On the evening that I became Iron Man a couple weeks ago, I went out for Chinese food (large chicken fried rice, hold the vegetables) and the slip from my fortune cookie treat read thusly:
|"You will conquer obstacles to achieve success. And become Iron Man."|
I had my chicken fried rice, and my fortune cookie, watched some television, then went out into the night to pick up my mother from work.
Looking back, I realize that went out into the night is how many superhero stories begin. Another omen.
And it was raining that night.
I collected my mother from her work place, started the engine of my vehicle and went to drive us both back home. My mother was recollecting some
atrocity minor irritation that had happened at work and wanted me to "Look...Look..." not in the direction of the road, but at her, which I did, and then there came a loud thump.
Thump is really an inadequate word. Generally speaking. I cannot think of any instance where the word "thump" is used that it has been up to the task of expressing the instance, context, or feeling of events surrounding what we currently call a "thump." I formally hereby plead with the official makers of words to come up with a new one.
Anyway, a loud thump. We were briefly lifted up on one side, and then bounced heavily down.
What had happened is that I hit a curb. I hit a curb and rolled over it and thumped down on the other side. In a parking lot. Late at night. In the rain.
And I busted my tire.
Which is an altogether higher level of busted.
So I brought the car to a stop, sat silently for a moment weighing my options. I determined that there was no other option than to get my car rolling again. Pray God that there was a spare in the trunk, because I would have to change the tire.
I've never changed a tire.
I went to the trunk and removed all of the sundry things I have in my trunk into the back seat.
My mother started panicking, and I could tell she was starting to feel squirrely and, sure enough, she had soon popped up out of the vehicle and run off. Presumably to get help? She walked off into the distance.
In any case, I was now alone, late at night, in a parking lot with a busted tire.
I got the owners manual out of the glove compartment, which was a very smart thing to do on my part and will go down in history as one of the major correct decisions I made on my way to fulfilling my destiny as Iron Man.
I saw that I had a spare tire, and I was also able to identify a jack and some other tools. I sent a picture to my friend-who-knows-these-things to make sure:
|"Is this a jack?" Yes. Yes it is.|
He told me to call another, more local friend for help, and I did, but that call went to voicemail. Another crucial point on the timeline to my becoming Iron Man.
I went to lift the jack out of my trunk, but it wouldn't budge.
I should remind you now that I became Iron Man. Not Thor. I realize at this point you may be thinking Thor, but no, not Thor. I did not become Thor.
After tugging on the jack for a good while but being unable to lift it because I am not Thor, I consulted the owner's manual and read that I would have to release the jack. I read about how to do that, and did it. I learned that I had a "scissor jack."
Now I had the jack, and the tools, and the spare tire. And a destiny that determined I would become Iron Man.
I'll stop now with the narrative and provide you with some pictures that survey my journey toward my destiny as Iron Man:
|This shows the spare tire next to the hub cab that I was able to rip off of |
the busted tire. I ripped off a hub cap. Because I am Iron Man.
|This is a picture of my car jacked up on the jack after |
I had turned it approximately 5,289 times.
On my knees. In the rain. As I am Iron Man.
|This is me fully in my Iron Man form. |
Iron Man, as it turns out, is a little hysterical about becoming Iron Man.
I can't tell you exactly which moment was the moment I became Iron Man. Was it when I lifted the spare tire out of the trunk? Was it when I used a tire iron to remove 5 lug nuts off of the tire? Was it when I got down on my hands and knees in the rain on asphalt to place the jack under the car precisely where it needs to be placed? Was it when I learned that there's a specific place to place a jack underneath a car?
I don't know. It was just sort of a metaphysical thing. Mystical. And magical.
But you can see the result. Look at the light in my eyes when I become the very flesh, muscle and bone of Iron Man. Look at that fearsome face of glory and might.
I sent that picture to my friend and he laughed and also said that he was terrified.
So, I mean, Iron Man.
Anyway, after I had ironmanned (it's a verb I'm using now) the hub cab off, and the lug nuts, and jacked the car most of the way, my mother returned with a guy to help us. She shouted at me across the parking lot that she had found a man to help, and, in an iron man rage of honor I shouted back:
A Man? I don't need any damn man! I've done this! I'm doing it myself!
And I really was angry and I think I might have induced a release of naturally-formed steroids into my system, kind of like adrenaline, if that is possible? But anyway, the guy came over and he was actually really quite nice and writes screenplays and worked for public radio and at one point he looked at the car jacked up and said, You did this?
To which the answer was Yes. Yes, I did.
But he finished changing the tire, which was nice of him.
I'm still Iron Man.