Short Story Sunday: Driving Home With Superheroes

For some reason graduate students seemed to be decades ahead of undergraduate students, especially freshmen and sophomores. At the ripe old age of twenty three Randy had discovered that the first day of school.

He’d also discovered a small following of younger Vampires who looked up to him like they would their favorite ancient Vampire Uncle.

They also liked Randy because he was unique and exceptionally hip and trendy in his vintage clothing and wavy longish blonde hair.

Before he left home after Christmas break, wearing his favorite Levi big bells, a Heart concert shirt from 1979, and a vintage fringed leather jacket, his dad called him “Fucking Flowers.”

Randy asked what that was all about. His dad laughed and told him that now he was an adult he needed to read John Sanford books starting from the beginning and work his way up to the Virgil Flower books. Randy made a note of it and a plan to stop by the bookstore when he got home.

Being the nice guy he was, Randy had volunteered to give three young Vampire students a ride from Sacramento back to Long Beach. Two, Josh and Winslow were Freshmen. Katie was a sophomore. They’d all packed their clothes, Christmas stash, care packages from their moms, and other gear in the back of Randy’s 2012 Range Rover and headed south an hour before the sun came up.

Randy decided to impart a bit of his wisdom upon the younger minds. “Being a good Vampire is like being a good parent. You must stay relivant. You can’t get behind or you’ll be left behind.”

“I think we need to be like superheroes,” said Winslow, a dark haired young Vampire with bright blue eyes and friendly round face.

“Superheroes? Whys that?” asked Randy.

“You know, because we can do things other people can’t do. Like see in the dark, and make people forget shit, and we’re super quiet, and shit,” said Winslow.

Randy turned down the radio. “The only super hero Vampire that I can think of is Morbius. He was kind of an asshole and not even a real Vampire. Come on guys, you can do better than that. You don’t need a superhero. You just need to be yourself. You already rock at being Vampires. Come on leave the tights to Katie. Girl you rock the tights with those boots.”

“Thanks,” said Katie. She was a small girl with brown hair and freckles. Nobody would ever pick her out for being a Vampire. “I got the tights for Christmas from my grandma. Just like what you said about being relevant. My grandma is relevant. She knows what I like.”

Randy smiled. “If I was a girl I’d wear tights all the time but it has nothing to do with being a superhero.”

“We were thinking about getting some costumes made,” said Josh, a tall kid who spent a lot of time at the gym.

“Dude, you don’t need costumes. Just wear black and jeans that fit. You’re already rocking it. I know you. You don’t need to pretend. You’re already living the secret life. You don’t need to make it more complicated with daytime cosplay. You’re already superheroes.”

As they drove on the subject changed to music, favorite podcasts, dog beach stories, and spilling the tea.

Being a Vampire in the modern world carried certain responsibilities including the usual truth, justice and all of that good stuff. They didn’t need tights or capes. They just needed to keep their mouths shut and do the right thing. That was all anyone could do.

Yes, being a graduate student included being a role model, especially if you were a role model for young Vampires, or anyone else who was just a little bit different, or a little bit confused about growing up and finding their place in the world.

Maybe a trip to the vintage clothing store was in order when they got home. Randy would take all of them. They could find costumes that they could live with. The thought made Randy smile. Fashion was his superpower. That was cool with him.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Heros and Role Models – Do your kids really need them? Honestly?

Super Heroes. They wear tights. We all know tights run and snag. If you follow the news you already know that in real life (outside of parties) only cowardly weak minded terrorists wear masks. Yes, these guys in tights and masks are great for comic books but not for any real life applications.

Like the word “quality” and “guarantee” hero has almost come to mean nothing.

All teens are fans of something or someone. They follow bands and know every single detail of band members lives (including where they live, their girlfriends names, etc etc etc).

But the blind following of public heroes appalls me. So many of these “heroes” and “role models” especially sports stars are not fit to be heroes. They use drugs, break the law, and cheat on their spouses and the only reason they are noticed is because of good PR.

Kids get caught up in it and are encouraged by parents. STOP. Your child should look up to people he or she knows. It is the everyday that is so important and overlooked.

We can learn lessons from famous people but it has gone too far. I blame the media but I blame parents who get caught up in all of the drama and hero worship.

So what if your kid is disappointed in a public figure and is sad about it. Tell the to buck up and that the real world can be a harsh place. This would be a good lesson in choosing whom you idolize and what character really means. You can’t protect your child from everything and maybe you shouldn’t be.

A hero is someone who stands up for what they believe – unmasked and out in the open

A hero is someone who mentors and supports others.

A hero is real.

Heroes fart. They belch. They engage in sexual activity (sometimes in an actual relationship with someone they love). They get pissed off. The go over the speed limit. They get paper cuts. They accidently catch the cat’s tail in the door. They eat Cheetos and ham and at fridge door late night when nobody else is looking. They scratch their butts. They know all the words to Mandy by Barry Manalow. They do all the things we try not to think of them doing.

Why would any boy idolize Lance Armstrong more than he’d idolize his history teacher? The history teacher knows it isn’t about money or fame. History teachers rock. The media should make history teachers our new media stars – along with language, art, science and math teachers. Or how about the neighbor on the local Swat Team (talk about kick ass). How about your orthodontist. I admire him a lot more than I’d ever admire some attention grubbing football player (look everyone I can pray) or that guy who races bicycles. Kids should admire relief workers who go into the most horrible spots on earth to help in hopeless situations. Admire the guy who wins without cheating. Admire the guy with nothing to hide.

Tell your kids to admire the team of smart cookies who developed the smart phone I’m writing this post on. It is nothing short of magic.

Most of all TALK to your kids about who they choose as heroes and role models. yes, be a hero – talk to your kids and listen.

~ Juliette