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    Super Hero Sensibility

           Two of my close friends were kibitzing via text one day. One of them asked the other “Why does Clint wear so many super hero t-shirts?” The other responded “I don’t know. I haven’t figured that out.”.
           When one of my friends told me about this exchange, I chuckled. Then she asked me, point blank, about the super hero shirts. I thought about the question, but only for literally, a few seconds. I wanted my response to be raw and spontaneous, not over thought. So I said, “Could it be as simple as the fact that I find them really fun to wear, and I like how they look on me?”.
           On the surface level, it really is that simple. As always, though, I like to dig deeper and get to more. And although there are a lot of layers to me, probably more than there are with most, we are all multi layered beings. I find it fascinating, exciting, revealing, and fun, to do a deep dive and uncover more about what people are about; more about what’s going on inside them; to a place of deeper truth. It is a wonderful way to connect to someone, on a deeper level, a more intimate level, and it helps me understand them.
           It also helps them understand themselves better. Or at least, it has great potential for that. How often are we asked to go deeper into ourselves and get to something else? Not often enough, I say. When there is an exchange between two or more people, whether I’m asking you to go deeper or you’re asking me, there is great opportunity for both of us to discover more about each other, about ourselves, and indeed about the relationship. That’s a beautiful thing. It’s a stepping stone to a deeper friendship, or a deeper love, because of the very true phrase “Love Through Understanding”. We have the chance to love each other more when we understand each other. And we have the chance to love ourselves more when we understand ourselves better as well.
            If I dig a little deeper into the super hero t-shirt question, I find that the fun element has more to it. What exactly is “fun” about wearing the symbol of The Flash? It speaks to something deeper about me. I thrive on engaging people, on connecting to people. And my Flash t-shirt helps me do that. Because it illicits a response from some. And that response is a connection. A brief one sometimes. like someone saying to me “The Flash!”. I smile at them, point, sometimes give them a high five, and that’s it. But that feels good to me. For a brief moment in time, I engage and connect to a complete stranger. The world doesn’t seem so big and scary. I don’t feel so separate from all of humankind. I experience a oneness and a sense of community with this person, and indeed, the entire world, in that brief moment. All from that little, seemingly insignificant interaction. All from wearing a super hero t-shirt.
           Sometimes that brief connection leads to a whole conversation, which leads to a little deeper connection, an exchange of ideas, emotions, and even phone numbers. All because I decided to wear the bright red t-shirt with the lightning bolt on it instead of the black one with an embossed alligator over the nipple. Well, truth be told, I actually don’t own any of those alligator shirts. But you get the point.
           There are, I’m sure, those who look at me in my super hero t-shirt and make fun of me. Not to my face, but to themselves, or to their buddy sitting next to them. I’ve felt the hostile stares from some. That’s the risk you run when you do something, anything, even slightly outside the norm, or different, or unconventional. My preference would be to somehow connect to those people who are judging or ridiculing me. Many of them wouldn’t be interested in getting to know the person they are directing such negativity towards, but some would. Wouldn’t it be great if one of them came up to me and asked me “What is up with the shirt?”. That would start a conversation. And that conversation could lead to a connection, and who knows what else.
           I understand why most people would never do that. But I raise it as a possibility, and to illustrate a point. And to say that I personally would not find that kind of behavior strange or off putting. Different, yes, but I would welcome it. It would give me a chance to connect to another person. To get to know them a little better. They would have the opportunity to know me a little better too. They may, after a conversation, understand me better. And that may lead to a mutual feeling of connection to humanity, and a sense that we are all in this thing together. And as I’ve said, that’s a beautiful experience. Maybe it would be for them too.
           There’s also the possibility that they walk away from the conversation thinking I’m a complete jackass. That’s the chance you take when you risk engagement and attempt to connect to another. There’s no guarantee for success. Which is another reason why people don’t do it more often.
            Kids connect to super heroes because they represent something exciting, powerful, and larger than life. I still connect strongly to those concepts, and therefore still connect to t-shirts with super hero logos on them. I haven’t lost my ability to relate to fantasy and magic. Magic is indeed everywhere. We just have to be open to it; we have to turn up the gain on our Internal Magic Radar Detector. It’s in the sky at sunset. It’s in the smile a friend gives you when they greet you. It’s in your lover’s desire for you in the bedroom.
           And it’s in my Green Lantern t-shirt........

    ©2013 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.  

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