I’m mourning the death of Stan Lee. Although I never met him, I know his legacy well. I will forever feel connected to the characters he had a hand in creating. I feel a peculiar kinship to Spiderman, because my name is Charlotte (like the spider). Though I know that’s not what my mother intended when she named me, my childhood imagination created an invisible bond between myself and the hero with spider-like abilities.
I grew up in the 80s, surrounded by super heroes. Saturday morning cartoons were a cherished tradition in our household. My sisters and I would sit in front of the TV on pallets made of quilts and blankets; chowing down on bottomless bowls of cereal (or doughnuts if we were lucky) while we watched our favorite animated shows. Super Friends & Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends were usually in the lineup we watched until 11 or 12 o’clock. Mom and dad could relax (and occasionally sleep in) reassured with the knowledge that we were glued to the television, entertained, and not up to any trouble. I guess that in a way, our super heroes were also our parents’ heroes; keeping us busy and bringing Saturday morning serendipity into our home.
Growing up watching those shows, I wanted to be a Super Hero. I still want to be one! Who wouldn’t want to have special powers, defeat evil forces, and save the world every day? As an adult, I know that cosmic powers aren’t in the cards for me. Even if I knew a mad scientist who wanted to do me the favor of dousing me in gene-altering sludge; I don’t think I could take him up on the offer. If I’ve learned anything from the comic book themed TV shows and movies I watched as a kid (and still watch now), I know that mutations are tricky things and they don’t usually turn out as expected.
Recently, whenever I’m fighting my own internal “bad guys” – wondering if I’m doing the right things in life, or if I’m good enough at what I do – I recall an interview Stan Lee did with the Chicago Tribune. Stan had some pretty profound things to say about being Stan that I think everyone can relate to. In a nutshell, he used to be ashamed of being a comic book writer. He often avoided conversation with people at parties because of it. It wasn’t until later in life he realized he was an entertainer. And, as an entertainer, he had an important job to do. Taking people’s minds off of their everyday problems was his super power.
So I have to ask myself, what are my super powers? As a community volunteer and stay-at-home mom, with aspirations of being a blogger and surface designer, what do I have to offer? Do my designs bring joy to people? Yes. Does my blog entertain? Yes. Are my kids happy and well adjusted? I think so. Do I feel like the causes I volunteer for are worthy? Yes. I may not be Alice or Mrs. Garrett, but I do well enough in the housekeeping department. Where there is always room for improvement, I can feel comfortable with the fact that my unique set of Super Powers are being put to good use. Like Stan, I fill an important niche in my world. I shouldn’t be embarrassed by what I do – big or small – as long as I’m making the world a better place for humankind. I truely believe that the same goes for every human being on the planet.