“Pardon me, as I burst into flames” – Incubus/ The Flaming Torch (Fantastic Four)
Dear friend I write to you this time in more haste than ever before. I hope that will excuse my terrible handwriting which you analysed yesterday to show without a doubt that I had terrible handwriting. You and I and the general public have disagreed before, and will disagree again. This is as certain as the sun shining and people sipping tea noisily. But on some things I have come to realise, I have been made to realise, that some things are not mere opinions that I can disagree with. Some things are hard facts carved into our reality and set into society. Some things that simply are, because they have been and thus also will be. To disagree with an erupting volcano is to be covered in ash and discovered by archaeologists years later who will judge your fossilised scream and dirty house.
I’m sorry for not enjoying super hero movies. I know this is a tough subject to broach, but I beg you to hear me out. There is honour in proclaiming your view, however misguided. The evil criminals behind a bar I give some respect if they plead guilty. In this I am also guilty. It was an autumn evening when I was walking down the street with my regular Coke and non vegetarian biryani. I was giddy with happiness, having got of the job that I most certainly do not enjoy, walking down the street to try to see how I could fill up some time.
I passed our nearest multiplex, and thought quietly about the days of singular plexes. I prefer things that happened a while ago. That’s when I saw that almost all movies that are released are some sort of super hero movie. Everything that has a budget and is popular has people who have abilities that surpass those of humans in some way. I decided to walk watch a movie, you will forgive me for not remembering which. I know it was a masterpiece of artistry and story telling yet high art I repeatedly say is completely lost on me. I watched for ninety minutes as I hate things that were magnificently fried, explosions, destruction, poorly designed armour for beings that for some reason require armour.
I must admit, and I don’t reiterate this to hurt you, that I don’t enjoy it. I know it is unreasonable and shocking and stupid, but somehow telling simplistic stories with expensive visuals does not entice me as it rightly should. I know I shouldn’t crib about why we can’t have blockbusters about the millions of other stories that exist in the world to tell. Why we can’t just have a new story from scratch rather than an adaptation of an existing story based on a myth packaged for children and repackaged for adults and then edited down to suit both children and adults. I know now how wrong I am and I wish I knew how wrong I was last night.
As I walked out of the theatre a simple man approached me. He looked deep into my eyes and asked me how the movie I had just seen was. Normally I weigh all the words that I say in public with great care and trepidation. I have made the mistake many times of saying unfiltered the things that I think and I know from experience that this only leads to great sorrow and many many letters of apology. But this simple man took me by surprise, he seemed almost with his gaze to draw out the answers from inside my mind. I told him -and my eyes weep with tears even to recall this- that I thought it was “tired of seeing superhero movies”.
The world came to a screeching halt. People dropped their large glasses of non diet Coke, a woman stopped as inertia carried her child down the stairs in a stroller. The simple man looked at me and patted me on the shoulder. He shook his head and walked away. I should have known right then that this was no ordinary man. No, an ordinary man cannot extract so simply, so easily, the truth from another human. This was a man with powers, the power to see inside a mind and know what truly exists without saying. I had met a listicle writer.
I hoped this would blow over, I thought no one else would know about my failing, but the next morning I saw an article on the internet. “5 stupid things this man thought about superheroes”. I collapsed on the floor. My throat thick with nausea. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t expel the sickness inside. I was the sickness. My thoughts were the sickness. I know you read this article, and it is only with you that I really wish to make amends. Some things are right and some things are wrong and some things are unforgivable. I hope this is not one of those things.
I have sent you a story though, and don’t grudge me for saying this, but it is a story about an ordinary man. A man who speaks his mind and is mocked by the world for thinking the things that he does. There are no explosions and no requirement to use a green screen. I beseech you, I implore you to read this. Do not be shocked at how there is no great tragedy in his past and almost a complete lack of fighting ability. But just get through the journey of his man and his struggle against adversity. If you like this story, then stand outside your house and tap your garbage can three times. I will know you like it, and I will visit you when the coast is clear.
I am not living in the garbage can, just FYI. You might think that, but I’m not, so there’s no point checking the garbage can, so don’t check.
If you don’t like the story, then I will understand, and you can just throw a bunch of sandwiches or some food that you ordered last night into the garbage. I think it’s gone bad.