We jostled each other in line to go back into school from our morning recess. The bell always seemed to ring too soon. I’m not sure who started it, but everyone started chiming in with an opinion on their favorite superhero. One kid cried out Superman. Another yelled Batman.
When together, comic book publisher DC Comics called them “The World’s Finest” as they worked to fight the Joker and Lex Luthor and all that’s wrong in the world. When against each other, they each brought something different to the fight.
The Man of Steel was “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” and to boot he could shoot lasers out of his eyes. On the other hand, Batman possessed no superpowers; but relied on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, knowledge of science and technology, vast wealth, and indomitable will.
Hence, my classmates’ fight.
Where do you fall?
Each boy lined up on a side, shouting and yelling at each other. The biggest kid in my class preferred Superman, the smallest, Batman. I watched it all from the sidelines, until the bully in the class poked a finger in my stomach and yelled “which side?” Several other boys chimed in too. “Who Brian? Who?”
With a snap of your fingers, the boys in my class went from ignoring me, to paying close attention to my every move. They waited with rapt attention on me to give my two cents. I weighed each superheroes options. In that instant, I could make ten new enemies or ten new friends.
I considered my options and in that moment decided to go with my heart, the heck with what everyone else thought. I looked up and in the loudest voice I could muster, I cried out: “Spider-Man.”
They all booed, but I told them what I felt.
Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, has superhuman strength, speed, and agility and uses his spidery web to cling to most surfaces. In addition, he had a spidey-sense, a psychological awareness that starts at the base of his skull and alerts him to personal danger.
I tried to explain my choice, but the boys just booed me even more. One kid hit me hard on my shoulder. “Yea, right Brian, nice try loser,” he said putting extra emphasis on the last word. They wanted the brawn of Superman or even the wealth of Batman. In their mind, Spider-Man wasn’t even a choice.
I felt horrible and wanted to run away. I had stood up for myself, offered my opinion, and now I was being ridiculed. “Loser, loser, loser,” they all cheered, walking back into the school.
And the winner is . . .
When we got back to class, our teacher asked us what we had been up to during recess. The girls told the teacher about their four square game and jump rope competition and one of the boys told her about our superhero argument. He even asked her to weigh in on her opinion.
Our teacher went to the chalkboard and wrote out each superheroes’ strengths. When she had a lengthy list, she said: “You know, the more I think about it, the more I think Spider-Man would win.”
The boys in my class all looked back in me shock. I, on-the-other-hand, couldn’t help but think: “Who’s the loser now?”