There probably isn't a more Rockwellian moment in Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie, a film that owes plenty to Norman, than that early morning when Ma Kent is about to prepare breakfast in the kitchen, yells for Clark and eventually looks out the window and sees him on the horizon, at the edge of the farm. The boy is ready to leave the farm for the city, where he will pursue his destiny. What if Clark never left the farm?
In his most recent film incarnation, a strong emphasis is placed on how old Clark is when he makes his debut because the filmmakers apparently felt the Christ allusion had never been made with the character. That is literature, though. Being thirty three when you decide to make your big move is simply awesome. Jesus was thirty three when he died on the Cross! Let me just tell you. This blogger is less than a month from his thirty fifth birthday. Any gesture as grandiose as aligning myself with the timeline of the Messiah might have crossed my mind two years ago but I am just sane enough to know that ole JC and I don't share a common destiny. Now, very little is told about what Christ did up until his big moment. That, I can relate to.
There really is nothing to say. That is not to say that I am deeming my life up until now as being bereft of meaning. I am just saying that I am still standing at the edge of the farm. I have imagined the story of Superman as if he never did leave the farm and instead remained to tend the land. In fact, it is one of the many stories filed in my noggin for future telling. All I can tell you that I do know there was a very specific mission laid before me in my dwelling, not straying from my origins. The mission required me to infiltrate a system of indoctrination that would intimidate even Brainiac: the school system.
Certification turned out to be no different than any of the long list of marks, grades and accreditations I had always seen as passes I had to earn in order to be left alone. Bear in mind that that list includes not one but two bachelor's degrees. Believe me when I tell you I am not bragging. I simply want to give you a sense of the stakes of this mission. It was deep cover, a rescue mission. An unknowable number of individuals may or may not have been granted access to a special message I carried with me, a message that freed them from prisons some were born into and others constructed themselves. It was a cup I had wished to pass off to another plenty of times but you could say that a Friend of mine finally relieved me of.
So I have returned now to the edge of the farm. I have prepared my parents for what it is I wish to do with my life. Ma Kent, of course, said to her son: "I knew this day would come" . She does this with the grace and wistfulness that goes so well with the tableau she and her son are standing in the midst of. That is not Ma Wilkey. Ma Wilkey will remind me of the worries and fears obvious to all living creatures, until her dying day. What she hopefully knows now is that I have surpassed her in the lessons of resilience and determination she has taught me all of my life. Pa Kent died of a heart attack because superheroes need that sort of thing to happen. My dad is in better shape than I am. Besides, we know I am no superhero. I do want to tell stories about superheroes. So that's what I will do right this moment.