Recently my husband, Rob, was talking with a co-worker about super heroes and he told him that “Toni’s favorite is Spider-Man.”
“What is it about Spider-Man that makes him her favorite?”
I believe that question caught Rob off guard. His answer had to do with the fact that I relate to him because we are both from Queens, New York.
Although that’s true, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
One of my friends mentioned to me after he saw Spider-Man 2 that he couldn’t help but think of me as he watched Peter Parker living from day to day.
Peter, like I, have the best intentions at heart, although, most times, there is something that temporarily prevents us to reach our goals even though we make it in the end. In that movie, Peter, was so sick of everyone blaming his alter ego for being a menace instead of a hero which he was. He gave up being Spider-Man because he wanted Peter to have some of the things that he wanted. He stood on the balcony of his apartment and asked himself – “Am I not supposed to have what I want, what I need. What am I supposed to do?”
You see I felt exactly like this a few times in my life. For example, I had to put my life on hold due to taking care of my mentally unstable brother for years. I was the only one working and needed to get all the bills paid and somehow make sure we had enough to eat and even that my cat, Bogart, continued to have a happy, healthy life. I literally did not have any money to buy myself anything extra and forget about having any kind of social life. Somehow or another, I managed to stay happy and positive during this time. As long as I had books to read, I was fine.
Sometimes, I couldn’t help but think of well what about me. When was the last time, I went to the movies, went on date? In the end, I did what I was supposed to do and it worked out well. I am now happily married to the best man that I know.
Aunt May gave Peter an encouraging speech in Spider-Man 2 in which she tells him that people will always need heroes. Courageous, self-sacrificing people who set examples for all of us. Everyone loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, and scream their names. Years later they will still be telling everyone how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of them.
Even though I know that it is all make believe, imagine a world where there are super heroes flying around to save us and giving us the extra push that we all need sometimes. I know I would be externally grateful for them. In one of my creative writing classes, we needed to write a story with this beginning sentence. Were it not impossible I would. I bet you guessed it correctly that I would choose to be a super hero.
Spider-Man taught me this valuable lesson. There truly is a hero in all of us. The voice that keeps us honest, gives us strength, and makes us noble. The inspiration that makes us hold on for a second longer. Even though sometimes, we have to be steady, and give up the things we want the most, even our dreams.
I still love to read a good Spider-Man comic book and when Peter is in school getting picked on by his classmates, I smile every time, remembering fondly the days I was in his shoes. I gradually became the woman I am today and that is partly due to my real life hero, my father.
My father was born in Naples, Italy and immigrated to New York when he was 16 years old. He didn’t speak English, so most of his classmates picked on him because of it. He instilled in me at a young age, that I shouldn’t make anyone feel out of place if they were different from me. He remembered the one nice student who took him under his wing and taught him how to speak English. My father became one of the most successful people on earth. Maybe not so much in material possessions, however, in the things that matter most in life. I am a kind person who loves animals because of my father.
For these reasons, and several more, I will be the first in line when the Amazing Spider-Man movie opens in July. I know right by my side, will be my very own amazing man, my husband, Rob.