Full Circle: Look, Up in the Sky…
Would my favorite holiday wish ever come true?

My kryptonite was Elmer Fudd. I didn’t want to watch cartoons, like the other 7-year-olds. I wanted to watch Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon and, most of all, Superman.

My mother hated it. It didn’t make any sense to her. So, as always, she asked too many questions.

“When he’s in the phone booth to change, don’t people see him in his underwear?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

“And what happens to his suit? Does he just leave it in the phone booth?”

“I guess.”

“Well, then how many suits does he own?”

“A lot, probably.”

“Don’t people at the newspaper say, ‘Clark, you came in this morning wearing a gray suit, and now you’re wearing a brown one. What’s up with that?’”

“Maybe.”

“And he wears his Superman suit under his regular suit? With no air conditioning. Is he crazy? He must be shvitzing like a pig.”

This all started because I told her I wanted a Superman suit for the holidays. I already had a Lone Ranger mask that blackened my eyes and left bright red marks on my ears, and a Roy Rogers cap gun that had permanently scarred the 4th finger of my right hand. And now I wanted to be a superhero, faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive.

My mother didn’t want me to be Superman because she thought I would try to fly and I would get hurt.

“You’ll break your head.”

“How can I break my head?”

“OK wise guy, then you’ll break your leg. Are you happy now, Mister Know-It-All?

Truth was, I would never be happy until I opened a big box that had a cape in it.

From that moment in early December, the days dragged on with the speed of moldy molasses. And then, with anticipation equal only to opening night of “Oklahoma!”, came the day. The time when the first night of Hanukkah fell on Christmas day.

The presents, which had been carefully wrapped the night before, sat on the gray sculptured carpet of the living room, in front of the 13˝ black-and-white TV, surrounding my plaster dog, like a wagon train about to be plundered.

With my pulse starting to pound, I took a small box first. I just knew this was it. I ripped off the shiny polka dot paper faster than new sneakers that had just landed in dog poo.

Socks. The first box had 3 pairs of socks. Argyle socks. One gray, 1 navy, 1 brown. Socks.

“Now,” my mother said, “you can throw away those socks with the holes in the back. And never wear them to school again. Don’t embarrass me like that.”

Yeah, right, whatever.

I quickly tore open the second box. Come on, Superman suit. Nope. Underwear. For Christmas. A 3-pack of Fruit of the Loom tighty whiteys.

“Now don’t leave tracks in them the first day,” my mother said, always a sucker for sentiment.

One more box to go. And this was the big one. This just had to be the Superman suit. I tore off the paper like a rabid skunk. A coat. A gray, wool, double-breasted coat. With matching mittens pinned to the sleeves. Are you kidding me? My heart sunk.

“Try it on, try it on,” she said. I just wanted to cry. And then it happened. My father walked slowly into the dining room and opened the liquor cabinet, a cabinet no child could ever touch. And there it was. On a wooden hanger from Elegance by Edith, in its full red, yellow and blue glory, my Superman suit.

I ran into the kitchen to put it on. And then, with arms fully extended, I ran back into the living room, took a flying leap, and banged my head on the jagged corner of the mahogany coffee table. It took my mother 20 minutes to stop the bleeding.

December 2021
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