Aquaman is my hero.
I am a Japanese translator at an American automobile company. I'm not an engineer; I can't fix any of the machines or run any of the tests. I'm not a quality specialist: I can't analyze a faulty design and make suggestions to fix it. Yet in my own small way, I like to think that I am important.
Usually I'm content to stay in the background. I don't have a big red "S" or a big bat on my chest to call attention to myself. I want to go in, help out, and step aside. It's not about the glory.
Most of the time, most people don't even notice I'm there. I get left off meeting invitations and email lists. Then a whale will beach itself, or a document will need translating, and suddenly I'm everyone's first call.
I make it look easy. I don't explain my tricks or use pseudo-science to get my job done. I do what has to be done and say what has to be said. I have a killer right hook and a wonderful vocabulary.
I have the respect of the people I work with and the curiosity of the masses. "Yes, but what does he DO?" is asked all too often about me by people who simply do not understand. I am a friend, a colleague, and a peer. Co-workers ask for me by name. They know that they can count on me to get the job done. I'm not about magic rings and spider webs. My goal is communication. If you haven't communicated, then I've failed. And I don't like failure.
I don't get angry except under extreme conditions. If I do get angry, you had better step aside. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
I have a loving wife and we have a wonderful child. I had a young man as an exchange student a few years ago who thinks of me as a surrogate father and a the big brother he never had.
I'm not always the first person you think of, but I will always do what needs to be done. I'm not afraid to step up, to ask for help, or to step aside and get the work to somebody more qualified.
Sometimes you can work without me. Sometimes you don't need me at all. And sometimes, I'm the only person who can get the job done.
And Aquaman is my hero.
(Based on an article originally published in THE AQUAMAN CHRONICLES # 13, Sept 2004)
Illustration is by the author, based on a photograph of diver Greg Louganis by Annie Leibovitz