Crippled CEO Blog #58:
When you walk into my house, the first thing you see is a framed comic book cover with Superman and Muhammad Ali squared off in a boxing ring. The cover is signed by Christopher Reeve and Ali. Beneath that, also in a frame, is a copy of the film script for the movie Superman. It is also signed, this time by the entire cast.
The next thing you notice, as you continue to enter, is that the house is filled with rather large statues of various superheroes and other beloved characters. Like… a lot of them. And even though everything from Marvel to DC to Star Wars to the Witcher is represented, you notice one particular hero is OVER represented: Superman. If you counted, you would find 13 statues wearing the famous red cape.
I love Superman.
All of the cool kids (and by kids I include my contemporaries) these days prefer Batman. He’s dark. He’s edgy. He’s flawed. He’s a bad ass. He is awesome without superpowers. He’s what every guy wishes he could be. He’s just… cooler. Definitely cooler than the hokey Superman — Mr. Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
This is why there’s been so many massively successful Batman movies, with more on the way, while Superman struggles to get a hit.
But I still love Superman.
While Batman is “cool,” Superman represents everything that should be cool, but isn’t. While every young boy wants to BE Batman, if you had to pick one to be your best friend, you pick Superman. Batman is a jerk. But Supes is unrelenting positively. The bearer of the most recognized symbol on Earth besides the Christian cross knows unequivocally that doing the right thing is always the right thing.
How many of us, imbued with Godlike powers, would treat the people around us perfectly, kindly, and humbly? Nobody. Literally nobody. How many times have you heard people say what they would do if they won the lottery, and that included telling certain people what’s what? And that’s just getting a bit of money. Even when emboldened just by cash in the bank, people get meaner. But Superman provides a better example of how to be. He shows us that the real strength is in restraint, that there is power in letting people think they are walking over you… when you hold all the cards. He shows us that true character is being kind, gracious, and generous even when you don’t have to be.
When Batman takes off the suit, he’s… himself. He’s Bruce Wayne — billionaire and CEO. ALSO cool.
Superman‘s disguise isn’t the famous red and blue suit. That’s not his costume. Those are his actual clothes. That is what an alien from Krypton would wear. His costume, his disguise, is Clark Kent — the suit, the tie… the glasses. But most importantly, the personality.
The man of steel could have made his alter ego anything. He could have been a rockstar, a powerful lawyer, or a successful surgeon. Literally whatever he wanted.
But instead he pretends to be human by portraying us as he sees us. Clumsy, awkward, lacking confidence, uncoordinated, a bit skittish, but still pure, still nice, still polite, and still filled with potential and possibilities. He shows there’s nothing wrong with being kind of goofy, and lets other people tease him without taking offense. Because he has no ego, and because deep down he knows who he really is, he’s not bothered by the opinions of others.
It is hard for people in the modern world to connect with Superman. He seems cheesy and unrealistic. Nothing about him seems “cool.” But maybe he should be. Maybe he’s the kind of person we should be striving toward, who isn’t corny, but instead an ideal. Maybe, one day, kindness, compassion, and always doing the right thing will be the coolest things a person can be.
(Did you like this one? Maybe consider sharing it. If you would like to make sure that you never miss one, send a text message with the word CRIP to the number 484848.)