Questions of Faith and the Nature of Super Joe
Back then I had only one thing to fear: failing Super Joe. What would the repercussions be if Super Joe died because of my shortcomings, or broke under interrogation and surrendered his wisdom to the enemy because I didn't get to him in time? Surely he was valuable to the cause, since they would not mount a rescue mission if he were just some expendable grunt. No, Super Joe had to be, well, super. He had to be a hero of true grit, a living monument to the awesome potential that exists within all of us to overcome adversity. There was no reason to doubt Super Joe, just as there was no reason to doubt the decision to send me to rescue him.
As I grew older and worked my way through the dangerous obstacles life threw at me, I began to question the superiority of Super Joe. It was childish frustration at first, mind you, but the questions remained regardless of their infantile origin. In fact, these questions grew up themselves, becoming more sharp and cunning as the years passed. Why was I risking my life for Super Joe, a man I knew nothing about? Aside from the fact he was captured, what more could I say about him? I couldn't say he was a kind man, that he was a wise man, for I did not know him as anything more than a goal. Who was he? Was he even really real? Was he worth saving? And if so, why? Would he make the sacrifices and struggles worth it in the end, or would he simply prove to be an anticlimax? And together, like a patchwork, these questions formed a larger question that gnawed at my soul with ravenous red teeth. Quite simply, I wanted to know why I was the one going after Super Joe. Splinters of doubt dug into my confidence's skin, and faith was no longer strong enough to pull them out.
Questions like these are not easy to answer. I could swing from a metal balcony floating over a pit of fire but the seemingly simple task of defining the nature of one man proved too difficult. It was a pitfall greater than the reach of any grappling hook, let alone mine. Perhaps this was why believing in Super Joe was so important. Perhaps he transcended certainty, ascending to a plateau that could only be appreciated by surmounting the myriad jigsaw puzzles of an arduous life and finally looking down at them as a whole from on high. Maybe Super Joe was super because he was beyond the struggles of man. He was captured only in our minds and by our standards, yet free in his personal world. In that sense, I was the prisoner to the routine of a cruel world. In finding him, I would actually be freeing myself. And who says it would end there? Freeing a man of powerful transcending ideas from the shackles of this oppressive world could open up his teachings to untold numbers. Super Joe could be the key to that final revolution that takes us to where we all need to be.
Truth be told, I rarely think about Super Joe anymore. Like any good riddle, he occasionally enters my mind and beckons me to untangle the twisting knots of perplexity. In these instances I am propelled to revive the struggle, to seek him out and find the answers once and for all. But it's never anything more than a spark these days, failing to ever ignite into the glorious crusade it once was. Maybe I was once the perfect candidate to find and rescue Super Joe. I can see the logic, most definitely. Who better suited to reach for the unreachable than a man with a grappling hook? But Super Joe isn't what I'm looking for anymore. The way I see it, there are six billion Super Joes out there. Let's start looking for them instead. They're all around us and easier to find.