Southland Tales: Heroes

Photo by Michael Essington

Photo by Michael Essington

I was watching a cartoon with my son one afternoon, called Ultimate Avengers, and like he always does he asks me what my favorite super hero was? I’ve answered this a hundred times, but this time I drew a blank. So, I said, “You are.”

He looked at me blankly and said, “I don’t have big muscles.” I told him that he “Didn’t need big muscles to save people.”

Then almost out of nowhere I got a flashback, I remember an event that hadn’t crossed my mind in thirty to thirty-five years ago. It happened in 1974. Here’s what I told my son: “When I was your age, eight years old, my mom took me and your uncle Erik to visit a friend of hers. Me, and your uncle Erik snuck outside with the son of the lady my mom went to visit. His name was Michael. His dad came outside to watch us. He got to talking with some friends, and didn’t watch us. Uncle Erik was four at the time. The three of us are playing tag, running all over the backyard. The backyard is pitch black, no lights at all. It felt like being out in the country. Anyway, in the middle of the yard was a swimming pool with no lights or gate around it. We’re running and I hear a splash. For some reason I knew it was Erik. Neither of us can swim, Erik not at all, and me a lousy dog paddle. I run to where I heard the splash, I feel around, lay down and with my legs on the concrete I drop my upper body into the pool I keep feeling around and thank God Erik hit the drop and pushed upward and I was able to grab his arms and pull him up. So, without big muscles I was able to save someone.”

My son sat there with his mouth open and said, “If you didn’t do that Uncle Erik would be in heaven right now.” I didn’t want to burst his bubble and say, “Not heaven, son.” So, I just said, “That’s right.”

Michael Essington

About Michael Essington

Michael Essington is an American author and poet, most famous for his Mike Check column. Over the years Essington has done dozens of celebrity interviews, as well as hundreds of music reviews. The weekly Mike Check column, which appears on Strange Reaction, has also been printed in The Los Angeles Beat and the very popular Deep Red Magazine. Essington's column is read weekly by thousands of fans from Los Angeles to Denmark. Essington has been writing since his high school days. He is married to wife, Elizabeth, and has two children, daughter, Breana & son Lucas. And has a dog, Max, that Essington suspects may have a learning disability or a general lack of life goals.
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2 Responses to Southland Tales: Heroes

  1. eddie cook says:

    Another great story, love it

  2. LOL at “not heaven, son”!

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