How to Become a Superhero

One of the unexpected discoveries (and aren’t those the best kind?) I made while in New York was a small storefront down the block from my daughter’s apartment called the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. This store sells all of the equipment needed to conduct most superhero activities.

At this store (and through mail order) you can get your capes, costumes (including a sleek, Italian-cut invisibility suit), weaponry (particle guns, thunder inducers, photon shooters, deflector bracelets, others), secret identities, and all of the gear you might need for your lair (including a $9,000,000 mansion and a $12,000,000 matter transformer). If you intend to clone a sidekick, you can get intelligence and omnipotence by the gallon. You can buy the speed of light by the ounce, force field shampoo, a formula for growing gills, and even a map of the Negative Zone (because someone is going to try to trap you there eventually).

But while this store really does sell all of these products and more, it is actually a front. In the back room is where you will find the real super power they deal in.

Literacy!

The store hosts, and supports with its proceeds, an after-school tutoring program called 826NYC. This program is designed to encourage children aged 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills. They use one-on-one mentoring to help children learn how to write and express themselves. They also offer homework help, provide in-school programs, and welcome school field trips at their site. They have even published anthologies of some of the fiction their students have written.

826NYC is part of a national organization of writing workshops designed to encourage young people. Several other chapters also have front organizations. I wish I had encountered a secret organization like this when I was a young superhero wannabe. They do accept donations, however, and it might just be the best way to become a superhero for real.

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