Childhood over. As a man in his 30's perhaps this comes to me later in life than most, nevertheless, I couldn't be more sincere with what I say. Last night the embers of my childhood burned out and ashes were swept away by the winds of inevitability. Anderson Silva has fallen, is mortal.
I was a comic book fan as a child. My whimsical youth identified with certain aspects of the superhero mythos, specifically their everyday alter egos. I have always been undersized when compared to my peers, long and lanky, so the nerdy body I was given knew all about what it was like to be Peter Parker, and dreamed about being Spiderman. I took to many characters for varying reasons, The Hulk, for example, because of his ability to physically dominate out of frustration. Afterall, who of us hasn't a had moment or two in life where they would have savored the ability to succumb to their rage in ways the mind can only imagine? The ability to fly, control thoughts, teleport, all these things danced through my mind in such exhilarating ways as a child, and they filled my head with wonder every night as I laid in bed. But such a world couldn't last.
I got older, and much like Santa Clause, I discovered that these characters, these heros, they weren't real. It was not an easy revelation for me particularly, I had so many emotions invested in them. I just couldn't believe believe Batman wasn't out there protecting us from The Joker... never mind that Gotham didn't even exist. All these conclusions lead to the most sobering of all. Not only were superheroes not real, but they couldn't be.
Born from these childhood realizations was my adult fandom of Anderson Silva. The way he moved, the way he toyed, he seemed capable of things not grounded in reality. My eyes grew wide when he elbowed Fryklund into oblivion with one upward swipe, my affinity set in stone once he dismantled Franklin. His striking prowess whet my appetite the older he got, defying father time. I was bewildered by his backward jab embarrassment of Griffin and yet again blown away by the front kick KO against Belfort. I took his showboating in stride, the man lived on the fringe of what was possible, so be it if he wanted to remind us just how far above mere mortals he was. Last night I fully expected the same. Silva dancing around his prey and displaying the full arsenal of his 'superhuman' abilities, pageantry not to be spared. And then, the unthinkable. Silva's mockery lead him directly into a left hook. Off balance, out of position, and turning his head directly into the punch. The fool in me actually allowed my feeble brain to believe that while Silva was falling, he was still acting. Ever the showman he was pretending to be hurt, to be mortal. The thought was fleeting, my mighty hero had fallen. Every follow up punch, another nail in the coffin. The last glimmer of my childhood extinguished. Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer came to mind, a poem I haven't thought of in close to two decades.
I kept all my old comics, hundreds of them. Heroes long forgotten that only a miniscule part of me can identify with. They weren't in the best condition due to my being an uncle at age twelve. I loved showing that world to my nephew, but he didn't take the best care of them once immersed. I came across them about a year ago, I've never been much for nostalgia but finding those in an old storage box was a good day. I flipped through a few, smirks turning to smiles as I revisited and I thought to myself... why keep these hidden from view? Why not do something drastic? I pulled the staples out them and began lining them up on my bedroom wall. Three days later I was painting a clear coat over what was now floor to ceiling comic book wallpaper. Today, waking from the night the last of my heroes had fallen, the walls seemed foolish. Childish. Immature and unnecessary. How long could a grown man possibly have comic book wallpaper in his house? When is it time to take it down? Is today that day?
No, it's not.