Friending Superman

Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent

Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Did you hear they’re making another Superman movie?” a woman at work recently asked me.

Yes, I plan to see “Man of Steel.” As a former newspaperwoman, I can relate to Clark Kent. I, too, have hoodwinked everyone around the office into thinking I’m docile and meek. But unlike Clark, I don’t ditch my glasses and business clothes in a phone booth and emerge as a caped crusader. I wear contact lenses most days.

I’m not a comic book fan, and when it comes to Superman, my only real frame of reference is the movie from 1978, a time when phone booths still existed. Now that social media has replaced phone booths, I am curious to see how Clark Kent fares in modern Metropolis. Does he join Facebook?

It would be tempting to Facebook-friend those high school bullies, who’ve hopefully lost their hair and developed beer bellies. Does Clark put on his spandex uniform and stand in front of the mirror to take a self-portrait for his profile?

He might tag himself in articles about the hero’s amazing deeds, commenting, “I had a pretty super day!”

What if he bumped into Lois Lane, iPhone in hand at the water cooler, and she shared the wisecrack her friend just posted, and added, as an afterthought, “Hey Clark, are you on Facebook?”

How would he react? Bragging about his superhero status to former classmates he never sees in person is one thing, but letting his coworkers into that world is another. What self-respecting employee really wants everyone at the office to know what he’s doing after 5 o’clock?

He’d have to take down all his cool photos and change his occupation back from “Superman” to “reporter” and carefully consider everything he shares online. And yet, even an upstanding man of such moral conviction as Clark might stay home one day, even if the aspirin worked and he feels fine by 9:30 a.m. Getting lost in the freedom and monotony of a day spent in his bathrobe, he might turn to that online drug and forget, momentarily, that his audience now includes his boss.

“So Clark was too sick to come in today, but not too sick to lift weights for 45 minutes and “fly” – whatever he means by that – to Sonic for Happy Hour. I told you that man has an incomparable immune system. It’s almost like he’s not of this planet. Is he even human?”

I liked the days of phone booths better.