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The Fisher of Stories


Last week I held a contest on my Facebook where if you “Liked” the blog’s fan page, you were automatically entered to have an epic story told about you. The winner, Andrea Collins, had no idea that she’d even been a part of the contest, but being a good spot, told me to “surprise her.” That might have been a bad call, Andrea. 

I’m Not a Hero: The Andrea Collins Story

Andrea Collins was not a super-hero. She would repeat those words often, and then, thinking they needed to be more politically correct, the person corrected would say, “I’m sorry, I meant super-heroine.” After that, Andrea would shake her head and walk away, wishing she could find a better way to word her rebuttals. It didn’t used to be this way.

Andrea never felt that she qualified as a super-hero, or a super-heroine, for that matter. She didn’t have “super” powers. She had never shot lasers out of her eyeballs, she didn’t turn all green and ugly when she got angry, and, much to her disappointment, she had never experienced the joys of being able to threaten bad guys – or her little brother Tyler – with sharp, indestructible metal spikes shooting out of her hands.

She did have three qualities that people deemed worthy of the super-hero label though. She was fast. In fact, she was the fastest human alive, which she found out by complete accident when she broke an Olympic record in the 500 meter dash while she was at an elementary school track meet. She was also strong. She hadn’t taken the time enter any kind of competitive event after the track meet incident, but she once lifted her mother’s Chevy van in the air during a game of hide and seek when she was about six years old. The last thing was the really weird thing. It was the only “power” she felt she had. Anytime an object was thrown, hit, or directed at her, no matter the speed or size of it, it just…went around her. The effect was subtle, it wasn’t something you could see obviously. To most it just appeared she was absolutely terrible at catching anything. This turned out to be a nightmare for her high-school softball coach, who, after seeing her run the bases in three seconds, thought he’d hit the talent lottery.

Andrea had never taken the time to test her powers to the limit. In fact, it was only recently that people had started calling her “super.” This all started with a YouTube video, but there’ll be more on that later.

All she really wanted was to be normal. She wanted to be a wife, she wanted to be a mother, and she wanted to live the rest of her life with those being the only things people called her. After college, she set out to make that happen, and both did. She met her husband, Charles, and decided immediately that she would keep her talents a secret. She asked him to open pickle jars, lagged behind in their weekly jogs, and soon he was joking about the fact that she “couldn’t catch a cold.” Then the babies came. In fact, before last month, most people would have thought that Andrea’s only real super power was getting pregnant.

Andrea and her husband had three beautiful children. The first thought in Andrea’s mind when she became aware she was pregnant was, “I hope my kids are normal.” In fact, she prayed that her kids would be normal. She didn’t want them to have what she had, she wanted them to be able to play catch, and run slow, and not cause $2500 worth of damage to the frame of a house during an early childhood fit.

So when her first baby girl was born, she threw things at her.

Not hard things, and not fast, just plush toys and the like.

And they all hit her.

Andrea praised God for this, and continued to watch her daughter, and soon after her second daughter, for signs of speed and strength that weren’t exactly status quo for infants. She was happy to see that she wouldn’t have to explain anything to her husband, and that she would be able to raise children that could do more than she did. She was so happy, in fact, that when they had their third child – a son – she didn’t even bother to throw things at him. She was blissfully happy, and she loved her life.

Then came the day of the Stop Kony 2012 video.

It was early in the morning when Andrea saw the video, and it moved her, as it did millions of others, to tears. She was busy feeding and diapering her new son when she looked at him and asked herself what she would do if someone took her children away. She knew what she’d do. She’d kick their butts.

And so she decided that she wasn’t going to donate money to this charity, she wasn’t going to share the video on Facebook, and she wasn’t going to sit idly by in her comfortable life while monsters like this roamed free. She didn’t even know where Uganda was, but she started searching for flights there immediately. There was one leaving in an hour from an airport that was about an hours drive away. So she checked the savings account, transferred some money, left a note to her husband saying, “Gone to Uganda, I’ll explain everything when I get back, Love, Your Wife.”

She made the flight, and made it to Uganda. She tracked Joe Kony for three long days, and finally she found him. She was threatened briefly by his guards, but she beat them all like drums and then got her hands on the evil warlord. After working him over, she told him she had better never hear his name again, and walked out of the compound, onto the plane, back to her home, and straight into a husband demanding some answers, and some police wondering what to do with the missing person report they had just filled out.

Andrea assured the police that she was fine, and dismissed them. She then gathered her family around her to tell them her story. The family was so engrossed that they never heard the vehicle pull up outside. They were so engrossed that they never heard their front door open. In fact, the only thing that brought them out of the trance of the story was Joseph Kony, clearing his throat and leveling a gun at her.

Charles, bless his heart, immediately passed out. The children, knowing something was wrong, started crying. It is a known fact that Joe Kony hates crying children, so he yelled at them, and then swung the gun to face the youngest, who was still crying because he didn’t know any better. When Kony saw the reaction this caused in Andrea, he smiled and evil, crafty, and douchebag smile.

“You don’t like when I point the gun at them?” he asked.

Andrea’s jaw was clenched so hard that you could barely hear the word she spoke.


“Well then,” Kony said. “You will do what I ask then. You embarrassed me in front of my people. So now, I want to embarrass you in front of your people. You will come back to Uganda, and you will be my bride. You will help me take over the country. You are very strong, and very fast. I will have you, or I will shoot your baby.”

Andrea was about ten feet away from Kony, and he had the gun leveled at her smallest child. She hadn’t ever timed herself, and she wasn’t sure she could make it before his finger pulled the trigger.

But she went for it.

Turns out, she wasn’t quick enough. The trigger was pulled, and Andrea screamed “NO!” as the bullet meant for the life of her infant son sped toward him faster than she could move. She waited to see the damage, paralyzed with fear, having already reached Kony, feeling his hot, stinky, Ugandan breath on her cheek, and the moment never came. The bullet somehow missed her baby. And somehow, the gunfire had a soothing effect on him, because he had stopped crying and was now laughingly pooping his pants.

Soon, he wasn’t the only one pooping his pants.

Andrea grabbed Kony by the throat. He raised the gun to her midsection, and she had it out of his hands and bent in half before he even managed to realize it was gone. She continued to hold him by the throat, squeezing tighter, her eyes still burning with the tears of the unexpected miracle, and she watched as Kony struggled for air. He used his breath somewhat unwisely.

“You won’t kill me,” he gasped. “You’ve never killed. It’s harder for those that have never…”

Andrea tossed his lifeless body to the floor.

“No one has ever threatened my children either,” she said.

Of course, Charles chose this exact moment to come out of his nap, and he observed the mess in the floor.

“What did I miss?” he asked, in the classically funny “I’m the husband and I just missed something” way.

“Nothing major,” replied his wife. “I just killed the biggest jerk in the entire world…oh, and our son has my abilities.”

Charles immediately passed out again.

When he came to the next time, the house was cleaned up and the police had been called. Andrea had decided that it was time for the world to know about her secret. She wanted to help people. She couldn’t sit idly by and watch as the world suffered when she knew that she had the power to stop it.

So she called a press conference. She gathered hundreds of people together, and she walked up on the podium and started her speech.

“I stopped Joseph Kony…and I’m just getting started.”

imageMany of you know that I am a college boy now. I’ve tried college twice, and both times I dropped out, and that is how I got a drunk Lindsay Lohan on my transcript. Now I’m back in, (giggity) and I’m loving it. I don’t know if it’s being older and wiser, or just wanting to get out of the house more, or what. One class in particular that I really love is World Literature. I love the stories, I love reading ahead and finding out what’s going to happen before the rest of the class, and I love the way the characters are always these great heroes, and how they mess up and make bad choices occasionally just like we do. I especially appreciate the epics. Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Beowulf, and The Song of Roland have been a few of my favorites.

However, I’ve started to notice a problem unfolds as I’m reading these stories. You see, while reading about these incredible heroes and their feats of strength, I need to envision someone in my mind. Someone strong, someone with rugged good looks and wearing the kind of outfit one would wear back then. Someone with a gloriously epic amount of facial hair, and someone with the voice of a young god. Someone that would, in essence, get the ladies wet, and get the gays hard. You would think it would be hard for me to imagine such a hero, but fortunately, Hollywood gave me that image back in 2006, courtesy of…Gerard Butler in a little movie called 300.

Now when I read about Gilgamesh, when I read about Odysseus, or Roland or Beowulf, and I need a mental picture of the hero in action, I get this image in my head.

It is seriously unavoidable. Let me give you a few examples of what I’m talking about.
From The Illiad:
Opposite him, Achilles exploded forward, fury incarnate behind the curve of his shield, a glory of metalwork, and the plumes nodded and rippled on his helmet’s crest, thick golden horsehair set by Hephaestus, and his spearpoint glinted like the Evening Star…

Boom. That just happened.

Or we can take a line from The Song of Roland:
Roland in pain, maddened with grief and rage: rushes where they are thickest and strikes again, strikes twenty men of Spain, strikes twenty dead, and Walter six, and the Archbishop five. The pagans say: “Look at those criminals! Now take care, Lords, they don’t get out alive, only a traitor will not attack them now! Only a coward will let them save their skins!” And then they raise their hue and cry once more, rush in on them, once more from every side…


That AOI reference is something you’ll only get if you’ve in fact read the story, which in my best guess might be about 0.0004% of my readership. However, I will say this, if you want a good read, The Song of Roland is freaking awesome. Lots of blood, guts, and good ol Crusadin’ Christian violence.

So, as you can see, I’m probably pretty screwed when it comes to getting this image of a “hero” out of my head. Why? Well because Gerard Butler was freaking BA in that movie. The beard, the abs, the voice, it’s all there. He’s the perfect candidate for an imaginary hero in my head to go along with all these stories. I suppose the only real problem is that any time there’s action, I just see him kicking a bunch of dudes into a hole instead of running them through with a sword or choppin off heads. Kind of makes for some anti-climatic moments in reading, and I’ll give you an example of that.
From Beowulf:
Inspired again by the thought of glory, the war-king threw his whole strength behind a sword stroke and kicked him into a hole. 
Next thing, they say, the noble son of Weohstan saw the king in danger at his side and displayed his inborn bravery and strength. He left the head alone, but his fighting hand was burned when he came to his kinsman’s aid. He lunged at the enemy lower down and kicked him into a hole. 
Once again the king gathered his strength and drew a stabbing knife he carried on his belt, sharpened for battle. He then kicked the dragon into a hole. 
See? It kind of makes for a predictable story. “How did Beowulf eventually kill Grendel?” “Well, he actually did the weirdest thing. He had a really neat sword named Naegling, but he left that alone, yelled something about Sparta, and kicked the dude in a hole. It was the weirdest ending I’ve ever read.”
So there’s a little peek into my brain. I wouldn’t stay long, it might be hazardous to your health.
p.s. I would officially like to start the movement to make Gerard Butler stop showing his butt in movies. Since the majority of people who read my blog are middle aged housewives, I think I’m starting in the wrong spot, but hey. The man is naked in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE. I’m pretty sure he mooned someone in The Lion King. He just shows up to the set, drops his pants, they shoot the scene and he’s out. C’mon. 
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