Lots of people go to the San Diego Comic-Con looking to be a superhero.
Through a small act of happenstance, I got my chance.
The convention floor is insanely packed. Imagine taking the crowd from Lollapalooza, Burning Man and the Super Bowl, wrapping them all in spandex, and cramming them into a warehouse with the fans from the Twilight series, and you will get a pretty good idea of what the San Diego Con is like.
I very clearly remember thinking at one point that if there was a fire in the building, we were all going to die, unless the gigantic swag bag they gave us was flame retardant, then maybe I could just hide inside there.
At one point my daughter and I were walking around the floor when a little boy, of maybe around six, gently tugged on my spandex clad hand. At first I thought he wanted a picture, because I was dressed as Green Lantern, and people had been stopping me all day asking for pictures. I looked around for a parent with a camera, but couldn’t see one anywhere. When I looked back to the boy, I noticed the sadness and terror on his face.
He was lost.
As I knelt down to talk to him, I had another realization; he was coming to me for help, because he thought I was Green Lantern. Of all the costume wearing geeks around us, this boy chose me to come to for help.
All of my life I have waited for the opportunity to put on a Superhero costume, and save the day. I remember being a child about this boy’s age and seeing Christopher Reeve on the big screen, running down the street, tearing open his shirt to reveal the giant red ‘S’ on his chest, right before saving everyone around him.
I remember seeing this and thinking to myself: that, right there, that is what I want to do with my life. Seeing how the past 40 or so years of my life hadn’t provided me with the opportunity to do that yet, I figured this might be as close as I come to living out that dream.
I made a silent vow, to myself, and every other wannabe superhero in the world that I would not let this child down. I would find his parents, or die trying, and maybe buy the kid a churro if it took longer than 10 minutes because I was getting hungry.
I started to shout out, asking for people to see if they were missing anybody, but no one wanted to pay attention to the fat, bald, 40-something guy wearing nothing but a thin layer of spandex and a baseball cup.
The kid looked at me with an, “Is that all you’re going to do?” look.
Why no, young citizen, that’s not all I’m going to do.
I put the kid on my shoulders and did a slow 360 hoping he would see his parents and that I wouldn’t be arrested for some type of kidnapping or pedophilia. The kid couldn’t see his parents, and it quickly became apparent that this plan wasn’t working either. It was time to get serious. Beware my Green Lantern power and all that.
One of the booths nearby had a table, and much to the vendor’s anger, I climbed on his table and started yelling at people that there was a little lost boy, and would they please stop for a moment and help find his parents. This time people paid attention, or they waited to see if the table would collapse under my weight and I would hurt myself.
I continued to yell and soon someone was pushing a megaphone into my hands. I had no idea where it came from, but I started shouting into the megaphone, and now people were doing more than just listening, they were looking around them. And the word was spreading. Soon the overhead speaker was announcing that there was a missing child, and a moment later, a panic stricken mother was running toward me, yelling the boy’s name.
People began to clap and cheer, and I walked away feeling better than I had in years.
No matter what else could or would happen on this trip, this moment went right
Not three minutes later, a guy in a Game of Thrones t-shirt walked by me and told me my Green Lantern costume sucked.
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Editor: Travis May
photo: Wiki Commons