A favorite pastime of mine is channel surfing. With sleep not coming one night last week, I found myself indulging in this amusement. Without any warning, I stumbled onto a real treasure, which roused me to full consciousness. Well, as conscious as a person like me can muster at 2:30 in the morning, or any time of the day, for that matter.
I found, much to my delight, (well, as delighted as a person can be that time of the morning), an episode of the old TV series, Superman. Watching this brought back a deluge of memories.
My brother, Steve, and I were fascinated with Superman. We watched every episode together and even convinced our mother to buy us Superman lunchboxes. Boy, if I had my old Superman lunchbox, it would be worth a lot of money.
One day I had a terrific idea. Older brothers are supposed to come up with these terrific ideas and younger brothers are supposed to support those terrific ideas. That’s the way things are.
We were watching an episode of Superman and when it was over, I turned to my brother and said, “Steve, I think we can fly, just like Superman.”
“No,” he argued, “only Superman can fly.”
Older brothers are not allowed to let younger brothers win at anything, especially arguments.
“Oh, yes we can.”
“Oh, no we can’t.”
“Oh, yes we can.”
“Are you sure,” he said with widening eyes.
“Yes, and I’ll prove it.”
With that his eyes got even wider and it put me in the position of proving my proposition which I was anxious to do.
“How are you going to prove it,” he innocently inquired.
Now, I’d been thinking about this for some time and developed what I thought was a sure-fire plan. “Come on,” I said, “let’s go outside and I’ll prove it.”
My brother followed me outside and I got a small ladder and put it next to the garage.
“Now, Steve,” I said as calm as someone who had tried an experiment 1,000 times and had worked out all the glitches, “all you need to do is climb up on the garage roof.”
“You need to climb up on the roof, and then we will prove that we can fly like Superman.”
I had gone over this scenario at least 1,000 times in my mind and I could not remember one time it did not work.
“Why don’t you climb up on the roof?”
“Silly,” I argued, “somebody has to make sure nothing goes wrong. That’s my job.”
It convinced him and with a broad smile he ascended the ladder and perched on the roof just like I had imagined 1,000 times. So far, so good. I love it when a plan comes together.
“Now, Steve,” I calmly instructed, “stand up on the edge and jump off the roof. I guarantee that we can fly.”
He stood and then looked at me and said, “We, what do you mean ‘we’? I’m the one up here on the roof.”
“Silly boy, my job is to make sure you do it properly. I have worked on this for weeks and I know we can fly. Now, jump.”
With that Steve stood on the edge of the roof and on a 5-4-3-2-1 count, he leaped in the air and promptly fell to the ground.
My heart stopped for a moment. Steve lay there for a moment without moving. The fact that he could break his neck never entered my thinking. After all, Superman never broke his neck.
After what seemed like an hour, Steve began moving and sat up and looked at me. “What went wrong?” he inquired.
I checked and rechecked some mental notes. Frankly, I was stunned. I could not figure out what Steve did wrong. After all, I did my work, all he had to do was follow the directions I had worked out over.
I could not figure this out. Suddenly, it dawned on me. I had it. I knew what went wrong.
“Steve,” I said as calm as I could, “I know what you did wrong.”
I smiled and he glared at me rubbing various parts of his body. “What do you mean ‘what I did wrong?’ ”
“Steve, Superman always uses a cape. You didn’t have a cape. Wait here and I’ll get you a cape.”
I went in the house and returned with a beach towel and handed it to him. “Put this on and get back up on the roof. I guarantee you this time it will work.”
Steve believed he could fly because I told him he could fly. That’s what older brothers are for.
The last thing I remember was Steve perched on the edge of that garage roof with his beach towel-cape blowing in the breeze. This time both of us were brimming with confidence.
I looked at Steve and gave him the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown, and for the second time he leaped in the air. The cape looked great, but, much to my chagrin, he promptly fell to the ground. To this day I still don’t know what Steve did wrong.
I reflected on this and turned to a verse in the Bible, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 KJV.)
Some think they have life figured out only to fall on the ground. Only Jesus Christ is a sure thing in life.
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