Monday, March 08, 2010

Some Stories of My Own

It's funny how events in my real life and news in the comic world sometimes come together so well. To explain what I mean, let me relay a few things that happened to me recently.

Last week I was walking to the building where my Japanese class is held. On the sidewalk in front of the door I noticed one of your University IDs sitting on the ground. Of course I picked it up. Then I immediately called the number for the ID center on the back. They told me they'd check to see if it was an active card -- and it was. They asked me if I could bring it the the ID center. Well, the ID center was on the other side of campus. But of course I took it there anyway.

Flash forward to today. I was walking to campus in the morning when I spied a wallet just sitting on the ground. The cash card and ID where right out there in the open for anyone to see. I scooped it up in my hands and quickly took a look at the picture on the ID. If my guess was correct, the girl walking with her boyfriend a considerable distance ahead of me looked a lot like the girl on the ID. I started running to catch up with them. I detoured around the front of them to make sure it was really her -- it was -- and returned the wallet.

Now, the common thread in these stories is this: in both cases the person I returned the lost item to seemed absolutely astonished that I would do such a thing. The woman at the ID kept thanking me and going on about what a nice thing I'd done -- as though no one had every done anything nice before. The girl was -- I kid you not -- speechless. Her boyfriend managed to stammer out his thanks and insisted on shaking my hand.

So my question is this: has our discourse degraded so much that these simple acts of kindness and courtesy would seem so monumental? Is the thought that a person wouldn't leave an ID on the ground because they couldn't be bothered to pick it up so surprising? Is the idea that a person might return a wallet rather than stripping it of cash and cards so unbelievable? After all, I was only did what I always try to do: whatever Superman would do.

And I'm not the only one who asks himself "what would Superman do?" Imagine my surprise in reading today's news about the new writer on Superman and Wonder Woman and finding that J. Michael Straczynski asks himself that question too. I've heard his story about tackling the guy at the con before, but it resonates with me every time. And so does carrying around the "S" shield.

I don't like flying. Which is hard to deal with when you study Japan and need to go back and forth across the ocean on a semi-regular basis. Flying makes me uncomfortable, so whenever I have to get back on the plane I have the "S" somewhere on me. It may be on my shirt or on a card in my wallet. I feel better for having it there. I know it's silly and maybe a little childish, but like Mr. Straczynski says, it works.

What I'm getting at is what I've said before: J. Michael Straczynski gets Superman. Every time I hear Mr. Straczynski talk about the Man of Steel I feel that he has a passion for Superman. The same passion that I feel. It's good to know that when I think things like "what would Superman do?" I don't have to feel silly. After all, I'm not alone. Even if he's the only one, other people are thinking it too.

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At 7:27 AM, Blogger Saranga said...

You're not alone. As for the flying thing, when I fly I always wear either my Superman pants or my Wondy ones. I hate flying, and anything that will make me feel even slightly reassured is a good thing. It's a charm and it focuses me to calm my mind.

I once returned a mobile phone to the lost property office at Uni and got a hug from the guy whose phone it was. Bizzare.

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to read JMS's take on Kal and Diana. I'm totally psyched! I hope he is able to wipe away the disaster that was Gail Simone.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Kello said...

It's interesting to read when people have such a strong connection to a character for which I just have a general appreciation. Cool post.


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