Heroes Wear Masks, Again
Heroes Wear Masks, Again, or ‘How I Learned To Love At Least Not Making Things Worse’
As told to Kevin Healy by Beauregard J. Sanderson III on this day the fifth of August, 2021.
He was old. Too old. He looked like a wrinkled peach, left in a dehydrator two weeks too long. A peach, with a mouth, and some strong opinions. He fought in World War II (and 1 if we’re to believe him). Presented here today with minor editing to assure family friendly content. This is my conversation with Beau.
“Beau, if he were prettier.”
Beau- “We didn’t have masks during the big one…well the first big one for sure. I prefer my mustard on a dog by Wrigley, not as a gas. They were different times though, and I’m not fully believing they’re the ones that we should be relating to now. What I want to say is about what happened after I came home, about the comics. Sure, we had Cap and Toro and even Namor back then, but I’m not sure we needed them. People were lining up to do the right thing. No, I wanna talk about the comics now.”
“They actually WERE All Winners.”
We can do that, I tell him. I’m recording. Just let me know if there’s anything you need to change.
Beau- “Change SOMEthing? I’d like to change a whole **** of a lot, that’s for **** sure. Can’t though, and not why we’re here anyway, boy. So, where was I? The comics, oh the way comics are looked at today. Seems there’s just about someone everywhere thinkin’ they’re gonna be a real life superhero. I may not be able to get out of this chair, but you can be **** sure I seen them people dressing up like Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Batman (and you better put the ‘THE’ in there), and the like. I’ve seen those people raise money a plenty for folks what needed help, goin’ to hospitals and such. People just instinctively have a …what in the **** would you call it…how ‘bout a Spidey Sense…”
“Spidey Sense, in the superior half-face version”
Beau broke off here, and its my pleasure to report he was laughing his *** off, having amused himself to no end.
Beau-“Anyway…I think people want to do the right thing, but I think maybe there aren’t as many examples to follow as before, there’s some rotten apples appealing to lesser angels in otherwise good people. If all I’d had to do to fight the Kaiser and what followed was wear a mask and wash my hands, you can be sure I’d still have ol’ lefty there.”
Kaiser Wilhelm: not great.
Kaiser Soze: problematic for a bunch of reasons now.
Kaiser Roll: Less evil, but heavy on carbs.
He points to the peg where his left foot used to be. He lost it in 1943 when it was unceremoniously introduced to a potato masher.
“When all you have is a potato masher, every problem is a potato.”
Beau- “I wasn’t able to go out of the house for a year last year. That was unfortunate, unpleasant, and unwelcome. Didn’t see my family- they’re on the coast. Did I want to see them? Would I do whatever it took? I have two **** great grandkids, don’t I? No, no cajoling needed for me. You can bet your *** as soon as Dr. Macguilicutty’s Magic Arm Juice was available I got myself set to not get ******* polio, and there was no waitin’ this time around either.
But comics…that’s what we’re talking about. Spidey’s my favorite, always has been since I met him. Pete’s been through some ****, hasn’t he? How does a Staff Sgt. end up reading comics in the 60’s? My son, backwards little thing that he was, that’s how. You’ve heard plenty about plenty like him, small kid, big brain, awkward as ****. He needed some friends who weren’t gonna hold his head in the dirt, and most of those friends was books. He learned that you that you needed to stand up to bullies even if you can’t climb walls, that you need to do what’s right. How could I argue with any of that? ‘With no power comes great responsibility’, we used to say.”
“Unmasked Peter Parker is holding up progress”
Beau slows down here, gets quieter.
Beau-“Terry, my son, he passed too soon and his Caroline before him. They named their boy Pete (can’t say there was a one of us who was surprised). Pete was a spitting image of his pop, and I made **** sure he knew what his dad stood for, and how he got the stones to do it. We’d read Terry’s comics when he was missing his dad, or I was missing his dad. Tried like **** to be an Uncle Ben even if my Aunt May wasn’t with us anymore.”
“His boy? Pete Jr. Finally a junior in the family. I was never gonna saddle Terry with bein’ a Beau Jr., and Margaret God rest her wouldn’ta let me if I tried. Anyway, Petey J, I didn’t get to see him last year for fairly ******* obvious reasons. He’s got his dad’s love of the books, even if they’re only reprints. 13 years old, whip smart, and back in my living room again so we can read ‘em together. Funny thing about a whip smart 13 year old- They adapt real quick. When he heard we were gonna have to go back to masks because things were getting worse and that people were fighting that, he didn’t pause a pip:”
“This baby gets it.”
“So all we have to do is put on a mask, the same kind of mask we wore last year that kept you from getting sick? And we only have to do it a BIT? Because the virus changed? And people won’t do that? That’s like when Pete could have tripped that burglar! Don’t they realize you just have to make a LITTLE effort to make things better? That if you don’t, it might come back to haunt you? You fought ******
Nazis …how does that make you feel?”
“You know he would have worn one if asked, right?”
“Proud. I told him, not that he understood why. Proud, because he got how easy it was do something. Proud because he understood using just a bit of responsibility to help everyone out. Proud because he swears like me when his dad’s not around.´ Proud of my boy’s boy, and the boy he was raising.”
“Or maybe he did understand. Like I said, the little **** is whip smart. Anyway, my legs hurtin’, and I’ve got a different spidey sense tingling that’s gonna require a hop to the pop. Go on and see yourself out.”