I was sitting at my desk, trying to reason with a corporate mandarin over the phone, when a tall figure entered and sat down in the chair across from me. Although he was wearing a normal suit, the build, clean teeth and general good-guy aura radiating from the man clued me in to his identity.
“Good morning, Mr. Kent”, I said.
Kal-El grinned and winked at me. “Good morning to you as well”, he said. “I’d like you to do a favor for me.
“Sure”, I promised. “How can I help?”
“First, let’s grab some lunch”, said Kal-El, and off we went to the Earl of Sandwich. I had the Earl’s Club while ‘Clark’ ordered an All American, a 1762, and a Caprese. We sat out on the patio and munched as we talked.
“It’s these guys at DC Comics”, said Kal-El. “Every year they get stranger and weirder, and by now they’ve created a Superman that is unlike me in almost every way. For crying out loud, now they want me to renounce being American!”
“Why should you care?” I asked. “Sure, it’s embarrassing, but people have misunderstood Superman since, well, forever. Remember that physicist who explained what Superman would be like if he existed the way the comics described him?”
Kal-El chuckled. “Oh yes,” he said, “when that one came out Lois avoided me for almost a month because she worried about possible … difficulties.
“But even so,” said Kal-El, suddenly serious again, “I am a symbol of truth and justice, and a lot of people believe what is written about me. This DC stuff is garbage, but I have to try to set the record straight.”
“Aren’t you a reporter?” I asked.
“Yeah sure, just like I still wear a red cape and spandex”, he said. “You know very well that I quit the Planet back when they started trashing Batman for not driving a hybrid compact. Besides, newspapers lost their readers decades ago. I became an accountant and never looked back.”
“CPA. Hey, you don’t get more mild-mannered and invisible than that!”
“So how can I help?” I asked. “It’s not as if I have a huge readership or any influence.”
Kal-El looked up from his chips. “Don’t be too modest,” he said, “you’ve interviewed presidents before.”
“Dead presidents”, I noted.
Kal-El shrugged. “Lots of people don’t think I’m real, so what’s the difference?”
“OK” I shrugged myself. “So what do you want folks to know?”
“Start with the basics,” Kal-El said. “That just like them, I love America, my family, I work hard to do the right thing and it’s not easy. That just because I’m a bit faster and stronger doesn’t mean I have all the answers or never worry.
“Shoot, I have problems just like anyone else”, he remarked. “I mean, sure it’s cool I can jump over the house, but so can my dog. Kinda hard to ‘blend in’ with the neighborhood when your dog steals food from everyone in the zip code, you know?
“And I hate crime as much as anyone. I can catch bank robbers in my sleep, but stopping drugs takes education and community resolve. And sexual predators? They scare me, just like any parent.
“I can help, and I try to do that. But ethics, justice, honor, these things have to be chosen by individuals, you can’t force someone to be good. The same is true for maturity, logic, accountability and duty – I have and practice these things, but I can’t do it for someone else.
“But with all that going on, I never forget that I am a symbol of what is right and good, and we all have the obligation to stand up for the good, and defend what is right. Even in a comic book”, he finished.
“OK,” I promised, “I will try to get that said in a way that folks will hear and understand.”
I then asked Kal-El if he had ever considered politics.
“Well,” he answered, “I’m definitely not a native American, if you’re thinking that way.”
“But you might want to suggest to that Ryan fellow, that he could be just what his country needs …”