CHILDHOOD HEROES… IN THE REAL WORLD
Part 2 by: Max Bonem
Childhood is a time for many things: inexplicable happiness, death-defying curiosity, and a definite, for-sure attitude that if a bee stings you, YOU WILL DIE, amongst other things. However, along with all of those heartfelt generalizations, we all experienced deep obsessions with super heroes and mythological forces that we watched on TV and then, in return, had our parents buy us the coinciding merchandise for. See, unlike Hop-A’long Papi Jared, I had exposure to such things as crime, FuBu, and the endemic that was the use of the word “salty” (or “sawldy”) on the playground. However, from time to time (aka every week), I too indulged in some weekend morning cartoons and would request that when I was instructed to attend Sunday school instead that my dear mother record my stories for me.
See, when you’re a kid, you don’t just get a kick out of watching your favorite cartoons (undoubtedly at some obscurely early hour whilst still in your jammies) – you in fact wanted to be that character and, at times, whether you played well with other like-minded imaginative children or not, you were Iron Man or a character from Animorphs or one of the Warriors of Virtue (from the un-acclaimed feature film Warriors of Virtue).
With that in mind, I finish our two-part series on our favorite childhood heroes in modern times. Put on your galoshes ladies, a sudden downpour of utter sentimentality could be on the way.
For all of you who only know Optimus, leader of the Autobots, as big brother to Shia Labeouf and mangled play thing of Michael Bay (side note – the man who does the voice of Optimus in the recent Transformers reboot also does the voice of modern day Winnie the Pooh. Talk about being a chameleon), I am truly sorry. So, for blogging’s-sake, let’s pretend that that behemoth of a dump that came out of Bay’s poop-shoot is still just an explosion-filled wet dream and let’s put our thoughts elsewhere.
Unlike many, if not all, of the transformers who came to Earth to score some cheap energy, visit America (the greatest nation in the galaxy), and warn us about the coming Rise of the Machines, Optimus was both respected and thought of as a middle-bot between the humans and extraterrestrial visitors. After the downfall of Megatron & co., Optimus would’ve most likely been left with few options. However, with his unique skills set, he would’ve seen a calling that many others would shy away from.
Besides the super strength, ability to realign every aspect of his physical structure in mere moments, and proficiency at catching missiles, Optimus Prime can speak both truck and English, making him the absolute greatest account executive for a trucking logistics company EVER. Haulin’ on a Mack? No problem. Rockin’ out in a Peterbilt? Optimus GOT this. Sure, the hours would be long and he’d have to work Saturday mornings (no more “sorry for partying” excuses for the boss man), but hey, at least Optimus would get to talk to some interesting people (and their truck-trucks). Either that, or I imagine he might’ve enrolled in rabbinical school, which is solely based on this assertion made by Seth McFarland and friends.
Enter Pokémon theme song, NOW. Ash Ketchum: master Pokémon trainer, redhead lover, and globe trotting celebrity, all before the age of 16. Just like many who came before him (i.e. The Cory’s, Haley Joel Osment, Danny Almonte (the kid who competed in the Little League WS when he was able to grow a mustache)), Ash Ketchum definitely hit some rough spots later on in his career.
Sure, there was the drinking Ash forced upon poor Pikachu so he wouldn’t feel as alone in the world and there was the short marriage with Misty, before she returned to a life spent talking to over-sized starfish and seals with sand-for-brains, but Ash eventually found himself in a downward spiral with no way out. That is, until he took a stint on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab and embraced the blow-out to become the newest grenade-taking Guido on Jersey Shore after he ran into The Situation at a club and Mike Sorrentino decided to fist pump straight into Ash’s prized Charazard (f*cking amateur hour).
Anyway, after his miraculous come back, Ash decided to try to take Pokémon training out of Japanese obscurity and bring it into the octagon with a hybridized tag-team sport combining MMA and Pokémon training. That’s right folks, I’m talking inter-species battle royale. If ever there was a time for ESPN 8 – The Ocho, it’s NOW Cotton!
Captain Planet, the super hero who could convince kids to brush their teeth and plant trees, all while rocking a sa-WEET green mullet, was a supernatural entity who came together only in the event that five kids, with rings representing Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Heart (Go Planet!), came together and demanded it so. Well, eventually this most interracial group of super friends grew up and the sexual tension became too much, meaning that in the years to come Captain Planet was never called upon (which completely explains global warming).
Anyway, down the road the Planeteers got together for a reunion of sorts and after a few too many “Earth Bombs” (wheat grass and a mix of bottom shelf tequila and spoiled scotch), the whole gang put their rings together to call upon their old friend Captain Planet one last time (take a second to imagine what summoning Captain Planet whilst intoxicated would be like. Seriously.).
After he slapped each of them silly, the Cap’n realized that Al Gore had taken his spot as savior to the planet and he decided to look for new work. Well, Captain Planet tried working the white-collar life, but the lack of recycling programs and phosphorescent lighting left him feeling depressed and sickened. So the Cap’n packed his bags, beamed himself to Europe, “experienced” some things, and found a new calling when he returned home (undoubtedly to Portland or San Francisco).
These days you might know the Cap’n as the face of the Toyota Prius. Of course this was an obvious fit, but since he’d spent the better part of the nineties and the first decade of the 2000s in a state of particle dismemberment, he had no idea that people weren’t still whippin’ around in Broncos and El Caminos. Sure, he wasn’t fighting crime personally, but he did get to meet a lot of young, affluent, Earth-conscious ladies and for that, The Cap’n was a happy man.