Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Batman is the best superhero for the chronically ill

It's no secret that I like my superheroes. Spiderman and Batman tend to be my favorite and to be honest I think my love of Spiderman is more due to carrying on the memory of a friend who died tragically in high school... almost 10 years ago now. I think it's safe to say that I've never felt invincible because of Arthur, but her death was very hard on me. We weren't great friends, but still.

Thanks to pred, I could probably eat this whole cake right now.

But I've always loved Batman, from watching Adam West kapow bad guys to coloring books to Michael Keaton beating up the Joker. Naturally, I think that Heath Ledger was a much better - albeit very different - kind of Joker. The Nolan trilogy of Batman films I think shows a deeper side to Batman than we tend to see in other variations. He thinks more and honestly has some little existential crises. I love it.

Yesterday, I treated myself to a date now that I'm mostly over this damn C-diff infection. I went and saw The Dark Knight Rises. It was a great final piece of the trilogy and it ended exactly as it should have in my opinion. But as I was watching it and getting pulled in emotionally, I realized something.

Batman would make the best rapper ever, rhyming kapow with allow?

I realized that Batman is the perfect superhero for chronically ill people.

Why?

Many superheroes have sad stories in their past - Peter Parker's uncle was killed because he didn't see fit to intervene in a crime, Superman was basically an adopted alien, and Aquaman is just plain useless.

"I'll just use my abilities to summon seahorses to help save the world!"

Despite being privileged and growing up rich, Bruce Wayne had all he could ever want... except that all he wanted was his parents back. He wanted to end the pain that someone cause by pulling a trigger. Once we lose control over how our bodies react, that is all we ever seem to want - a normal body again. I live in the US and because of that I have a quality of life that I know many others will never experience. I want to change the world and make things better for people in worse situations, but often I am blinded by my issues, my pain. We also deal with inadequate pain control, insurance woes, and obesity - a lot more than other first world countries...


That cake is sounding really, really good right now.

Batman is who we want to be. We want to help fight injustice, to right the wrongs -  some of us focus on this by trying new medications or raising awareness. We all have times where people think we are out partying, when in reality we are working our butts off to do good. And I'm sure many of us can identify with the fact that Batman has existential crises. Seriously, he's like the Hamlet of the superhero world.

Through it all, Batman loves his Gotham - his home. He loves the people there and he wants them to be safe and happy. Despite all the wrong the city has done to him over the years, from persecuting him to using him as a scapegoat for the actions of others, he takes care of Gotham like it is his duty. I do my duty to protect and care for my body, despite the fact that it clearly continues to attack itself. If only I had some back-up...

I guess where I'm going with everything is that Batman knows pain, he embraces it. He uses the anger from his pain - and his desire to protect others - to mobilize himself and sometimes others to do the right things. Even though he faces deadly guns, he refuses to use them against villains because of his disdain for that kind of violence and his appreciation for life. In this third Nolan movie, he has basically no cartilage left in his knees and there is severe damage to his other joints to the point where he is using a cane and has become a hermit (well, that and the emotional pain of losing people you care about...).

Throughout the movie, his body takes more and more of a beating. He loses the crutch, instead opting for knee stabilizers and more. Despite the pains, he bounces back. He winces and he screams, but he always gets back up to fight no matter the odds.

And if that's not the meaning of the term spoonie, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I am ill, but I got something from your words. Hope you feel as good as you made me feel.

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