23 Oct

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word:


You think of an individual who possess “extraordinary or superhuman powers,” who is dedicated to protecting the public. The prototypical superheroes that come to mind are Superman, Spider-man, and super-heroine Wonder Woman, but then there are vigilantes as Batman and Green Arrow without such super-powers who share other superhero traits. The majority of DC and Marvel Comics superheroes use their powers to counter day-to-day crime, while also combating threats against humanity by super-villains; or in Captain America’s case, Nazism or Communism, and for Thor, godlike or demonic creatures.

Recognizing that most characters do not strictly require actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes, it’s safe to say that superheroes do not only exist in comic books. So when I hear the word superhero, the first thing that comes to mind are not the characters created and found in fantasy/adventure fiction, but the extraordinary individuals in the world around us, whom possess superhero traits, who are positively impacting, contributing, making, and leaving the world  better than prior to entering it.

I think Dave Chappelle said it best when asked about Richard Pryor, he noted:

“The mark of greatness is when everything before you is obsolete and everything after you bears your mark.”

The same can be said about several people, personally, individuals like, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, Steve Jobs, Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther, Muhammad Ali…, just to name a few, are superheroes in my eyes. But I believe the same can be said and true about any of us today, if not someday.

That to me is exactly what a superhero is. Prideful, lustful, and incredibly flawed; but at the least always tries, remains positive, shares not only the best of themselves, shares all of themselves, while helping others intentionally and unintentionally in the process. You don’t have to be the best; you just have to be your best. We all can be and have the potential to be superheroes, it’s whether we choose to be, deciding to be, and leave it for others to deem it to be true.

Veterans, active members of the military and armed forces, police officers, firefighters, and government officials, all whom wake up every morning and put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us, but then do so to go and risk their lives on a daily basis to ensure the safety and freedom the rest of us enjoy. Motivated men and women, with strong moral codes. Willingness to risk their own safety in the service of good. Commonly, for individuals they do not know and will never meet; without expectation of reward. Taking on missions and secret identities that protect friends and family from becoming targets of his or her enemies, yet do so with a motivated sense of responsibility; a strong belief in justice, and humanitarian service. It is not that they do not fear or not sense danger, but despite fear, they choose to do what they do to serve the better good. Educators, teachers, instructors, coaches, doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, Peace Corps members, aid workers, parents, single parents, and volunteers, throughout the world do their work, whether independently or in teams, and prideful with a belief that it is a formal calling; not for a reward or an acknowledgement, but for the social good.

That’s extraordinary, exceptional, and undoubtedly the work of superheroes!

So when I hear the word superheroes, I think of selfless individuals.

When I look at myself I see a plain and regular person that walks and goes about his business amongst the crowd of bystanders and spectators that are doing extraordinary things on a daily basis, but then I am reminded that maybe, just maybe there is more to it all. When looking at a fictionally created superhero, the questions that come to mind for most are: what powers do they possess, their appearance and costume, and what type of special weapons, devices, or technology do they have that supplement their natural powers. When in reality, the truth is, superheroes don’t need any of those flashy things, and are there  only to make them more visually appealing. Far from their true formal calling and naturalistic intentions: protecting the public, but with a strong reluctance to kill, yet by any means necessary, even it means risking their own safety.

Secret identity, mask, costume, or not, we all have a hero living in inside of us, with a social responsibility and a moral obligation; whether we like it or not. We as individuals are what make that hero in us come alive, and it is for others to deem it true. I may see myself as just a regular person, but to someone else I may be a superhero. It’s possible that they find and consider some of the things that I do to be extraordinary, as I do with the individuals I find exceptional. It’s something to try to be considerate and conscious of; someone may feel the same way about you, they may find who you are and the things that you do extraordinary. If you are a superhero, it is not for the rewards or accolades, but for the knowledge that, while making mistakes and falling along the way, getting back up each time, you made a positive contribution in the world, and left it better than you found it.

You don’t have to be or do the things that Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, Steve Jobs, Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, or Martin Luther…, has done to be deemed a superhero. Nor do you have to be a veteran, active member of the armed forces, police officer, firefighter, government official, educator, teacher, instructor, coach, doctor, nurse, EMT, paramedic, Peace Corps member, aid worker, parent, or volunteer. We all can and have an ability to learn, we all have contributions to make, we all have a social responsibility and a moral obligation; and we all have an opportunity to give every person a chance to make a contribution.

Soooo…let’s see…

I am prideful, lustful, and incredibly flawed; I do at the least always try, I do remain positive, I do my best to share not only the best of me, but all of me (bad or good), while trying to help others as much or as often as possible, intentionally and often times unintentionally in the process. I’m not the best, though am striving to be my best.

So does that mean that I am or on the way to becoming a superhero?

I don’t know. It’s not a question for me to neither answer nor deem to be true. But as I think of the superheroes I adore and look up to, I am reminded and encouraged that anything is possible. If it were possible for them, and if it is possible for me, then it is more than possible for all of us.

It’s not about superhuman strength, the ability to fly, enhanced senses, fame or fortune, it’s about not only believing in you, but in all of humanity, improving and never giving up when tempted, on either of the two.

Follow: @nerdinajock

One Response to “Superheroes”

  1. Estelle Haward March 30, 2015 at 1:52 AM #

    An amazingly well written and thoughtful article – I believe that it is because we recognise we are flawed individuals, struggling with so many questions, asking too many questions, that we have the ability to be super heroes in our own small ways…kindness in any form elevates a person to a whole new level…lets fly and spread the light! I live in a country that has been through so much and is turning in on itself again because of greed and power hunger…yet each day I meet individuals from all walks of life who does make a difference and make me smile and love life anew…

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