Right before bed, Luke always started a topic to talk about with his dad, who was his role model for everything. Luke’s dad is the CEO of a large international company. Time is always short for Luke to talk with him.
“I don’t think you want to be Superman, bud.”
“Superman has a lot of responsibilities. He’s always taking care of other people. He doesn’t have time to go out with his friends for ice cream or go to the movies. He’s got to worry about one problem after the next, like my responsibility to be on a conference call with my business partners in China in 10 minutes.” Luke’s dad was thinking about whether he had told his secretary to fax his partners the presentation.
“But he’s so strong and has laser vision! And he can fly super fast and jump really high!” Luke got out of his bed and started buzzing around the room. Luke’s dad stopped him, took him by the shoulders and put him back into bed.
“Bud, it’s not all fun and games. The real world is about making tough decisions and solving complex issues. Superman is in love with a girl, Lois Lane, like I’m in love with Mom… Superman can’t spend time with Lois if he has thousands of people about to die on the other side of the planet. He is responsible for the lives of all of those other people, and if he doesn’t save them nobody else will.”
“Why is Superman responsible for everyone else?” Luke asked.
Luke’s dad thought about how his employees always mess up things. He was the only one who could do anything right. “I think it would be selfish if Superman didn’t take care of other people. Superman has the capability to do what nobody else can. He needs to work long hours to make up for everyone else’s imperfections and mistakes. It would be ethically wrong if he didn’t. Bad things would happen to good people. Superman needs to save those people.”
“That’s okay! Superman can do anything!”
“Superman can do anything… but he also has another life when he acts like a normal person. That’s when he’s Clark Kent who writes for the newspaper. When he’s Clark Kent, he wears normal clothes, so he can fit in. But Superman doesn’t feel comfortable when he’s at work. Clark Kent is constantly worried about people discovering that he’s Superman and whether or not they would accept him if they found out. Every day, he thinks that something is going to get him fired or someone will discover his identity if he makes a mistake. People would be upset at Superman.” Luke’s dad was beginning to get irritated… Luke was going to make him late.
“But everybody loves Superman!” Luke said.
“Some people don’t like Superman…” Luke’s dad was thinking about how his wife threw a fan at him after he forgot about their 5 year anniversary…
“Why wouldn’t you like Superman, Dad?”
“Luke… Superman sometimes doesn’t save the day. Sometimes Superman allows bad things to happen to people because he thinks that Lois Lane, family or friends are more important that day.” Luke’s dad thought back on all the times he was yelled at because he didn’t show up to Luke’s birthday or his father-in-law’s funeral because of work.
After looking back at his watch Luke’s dad voice rose in volume. “He allows natural disasters to happen like Hurricane Katrina in 2004, the Tsunami in Indonesia in 2010, people losing their jobs and terrorists bombing our country… and when products don’t sell. Then it’s his fault for not being there. He’s responsible for everyone’s failure… I have a really important call I have to be on, Luke.” Luke’s dad turned towards the door.
“Why didn’t you stop those things from happening?”
“What? The natural disasters and the terrorists?”
“Yeah, Dad! You should’ve stopped them.”
“I’m not Superman…” Luke’s dad turned off the lights, reached for his phone and shut the door.
“Oh… I thought you were…”