The Last Avenger

I think it’s safe to say we live in a new golden age of superheros, our movie and small screens are filled with vigilantes, mutants, and benevolent aliens ready to fight for truth and justice. These characters often invoke feelings of aspiration, they sometimes prompt us to look within ourselves and see the possibility of our own potential heroism, other times we just want to rock cool merchandise with their likeness, It was on one such occasion that I was walking through the Greenwich Village on a nice summer day proudly sporting a Captain America t-shirt, and with every step I felt patriotism steaming out my pores and felt as strong as anyone ever injected with a super soldier serum, or at least had a real good cup of coffee. As I was making my way through the neighborhood taking in all the sights and sounds, a homeless man in a wheelchair shouted at me “Hey Captain America let me get a dollar.” Now I have no problem giving money to a panhandler even if their story may not sound legit, but I had no change or singles in my pockets and as a sometimes overly cautious New Yorker I am not prone to taking my wallet out in the street in front of strangers asking for money, so I gently said “Sorry can’t help.” A denial that was met by a rage only the Avengers or Justice League could stand against. “Hey man you ain’t no hero, you a fake hero” shouted the angry panhandler with a fury usually seen only in a supervillian’s lair when his or her plans have gone awry. I was taken aback by the response and kept walking while continuing to be yelled at. “Hey man you a fake Captain America, you can’t save nobody, you can’t even save yourself” my newly minted arch-nemesis bellowed to anyone in our fair metropolis who could hear him. As I continued to walk and put some distance between myself and “The Panhandler” I noticed my reflection in the glass of stores I passed by, the shirt I wore just moments ago with pride and honor now felt like a sackcloth of shame. Perhaps he was right, that I was just an impostor, that I was a phony who failed to live up to the ideals of these costumed figures, or maybe I was just a guy who bought a sweet looking shirt that was on sale for $9.99. Regardless of my standing in the legion or assembly of those thought of as heroes, I did learn a lesson that day applicable for those with superpowers or not and that is just walk fast as you can when crazy people are yelling at you.

For more stories like these, listen to my podcast Mann From New York available on Apple Podcasts and Google Play and produced with Anchor.