I was dreaming about making a movie about superheroes and was surrounded by actual superheroes and I knew I was dreaming in the middle of the dream.
It’s difficult to explain. It felt so real that, when I woke up, I thought I could walk to Blockbuster to rent the movie, my movie. But I can’t. It’s none of the superhero movies of late. And all of ’em.
Professor X was there. Plus a bunch of the ‘X-Men’ mutants: the kid with x-ray eyes, the guys who makes things spontaneously combust, the really big guy. And me. We were blocking scenes and touring sets. We were patting each other on the back over our ingenuity.
The invasion, it ends up, was real. There were column upon column of ink-black robot drones descending on the city. So we scrambled to assemble our superhero peers, each of whom played an integral role in the detailed plan that would save our sunshine-strewn metropolis from the evil steel machines.
I’m awake now. The superhero dream is fading quickly into the haze of sleep. I am thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a real superhero. He had something to lose, and did. There was no Fortress of Solitude to which to escape, no marine life or jungle creatures to call on for rescue. He was just a man and his belief and conviction. How many of us hold onto belief and conviction in the relentless face of want?
Wanna’ a fistful of Twizzlers for breakfast? Go ahead! Wanna’ toss back a six pack over dinner? Knock yourself out! To eat a two pound porterhouse steak in one sitting? Enjoy! To hack a butt? To skip your run? To go to sleep? Whatever, man! Life is short!
Maybe it is. I can sink into what’s easy, or strap on my cape and get some shit done.
So here’s what I did: I strapped on my winter weather battle gear, programmed an On The Go playlist with Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Weezer, Hole, etc., and hit the ground running. I didn’t notice the cold after a few blocks. I only noticed the bright blue sky, the cobalt river, the pale chunks of ice on the shore. And I ran and ran, through the ramble, past Bethesda — still reaching through the cold, her wings aflutter — past Sheep’s Meadow and the massive buildings of Midtown.
I though about the everyday heroes. Like my best friend Sibby who coaches youth soccer. Or my friend Jon, who researches Hepatitis. Or his wife Lisa, courageously conquering breast cancer while raising a six month old. Or my father, keeping Indiana’s waste water clean, one treatment plant at a time.
Every day I am faced with a thousand choices between what is easy, and what is not. I might make twenty bad calls a day. But I will do good. Because as we move through this life, we should try and do good. And if we can do that, and not hurt anyone else, well, then…
Then I’ll strap it on, because I have some shit do.