Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making heroes super since childhood

This post was also published here for The Chess Hammer - 50% more damage than the Chess Club

The topic of Superheros came up at work. And namely, if a light-sabre can cut through anything except other light-sabres, and Superman can only be weakened by kryptonite, what would happen if we hit Superman with a light-sabre?

Superman never really did it for me, because as a hero he has it easy; he can punch all his problems into the sun.

Look out! That man has a gun!

Boof! Into the sun!

Here comes Lex Luther!

Boof! Into the sun!

How come we never go out anymore? You go out, you save the world, you come home and you sit your arse on that couch! Why don’t you take me flying anymore? You never take me anywhere! Why did I leave Clark Kent for you Superman?

Boof! Lois into the sun! And that’s why Superman is a bullshit superhero. Not because he hits women, but because he is boring. (The “hitting women” thing is not cool either. And maybe made up by me for educational purposes. I do have it on good authority that he gets a little punchy when he’s drinking whiskey though)

I did not want to be a superhero growing up. I loved what they stood for, but did not want to be one for two reasons

1.      I'm allergic to taking punches to the face (I break out in swelling), and
2.      My favourite superhero was The Phantom, and even as a child I knew the social consequences of looking for fights in purple tights. See reason 1.

For those who had normal childhoods, The Phantom is “the Ghosts who walks”. He is not really one man but 21 of them over the course of history. It has been a family business for 400 years, and father passes on the responsibility to their son so that the rest of the world thinks of him as immortal. He has no super powers, but he can shoot the guns out of your hands and deliver whopping punches to the face. He is a man who trained hard to be who he was, and he fought for good. The Phantom is a fine moral compass to any young man finding his place in the world.

When the time comes for the new Phantom he would swear an oath on the skull of his forefathers and the symbol of his mission, “I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me”. This pledge happened more than 400 years ago when piracy was piracy and his mortal enemy was the pirates the Singh Brotherhood. Not some knob from New Zealand who changed his surname to DotCom.

Is that the face of piracy today? People who host peer to peer sites? Piracy is certainly getting rounder in the face and more acne. There are the attacks on ships along the coast of Somalia I guess, but they are not rocking the skull and crossbones either. At least they get the point, but I digress...

What would happen if you hit Superman with a light-sabre?

Nerd forums explode. That’s your answer.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nan on the prowl

My Grandmother called me for my birthday last month; see if you can find the point where the conversation took a surprising twist.

Me: “Hi Nan [I call her Nan, short for Nanna], how are you?”

Grandma: “Happy birthday Darl [it’s short for Darling], I’m good, how are you?”

Me: “I’m excellent now, thank you for calling. What’s new?”

Grandma: “I’m getting married.”

Me: “You’re what now? Hang on let me pull over. You’re what now!?”

Take that to your front face. Not the usual conversation about lawn bowls and bingo. I did not even know she had a boyfriend.

Logically you ask when the big day is, as you can imagine time is not on their side. According to Nan, they have not picked a date yet because they are trying to get their own place first. My Nan currently lives with my Uncle, and you could him sigh with relief from next room. The last thing he wants to hear after a hard day at work is “Honey! Hurry up! The pills kicked in!”

Over Christmas they were going driving around the country side in a campervan – the elderly version of a shaggin’ wagon, as a pre-honeymoon. I am now coining the phrase, “If the campervans a rockin’… we’re probably making a cup of tea”.

I am happy for my Nan, and most of the family has taken it well. My Grandad passed away six years ago and Nan has been lonely ever since. She keeps herself busy as much as possible, but it does not replace what she has lost but merely distracts her; she needed to get out there and get back on it (only an expression). She said she would never love anybody like my Grandfather, and I believe her, but there is no reason that she should not love again.

Two years ago over dinner she told me she shaved her legs for the first time. Ever. Technically an “old growth forest” and needed government approval, but with pins like her's it was only a matter of time that Nan was the minx of the bowls club.

Weird dinner conversation as it is, it is also kind of cute. There is dottiness and excitement in her age that compares to the fumbling of a young teenager on a first date. When you look at it, there is a relationship between how society views the fire and the passion of doing something for your partner, or to woo a potential partner, against your age. For example writing “My love for you is endless like the sea” on a bunch of petrol station flowers when you are:

The graph of Cuteness. Legally Binding
Young = cute

A teenager = lovely but corny

Middle aged = sad

Post middle aged but Pre-retirement = ironically corny

Post retirement/elderly = back to cute

It is not impossible to be cute around the 30-50 bracket, its just a bloody lot harder. As I approach middle age, I become more aware of it each time I get stuck in the clippers when man-scaping.

The love letter you wrote in school would not have the same affect in the office, unless you spent time in the principal’s office for harassment. And it should not have the same affect. You are different now to what you were then. Life is different. Your responsibilities are different. What you expect from a partner is different. People, who yearn for their teenage glory years, do not be disappointed it will return in retirement. It’s just that the drugs to get you there will be different.

Good on you Nan, I hope that happiness will follow you, and you get it all out of your system when I go to visit you next.
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