by E E Coder
Some Heroes are born to be
One for Many
My little brother used to talk about being a super hero; he was five years younger than I was and sometimes it seemed like we lived in different worlds. He was pretty much a regular kid, I don’t think anymore of a freak than any other 10 year old; even if he was my brother and a general pain in the ass. He enjoyed reading and talking a whole lot more than I did; if he was in a room, he generally drew all of the attention his way, which was okay with me.
He read a lot of comic books that summer, most of the time in his room, but then Mom would get on his case about not getting enough “sunshine and fresh air”, so he’d grab a blanket, spread it out on the grass in the backyard and read until dark.
Sometimes Mom would look out the window and shake her head with a little sigh, but she didn’t interfere; only calling him in for a good application of sunscreen and a cool glass of lemonade now and then.
She did take the comics away when he brought them to the dinner table, but that only gave the little goof time to chatter away about the adventures of Iron Man, or how the Incredible Hulk might put up a pretty good fight if it ever came to a fight between him and Superman.
“Of course Superman would win, but the fight would be awesome!” He would say. “Superman would win a fight against anyone, but the Hulk would probably get a few punches and kicks in!”
Sometimes he’d get wound up and the Superman vs. Hulk lecture would include a few swings and kicks until Mom cleared her throat and gave him the Mom look.
Most of the time he was pretty funny, so I didn’t give him much grief about being a goof; besides, it took the spotlight off from me. I didn’t have to answer any questions about how badly my own social life was going and how disappointed my parents were that I had to spend half a day in Summer school.
The comic book reading, super hero worshiping, phase continued a couple of years I guess and all that reading must have been a good thing because Charlie didn’t have nearly as many problems with school that I did.
He even enjoyed reading textbooks I think, anytime he had some free time he would have his nose stuck in a book of some kind or another. After he digested the contents of whatever he might be reading, he would talk about it with anyone who happened to be around, asking questions that before long were far beyond any explaining I could do.
It wasn’t long before they were even beyond Mom and Dad’s educational abilities. I think it was about Charlie’s middle school years that Dad bought the set of encyclopedias and a year later that his Christmas gift was a new computer and internet access. I got a new dirt bike that year and couldn’t have been happier, I figured that Charlie had the brains, I would be dumb and happy.
Charlie never made a person feel dumb though; always happy to ask questions of anyone he talked to, from the teachers at school to the janitor that cleaned up the schools at night. With every question he asked and every explanation given, he always made the person asked think a little deeper as he looked for the “reason” behind every question’s answer.
One day last week, Charlie asked me what it felt like to ride the back trails and hills on my dirt bike I. tried to explain the thrill of jumping over small jumps, spinning the tires and fish tailing as I gunned the bike up a particular steep trail, the exhilaration as I crested the rise. Unfortunately, I have no gift for explanations and only frustrated us both trying, so I offered to take him along on a quick ride.
We went to a place I knew just outside of town, jumped over a few small jumps and charged up a few trails, Charlie hanging on tightly on the back, but when we finished Charlie said he still didn’t really get it.
“That was a lot of fun I guess,” he said. “But, riding on the back, I can’t really see where we are going or why.”
“Yeah, it isn’t as much fun just hanging on.” I agreed. “It really doesn’t give a complete idea of what it’s like though. When I’m alone on the bike I can go faster and jump higher and farther.”
“Could I go for a ride by myself? Maybe I would understand better if I could ride it by myself.”
I knew he was probably right, riding on the back, “bitch style” wasn’t very cool and I knew I wouldn’t have liked it much either. There is just nothing like the feel of having the control and the power yourself. I looked around at the easy trail area and decided he could try it.
However, when I got off the bike and looked at his frail build as he sat on the bike, I got a little nervous about the idea. I gave him a quick explanation about how to use the hand throttle, the clutch lever and how to run through the gears as he climbed.
“Now don’t get too crazy with it,” I warned. “Just run up and down this small area here and you should get an idea.”
“I think I should have at least a couple of jumps to try.” He argued, “I think that must be the best part, I hear you whoop and holler a lot when you are doing it.”
I couldn’t really argue that point with him, but the idea made me even more nervous. I pulled on his chinstrap to tighten it up and looked him in the eyes. “Just take it easy, okay? Mom and Dad would have a cow if I let you get hurt doing something dumb.”
Charlie grinned up at me, “Aw, how dangerous could it be? You ride around out here all weekend and some places that are even steeper and have bigger jumps.”
He was right about that, but also knew that Mom and Dad wouldn’t have been at all comfortable with some of the places I do go, so it wasn’t really a good argument. Charlie was a smart kid though, so I figured he would use good sense.
The trail was an easy one, the jumps not very high and even though my heart was pounding, I gave him a grin and a thumbs up, as he gunned the engine and took off. He ran up the short trail with ease and turned to come back down.
The bottom of this particular trail has a short jump followed by another longer and higher one; I didn’t think either was particularly hard, I had jumped higher and farther many times.
If Charlie had been riding as long as I had been and if his body was a little bigger and a little stronger, the spill he took probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. A skinny eleven-year-old kid has weaker muscles and softer bones. The doctors said he snapped his neck and died instantly.
This afternoon my parents signed the papers to allow Charlie’s respirator to be turned off and his heart and lungs to be harvested and given to some other kids. Charlie would have had a better grasp of the statistics on how few pediatric organ donors there are than I do, but the doctors explained it pretty well to Mom and Dad. I guess now Charlie knows what it’s like to be a hero, maybe even a SUPER HERO!
Although there have been advances in medical technology and donation, the demand for organ, eye and tissue donation still vastly exceeds the number of donors. For more information, read the summary below or create a detailed data report on the UNOS Web site. http://www.unos.org/
• More than 115,000 men, women and children currently need lifesaving organ transplants.
• Every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
• An average of 18 people dies each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
• In 2011, there were 8,127 deceased organ donors and 6,017 living organ donors resulting in 28,535 organ transplants.
• Last year, more than 42,000 grafts were made available for transplant by eye banks within the United States.
• According to research, 98% of all adults have heard about organ donation and 86% have heard of tissue donation.
• 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.
Currently, more than 115,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants in the United States. For specific numbers visit http://www.unos.org/
65,335 Multicultural Patients*
1,735 Pediatric Patients*
28,535 Organ Transplants Performed in 2011
14,144 Organ Donors in 2011
More than 46,000 corneas were transplanted in 2011
More than 1 million tissue transplants are done each year and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily rising
*as of December 2012