You don't really matter, but at least try to seem heroic: How false heroes are made.



Oddly enough, I am not a fan of The Big Bang Theory. I always found it too sexist for my liking. My mother liked the show until this last season, and she is the one who watches it. A lot. I know more episodes than I care to admit.

It is, like Monk and Seinfeld, one of the few shows that I absolutely cannot binge watch because it annoys me. I do not like self-centred characters, and Sheldon annoys me. I can stand Leonard and Raj and I pretty much owned all of the comic books and many of the superhero statues displayed, but if I see more than two episodes in a row, I have to leave.

But there is one episode that I really like.

The one posted above when Amy informs Sheldon that Indiana Jones in no way made any difference in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

A lot of fans of the movie were devastated by a very obvious observation. I knew it as a kid when I first saw it, too. I just didn’t get it. I liked the movie. It was fun, but Indy didn’t save the day.

And as a kid, I devoured the hero genre like nobody’s business. When I was really little, I wanted to be a superhero when I grew up with a trusty pet gorilla sidekick — I didn’t know about Angel and the Ape at the time.


I wanted to have my own crimefighting costume, which I designed myself after taking a drawing course for kids at the Dundas Valley School of Art, and have my own car to drive around, looking for bad guys to stop in their tracks.

I was four.

My mother and I used to get into very surreal fights because I did not believe her that I wasn’t allowed to drive. I pointed to mini-cars — Fiats and Datsun Cherry’s as proof that they made cars for small kids; ergo, I want my driver’s license right now so I can go out and find myself a gorilla and get my crimefighting act on the road, and I had even talked my grandmother into making me my crimefighting outfit — no cape, but a mask.

And mom said no! No costume, no car, no gorilla.

In fact, I was expressly forbidden from trying to get a pet gorilla. With me, she did need to do that. I was stubborn, focussed, determined, confident, and very, very creative. I did know how to use the phone and ask the operator for assistance. I was strangely resourceful for a four-year-old and had often randomly dialled and talked to people from all over for conversations, which people usually indulged, and what I couldn’t do myself, I often could talk grandma into mischief because she thought I should have a happy and exciting life filled with bravery and meaning, and she could always veto any potential scolding. In this particular saga, mom cut that off at the pass. I was not happy with the decrees.

But then I noticed that on the news, there weren’t any caped crimefighters, let alone four-year-old ones with pet gorillas and a Fiat-mobile.

So, that was a bust. I was devastated. No other career grooved me after aside from stage magic, but my hands were too small…until I discovered writing and then teaching.

But I had comic books! Lots of DC comic books. Batman and Wonder Woman were faves, but I didn’t care for the dialogue; so I used Liquid Paper and a Bic Pen to wipe out the old dialogue, and put my own instead.

And I studied my comics. And episodes of Wonder Woman and Batman. The Spider-Man cartoons was pretty much my only foray into Marvel as a kid.

I wanted to understand what it meant to be a hero.

I was going to learn and then sublimate what I learned in whatever boring old career I had to choose because being a superhero wasn’t a thing back then.

But not that there isn’t any in the real world.


But I understood the genre extremely well.

And heroes made a difference.

A positive difference.

So that’s how come Indiana Jones was a fun movie, but he wasn’t an actual hero.

He was an adventurer, not a hero.

But how come people see adventurers as heroes?

They seem to do a lot of the same things, and people fail to catch the nuances, but it isn’t just in fiction.

Many people make careers out of pretending to be heroes, but when you look at their role in any given event, they get accolades, publicity, and money, but things are the same or worse.

They do not transform anything.

The status quo remains, or things begin to decay.

We forget to look at the bottom line: the bombast and spotlight hogging are misdirections.

And a hero doesn’t just help other people. He helps people learn how to help themselves — and then others.

It is supposed to be a communal space.

And we often look to a They, when an Us would more than suffice…