I’ve never been a fan of superheroes. Even as a kid, the concept of a superhero—or a super villain, for that matter—struck me as implausible and super silly. I mean, who could believe that stuff? I knew that I was far from invincible, as were the rest of the people in my life. What good would thinking about super powers do me besides make me curse my super boring life?
Take Superman, for example. According to his press, he’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Talk about delusions of grandeur!
I’m more a fan of reality. I like it when someone takes what they have, and they do the best they can with it. They don’t feel the need to exaggerate it or gamble it away in hopes that it will become something bigger or better.
I had a junior high friend who liked fantasy. In seventh grade, he discovered pornography. Then he couldn’t get enough of it. And soon afterward, I couldn’t get far enough away from him. Every thought in his head, every word that came out of his mouth was twisted by his addiction. He went from being a normal, active kid to someone with a diseased mind. Reality wasn’t enough for him. Ironically, though, his fantasies actually created more loneliness.
A neighbor of mine during high school discovered another fantasy called drugs. Remember the t-shirts that stoners used to wear years ago that said “Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs”? When he was seventeen, he pulled his car into his garage and passed out from a mixture of booze and drugs. The exhaust from the car pumped through the house. He died along with both of his parents. Reality was too boring for him. Ironically, his need for escape led him to a permanent exit.
The desire to escape into a fantasy world isn’t limited to teenagers. The one time I went to Atlantic City several years ago, I saw a lot of people in walkers at the slots with their Social Security checks. The sad reality was that these people struggled to afford groceries. But they gambled, locked into the fantasy that they could go from rags to riches.
People leave marriages for the same reason. “My marriage sucks. But (insert name here) excites me. I’m going to go be with (insert name here).” So someone strays, pursuing a fantasy relationship. But there a sad reality confronts the fantasy: You can leave, but you are still the same person you were. Guess what your reality is going to be like? It will be a repeat. Because you chased a fantasy and ignored the reality that you’re still the same flawed person you were.
This week, kabillions of people will watch the royal wedding on television, immersed in the fantasy that a commoner can marry a king or a prince. Perhaps Prince William is a prince inside and out, the greatest thing since sliced crumpets. The pageantry will be spectacular, and perhaps especially Americans with their Monarchy-envy will hold on to every picture and every word. Many women will fantasize that William is their own personal PRINCE CHARMING. But let’s be honest: in reality, 99.9% of the women watching will end up marrying a Bill or even a Willy.
I’m a fan of reality. Reality isn’t always airbrushed like glossy, color photos. Reality may not be as exciting as fantasy. Reality may not give you enough money to buy an island on the Mediterranean Sea. In reality, morning breath doesn’t smell like lilac and peppermint, and even the best relationships will go through periods of trials and frustrations. Reality can make us feel like we are settling for something less grandiose than we deserve.
But reality trumps fantasy in one tangible way: You can touch what is real. Try that with a fantasy.