If you know me, it’s no surprise that my favorite superhero is Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America.
If you don’t know me, SURPRISE, my favorite superhero is Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America.
My original introduction to Cap was with the 2011 Marvel movie. At the time, I hadn’t been to a movie theater in like, years. Going to see a movie in a theater can be kind of overwhelming to a Chronic- no volume control for the loud explosion parts, no pause button when you have to go to the bathroom 92 times, plus that annoying person kicking your seat, who always seems to sit right behind me. Plus I can’t eat the snacks.
I had been in a movie-going draught. But something about the promise of the epitome of wholesome Americana in a super suit riding a kickass motorcycle to go save the world? It got my bum in a seat.
Let me just clear it up for the Internet trolls who might think the only reason this girl went to see a superhero movie was because the guy who plays the hero is cute. The fact that Chris Evans is adorable was like a bonus. A lovely, blond, muscley bonus. (My favorite kind!) Not the reason I went, but I had no problem with it.
Nope, no problem at all.
STAY ON TOPIC, NIC.
I was so happy to sit in that theater. I loved the movie. I felt like a superhero when I left.
It was a Moment.
I hauled my Chronic self down to my local comic book shop (#SupportLocal #ComicShops) where I had been hanging around tentatively since having read the entire original X-Men series. I flipped through books. I scoured shelves.
I had to know everything about Captain America.
It helped that Captain America is a hero who was made, not born. Personally, I prefer Marvel heroes to their rival DC characters (Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.) because most Marvel heroes are average people who respond valiantly to extraordinary circumstances, as opposed to being born a fully formed super-powered crime fighter (I’m looking at you Clark Kent).
So what were the extraordinary circumstances that average Steve Roger faced that led him to his reincarnation as Captain America?
Well, quite simply, he went to a doctor’s appointment.
Steve Rogers desperately wants to join the US Army at the height of World War II because he doesn’t like bullies, and the Axis powers were the biggest bullies of them all. Except, Steve from Brooklyn is skinny and slight, has asthma, and is altogether deemed “unfit” to serve. He commits a certain amount of fraud going from one recruitment center to another, just trying to get in so he can make a difference.
His luck changes when he meets a doctor, Dr. Erskine, a German genius who has developed a “Supersoldier serum.” Dr. Erskine needs just the right person to use the serum on- it magnifies whatever is inside them, with good becoming great and bad becoming worse. Steve is that good person who has the potential to be great.
The incredibly abbreviated and spun-for-my-Chronic-purposes story is that Steve Rogers goes into his doctor’s appointment kind of sickly, but full of hope and goodness, and he comes out stronger, faster, better than he ever was before.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it happened like that every time?
I have come to hate doctor’s appointments. I used to feel hopeful anticipation- like maybe this would be the time they find something/figure something out/help me make productive change.
Now I just feel like awfulness.
I’ve been having major chronic issues for the past few months, and that means that I have had a bunch of appointments, tests, and hospital visits.
It’s a critical time, so naturally, I’ve broken out the Captain America apparel.
I have quite the collection. My favorite is my sweatshirt, which I’ve only had for 2 years, but have worn so much that the zipper has actually started to detach, the gray bits of coloring are peeling off, and the white bits aren’t all that white any more. It’s got those weird nubbie bits on the inside that are a telltale sign that an item of clothing has been worn (and loved!) to death. I have a collection of t-shirts, and even socks. I’ve got sweatpants and pajama bottoms.
You know I am prepared for a rough Chronic day if I come downstairs wearing all of it at the same time, which has happened more than once just this past week.
Steve Rogers has a new mission: Chronic security blanket.
I can laugh about it sure; it is a little funny. I mean, if you want to be critical, I’m an almost 27-year-old lady going into an appointment dressed in cartoon logo items I probably bought in the young men’s department (please stay tuned for my upcoming rant on gender politics, merchandise, and the geek industry…).
But why you want to be critical, huh?
That’s what I thought.
No, when I have a bright red and white shield draped across my chest, or a tiny Captain America temporary tattoo glued to my hand, I’m not thinking about it being silly.
I’m thinking that it’s just the bump I need to be a little braver, a little tougher; the boost I need to not give up now or ever, no matter how many times I get knocked down. I like that Cap’s symbol is the last thing I see before I go under anesthesia, or that I can focus on those weird little wing things on Cap’s helmet instead of the nurse jamming an IV into my hand (which is the worst, but if they can’t find a vein in your arm they have to put it somewhere!).
Sure Steve Rogers was scared when they were strapping him into Mr. Stark’s Supersoldier machine. Sure his famous last words were “Is it too late to go to the bathroom?” (Which happen to be mine too!) But he made it through, and wearing my Captain America garb to my appointments reminds me that I can too. And who knows? Maybe one of these days I’ll walk out a stronger, faster, better version of me too.