Friday, May 8, 2015

Super-Heroes in Real Life...

"You’re going to make a difference... A lot of times it won’t be huge... it won’t be visible even... but it will matter just the same"

                    ~Commissioner James Gordon
                      Batman, Gotham Central
A few weeks ago I found myself at an event where new-comers needed to introduce themselves to the regular members.

Since there were several people in the audience that needed to be introduced, our introductions were limited to three questions:
  • What is your name?
  • What is your occupation or business?
  • What is your super-power?
Now I was quite sure of my name and business... but I was really thrown off my game with the last question...

As I sat in my chair awaiting my turn, my mind was racing with activity regarding everything I know about super-heroes.

First of all... unlike most engineers and/or scientists typically depicted in the media... I have no great affinity for comic books or super-heroes...

I have, to this day, never seen any Spiderman, Superman, Ironman, Batman, or Fantastic Four movie... incredulous as that might seem... that is just simply not my genre.

I do however, know a little of the back story of the main characters (proving I don’t live my life in a cave up in the hills) [...oh... and an aside to those of you who are indeed super-hero experts... please don’t send me "hate mail" because I missed a detail or two... I fully admit in advance that I know very little about comic book super-heroes].

Comic book super-heroes come in all varieties and sizes.  Some super-heroes were alien beings from another world, while other super-heroes were self-trained in art of crime-fighting, while still others were transformed by some catastrophic event into a being with super-human powers.

Superman was an extraterrestrial from the planet Krypton sent to earth by his parents.  SupermanThere he was adopted and raised on a farm by Jonathan and Martha Kent where he developed a strong moral code of right and wrong.  His demeanor was that of a shy and kind person with a mild-manner.

Being an alien being, he possessed super-human powers and strength as compared with earthling beings for which he used to combat crime and confound evil on earth.

Bruce Wayne, as a young child, had witnessed his parents’ murder.  He devoted his early life to developing powers of reasoning, intellect, technology, and physical prowess.

As an adult, he took on the persona of Batman,Batman using the skills he had developed, to fight crime and protect the City of Gotham.

Although Batman was fearless in the face of danger and his enemies, his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne was a mild-mannered millionaire playboy.

Batman possessed an impeachable code of honor and ethics while doling out vigilante justice to those who broke the law.

Peter Parker was an orphaned shy nerdy teenage student filled with rejection and self-doubt. 

While at a science fair, he was bitten by a radio-active spider after which he developed the proportionate characteristics of arachnids Spidermanincluding super-human strength and the ability to adhere to walls and ceilings.  Later he invented a device that allowed him to shoot adhesive webbing from an attachment on his wrists.

At first he didn’t use his new-found powers to prevent crime, but later, after his adopted father was murdered, he concluded that "with great power came great responsibility".

Peter Parker continued to live a dual life of the shy introvert transforming into a highly effective crime fighter when called upon by authorities.

Above are only three examples of the most famous of the comic book super-heroes.

Even though the creation and storylines of the various super-heroes differ, there are many similarities that are present in most of these characters: 
  • They all possess some sort of super-human power... whether it was God-given, self-developed, or accidentally administered, the end result is that each of our heroes have certain traits that go beyond that of mortal men and women.
  • They all have a great sense of character.  They are morally and ethically pure, quickly differentiating between good and evil, wrong or right, and moral and immoral.  Their main purpose in life is to help other people.
  • They all have an alter ego that is relatively shy and reserved.  They are not super-heroes all the time.  Instead, they are normal citizens most of the time and only transform into super-heroes when the situation necessitates it.  They shun the spotlight and fortune it brings to live a quiet and peaceful life seamlessly blending into the community they hope to protect.
Comic book super-heroes are fictional characters.  They don’t really exist.

What does exist however, are real-life heroes. These are people who exhibit many of the same attributes of a comic book super-hero, but aren’t necessarily from another galaxy.

First and foremost, they are blessed with some type of extraordinary "powers"... although some might call those innate talents.  Throughout their lives, they have worked hard to hone those God-given gifts into tangible skills. 

These super-human skills aren’t due to radioactive bites, a new undiscovered technology, or a wonder-drug administered by the Justice League.  Instead these skills are due primarily to hard work, devotion to one’s craft and/or art, and lots and lots of determined practice.

Secondly, these everyday heroes have an impeccable internal moral compass.  They understand the difference between right and wrong and live each day to uphold their principles and ideals.  They fight against injustice and try their best to leave the world a slightly better place than when they arrived.

Lastly, these are people who live, for the most part, an anonymous life.  They give freely of themselves, not because of what it’ll bring them in return but rather because it’s the right thing to do.  Although they set high standards for themselves, they do not judge others or try to impose their values on others. 

These heroes among us don’t bask in the limelight or bring undue attention to their deeds and actions.  To them, a good deed, action, or thought is a reward unto itself.

These individuals live to "pay it forward" for they know only too well that they rise above only because they are standing on the shoulders of the individuals who came before them.  Helping others is their own way of showing gratitude to the army of people who have helped them achieve their own successes.

So I sat there listening to the people standing in front of the room... reciting their name and occupation and wondering as to their true super-hero identity.  Would one of them admit to being Wonder Woman or Captain America if prompted?

Soon it was my turn...

Hi... I’m Jim Kalb... I am the president of OptiFuse, a growing circuit protection company... super-power is telling stories that hopefully inspire people to do great things and make a difference in their world...

As I returned to my seat, I felt humbled by my disclosure and just wanted to assimilate back into the seated crowd...
We are all super-heroes in one way or another... what super power will you one day boldly announce to a crowded room?
Thank you for your continued support of OptiFuse where we recognize and honor the every day super-heroes who continue to protect the world.

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