Who did you look up to when you were a kid?
Michael Jordan? Hulk Hogan? Your dad? My heroes growing up were Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson, and Chris Benoit. The reasons are varied for these. Eddie was the guy I wanted to be. Young, confident, and on SNL. MJ because he’s a deity in black households (Ask your black friends about how important Michael Jackson is to their development). Chris Benoit? Well, he was what happens when you focused your energy into one thing and excelled at it. Quite simply, Benoit beat the brakes off of anyone he squared up with. He broke Sabu’s neck, for Christ’s sake!
I turn 27 tomorrow. It’s not a very glamorous birthday, but staying above ground another is always worth being celebrated (remember that the next time you bitch about getting older). However, my birthday is always kind of a bummer. See, on June 23th -24th, 2007, Chris Benoit killed his wife and son, then killed himself. On June 25th, 2009, Michael Jackson died from cardiac arrest brought on by propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. On June 26th, 1985, I was born. Needless to say, I’m always going to associate my birth with the death of two people I idolized. That kind of sucks.
The WWE has basically wiped Benoit from wrestling history. His records, matches and classic storylines aren’t discussed. Michael Jackson’s legacy was (and is) being pimped for anything that makes money and unfortunately he lived his last days as a zombie drug addict. Eddie is still kicking around, but he’s 50 and isn’t making “Delirious 2: Goonie Goo Goo, Motherf***er!” anytime soon. For all intents and purposes, all of my heroes have died.
And that’s ok.
Remember that human beings are human. That they’re capable of tremendous highs and terrible lows. Never forget that. If you’re looking for a hero, don’t set your sights on one person. Instead, spread the love around. Take examples from tons of folks as guidelines for the person you want to be. I’d want Eddie’s confidence (and joke-telling ability). I’d like to be as dedicated to being the best as both MJ and Benoit were.
Now, go get started on your own story and be a hero to someone else.