I’m unusually picky about the media I consume. Life is hard enough the way it is, and I don’t do well compartmentalizing the feelings I experience during media consumption from my real life. If I watch a sad movie, or read a scary book, my life becomes scary or sad—it just simply bleeds over. My inability to separate what I feel from what I consume means all of my favorite stories are fun stories. And the unifying theme of all my favorite fun stories is a person who wakes up and discovers they’re a total badass.
Jason Bourne wakes up and finds out he can break in to anything, escape from anywhere, and destroy anyone in a snap. Harry Potter wakes up to find out he’s a powerful wizard leading the fight against evil in the world. Spider Man is bit by a small bug one second, and can fly through the streets on his own web the next. Heck, even the Princess Diaries are about a girl who wakes up and finds out she’s a Princess.
It wasn’t until later in life that I put together this theme, and I figured if I ever wrote a fiction novel it would be based on something similar. These stories are popular because we all want to wake up tomorrow and find out, “I’m not just a bearded white dude. I’m SUPER BEARDY MCBEARDFACE.” Or…. you know, whatever that is for you. Then our whole lives would change for the better and we’d be able to do something awesome.
Yes, I’m ignoring the fact that Harry had to then face Voldemort, Jason Bourne was chased down and the love of his life murdered, Spider Man had to fight crime and some pretty gnarly dudes in the process, and Mia had to brave her teenage years. So…. with great power comes some pretty bad shit (I shudder just thinking of puberty). But lets put that aside for now and focus on the good.
Now, my childhood was pretty fantastic (all things considered), but I grew up with my share of quirks and oddities. One such “oddity” is the fact that I picked my boogers as a child… well, older age has taught me that almost everyone picks their boogers (even if only occasionally and only when they think they’re not being watched at a red light), but what got me in trouble was that I disposed of said boogers in my mouth. I remember a group of fifth grade girls making a list of the boys in the class who picked their noses, and I remember my friend Filipe being really angry that he was bunched in the rest of us. I didn’t argue—it was true.
There was shame.
But this shame welled up inside of me and gave me magnificent dreams. “I’m the only one I know who eats his boogers,” I thought, “One day, when I’m older, the whole world will discover that eating boogers gives you super human strength, but you have to start early.” And my head then went down the very long and windy road of one day waking up to discover I was a badass. And all because I, unlike any of my peers, had the secret food of super-human-powers. Boogers.
Long before I understood the pattern in my preferred entertainment, I had already figured out how I would join the legion of my favorite characters. In retrospect, I wasn’t wrong.