Go Forth & Nerd! Ep. 39 - Wolverine Was My 4th Grade Tutor
Wolverine Was My 4th Grade Tutor
Wolverine was My 4th grade Tutor
Welcome back to Go Forth & Nerd! My name is Jesse Bray, also known as Mr. Bray and I am your resident nerd!
Today I’d like to talk about one of my all time favorite superheroes, Wolverine.
We’re all familiar with Wolverine, the x-man with the adamantium claws and the ultra fast healing powers. Wolverine is a rogue, a loner, an antihero. Both running from the shadows of his past and from the massive loss in his life. Wolverine’s story is in many ways a tragedy, much like the tale of the Incredible Hulk. Wolverine is destined for sorrow. Similar to our own lives. Not to bum everyone out or anything just to glean from this modern day myth. You see Stan Lee, for those that are not aware, wrote the X-men comics as a commentary on the civil rights movement. Professor Xavier is a Martin Luther King jr. type while Magneto is a Malcom X type. Both sets of people responding to a real world hurt and conflict. Stan Lee has always been an amazing talent for blending the world of fantasy with reality by using human analogs for his characters and Wolverine is no exception.
Wolverine’s story teaches us that it’s ok to be angry when we’re hurt, mistreated or in the sight of injustice. Wolverine’s story also teaches us that it’s ok to be filled with regret by our past sins and that it’s natural to want to run from the image of your former selves. And that life is seldom fair. These ideas might feel bleak and unexciting but it’s this hard reality about the Wolverine that cuts deeper and draws us in beyond the bright primary colors of the comics. Wolverine is the truest hero because he’s like us. We’re flawed and broken and we’re looking for our place in this world. Wolverine is also like us because he can’t sit by and watch injustice even when all he wants to do is be left alone. He feels pain every time he pops his claws. Wolverine’s life is a metaphor for the human condition. Now that I’ve waxed and waned about the poetry that is Wolverine I’d like to share the title story of this podcast:
Wolverine was my 4th grade Tutor
It was the spring of 93’ and I was failing the 4th grade. From the parade of F minuses on my incomplete homework assignments and failed quizzes It was pretty clear I was going be held back another year. However this was no surprise when you looked closer at my life. My parents got divorces when I was 6yrs old which interrupted my schooling quite drastically. Divorce is messy for those that have dealt with it in any capacity. Adding to that my mother moved us around a lot. Her being a fledgling actress and model our lives were in a constant flux. My 1st grade year I missed six of the total nine months of that school year. From 1st-4th grade I switched back and forth to eight different elementary schools. If it wasn’t for my Uncle giving me a spider-man comic, which I mentioned in a previous podcast I don’t think I ever would of got over my fear of reading with my dyslexia. So here I was clearly marching towards having to repeat the 4th grade. Then in stepped my Grandmother. I’m not sure why it was this was particular time she put her foot down and got involved - guess I’ll never know, yet I am forever grateful. My Grandmother was a retired school teacher and she taught me the basics of doing my homework before drawing or playing but more so than that. My Grandmother paid close attention to me. She saw how hooked I was on the X-men cartoon and how much I loved Wolverine. She would take me out after school twice a week to an ice cream shop that sold her favorite diabetic candies and she would help me do my homework. Furthermore she said if I got good grades she would send give me a Wolverine comic every week. One particular time she gave me a Wolverine action figure with retractable claws. The enthusiasm it gave me was the childhood equivalent of lightning in a bottle! This was a turning point in my educational career. I saw an immediate reward for my efforts which out weighed the boredom of school work. And then soon I fell in love with libraries! It wasn’t enough to just read comics I wanted to learned more and more! I especially loved reading Encyclopedias since they contained snippets of myths and other interesting stories I wanted to learn without having to read an entire book. The library became my Xavier’s school for gifted children and where I’d found continual inspiration for my art and personal comics. In less than two months time I went from an F student clearly looking to repeat the 4th grade to a straight A student winning awards in the Odyssey of the Mind club - it’s here I gained my official nerd status! I loved learning! And while it was the hands of my Grandmother that taught me to buckle down and do my school work it was the claws of Wolverine that hooked me on knowledge and I was never going back!
So today I want to ask you a question? What was your nerdy defining moment? Who hooked you of the nerdiness that is you? Feel free to hit me up with an email to chat! I’d love to hear your personal stories. Thank you all so much listening, you are such an encouragement to me and such wonderful people. Please take care and remember to Go Forth and Nerd!