Dennis O’Neil: Superman and the Big Blow
This week I thought maybe I’d do a few hundred words on Superman. Instead, I find myself sitting here wishing that Superman really existed and I knew him and he owed me a favor and I had him on speed dial.
Another big blow coming. Here we go again.
I saw my first hurricane when I was on an aircraft carrier in the Caribbean. I watched gigantic waves breaking over the ship’s bow and thought, wow – this’ll make a man believe in an Almighty. It was a glorious experience and I’m glad I had it.
A couple of years ago I had dinner with old friend/colleague Annie Nocenti, who was shortly to leave to teach a film class in Haiti. She was there when Katrina decimated that eternally tormented island nation. For while, I lost touch with her and I worried. But she was okay and we’ve exchanged emails since.
Next came a trip to the Midwest and a tornado that passed about a half mile from our hotel. The next morning Marifran and I drove through the suburb she grew up in. It looked like a toy town kicked by a careless child.
Then home again and soon…our gal Hurricane Irene, the fifth costliest big wind in U.S. history. We lost two trees, one of which hit and damaged the car. It could have been worse.
And now, on a gloomy October 27, the weather folk are saying that Sandy will be worse than Irene. “Widespread devastation” – that was the phrase one forecaster used. What to do? Not much. Fill jugs and sinks with water. Put inside the stuff on the lawn. Make sure we have batteries for the radio, and canned food that can be eaten cold if necessary. And…hold on to our asses. Tuesday morning’s when the fun is expected to start. It will all be over by Wednesday; Thursday at the latest. Happy Halloween.
Enter he who isn’t – Superman. Surely a guy who can “change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel in his bare hands” can deal with a lot of feisty wind. (Though, I admit, bending steel is pretty small potatoes.) Part of the reason we invented superheroes – and, cynics might aver, deities – is that sometimes we feel helpless and sometimes we are helpless and we want…no, we need to believe that some great something who likes us, some mamadaddy who offers unconditional love, will come along to save us. Imagining such a being might be better than nothing. Believing in such a being might be even better.
Deja vu, anyone? (And yes, I know that one of the synonyms for deja vu is “boredom.”) Okay, I’ve perpetrated this kind of blather before, less than a year ago. So let me make a deal with the universe: you stop throwing monster storms at me and I’ll stop whining.
I mean, I lived the first 71 years of my life having experienced only two total hurricanes (and a couple of tornados, but maybe they shouldn’t count.) Now – two in two years? C’mon, universe!
Ah, but the universe doesn’t negotiate, does it?
Maybe Superman does.
(Editor’s note: Denny wrote this before Hurricane Sandy hit our area, and Ye Ed is ye editing it the same day. So whatever Sandy did to us… right now you know more about it than we do.)
FRIDAY: Martha Thomases, if the creek don’t rise.