They say that one is never too old to learn. I have to tip my hat to AARP: The Magazine for its monthly brain boost. I have come to revere this monthly magazine that I receive as a source of great knowledge . . . great truth . . . and, wonderful material for a blog. This month . . . it was Superman!
It was 75 years ago this month that the Last Son of Krypton showed up on this planet. I have to be honest, I have dabbled in Superman on and off throughout my lifetime . . . but, I am more of an X-Man fan (especially Wolverine), than I am a Superman fan. Yet, at the same time, I do have Superman comic books stored away. But, 75 years! The dude looks good for such an old fart . . . I didn’t look that good in my prime! I’m jealous!
AARP: The Magazine, in celebration of Superman’s 75th birthday and new movie out in the theaters, decided to enlighten us mere mortals with five facts we never knew about him. I thank them for making me smarter . . . at least in useless trivia if nothing else.
As many of us know, Superman’s alias in life was Clark Kent. He was either Superman or Clark Kent . . . but, who would have ever guessed that his parents gave him a middle name? Never occurred to me, but it makes sense . . . most of us have middle names. Superman’s middle name? Joseph. Joseph . . . Joe . . . but there is nothing ordinary about this Joe. But, who would have ever guessed. It was in a comic written in 1997 that his middle name was revealed. Not a real macho name, but neither is Clark . . . isn’t that a candy bar?
Joseph is a Hebrew name . . . as in Joseph and Mary. Which brings up another fact about Superman that most of us probably did not know . . . at least according to the AARP . . . and, we all know that the AARP is right up there with the Bible . . . it never lies! Superman was probably Jewish. The magazine states, and I quote: “Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel gave plenty of clues—from Superman’s Kryptonian name, Kal-El (Hebrew for ‘vessel of God’), to his origin story straight out of Exodus (as Moses, his parent launched him to safety and adoption by gentiles, Martha and Jonathan Kent).” I never knew, and I bet you never did either . . . but does it really matter? At least he wasn’t Southern Baptist!
He flunked his Army physical. Yeah, the Man of Steel . . . the world’s strongest individual . . . flunked his Army physical. It happened during World War II when he went to enlist. He inadvertently read an eye chart in the adjoining room with his x-ray vision. Thus, he never got to serve his adopted country in war . . . never got to be a veteran.
But, that did not keep him from being involved. It seems that Superman hasn’t only fought fictional criminals and bad guys throughout his illustrious career . . . he fought some real life bad guys. In fact, I bet you didn’t know this, he took on Hitler and Stalin. It was chronicled in a 1940 story commissioned for Look magazine . . . and, I bet you will never find it in any of the history books found in schools. Superman hauled Hitler and Stalin before a League of Nations war crimes tribunal. He also battled white-hooded Ku Klux Klansmen in a 1946 radio serial. Find that in one of your children’s history books! But, the oddest of all was when he boxed against Muhammed Ali—and lost. Imagine, I only learned of this 37 years after graduating high school! No wonder Ali always called himself the greatest!
The last thing I learned about Superman is that he is eligible to collect Social Security. Apparently he enrolled in Social Security in 1966. His Social Security Number is 092-09-6616. The guy pays taxes! He is entitled to Social Security payments! The guy is on the government’s screen, but no one seems to be able to put two plus two together to catch him. By the way, the number is a real number . . . but, it was not really Superman’s to begin with. It belonged to Giobatta Balocchi, a New Yorker who had died the year before (1965).
Now, don’t you feel smarter? I know that I do. Heck, I’m ready for the latest edition of Trivial Pursuit . . . bring it on! In the meantime, I want to wish Superman a happy birthday, much success in his latest movie, and many more to come. I hear it is a blockbuster of a movie . . . going to make a lot of money . . . but, with a Social Security number he might be paying for a long, long time. Happy birthday, Joseph!