[Note: This article has been published on Inquirer.Net’s YOU: For the Interactive, Vid and Vibe column, on June 29, 2006].
DURING my tender years, I was fond of watching superheroes come to life either on television or in films. I remember being glued to the adventures of the Amazon princess from Paradise Island named Wonder Woman and Mars Ravelo’s Darna.
Today, the concept is still very much alive when television networks have adopted these superheroes, and the latest of which is another Ravelo’s creation–‘Captain Barbell’ via the boob tube with Richard Gutierrez as the superhero and for the first time also portrays his alter ego, Teng. While this June, Bryan Singer of ‘X-Men’ and ‘X2: X-Men United’ fame brings the much-awaited movie ‘Superman Returns’ with Brandon Routh playing Clark Kent and Kal-El. However, the big question is do we direly need them in our everyday life?
Looking into the lives of these superheroes is something that we all can learn from. It may be positive and alarming at the same time, really. Though the creators of these superheroes tried to project a particular image of these as individuals with weaknesses. In GMA-7’s telefantasya as a backgrounder–it essays how Potenciano or Teng had his powers and has the ability to transform into Captain Barbell even if his alter ego is frail, poor, and constantly longing for the love and care of his irresponsible, adopted parents.
Meanwhile, Superman traces his roots to his alter ego, Clark Kent, who is lovingly adopted by his earthly parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. He is raised with good values and lives a normal life as a human being in a Kansas farm in Smallville and moves to Metropolis to become a new reporter–a goofy, overly eager and excited news reporter at the Daily Planet. Gutierrez’s character in the revived and reinvented version from the original concept has some similarities to the American superhero of all time–Superman.
Yes, they are like humans. They encounter defeats and triumphs over them. The only big difference is they exhibit supernatural or extraordinary powers that no human can tackle.
One rationale is the challenge to use the powers entrusted to them or that they inherited for the good of humankind and battle the evil they encounter. Like ordinary humans, we encounter trials that need to be treated as a crucible tong or a molding ground for us to become better individuals or groups. Yet, if we try to look into what these superheroes have created in our society today, particularly the Philippines–it attracts the concept of ‘I can do it or we can do it’ mindset. Most people look up to these heroes as a respite from the blows life brings to them. Depression and perhaps the lack of confidence in the odds is prevalent instead. People forget that they too have the inner power to be heroes as well–to create miracles.
The classic example of a scene where I was reminded of this capability was through the film, ‘Bruce Almighty.’ An unforgettable line I still hold in my mind is what the character of God portrayed by Morgan Freeman said: “Parting a soup is not a miracle, Bruce. It’s a magic trick. A single mom who’s working two jobs, and still finds time to take her son to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says ‘no’ to drugs and ‘yes’ to an education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. What they don’t realize is they have the power. You want to see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.?”
Be the miracle. Be the hero.
Three plain words that seem too big for anyone else or a great challenge to bear. I have encountered and read somewhere that said, “It’s common fact that we only use 10 percent of our brain’s capacity. We’re wasting 90 percent of what God has given to us!”
The truth is–He has given us more capacities than we can ever imagine. The crucial part is failing to celebrate these gifts. We belittle ourselves. If someone would ask, what do you do for a living, a common reply is–“Di hamak na janitor lang ako, atbp.”
Most of us fail to value what we can do, but rather focus on the weaknesses or the negative part, never seeing the inner giants within. Limiting one’s self is like acknowledging that we are a race of deprived and the oppressed. But if we look around us, there are a lot of ordinary Filipinos who struggled, but worked hard and were determined enough to win. A lot of success stories have been told and have inspired lives.
These ordinary human success stories are the real reflections of what superheroes are made. So who needs the likes of Captain Barbell and Superman, if we too can be superheroes? We are bigger than what we think of ourselves. Miracles do happen when we all decide to create one, or two or more. There was this line in ‘Spider-Man 2’, which Aunt May said: “I believe there’s a hero in all of us who keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride?”
And that is possible not just everyday, but even every millisecond of the day.