Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fictional Heroes: Who I Am

It was a dark and stormy night. A shot rang out. Suddenly, a ship appeared on the horizon.
That's how his novel starts. I'm still waiting to see how Snoopy ties it all together in the second chapter. I've been waiting quite a while. Probably around 35 years or so. But I always knew that Snoopy was all about vivid imaginations, and that he one day would tie these disparate events together.

About the same time I was reading Peanut's booklets, I was also reading Archie comics. I remember the principal of Archie's high school teaching Archie that old cliché: "Winners never quit, and quitters never win."

Then there was the book series that had as its hero the guy with the ring that left a tattoo on his enemies' faces when he'd punch them; I can't remember his name, but I do remember that he could walk in a dark cave/tunnel, flipping on his light only for a second, memorizing what he saw, and then walk confidently in the dark for a good distance.

This guy was probably the lead-in for my later influence by Louis L'amour characters; be observant, travel by different routes to avoid patterns, do the Right Thing even when it costs, move silently when needed, don't waste bullets by missing your target; not that I'm good at any of these things.

Captain Kirk taught boldness, and risk-taking, and adventure.

Spock taught logic, and emotional control.

Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford taught the use of brains over brawn.

Col. Robert Hogan demonstrated coolness when trouble arises, and the ability to turn a bad situation, even being stuck in a WWII German POW camp, to your favor.

James West and Batman showed the importance of having the right tools, and of being prepared. Sometimes that tool is a well-trained horse or a derringer hidden in your boot heel; sometimes it's a Utility Belt or a car customized with safety nets and oil sprays.

Robert Petrie showed that a man should be a good and loving husband and father.

The Rifleman taught determination and bravery.

David Banner/the Hulk taught that we're different people in different situations, but that our basic character still shows through.

The Robinson family and the rest of the crew of the Jupiter 2 taught the necessity of keeping hopeful.

Dr. Richard Kimble amplified on that by teaching the principle of never giving in to hopelessness.

I'm sure there were lots of others.

I'm struck that so much of who I am came from television and books.

Then, there's Homer Simpson. D'oh!

1 comment:

Sheri said...

I've been told that the first line of Snoopy's novel: "It was a dark and stormy night" was actually the first line of a real novel. But it was so bad due to being full of tired old cliches and flat, unbelievable characters,that the book was ridiculed relentlessly. The Next Generation Star Trek used that same first line, which Capt Riker read and then said, "Not a promising beginning." The story line was that an early astronaut was somehow lost in space, found by aliens, who read the book and thought it described the man's culture. So they built him a world in which the plot of the book played out over and over again. It was so awful, the man lived out his days alone in his hotel room rather than interact with the characters. Er,...not that I also have been influenced by TV, or anything. Linus is my favorite Peanuts character: the philosopher, religious teacher, and blanket character. I think he and I are soul mates.