That’s right. Quitter might poo-poo the call of the superhero life but when I was 18, I embraced the gift bestowed on me in full awareness of all the responsibilities now in my care.
Kinda.Let me set the stage. 1997. I was working at your basic Canadian retail store, having started I believe 2 years before the legal age of employment, which perhaps was a red flag. But that was 1993. Now four years later, I was getting bored. I started looking for ways to make my 8 hours shift more tolerable. I one day decided the best choice was to physically type out all the product codes, creating a payment lines 15 people deep. After my boss told me to just use the damn scanner like the robot monkey I was being paid to be, I believe I also saw the twinkle in her eye that said “I need this whack job out of my department as often as possible.”
The following summer I was placed on garden centre duty which taught me the difference between an annual and perennial plant and knowing the specific type of manure I smelt like.
But it was the summer after that I was asked to become “The Hero”. Who was the hero? I still don’t know, other than he was some sort of anthropomorphic animal, a rabbit, I believe, intended to teach children how to be safe while, uhm, generally living I guess. I spent so much time asking what my motivation was supposed to be, how to play this mascot properly, but it was suggested I be quiet and get in the bunny (which…I think “Get in the bunny” should also be code for “Shut up – we’re doing this cocaine”…but off topic).
So here I am in a 25 pound costume. In summer. 45’c summer.
I was the worst “The Hero” in the entire history of this franchise.
I couldn’t’ see. I kept talking. I tripped a kid and knocked over a table filled with pamphlets about “General life safety”. They blew away and I took that opportunity to trip another kid.
But that was hour one.
By hour 2, I had full on heat stroke. I thought I was going to die. I wondered what it would feel like to vomit into a sack you couldn’t escape? I wondered if it would be worst to vomit within myself or to remove my head and break character? I cursed the designer of the mascot costume for not providing me with a drink hole.
By hour 3, I was leaned up again a wall, barely able to lift my head. Again, this was the 90s and no one questioned if maybe the teenager in that fuzzy get-up might be seeing the eternal bunny in the sky.
By hour 3 and 10 minutes, I quit. I went for my break and refused to be The Hero ever again. I guess my boss must have seen the look in my face that said “Oh. She’s mentally lawyering up for near killing her” and decided it was likely in her best interest to let me take the rest of the day.
So yes. I was scheduled to change mankind and save youngin’s from the general hazards of being alive for a contracted 6.5 hours and I quit at half. All heroes have to start somewhere.