I’ve never actually given up on being a superhero (superheroine).
I’ve been reading comics since age… 8? I started with Archie, but soon blossomed into comics with fully violent characters who pranced around in sexually inappropriate S&M outfits in broad daylight, and saved the world from equally bizarrely-motivated and strangly dressed evil-doers in the process (I’m lookin’ at you, X-Men).
I was brainwashed by said sexy/violent comics from a very young age to believe that with the right timing, martial arts training and clever one-liners, I too could beat the shit out of criminals on a semi-nightly basis. Is it childish to believe I could still do this?
Here’s the biggest problem with fighting crime: you have to be there as it happens. How long does Batman spend crouched on rooftops night after night, watching nothing of note unfold on the streets below? I’m guessing hours and fucking hours. But with supervillains running around, there’s plenty of lawless extra-curricular activity to shut down.
So here’s my problem: I don’t live in Gotham. There aren’t a bunch of crazies scheduling heists and telling everyone and their mom about it so I can show up to save the day. Crime in the real world happens fast and usually without much planning, and definitely without uniformed goons carrying out the plans of some lunatic. I do not have my ear to the ground for news within the cocaine racket. I am incapable of learning about significant illegal activities (to a point where I could be a useful masked crusader) without joining the police, or a gang. Neither of which is sounding too appealing right now.
But that hasn’t stopped me from considering going through with it.
I look at masks online, considering the pros and cons of displaying the lower-half of my face. I think of what my outfit would look like (no cape), what my equipment might consist of (short, blunt weapons, stun gun). Then I think practically: when would I get the chance to change into this getup? While the crime is going on? So I would just leave while people get robbed or shot at or beaten? Would I wear my costume beneath my clothes all the time so I wouldn’t have to change into it? The whole situation is totally impossible.
But then I think, I don’t need to be on the prowl for criminals. I would just have to react if I ever got the chance. No time to change into costume, or even reveal a costume.
But there would be time to don a mask.
Masks… are really, really cool. I want one. I want to wear one. I want to need one so I can justify spending too much money on one. But then I think, The paper trail! Don’t leave one! In case this whole thing gets out of hand. In case I end up on Youtube as some local heroine, and the police search for someone who purchased a mask like mine in the last year, and they’ll find me! And then bring me in for questioning! That’d be pretty gnarly.
There’s a part of me that will always think of this a totally doable because I want to protect those around me. It’s in my nature to be a guardian. I can’t imagine that ever changing.