When I was a child, I’d say around 6 or 7 years old, my biggest hero was Hercules thanks to the popularity of the mythic character in the Disney film as well as the Kevin Sorbo portrayal in the television show alongside Xena: Warrior Princess. At that same age, after having aligned my personality and gumption to better reflect this man, I was told from a grown up family member that he didn’t exist. Never had and never will.
I was utterly devestated.
I knew that Santa wasn’t real, that the Easter Bunny was just a story, there was no Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! but no, not the half-man half-God. He protected people. He kept us safe. Didn’t he?
It was only just now that I discovered that he went through 12 labors before prospering into legend. There were also 12 knights of the round table for King Arthur’s court. One of them was Tristram. I was born December 12. Pattern or not, I love coincidences.
Heracles (the original Greek translation of his name) may not have lived as the same man represented in the stories that were written in stone, if he lived at all (something must have bore the initial inspiration), but he nevertheless exists in our hearts. He is an archetype for which we wouldn’t have super heroes in the way we know them now nor many other great characters in the historical canon. If not for this revelation, that he was fictional, I may not have so early deciphered that someone (or many) had written and drawn these tales, that someone else (like myself) could write or sketch their own and that perhaps I could inspire a young child to stand up for those that needed help as they did unto me, to always do good in the face of insurmountable odds, maybe they’d learn who they are in the process through play and pretend. I want to believe it.
Maybe they’d cry, too, once it was discovered that a hero they beloved happened to be make believe. Maybe that’s just the first step.
The second step is up to them.
P.S. My lower back can’t take this laboring much longer. I must learn my limits as opposed to comparing myself to monster slayers and deities. Learn from them, don’t always immitate. That’ll be your butt, I say.