. Just one step back and you’ll be on familiar ground again, on firm footing, and life will go on as it always has.
One step forward, one leap of faith, and everything changes forever. Your life will never be the same, and neither will the lives of those dear to you. Yes, change can be disruptive, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You hesitate because you are, after all, only human. You’re standing on a ledge, considering your future.
And just like that, you go for it.
Great stuff. Of course, that all just applies to superheroes and comic books, right? Go read the whole thing.