the lost man chronicles
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the real superman is dead (to be an average, aging man)

On Saturday morning, at about 1:48 AM, I woke up feeling quite parched. I felt dry and drained—thoroughly dehydrated. I had had one beer at dinner, and foolishly had not drunk anything otherwise since my iced-tea at lunch, prior to which I had only had my usual two cups of morning coffee.

Consequently, the toxic combination of caffeine and alcohol readily acted in unison and in the middle of the night my body righteously complained of my carelessness and moved me into redeeming action, to adjust against the neglect of my usually astute and rational mind.

Moving at dark-speed I felt my way downstairs to the kitchen, and after a think-klink-klunk and thunk of four cubes, I poured three-quarters of a tall glass full of thick raspberry cider, topped off with refreshingly complementary raspberry seltzer.

With the first gulp I felt rehydrated instantaneously. It was an incredible feeling, to say the least.

In the process of making this thirst-quenching elixir, I had dropped an ice cube. And in the dimly lit room with little help from grossly myopic vision, I looked down into the vast void of the blur. I decided to attempt the rescue blindly and closed my eyes to concentrate, following my audio memory, measuring out to where I thought it might be by estimating the distance acoustically. Searching with my right foot, I slowly moved it forward until to where I thought I heard the cube drop. I sighed pitifully, pondering the sad state of my vision, thinking, “if it is this bad now, just think how bad it will be when I am haplessly an old man.”

But as my big toe came upon the slippery chill, almost exactly at the spot where I thought the cube ought to be, it occurred to me that I could probably, quite easily, rely on my other senses to get along. And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Subsequently, the next day while I sat at service listening to the quieting piano interlude Plus ne regres, composed by Marco Antonio Cavazzoni, the serene chordial hammering instilled the feeling that I could suffer and bear anything.

I had shut my eyes and the light shadows of the Unitarian Universalist church and the parishioners surrounding me clearly juxtaposed as an outline of white against the dark, and for a fantastic moment I thought I could survive, if not thrive, with little else. The thought flourished and I thought and thought and thought that maybe, merely visual memory might suffice, that should I succumb to the ravages of old age gracefully, and I am as blind as I anticipate I will be someday, that I can indeed be as functional and happy as ever.

I armed this course of justification, by contemplating the troubled bliss of brave exemplars like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, who both have showed the world how to make peace with you got and ‘ve been given, to dig deep and extract a little sumthin’ more than anyone could ever expect from you. For their incredible artistry and music are shining examples oh how much is possible, despite disability.

At the exit of the chapel was posted a black and white flier in memoriam to Christoper Reeve, it read “The real superman is dead.” That first line alone did, and still, makes me tear immediately with full comprehension of the truth poignantly relayed by those five words. For he too was a great example of how it is possible to overcome what others deem impossible.

After such enlightenment, any and all the inconveniences of my mortality paled in comparison and I smiled, grateful for having been reminded of how lucky I really am - to be, if only, merely an average, aging man.

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