Every superhero has a dark side. Superman had a dark Superman – essentially the same individual, possessing the same powers, same knowledge but with a different perspective. The dark Superman's intent was destruction and terror, while the real Superman's intent was to help and serve people.
Spiderman's evil self was called Venom and was the embodiment of Spiderman's evil. Like Superman, Spiderman gets into an epic battle with his embodied evil. These dark personas were created from the evil inside of the superheroes. Like the superheroes of comic book (oops, graphic novels) fame, each of us has an evil inside of us. The duality exhibited by the superheroes is really just a reflection of the conflict we all have within ourselves. What we do with it is what makes all the difference for each of us and I think, in a large measure, defines who we are.
I've recently had a great struggle with my own evil within and have conceded to its power on more than one occasion. I ask you, as my reader, to be considerate and sensitive in regards to what follows.
I blame a great portion of this darkness inside me on my upbringing. Part of what contributed to the growth is undoubtedly the time I grew up in. I am a child of the 1980's and as a result was exposed to many formative experiences of that time.
The 1980's ushered in an entirely new era – one that would change the world. I'm speaking of the era of the Hair Bands. This era brought us travesties such as Tina Turner, Paula Abdul, Belinda Carlisle, Prince (aka "The Artist Formerly Known As"), Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Genesis. But, it also brought us the glory of Whitesnake, Poison, Warrant, Cinderella, White Lion, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Europe, Guns 'N Roses, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Skid Row, Twisted Sister and KISS; the herald angels of rock and roll - a clear battle between the evil and the good.
You see, my friends, not so deep inside me is a metal hair band rocker wannabe. I have been successful in the past in beating back the dark shadow of myself that wants to grow his hair out, wear leather pants, and rock on an amplified electric guitar, but this wannabe has come back with renewed force and vigor.
This rocker-wannabe that lies just beneath the surface makes his appearance every now and again. Fortunately, I have taken measures to prevent an ultimate showdown between the good Jason and the evil Jason (I don't have a name for him yet, any suggestions?). I have sold all my leather pants, destroyed my Monster Ballads CD's (yes, I had more than one) and shaved my head. Unfortunately, leather pants are in plentiful supply, and thus are easily obtainable and my iPod holds more songs than I could have imagined, so many more songs than those CD's used to, expanding my library of Hair Rock considerably.
Never fear, though – I have a secret weapon, a kryptonite if you will, one sure-fire way to ensure that the evil rocker Jason does not rear his ugly head. I have shaved my head. A hair band rocker needs hair, and lots of it. I have apparently passed my prime in which my scalp boasted a head full of thick, wavy hair. Sure, as the real rockers age, on occasion the band will reunite for a concert tour of sorts and inevitably one of the guitarists will have suffered the same fate I have – male pattern baldness. It's not the same watching a 50 year old bald man trying to headbang. It's sad really. I think the rocker within knows this and for this reason alone will not make an ill-timed appearance. It may be the very thing that saves not only me, but the entire planet. You're welcome.
However, there are moments when nobody is watching and a Whitesnake song (Here I Go Again) comes on my iPod (how in the world did it even get on there in the first place?) and the rocker comes to the surface. I allow him his freedom in these moments. A little headbang here, some air guitar there, screeching lyrics all over the place and if he's been good, I'll let him repeat the song…three or four times. Fortunately for me, he doesn't just have a penchant for Whitesnake, he will also play Poison by Alice Cooper (One look could kill, my pain, your thrill!). Every now and then he'll have a hankering for something softer, maybe some Heaven by Warrant (Heaven isn't too far away, closer to it every day-ay-ay) or perhaps the soulful Love Hurts by Nazareth (Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and marks…).
If you're around and the wannabe shows up, don't be scared. I'm pretty sure he knows his place and is content with only an appearance from time to time. Hopefully, if/when he does show up, he'll do his thing and quickly sink beneath the surface not to be seen again for a while.
If he decides to stick around, we could have problems – leather pants don't exactly scream, "I'm a man!" anymore, now it seems they scream, "I want a man!"