Posted by: Abe's Blog | March 12, 2010

Jet Hero

The first time I dressed as a super-hero, I was only about 10 or 11 years old.  A couple of years earlier, a girl on the school bus had called me Jet Hero, pointing out the my name, Jethro, could be changed into Jet Hero with the simple addition of an extra “e”. I carried this around with me until one day I came up with a costume: a pair of red shorts over white long johns. A red towel safety-pinned around my neck and the look was complete. Jet Hero spent most of his time running through the corn. We grew Golden Jubilee that year, five acres of it with nothing but our bare hands to dig the rows, plant the seeds, and weed the weeds. Jet Hero patrolled the towering stalks, seeking to defeat an evil that never materialized.

My Jet Hero costume was much more practical than my Indian outfit, which consisted of a towel loincloth hung over a belt. From my Indian craft book, I knew that Indians either wore moccasins or went barefoot. Having no moccasins, I resigned myself to plucking the occasional blackberry sticker from my feet. If you have not tried wearing a loincloth, I highly recommend it. It is a very liberating experience, especially when your belt comes undone while you are running to hide from a passing car and your towel drops to the ground. I was quite possibly the whitest Indian ever seen in the Applegate Valley.

As I “matured” into my teen years, I gained interest and proficiency in the black arts of ninjitsu, karate, and kung-fu. I sparred with my friends and was famous for my keen peripheral vision, which allowed me to defeat multiple attackers from all sides. I don’t know if the teens of today spar and sword-fight as much as we used to–from the look of their girl-pants and emo-hair, I highly doubt it. I came of age in the 80’s when men were still men, even when they were wearing purple eyeshadow, tights, and fishnet gloves. I had a hand-crafted double-edged sword, cut from an old whip-saw, and I would twirl in crazy spirals to the attack. My friend Brian and I would spend hours practicing with real swords in the park. I still have the scars on my hands to prove it. Our costumes of choice at this time were black Ghi’s…if we were rich enough to afford them. People like me had to make do with black sweats and face masks fashioned from our mother’s black tights. During my teen years, I was a villain–using my stealthy costumes in conjunction with sections of garden hose to siphon gas from cars in the dark of night, or inserting home-made explosive devices into unsuspecting mailboxes. Fortunately I lived in the boonies, and my escapades landed me nothing more than a few nights in juvenile hall and a deep respect for the law.

I grew into a very manly man and accepted the responsibility that came with the job. My costumes from my youth turned to dust and I have come to accept that my days as a masked superhero are finished. But sometimes I question: did they really have to end? Could it be that there are fully grown adults skulking about in the night in black ghi’s, keeping the dream alive? Why not? We are living in the New Millenium, right? Why can’t I run through the streets of my town in the cover of darkness, cape flying behind me as I save the neighbor’s cat from the snapping jaws of a stray dog or kick a meth addict between the pockets as he tries to jack my gas can? Why must I restrain myself and sit here like a “normal” human? I’ve always known that I am not normal. I’ve always known that I am meant for something more. After all, why would the Good Lord have endowed me with my abnormal strength if not to fight for Truth and Right? Why else do I have the ability to sense movement before it is seen or to anticipate emotion before it is moted? For what good was I given the ability to run so fast or to jump so high? Might I be one who was meant to be extra-human–super? Even now I am rummaging through my drawers. Ah, the black and blue spandex pants bought to wear under my logging pants; they are shapely and sleek and will not slow me down or chafe. And this bandana will do nicely to cover my bald spot and give me a piratey look. I opt for the black tank top, which will show off my biceps but will hang just right so as not to accentuate my gut. A quick look in the mirror tells me that a pair of shorts over the spandex pants are in order…I cannot claim it is cold every time someone sees me. I need only a mask, but in my haste to begin my adventures I can think of nothing but duct tape. Who cares, I tell myself! Deal with the consequences later! And above my eyes and over my nose go the shiny wraps of grey.

My seven year-old is ecstatic with praise. “You look funny, Dad!” He shouts and runs to make a costume of his own. The older children cringe with shame. This is worse than when I drove through town slumped low in the seat of my Yukon blasting Kid and Play as loud as it would go. This is the worst dad ever! The inhabitants of the little town will get used to the man with the duct-tape face. If only I can get them to remember my super name. Jet Hero.

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Responses

  1. haha I love it Jet Hero:) There is no reason to lose the beauty of imagination just because our bones get older. lol. This made me smile today, and think, yes life is good 🙂

    • It sure is! And when it starts to suck, that’s when you can switch into your alter ego, don your costume, and battle evil and mean stuff with your Broom of Doom!

  2. What a wonderful read! 🙂

    That type of imagining is one of the reasons I joined up with a comedy improv school, where they teach you to go back to your childhood and bring out some of those off-the-wall ideas you had back then.

    Most of our adult lives involve the application of filters so that we can be socially acceptable and not look foolish. Improv school is all about removing them and letting it all hang out.

    I prefer the improv route. Go Jet Hero!!

    • I once was part of an improv acting group. It was a lot of fun! We did a series of corporate Christmas parties. Fun stuff. Yeah, the fear of what others think about us keeps us from fully being free and enjoying ourselves. That’s one reason I really like playing the piano and improvising. I might look a little strange when my eyes are closed and I’m swaying around like there’s a high wind blowing, but it is accepted in that context.

      How many times have you been caught acting like a child when you thought no one was looking…singing a song, talking to yourself in a funny voice, or playing with a small child, cat, or dog? It certainly has happened to me, and it is a funny feeling of shame, surprise, and dissappointment when we realize that someone has caught us in a childish moment.

      A few months ago, I came in the back door and started talking to my dog in a happy dorky baby voice, “Hiiii Charley! Whose my dog? Whose my doggy-woggy-woggy?” I heard my wife in the front room trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t hear her over my own annoying voice. Finally I walked into the living room to find that our new neighbors had come to visit and introduce themselves. The fact that they were teens helped to alleviate the embarassment. My wife loved it!

      • I don’t know. I think that’s pretty cool too. 🙂 I’m sure the dog loved it as well.

        There’s a commercial playing in Canada right now, where the guy is laying on his front porch, talking to his cat. “Who’s my little prince? Who wants a kiss? Are you going to give me a kissy-wissy, little Prince” And you see the cat licking his face.

        The camera pans over and we see the guy’s buddy, standing there with a set of golf clubs, and a frown on his face, wondering if he’s going to join him for a game.

        It’s hilarious.

        Hope you have a few blogs in you about your improv experiences. 🙂

  3. “Hello? Mr. Jet? ”

    “This is Tim Burr from Superhero Costume Cleaners. This is to remind you that your suit has been ready for pickup and needs to be picked up tomorrow before 5 PM. If not, we will have to sell that property to other customers.”

    “A couple of customers have expressed interest in the suit, especially since the suit’s lining contains thermostat-controlled pockets and an air-cooled disposal system.”

    “Have a nice day!”

    • “Mr. Burr,

      “I will be swinging by this evening sometime after 5 pm to pick up the suit. Times are kind of hard right now, so I hope you will understand that I must take the suit without paying. You know I’m good for it, right? Remember that time that I tried to save your cat from the neighbor’s dog? I almost saved him!

      “Would you consider taking payment in empty beverage cans? My wife recently asked me to relocate my base of operations to ‘anywhere but in my house’ and I have been forced to take up temporary residence in my van. It’s not too bad in here; I do have a sizeable collection of 8-tracks. You wouldn’t be interested in some of those would you?

      “See you soon.”


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