There was a babe, a push-up corset, a little bit of rock hard belly peeking through. One chic cuff on the left wrist. Hourglass figure, strong thighs, black boots, and big, batting, heavy eyelashes, the false kind, though her eyes were sharp and aware as she readied for attack.
The villain was more elusive, though fresh in my mind – a skinny, heartless woman, with a wan complexion and short, straw-colored hair. First she flashed us, then pummeled us, cackled, and disappeared.
But her voice hung in the air, as she boasted: “I can morph into anyone or anything. I inhabit bodies. I pulverize lives. You can’t see me, you can’t know me, and you can’t hold me. But I can finish you off… anytime I please.”
She startled her victims. Assaulted them with impropriety. Slammed them into oblivion. Worse? Her hovering promise of doom.
Babe in arms
Okay. So it was a dream. But what self-possessed woman isn’t the Action Babe these days? If not quite Lara Croft, then close enough – poised to ward off trouble, ready to leap into the fray, to fight the good fight – defend against the enemy!
The problem is – how to wrestle the villain you can’t quite see?
As I woke, adrenaline pumping, it didn’t take Freudian analysis to understand the meaning of my sleeping script. It wasn’t about powerlessness exactly, more like power insufficiency – whatever I had and whatever I was, it just wasn’t enough for the job at hand.
I stood in front of Mr. Coffee, pondering. What if I could assemble a force of my own?
Search for allies
I hopped on the Internet for action figure recruiting. And surprise, surprise – among the first I found in the online universe – Sarah Palin! I would’ve preferred Tina Fey… But my, how populated this brave new world of so-called superheroes has become. I found old friends and new – like Wonder Woman of DC Comics (those bracelets! those boots!), and Wolverines and vampire slayers…
But in my dream, Action Babe was inactive – dressed for the party but no way to get there. Stuck in a holding pattern.
Myth of Sisyphus? Certainly. The contemporary version. The stubborn art of try try again, as you battle uphill tasks, only to fall down, get back up, fall down, and rise again to fight the good fight.
But which fight? And how many times?
Hold another day
I’m all about action, but where is forward movement? My crazy plate overunneth with days dribbling away with non-stop activities, noise, chauffeuring… check after check written for clothes, books, supplies, unexpected doctor visits, special classes, unforeseen expenses… house guests sleeping in closets, adolescent all-nighters, teen trips out of town, interruptions, interruptions, interruptions…
What of my magic powers? My certified SuperHero-SuperMom status?
And my pocked and punctured ability to effectively search for jobs or projects? Surely, this is the worst holding pattern of all – the conflict between necessary parenting and the chase to make a buck…
The lost dream
The dream? Action Babe – no longer stymied by invisible forces, by the evil adversaries of unemployment and “over qualification,” no longer felled by the most devastating foe of all – the inability to provide.
The climb back up is growing steeper, and the boulder, heavier. My powers, mighty though they are, weaker.
And I’m just one of millions in this lonely, downhill slide that erodes more than the earth beneath our heels.
Superwomen and supermen – rally your forces!
Have I canned my cape? Sold off the silver bullets? Not just yet.
I’m Action Babe, and I’m ready to rock! Parenting is full time, job searching is full-time, but single motherhood (or fatherhood) is a powerful motivator, despite the dwindling promise of a (tarnished) brass ring.
What do we need?
Natch, I’ve got a call in to Moses. And Einstein.
Nice Jewish boys. Bad hair.
But Moses managed 40 days and nights in the desert, hauling those hefty commandments about, not to mention the gift for parting the waters. He’s got connections, and a strong back.
As for Einstein – admittedly, the man was a square, but no slouch in the field of moral relativity.
We need a summit. A suitable brain trust to right the wrongs in foreign affairs and rectify the global economy. ACTION FIGURES FOR GOOD – UNITE!
Scores of others to invite though – sci-fi heroes and heroines, literary legends, philosophers, scientists, and musical giants who rock it out. Action figures abound in every area, just waiting to be called into service.
Specifically? (A sampling)
There’s Lunch Lady to keep us fed and keep us grounded, Jesus for his idealistic teachings (and more connections), da Vinci for his inventiveness and foresight, van Gogh for his insane creativity, and Houdini who could show us all a trick or two about escaping conventional wisdom.
Houdini’s also a cautionary tale, when it comes to hubris.
We’ve got the practical, the inventive, the creative, the crazed, the spiritual, the revered, the irreverent, the dreamer. Isn’t that a formidable presence, when it comes to facing down our economic woes?
What’s next? A plea!
Not to worry – we travel light, and are available immediately to join you on Martha’s Vineyard.
Lovely place. Nice bike paths. Pretty roses.
Besides, we know that a presidential vacation is a working one. So we’d like to throw in together, offer our skills and grit – and let’s face it – cool accessories.
Oh… one more delegate – marketing guru Seth Godin. He’s a millennial man of action, untangler of bullshit, and comes nicely packaged with a mystery gift, mini-book, and scandalously mismatched socks.
Best of all – he wields sharp wit to make cogent points, and he understands that even superheroes on their best days can use a great line, and a little PR.