We know how it is, we elder superheroes.

We know because we remember. That’s what it’s all about, in the end: remembering.

We remember how it was– sure, we used to move at the speed of light, but we didn’t let it go to our heads too much, that was the key: we learned how to handle the gift.

And a great gift it was, to Shazam our way out of any situation, or fly whenever we wanted, just like Captain Marvel or Superman with only a magic cape stolen from the bathroom tied around our neck as we whizzed down the street on foot or bike, looking back to see the supergarment flowing out behind us as we flew through the surrendering air, some of us even tried it out of a second floor or higher window but hyperreality has its limits, even for superheroes with x-ray eyes.

Anyway we didn’t fear tall buildings, we could walk fencetops, we could leap broad chasms at a single bound if we had our Keds on and yeah, we used to fly from branch to branch of high trees as good as Tarzan with a slingshot in our pocket and even if we fell we got up and carried on toward our date with destiny, maybe with a cast on, but time travel was easy then, we were superheroes – born that way, like all kids are in their own fashion – invulnerable of course, we boys in my case, no matter how fast we were flying, except against mumps, measles, girls and other forms of kryptonite.

We all remember the dashing and heroic era, our time of swords and capes, six guns and pen knives, slingshots and peashooters, all the need there was in the world of then that required our presence and our attention: the woods and the waters, the dark, the haunted and high places, the things that could explode, the creatures in distress needing rescue in that world where we could run down the stairs like water and cartwheel at will and roll down hills like logs and jump higher, skate faster than anybody, then later in those early years stay out all night and swing from chandeliers on our way to world-saving in between dates with ladies in distress who caused cartwheels in our hearts…

We had our shot when it was our turn, we did our duty when it counted, we saved the world all by ourselves, did our bit to get to now and now it’s time to rest, to remember, advise the new superheroes how to handle their gift, tell them of the do’s and don’ts we’ve learned by heart, tell our tales of the intrepid, sit back, have a sip, dig up some more treasure, try to eat an apple…

We can still fly, by the way. Hand me that towel…

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9 Responses to Superheroes

  1. Pauline says:

    Ha! So many good lines in this – “…that world where we could run down the stairs like water and cartwheel at will and roll down hills like logs and jump higher, skate faster than anybody…”

    I felt like that, too, and I’m a girl!

  2. kenju says:

    The thought came to me yesterday how I used to bound down the stairs hitting only about 1 on 4-5 steps. Them days are over!

    When did you decide that girls weren’t kryptonite anymore? Or did you? LOL

  3. Mick Brady says:

    Yeah, I remember. I can see them even more clearly now, though. Of late those events had seem faded; dimmed by the dust of ordinary, everyday reality.

    We mortals can only hope that the last (and most important) superpower that will ever fade from your superbeing is the one which allows you – more than any other superhero I know – to bring back those memories as if by magic, in all their shimmering, dazzling pixie dust.

    Proud to have been your sidekick all these years, bro. Write on.

  4. Bob Brady says:

    Pauline– like I sensed all along, girls are beyond superheroes…

    Kenju– of course girls are still kryptonite, essence of the home planet…

    And thanks Mick– from the heart, from the heart, bro…

  5. Winston says:

    Oh how I remember. Some of it shimmering with crystalline clarity, some, as Mick suggested, “dimmed by the dust of ordinary, everyday reality.”

    But I fear you have given short shrift to one of the most important things — the Schwinn. The big 26″ bike with the tank, the tassels flowing from the handlebar grips, the bulb-driven horn mounted on the handlebar. We ranged far (what Mama didn’t know never hurt her) and rode fast, faster than a speeding bullet…

    I can imagine that you and Mick were a handful in those days…

    Great essay! Thanks for the memories…

  6. joared says:

    “…time travel was easy then…” as I recall the swinging rubber tire airline and the ocean liner porch swing that virtually transported me to all those exotic foreign locales I longed to visit and a few magical places, too.

  7. Peg Thompson says:

    This post is so well-written and right on it took my breath away–and took me back to those days on Ash street. We used to have wars with slingshots loaded with Russian olives. Our castles were the storage platforms in our garages. Spies found out who was in his/her castle, so soldiers (or cowboys, depending on the day) could eliminate them. Those were the days.Thanks for your wonderful post.

  8. Bob Brady says:

    Thanks Meg–
    and Russian olives! Now I remember! we use to use baby plums, peaches, apples and acorns! Seasonal ammo! Yeah!

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