We Could be Heroes…

A few years back Utah was determined to be the nerdiest state in America based on Facebook posts and their contents. I live approximately a 4 minute walk from ground zero of the Salt Lake Comic-con and I’ll testify. Not like at the big churchy building across the street, where I’m not allowed to do that. Anyways, off-topic. I’m rambling.

My point is everywhere else I have visited or lived I am considered a hardcore nerd. I know many people here who believe the same thing. But those are people who don’t know the other people I know here. The real nerds. The ones who argued when the list came out that the nerd criteria and method of data gathering lacked empirical validity. The ones who model what commitment, enthusiasm, creativity and camaraderie can accomplish. And the alphas of those nerds are the cosplayers. The hundreds of hours that go into a costume are truly mind boggling. Not to mention the positive self image. I can’t even get away from using facebook avatars that look like this:

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So I will never understand those that laugh at these grownups playing dress up. They must not be not aware of groups like Heroic, who perform good deeds for charity and delight children and adults throughout Utah as the walking avatars of beloved fictional characters. Or the Mandalorian Mercs– an international group of Star Wars cosplayers who perform charity for underprivileged families while counterintuitively dressing as bounty hunters. (Side note- this is where I display my casual rather than deeply embedded nerddom by admitting that I don’t know if all Mandalorians are bounty hunters or if I’m racially profiling. If this is the case, I apologize for my insensitivity #notallmandalorians)

I’m not sure if it was evident before, so let me state explicitly that I do in fact have a point. Back during SLC Nerd in 2013 someone took a truly epic pic of Batman of Heroic riding off with a Mandalorian from the Krayt clan. It was a great pic, but the background was asphalt. Boring asphalt. So I made it into this: 554598_310070115727188_1569278052_nIt just felt better. I’d like to do it again. If this is the sort of thing you’d like to see more of, I’d like to invite all of our cosplay heroes to send me anything you have that you just know could be epic with a push. I can’t promise to get to everything, but once or twice a week at least I’d like to share these inspirational moments. And a big shout out to our heroes above for their kind permission in letting me put this out there.

 

So the Thing About Chickens is…

4 out of 5 chickens you meet are going to end up in a KFC bucket. It’s an ugly fact no one wants to talk about because it would make it that much harder to look our chicken friends in the eye.

The unfortunate side effect is that the 1 in 5 that are left make up a very vulnerable subpopulation and many, if not most, of those chickens end up as sex workers. What else are they going to do?

Bob was going to be different. He had mighty chicken dreams. He was always the first to school and the last to leave. He was undeterred when his classmates laughed at his chicken accent. The answers were still right. He was still Valeclucktorian. His teachers all said chickens couldn’t be doctors, but he knew that chickens couldn’t be doctors yet. He would break through that shell barrier.

He made the grades, he had the extracurricular activities and he thought his entrance essay was nothing short of brilliant (Bob had a pretty big head for a chicken sometimes). His heart was broken when he received back the reply from Stanford that was a mere 4 words long. “Chickens can’t be doctors”.

So here he was. For now. Doing what a chicken has to do to survive. But he still has his dreams and he knows that one day he’ll be Dr. Robert Alinsky, M.D. with a specialty in gastroenterology.

If she hadn’t gone to meet her maker at that Kenny Rogers Roasters, he knew his mother would be proud.

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(This piece of speculative semi-fanfiction owes a debt of gratitude to Elmer, by Gerry Alanguilan)