Unless you are under a rock you can’t help but notice the emergence of super heroes in our entertainment culture. They are found in comic books, graphic novels, television shows, and in particular movies. This summer alone the Avengers, Batman, and Spider-Man will be on the silver screen and also in 3-D!
If you are like me perhaps you dreamed of growing up to be a crime fighter vigilante or at least maybe meet one in real life. But then reality sets in and you think that super powers such as flying, x-ray vision, and super speed are just fantasy. But I know a real super hero with a genuine super power. His name is Gary Prechter. He lives in New Orleans and his super power is that he makes everyone around him feel good.
No matter what mood you are in once you are around Gary you feel better. It could be something he did or said. It could be a story about him, (of which there are many), or just the way he treats you, but after you have been around him you are a happy and joyful person.
Now Gary doesn’t look or act like a super hero. He wears glasses, all his clothes look wrinkled, and he has a physique that is more Play Doh than concrete. In fact he kind of waddles when he walks. But he he is the only person I know that got hit by a car while jogging, emerged unharmed, and had the driver get mad at him. He starred as a mad scientist on a home made movie his coed-volleyball team made, which was amazing! Amazing in that I couldn’t fathom what was more improbable, him being in a home made movie or playing beach volleyball at age 56??
At his high school, which was military in it’s format, Gary as a senior was Captain of the kindergarten. They would march on campus chanting merrily “Our pants are loose our belts are tight our %$#@ are swinging from left to right. Sound off!!” Only Gary could pull that off!
Gary actually received a FRATERNALISM award from ANOTHER fraternity while he was in college! Any fraternity pledge who had to make his bed had to scoop up the wads of kleenex he went through to survive his allergies. When he walked into the cafeteria the guys would break out in song “It’s Gary Prechter Time” because once he arrived laughter was sure to follow. Women adored him because he listened. Women still adore him because he listens.
His relationship with his grown children validates his super hero status because they still want to do things with him. They actually enjoy the company of their father. He has the ability to love, accept, and support them without judging. He never has. He never will.
His best friend is his wife. She has watched the comedy hour that never ends for over thirty years. The sagging pants and protruding undies are funny when it’s Gary! But his devotion and loyalty are also heroic. Gary keeps bringing home the bacon, ( and eating some of it), even if he does hit his head once in awhile on his desk when he falls asleep. I wouldn’t call Mary a sidekick, but she has shared Gary with all of us, and we are the better for it.
I have two autistic sons and my youngest one doesn’t like anybody except his mother. That is until my wife and I took him to meet the Prechter’s. Andrew immediately started helping himself to food and roaming their house. He eventually came down the stairs with one of Gary’s bathing suits on. Now my son probably weighed sixty pounds then so the yellow striped outfit that was large enough for Gary was quite a sight to behold. Even my youngest fell under the spell of Super Gary. It proved to me that no one is immune.
Gary and Mary’s home is open to all. You walk in and your spirits lift. The parade of people that have crossed the threshold on Thrasher St. all have one thing in common. Once inside they laughed and smiled.
We get bad news all day long. A poor economy, high crime, new diseases. In a world full of anti-depressant medication one man can wipe the slate clean with a wave of his hand, but more likely with a slip of the tongue or just a plain old slip and fall! The fact is that it is hard to be humble, loving, and caring. We all do it some of the time, but a select few do it all the time. It is easy to laugh at others but very few of us can laugh at ourselves. No Super Gary can’t leap tall buildings. He is not stronger than a locomotive, and he is not faster than a speeding bullet. But in reality we don’t need someone to be any of those things. But we could all try to be like Super Gary!