Here’s the deal. When I was just a young, adorable tot, I would put on a cape and run around the house performing heroic deeds. I called myself Eric Lightning.
Not a bad name for a superhero. I give younger, smaller Makya a lot of credit. Rather than just pretending to be Spiderman or Batman, I created my own identity. Eric Lightning. And what the name “Eric” lacks in superheroness…is more than made up for when you add the “Lightning.”
I have but the vaguest recollection of my former alter ego. I don’t remember my specific super powers. I imagine I was faster than a speeding house cat, more powerful than a slightly younger child, and able to leap tall couch cushions in a single bound. I was a mild-mannered Kindergartner by day, but don’t let the Scooby Doo backpack and juice box fool you…all criminals know that before the storm, comes the Lightning.
I’d like to think I had a secret lair. Maybe a mask that, while it only covered my forehead and eyes, rendered me completely unrecognizable to those closest to me. A utility belt complete with ultra-cool grappling hook gun that would allow me to casually ascend out of frame like it was no big deal. But the truth is my only assets were a cape and an overactive imagination.
But the beauty of it is that that was enough. I miss the years when make believe could get you through the day. Plus, it was good for you. Not only is it how children learn, some scientists theorize that this type of play can actually create synaptic connections in parts of the brain. Not too shabby for an old blanket with a yellow lightning bolt sewn on.
So, in an effort to reintroduce a little playful magic back into my life, I did what any rational blogger would do and Googled, “Eric Lightning.” Imagine my minimal surprise when I found that Mr. Eric Lightning had a facebook account. While I considered friending my namesake, I thought better of it. There is, after all, a strong possibility that the Eric Lightning on facebook is an alternate version of myself. In another reality I may have never given up the name. I may have grown up to be a crime fighter rather than growing up to be some guy who writes ridiculous blog entries about how he might also exist in a parallel universe where he grew up to be a crime fighter.
But I still think we could all use a little more Eric Lightning in our lives. If make believe helps develop emotional, cognitive, and social skills in the brain of the child, why can’t it do the same for an adult? It’s time for a new and improved Eric Lightning. An Eric Lightning that can benefit my adulthood. A superhero who can erase a lifetime of debt with a KAPOW! A superhero who can improve a resume with a WHAM! A superhero who can fly through the air and karate kick ne’er-do-wells with a mighty KABLUEY! (I still want it to be fun).
Because the truth is, when I hear the name “Eric Lightning,” I feel just a little bit more powerful. A smile spreads across my face. And some small part of me clings to a faint memory of a little kid running around in circles in the front yard and imagining a world in which anything is possible.
I’m off to make my new cape.