Last Monday morning I was making pancakes for everyone for breakfast. Our griddle can make 8 at a time, so we wind up standing around the kitchen, watching the pancakes bubble, and talking. The food and conversation make for a nice start to the week. Someone had spent part of the weekend watching TV Land at a friend’s house, so we wound up talking about the old shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Incredible Hulk. For those of us who are Gen Xers, those old shows are part of our childhood. I used to run in slow motion around my yard making the chu-chu-chu noise like Steve Austin. I shared this and demonstrated. Come to find out several of our community members used to do the same. It’s neat to find out you have things in common with people who’ve had very different life experiences. Friendships are based on things like that.
And one of the gifts of friendship is learning very different perspectives on shared experiences. When we were talking about The Incredible Hulk, one person pointed out (in a really eloquent monologue I wish I had recorded) that here is this guy who hitchhikes from town to town, steals clothes off of clotheslines (you know, because each transformation into the Hulk destroys whatever Bruce Banner was wearing), assumes a new fake identity in each town, but has no ID, and yet somehow still manages to get hired for an okay job. The monologue met with nods and affirmations. The consensus was that this was impossible, there’s no way you could keep stealing, lying and being transient/homeless and still find work, a place to stay, and not get caught.
We all had a good laugh and kept enjoying our pancakes. And I was quietly stunned by this new (to me) perspective on an old favorite. I had never considered Bruce Banner from the perspective of homelessness. Of all the incredible parts of that show, I had never noticed the incredible in the mundane, everyday details. I hadn’t thought of this hero as a homeless thief. It took a friend to point that out. What an incredible gift.