I could not be a fictional hero

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Humor Columnist Caroline Caruso breaks down why she can not envision herself as her favorite heroes.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

Everyone likes to imagine themselves as the heroic character from the movies they watch or the books they read, especially when they’re little. I would literally have given my left pinky toe to live in Rick Riordan’s world of “Percy Jackson” — which tells you a lot about me, really. For one, I place little to no value on my toes. Who needs them? I honestly think that they only have a metaphorical value — like when you say “it keeps me on my toes, or “tip-toeing around something.” In a literal sense, toes might as well be the appendix of the human body. I hear the exchange rate of toes, in terms of U.S. dollars, is approximately 38.4. That’s worse that the Nicaraguan córdoba. Heck, my grandmother only has five toes, and she seems to be doing absolutely fine. 

Secondly, getting back to Rick Riordan’s absolute masterpiece — I had bad taste. The “Percy Jackson” books were the knockoff, store-brand, Hot Topic version of “Harry Potter” for kids who decided that wizards weren’t nerdy enough to obsess over. Furthermore, when I had the opportunity to give them another look, 10 years later — when I was procrastinating with a wild, reckless abandon — I found they did NOT hold up to any extent. They legitimately seem to be written by a 12-year-old boy — lotion in one hand, tissue in the other, pen in mouth, wet dreaming of ancient Greek mythology. 

My first realization as an adult revisiting the action/adventure staples of her childhood was I literally never questioned that, in the event of an apocalypse, only 12-year-olds were available to save the day. There would be, say, an “Avengers”-scale disaster, and everyone immediately turns to a prepubescent child because … ? I cannot fathom it. And I know, I know it is not necessarily supposed to be realistic, but how could I have never batted an eye — or a toe — at these plots? I guess you would expect as much from someone who, until eighth grade, failed to recognize that “Beauty in the Beast” takes place in France — despite, you know, the literal opening song being called “Bonjour.” And the character Lumiere’s French accent. I have studied French for over 12 years. I have no defense. I’m also 12.8 percent French, so for white person, that means I’m basically a descendant of Joan of Arc. 

I’ve also become disillusioned in the sense that it’s becoming harder and harder to visualize myself in the role of the hero or even the protagonist. I’m less of a “hot velociraptor wrangler at Jurassic Park,” and more of the “middle-aged man in Bermuda shorts frantically downing margaritas even as pterodactyls attack.” On a purely physical level, I just don’t have the reflexes or stamina to be a hero. Furthermore, I really don’t know how to respond to conflict. Case in point — me almost getting curb stomped on my own street on my way to school. 

When I’m nervous, I crack my knuckles. I don’t even need both hands to do it, I’ll crack those suckers automatically when walking down the street because of, how do you say… anxiety. I then walked past a woman who stopped, grabbed me and proceeded to aggressively ask me: “Did you just crack your knuckles in front of me? A grown woman?!” I literally could not respond to her. I mumbled in the sort of way that you’d imagine someone to if they’d awoken from a five year coma — perhaps the sort of coma this random, five-foot woman was fixing to put me into. She had dark blue lipstick on, but that’s all I remember. I was in full disbelief. 

She followed up by demanding, “Don’t you ever try to do that again. I will beat you. I will. Beat. You. Don’t even try me.” What do you say to someone who talks to you like that? If a villain ever monologues me, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a witty response, I’d just probably say “UhhhhhHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHhHhhhhHHhHhhhhHhhhhhhhhhhHhhhhhhh … cool. Sorry?” I wouldn’t even be able to fabricate a reply to compete with a fictional 6th grade boy named Percy Jackson. At the time, I thought this woman was going to throw punches, and I probably wouldn’t have had the foresight to duck. Dead, curb-stomped, bleeding out in the gutters of my street — voided of the excellent opportunity to apply to this fine organization by way of vivid, slightly humorous descriptions of my own incompetence. 

Caroline Caruso is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com.

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