If you were to meet someone wearing a Pampers diaper on her head or another calling herself Hollowhead, you might not think of them as super heroes. But I do.
Sandie, my stalwart sister-in-law, better known as Captain Underpants, is recovering from “elective” brain surgery to correct a botched surgery and five subsequent emergency surgeries. A new neurosurgeon, with super hero skills, yesterday successfully removed an unnecessary shunt used to cover-up what the less-than-super-hero doctor could not fix. Sandie actually chose to marry into my family. My mom used to say, “It’s easier being a Lang, than being married to one.” Putting up with anyone from my family is immediate super hero status.
Association with the Langs may have made her a little strange. This past Sunday we were driving to the desert to visit my brother Tim. “I need to see how the chicken is,” she said, opening her purse and sticking her head practically inside. If there’s a choice of what can be pulled from a purse, my choice would not be a chicken. Ah, alas, I forgot she is a mother of five. She was pulling out her cell phone to call home to see how a new recipe she’d left for their enjoyment had turned out.
Hollowhead, my sister, aka Holly, is another super hero. She hates the computer and is a horrible typist. When she decided to get back into the dating field, she joined an on-line service. The registration form proved too much for her. “Pick a password,” it instructed. She tried a bunch of words, and they were taken. Out of frustration, she entered Hollowhead. She figured no one would have taken that one, and she was right. The problem — it really wasn’t a password, it was her screen name. Needless to say, she didn’t get many responses to her profile.
The same day as Sandie’s surgery, Hollowhead, returned from the oncology gynecologist (again say that fast five times) with a clean bill of health. No more cancer. Maybe Hollowcervix would be a better screen name. “Did he take a scan or a test?” I asked. “Is that how he knew?”
“No, he just said, ‘I think you’re good.’”
“What!” I exclaimed. “He’s a doctor and he thinks you’re good. After cancer, shouldn’t he be more certain like maybe really know the tumor is gone. What happens if you go back in three months and there’s cancer? What does he say then, ‘Whoops, I guess I was wrong.’ Next time you see him, you say your sister wants definitive proof.”
So she did. She’s a super hero because she listened to her big sister. Actually it’s because she survived cancer, continued to work during her radiation and chemotherapy, and never whined or complained.
There’s also Kim. Some super heroes don’t need super hero names. You see them and you know they are super heroes. She’s had advanced MS for years, and she laughs about it. “You should be mad,” her kids tell her. “Why would I want to be mad,” she answers back. “If I were angry no one would want to be around me.” Maybe that’s why I like to be around her. Or maybe it’s because when Kim, Laurel, Sue (Sue is 95 and only has one tooth — just in case you’re interested, it points south) and I watched football the other night — the Detroit Lions against the New Orleans Saints, she rooted for the Lions with me. I’m always going to root for the down and out, and you can’t get much more down and out than in Detroit. Kim followed suit, even though she likes Drew Brees, the Saints’ quarterback. Darn, the underdogs lost. I was hoping for a little joy in the lives of all those unemployed auto workers. Now I’m gonna have to buy a Ford.
I must include Rebecca. The super hero from Sunnybrooke Farm. Even when life doesn’t dish her what she has in mind, she has the super ability to see in rainbow colors. The first time I met her (before our firstborns had entered kindergarten) a group of gals had got together to see the musical A Chorus Line in downtown Los Angeles. She wore a bright colorful skirt that flared when she twirled. Her waist was about as big around as one of my thighs. She danced down the street, carefree. She has remained a light in my life. Her super powers unfortunately don’t transcend to being able to walk and chew gum. She’s fallen off a table and drove herself to the hospital with a bone practically sticking out through her arm. She’s slipped on the ice and broke her ankle. And that’s only a few.
These are the people that shape my life, put a smile on my face, and teach me how to graciously deal with life’s misfortunes. Who are your super heroes?
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