When I was in third grade I had a Hot Wheels Superman car. It was the classic blue, red and yellow, emblematic of the Superman costume. There was a clear plastic bubble for the cockpit and you could see a little Superman sitting in the driver’s seat. It also had a little button on the back that when pushed, two little fists would poke out of the headlights. It was quite an impressive little piece of machinery for a toy.
I thought it was pretty damn awesome. Although I could never really understand why Superman, a being that could fly and smash through any materials known, needed a car. I mean, I’m pretty sure he didn’t have any pockets. Where did he keep the keys? Then again, would you really steal Superman’s car? Still, it was a pretty cool little toy for a third grader.
I did make a mistake with it though and, even at my age, it still haunts me a bit. I was thinking about it last night in fact as I was trying to get to sleep. I lost that Superman car during recess. I dropped that little toy right down the sewer that was in the parking lot where recess was held. Growing up in the city, you didn’t get to run around a grassy field or climb a jungle gym; you got a parking lot to run around in like a little mad man.
I don’t remember the circumstances of how my Superman car found his way into the sewer. I don’t remember if I was trying to show one of my school mates and my third grade bumbling fingers just dropped it or what, but I remember it dropping and falling into the sewer. The friends I had at the time, we all stood around the sewer and imitated the adult men in our lives. I remember, standing there, surrounded by three or four other little boys all staring into the sewer, hands in our pockets. One kid suggested maybe it hadn’t fallen too far down and we could get a stick or something. Another suggested that his dad had a magnet and maybe we could put it on that stick and get it out. I just stood there, on the verge of tears, but back then, boys were forbidden to cry so I didn’t.
I didn’t tell a teacher about it because we weren’t supposed to have toys with us anyway so I didn’t want to get in trouble. Recess came to an end and I had to abandon all hope of ever retrieving my lost Superman car. I remember looking back at the sewer as the boy’s line trudged back into the school building for more Catholic indoctrination.
I did learn a lesson that day and never brought another toy to school. I also think that lesson filtered through my entire life and to this day I have a hard time bringing something valuable with me anywhere. It might also explain why I’m not all that materialistic, but yet, really hold onto the things I do have.
I still miss that little Superman car. I hope it’s had some incredible adventures.