I hate Superman, the comic itself and the character. Any time I’ve read or watched something with Superman in it, I am struck by just how much it seems like his character was written by a kid who was playing pretend with a neighbor, and the neighbor kid thought of a really cool hero with unique powers and a real personality, and the other kid just kept yelling “mine has all the powers!” and then he ate dirt or something.
I hate Superman, but I’ve always liked the idea of superheroes. I love the idea of a person gifted with some extraordinary ability that lets them be different, not quite so bound by the same boring rules everyone else is, that lets them hurl themselves wildly into danger for the sake of someone they don’t need to save but want to.
All that being said, I miss my cat.
I have never single-handedly faced down a dozen nameless, similarly-featured henchmen who have come to make sure I never interfere with anyone’s evil plans again. I haven’t really had the opportunity, but seeing as I struggle with some heavy doors, I don’t think I’d fare too well.
I’ve never flown above a city paralyzed by fear to stop a wayward nuke from detonating on an innocent population. I would if I could, but it’s not really in the cards for me because, when the time comes, there will probably be too many for me to catch. Also, I can’t fly even a little bit.
I don’t have a nemesis. There’s a guy I used to write really mean poetry about, but that was less a nemesis situation and more a “we shared a class and I hated his peppy slam poetry guts.”
I’ve never really done any traditional heroics, either in the sense of Superman and his flawless performance and skin-deep personality or in the sense of better-written heroes with flaws and weakness and without the capacity to do everything they need to with no effort. However, I have bought my cat tuna before.
I’ve also used a coat hanger to retrieve a toy from under a dresser. I’ve even held her up to the ceiling so she could take down a moth she’d been hunting for hours. A while back, there was a story I wanted to write about what superheroes would look like in terms of fantasy. A cape wouldn’t really stand out when everyone else wears a cape or a cloak. Flying around wouldn’t be all that impressive when normal people use magic to cook their breakfast and get their groceries. Saving people wouldn’t be that impressive when they could either save themselves because it’s socially acceptable to carry weapons all the time, or there are just so many people around who make it their whole plot to save people. Superheroes would be kind of boring if everything they’d normally be doing could feasibly be done by the people around them.
That’s why I love having a cat.
The world she lives in doesn’t require that she be saved every few hours. There are just things she wants that I can use my thumb-having powers to make happen.
She doesn’t need to kill every moth she encounters. But she wants to slap them off the wall and bat them around on the floor for as long as they’ll keep flapping, and any assistance she can get to make that happen is more than welcome. She has plenty of toys, most of which have kitty drugs stuffed in them, but most of the time, she only wants one specific toy and if it rolls under a dresser, her life isn’t over, but she mopes. My cat is fed plenty, as evidenced by the pudge I apparently didn’t notice. She is fed well and often, but she’s happiest if she can get fish that is bought just for her, a subtle tuna or a playful salmon, either is warmly accepted.
I love having a cat because all it takes to be a reasonable hero is saving toys, facilitating murder, and buying treats. I can be as flawed and powerless as I please as long as I have some capacity to make those three things happen. In a world in which everything she needs is provided, and there is no real danger, and I’m not particularly extraordinary, I can heroically spoil the hell out of my kitty cat.
But she’s staying with my brother while I’m out of town.
So I can just save my daring heroics for when I get home.