We all have our childhood heroes, the ones for some reason or other we related to, the ones that got use through the bad times, helped define who we are as people and made us laugh. I just recently found some Calvin and Hobbes books and have been reading them to my daughter, she loves them. Everyone has different role models, if your role model is a positive influence then all the better, but they are not always positive or even human, here are a few of mine and why I loved them.
1. Wayne Gretzky: Growing up as a Canadian male this comes as no surprise to anyone. You are born wearing a pair of skates and Tim Hortons coffee in your baby bottle. Gretzky kicked all kinds of ass in the NHL, obliterating records and setting new ones that may never be broken. Wayne was not a big man, or tough. I think he had one fight in his career. But what he lacked in physical stature he made up for in hockey smarts. He made me realize I didn’t have to be the biggest to be the best. And because I was short in stature for most of my childhood, he should me that the impossible was possible. Check out this video of one of his many records here.
2. Luke Skywalker: Okay, so I’m like 90 percent of all the other boys in North America, sue me. I had blonde hair and blue eyes and liked to whine about everything, just like my hero. “Uncle Owen, this R2 unit has a bad motivator, ooooh maaan!!!!” But besides the shrill tone of his persistent complaining, I found a something within him that resonated with me. Luke is what we call a reluctant hero, someone who greatness is thrust upon him, who needs to come to grips with their own short comings in order to win the maidens heart, slay the beast and drink the celebratory cocktail. But in this case the maiden was his sister, the beast was his father and he drank the celebratory cocktail with a bunch of Ewoks. Oh well the lasers were cool.
3. Calvin: The troubled young boy whose imaginary friend is a tiger. I always believed that Calvin was in his own world, that his tiger (Hobbes) was real to him and that all the adventures he imagined himself in were real too. This is how most of my childhood went, if I wasn’t pretending, I was drawing and if I wasn’t drawing, I was zoning (if you have kids you know what this means). My parents always said I had my head in the clouds and this is why I relate to Calvin and Hobbes with such affection. If Calvin were around these days though he would be in therapy three times a week, hopped up on ritilan and be put in every special education class the schools could think up. What ever happened to “Sit down and shut up”?
4. Snoopy: The Grand Pubah, The Big Guy, Joe Cool. Snoopy was the reason I became the person I am. He was cool under pressure, could fly World War II planes, played hockey…he did it all. He was also a writer “It was a dark and stormy night…” sound familiar? Snoopy was very forward thinking for his time, his best friend was a bird!?! Snoopy was oppressed too, his owner Charlie Brown never let him sleep in the house, he would lie on top of that red dog house, on his back, that had to have caused some lower back problems later in his life. Snoopy, keep fighting the good fight, you taught me to be brave, smart, understanding and cynical. And you never spoke a word, you made those strange beagle sounds, yes, but we know what you meant. Thank you.
So you see, if you take a look at who my influences were, you can kind of figure out who I am. None of these guys ever ruled the earth or was the richest man in the world. But they are nice guys. They are people I wanted to know, and people I wanted to be. So look back at who you admired when you were young and see if some of the things they taught you are still relevant, if you lost your way, then maybe you need a refresher.