ADAPT OR DIE
"Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system- with all these exalted powers- Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”
My name is Clark Kent and perhaps you are old enough to recognize me as a notable reporter for the Daily Planet. I was an investigative journalist for my entire adult life, and I have kept the largest secret the world has ever known.
There are many things about me which you will not understand. That I have been in love and married to the woman of my dreams for 50 years. That I was surrounded by caring supportive parents. That my childhood was spent on a farm. An upbringing that must seem alien to most of you today, with our sprawling highways and developments. That I genuinely care about every individual I encounter, and that I am able to walk on air, capable of enduring more than a normal human could, incinerate an object with a precision glance, and lift a car without breaking a sweat.
My real name is Superman.
You may feel deceived. Though they are long gone, you may recall a time when I was adamant about truth, justice, and the American way.
After all, even a superman is still a man at heart and I was naïve. However, the true measure of a man is that he does not let the fact he was naïve, or has lost face, harden him, or weaken his resolve. They are after all Ideals I still aspire to, even if they’ve been soiled by another’s misdeeds.
Reflecting on naivety and youth, I remember the feeling of my first time falling out of a window. Of working out the system to change into my costume while mid air. It took several variations, a few wool jackets, but soon I had a formula. So to, am I reminded of the sounds of the city when I first arrived. A cacophony compared to the calm of small town living. It took a lot of adjusting, but some things remain true.
I’ve often thought hard about what drives me to do what I do. My basic and bare answer is, because I can. I could philosophize all day, but there are some men who are pushed to do good, then there are those who will because the opportunity is open.
Bruce, The Batman, and I shared much in common. We were two sides of the same coin and we reflected the feelings of the American Populace to the point that we formed a brotherhood out of that sheer necessity. We participated but we were not active with the JSA, which left us to forge a path for ourselves. We were the perfect devils advocate for one another. Our bond was something we needed in those early days.
He was a troubled soul, who operated more out of discipline and habit than out of sheer volition. He had become a machine, and more often than not, he was acting on training and instincts than in the moment. He was always restrained, always in check, he had to be or else impulse would of shattered the line between him and the monsters he faced. They say The Batman was not afraid of anything. He was afraid. Afraid of becoming what he feared the most, the things he hunted in the night. When he saw a child succumb to the same fate as him, it changed his perception of his world. He took the young boy in and realized that his path was darkening.
He was careful not to subject the child to any real harm, but he knew that if he did not intervene, that if he did not open this avenue to him, that the boy would be consumed by his anger.
Bruce did as much philanthropy as he did crime fighting. His ultimate goal was to be proactive, instead of reactive. He was a meticulous planner, and he knew that if he changed the rules of the game that he would change the game. He was adamant from the day I met him, that we not try to change a malfunctioning society from within.
Though we were not able to completely understand each others perspectives, we were able to communicate, and I look back on all we have accomplished and endured, and my dear friend will be missed.
When we first encountered the JSA it reminded me more of a boys club than of an organization intended to reflect the whole of America. While Bruce and I wanted to have as much exposure and use as many outlets as possible to champion our causes, it was the day that Wonder Woman was denied membership that we began to limit our interaction with the JSA.
I’ve always felt a kinship with Wonder Woman. Both of us coming to a culture completely alien to us. We used to get together monthly for lunch and I’d listen to her speak of the differences and troubles she faced being a woman, not that she didn’t have her hands full with the hoods and kooks running around in get-ups making our work that much harder.
She is a dear friend, but I realize now, the main difference between us, is she still has a home to return to. This is my world, and I’ve given myself and more for it. To ensure it evolves into the kind of place where a superman is obsolete.
to be continued....