Journal entry: May 7, 1976 (age 7) — Early Planning for a Super Career
Adults seem to think that career planning is on the mind of the average grade-schooler. We are regularly asked, by relatives and strangers alike, what we want to be when we grow up. My standard answer has always been “a lion.” Lions are the kings of the jungle, and it seemed to me that a jungle would be a fun place to live.
But now that I’m in first grade, I’ve given more serious thought to the question. It’s occurred to me that lions are limited by their habitat. I still think I’d like the jungle, but if I wanted to visit my family, I’d probably have to bunk down at the Ross Park Zoo. That wouldn’t be so bad either, but most of the open cages are directly downwind of the buffalo exhibit.
I now plan to be a superhero. The hours can be a little crazy, but perks such as human flight and X-ray vision would make up for that. From the comic books that my brother, Bob buys me, I’ve learned that most superheroes hide their powers until they are adults. Even when they are adults, they maintain double identities to keep their powers secret.
Both of these ideas seem lame to me. I’ve decided to be a full-fledged superhero now, as a kid. Who needs superhuman assistance more than other little kids? And if I’m right there in the lunch line to prevent a bully from sucking the Jell-O off a smaller kid’s tray, I’m going to go for it. And why hide who I am? I don’t need a fake name or a weird costume to do my thing. I’m Super Tim, and people are just going to have to deal with it.
I’ve told my family and friends about my career choice, and, in general, they’re supportive. My Aunt Millie Grace has been particularly encouraging. My birthday was this past Tuesday, and she made me the best present I’ve ever gotten. It’s a yellow T-shirt with a strip of black around the collar and the ends of the sleeves. But that’s not the cool part. The cool part is the back of the shirt, where she ironed on big, black letters that spell out “SUPER TIM.”
Today is dress-down day at St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary, so I was allowed to wear my awesome new shirt to school. Everybody’s been asking about it. I’ve been explaining that most superheroes waste their childhoods trying to fit in. “I’m starting to be super right away, to get some good practice in.”
At my lunch table, I gave a little demonstration to quiet the naysayers. I stood up, and invited the other kids to gather round. I then held a hamburger high over my head, pivoting so that everyone could get a good look at it. Then I shoved the entire burger and roll into my mouth. For a normal, sub-super child, it would have taken at least three bites to send that mega-sandwich to its digester. As hands clapped me on the back, and raspberry Zingers were offered in tribute, I shouted in garbled triumph: “Try THAT, evildoers!”