Why do superheroes need to wear masks? Typically masks are a symbol of shame, but often the hero chooses to wear a mask in order to protect his or her identity. It is that need to wear a mask–that fear of being known and putting yourself and loved ones in danger–that keeps most from ever attempting a superhero life. Very few ever own their superhero status. Tony Stark felt no shame or fear when he said “I am Ironman,” but most superheroes find it difficult to tell even the people closest to them that they are indeed a hero in disguise.

Fighting crime incognito wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t make things hard for the hero. How many dates did Peter Parker miss? How hard was it for Bruce Wayne to keep a girl? Why did no one ever figure out that Clark Kent and Superman were never in the same place at the same time (wrong post–another question for another time). Of course there is always the alternative–a laundry list of villains who not only know who you are, but where you live, work, and who you care about most. It’s sad that heroes have to wear masks, and it’s sad that we live in a world where we need heroes at all but I am glad heroes do exist. Hopefully one day more will be able to live in plain sight.

Here’s to a world full of people willing to proclaim “I choose to be a Hero!”