I learned at an early age that you can never count on anybody, especially your heroes. Mr. Incredible had taught me that much to my dismay, but in a way, I’m grateful that he did because he also taught me how to be a real man, a self-made man. For this reason and to this day, I work alone.
The other thing that Mr. Incredible had taught me was to never look back. His idiotic pride that led him to me had taught me that, and I guess in a strange way I will always be his number one fan. As for my parents, that’s a different story altogether.
My parents were never my heroes; they were far from even being decent people now that I look back at it, but I guess as a kid I was stupid enough to hold out hope that one day, they could change for the better. My mom must have been pretty young when they had me, but I can’t be sure. The last time I saw my parents was about thirteen years ago and only then did it dawn on me that my mother only looked about sixteen years older than me while my father looked like a typical middle aged man. At that time I was only about twelve or thirteen years old, and to this day it still creeps me out. It was also the age that I finally figured out what a shot-gun wedding was; it definitely explains why my parents never got along and argued all the time. Man, I must have been one hell of a naïve kid. Despite my obvious lapses in judgment as a kid, I can remember the very first day I idolized that buffoon Mr. Incredible.
I was a little younger when I started to get into superheroes; I must have only been nine or ten. I was reading the newspaper about Mr. Incredible’s latest feat of heroism when my father stumbled into the room. I continued reading on as I normally did sensing his drunkenness; it wasn’t until later that I learned that alcoholism was a problem because he’d always been drinking heavily as long as I could remember, so I thought it was normal for people to be drunk in the early afternoon. “What are you reading, faggot?” he slurred in his drunken rage, and he briskly grabbed the newspaper out of my hand. “Dad, you won’t believe it,” I said timidly, like the idiot that I was, “You see it in the paper? Mr. Incredible just pulled an entire cruise ship to shore just before it started sinking and…” My father cut me off mid-sentence and yelled, “I don’t give a rat’s ass about your stupid heroes!” He then proceeded to tear the newspaper into grey confetti as he shouted, “The only thing I care about is whether or not you did your goddamn chores! Did you do them Buddy?!” I gulped. I knew I had forgotten to wash the dishes, and I knew that punishment would be swift and merciless. “I’m sorry dad,” I whimpered helplessly, “I was going to do them today, and then I saw what was in the paper and..” Again, I was cut off mid-sentence, but not by my father’s shouting. He had a large bottle of wine, mostly empty, in his left hand and struck me on my chest so hard that it shattered. “You goddamned stupid queer!” He yelled at the top of his lungs, boiling with inebriated rage as I sobbed, “Now look what you’ve done, dipshit! Clean this up right now or I swear to God, I will give you something to REALLY cry about!” I quickly picked up the broken glass on the floor as I struggled to catch my breath. I waited for him to storm off before I tried to piece the newspaper back together, or at least, piece together the important headline and photo of Mr. Incredible.
“What are you doing hun?” My mother asked with sad boredom in her voice and added, “You know you shouldn’t get out of line with your father.” She was leering over me, her long blonde hair almost getting in my face as I was picking up the pieces of glass and paper. “I wasn’t doing anything, geez,” I muttered, to which she replied, “Sure you weren’t” with bitter sarcasm. I never knew why my parents seemed to hate me so much when I was younger, but looking back on it now, knowing what a shotgun wedding is to boot, it must’ve been a one night stand and they never wanted kids anyway. Boy did I pay the price for their selfish mistakes. But as it was, I loved my parents when I was younger and tried to do my best to please them. “No, really, I didn’t do anything,” I pleaded with my mother, to which she just sighed and walked away. As she turned her head I noticed a large bruise on her neck; she probably got smart with my dad too, and he didn’t spare anybody who got in his way. “I’m making dinner,” my mother sighed sadly, “Just go watch TV or something till it’s ready.” Not wanting to incur the wrath of both my mother AND father, I did as she said. I tried to find some cartoons to watch, but nothing was particularly funny that day, but it’s probably because of the intense melancholy around the house at the time. When I switched it to the news that day, my face lit up with pure joy as I heard the breaking news:
“Mr. Incredible has done yet another fantastic feat of goodness this fine day,” the main anchor said proudly, “As he has singlehandedly saved an entire school bus full of children from careening off of a cliff.” The news crew then showed Mr. Incredible surrounded by several smiling kids, all around my age, and he looked happily into the news camera and said, “It’s really nothing. I’m just doing what I would do for my own children, should I have them one day.” Mr. Incredible and the anchor chuckled and they proceeded with the interview. I’ll never forget his kind smiling eyes. I’ll never forget how sincere he was with all of those children, and I remember it was on that day that I knew what I wanted to be: Incrediboy.
Despite the fact that I had no super-powers, I knew that I was destined to be Mr. Incredible’s sidekick because I was incredibly intelligent, if not a groundbreaking genius in my humble opinion, so I set off for the next couple years building the tools I’d need to get his attention. First was the awesome outfit with the matching cape that I managed to stitch by hand; it was difficult to say the least because I had to steal some of my dad’s old work clothes that he didn’t really use anymore, but he sure was touchy about people getting into his stuff, especially when I did it. I got a good beating that evening, but the craftsmanship of that cape was worth it. Then came the rocket shoes, and this was even more challenging to make than the cape to put it lightly. I don’t know how many sleepless nights I spent perfecting those shoes or how many beatings I received for forgetting to do my chores as I meticulously labored over them, but again I knew it would be worth it to see Mr. Incredible’s smile on his face as he would take me under his wing saying, “You’ve done great, kid. You really have.”
I never got to see Mr. Incredible’s smiling face. I never heard him once tell me that all of the effort I put in to support him paid off for anything. He had it all: power, fame, and adoration by all. I wanted so much to be a part of that I would have killed to just take three steps in his shoes, and I tried to get a piece of that for myself just to feel like somebody who would be worth something for once. Yes, I saw his face and heard his voice, but to him I was nothing. I remember trying my best to appease him the day he saved that suicide victim. I remember flying up to the top of the building where he was to meet him in person with my idiotic and feeble hopes that maybe, one day, Mr. Incredible could have been the father I never had and always wanted. Most of all, I remember his stone cold face and deadpan demeanor when I only offered to help, only to be met with what he said that still embitters me to this day:
“Fly home, Buddy. I work alone.”
It was only then that I realized what a truly pathetic monster he really is. Mr. Incredible doesn’t do anything for anybody else; he does everything for himself and himself alone, fulfilling his despicable greed for power by committing so-called “heroic” acts and justifying them based on his wayward moral compass. I may have been young when I witnessed this, but I’m nobody’s fool. I can’t lie; it really did break my heart to see that my only hero was just as much of a monster as my deplorable parents, but in a way, I’m grateful that he was the one who taught me this important lesson. Seeing his face on television with those smiling children was one thing, but to actually see Mr. Incredible dish out stone cold rejection to my face was another. I don’t remember how severely beaten I was when I got home, and to be honest I didn’t care what my parents did to me anymore. I knew I would get the last laugh, and with my hard work and sheer brain power, I did, even though I don’t have those precious “super-powers” that Mr. Incredible and all those other pigs rely on just to get through one normal day. So, to anyone who may find me, let this be a lesson to you all:
You can never count on anyone, especially your heroes.