Superheroes don't die; they just get holey

  • Follow Glynn Moore

When Nolan visits us, he often runs up to me and says, "Papa, let's put on our Superman shirts."

Although I'm a mild-mannered newspaperman and our youngest grandson is barely 3, we both lead other lives as superheroes, thanks to the two blue Superman T-shirts with the red-and-yellow "S" on the front.

I don't remember how I acquired those shirts. All I know is that after hiding in my drawer for years, they are suddenly getting a lot of wear.

They are my size, so Nolan gets lost in his. The extra-large makes him look like the smallest guest at a Technicolor toga party.

To complement our shirts, we tie towels around our necks for capes, and we fly around the rooms, faster than a speeding bullet, rescuing people and, in general, saving the day.

Nolan loves being Superman, but only if I am Superman, too. I love that he gets thrills from an activity I enjoyed back when I was a child.

I had to turn Nolan down the last time he suggested we change into our super costumes, though. I had noticed a couple of holes in my shirt.

Holes in an indestructible shirt? What is happening to that shirt? What is happening to me?

Were those holes put there by bank robbers too stupid to know that bullets are supposed to bounce off my chest? Were they created by evil Lex Luthor's latest death ray? Were they the result of repeated exposure to kryptonite?

Whatever their origin, they are a sign that I might not be so super anymore. Unlike teenagers, it seems, I am no longer invincible.

I should have known I was slipping, however; my mirror has been giving off hints for a while.

For instance, I never saw Clark Kent getting wrinkles and gray hair. His eyeglasses were to maintain his secret identity, not to read the labels on his medicine bottles.

I used to feel as powerful as a locomotive, but I'm running out of steam.

For years, I thought I was invulnerable to harm and lived accordingly; caution signals have begun to replace the "just do it" signs in my brain.

I'm losing my super speed. More and more, I look forward to relaxing in my Fortress of Solitude at the end of a day.

Superhero? I'm not even a normal hero.

I can't tell you the last time I dashed out to save an entire high-rise building from terrorists -- all the while barefoot! -- as Bruce Willis did in Die Hard.

The image of regaining control of a jetliner single-handedly from another gaggle of movie terrorists -- as Harrison Ford did in Air Force One -- sends rainy-weather aches through my bones.

Once I was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but these days I get tuckered out by picking Nolan up and helping him fly through the house as he stretches out his arms and makes whooshing sounds.

Nolan doesn't care about the holes in my shirt, though. My wife has her own play activities with him, but they don't include Superman. That is reserved for Papa.

Even if my grandson's idea of a superhero is a bit older, fatter and grayer than the norm, it's still the role of a lifetime.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.


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