Why did I interview a professional chef on a superhero channel?
Let’s back up.
There is no moon where I am, right now, at least not that I can see. The slow breathing of the person beside me, and the occasional shuffle of the little bird asleep in her hidey hole on the other side of the bed, do little to break up the oppressive silence of the night. So I wear headphones playing something until I fall asleep, but I am awake listening, through most of the hours, for the honk of an alarmed duck–the honk that has summoned me on several occasions to run outside in an old, bag of a dress, clutching my hand-hewn axe. I have scared off a coyote and an owl this way; once, when I couldn’t find my axe, I whacked an opossum on the butt with my shovel to keep him away from my ducks.
I usually can’t fall asleep until daybreak. Not because of the ducks. Other reasons.
I remember night-time watches, ready to rush at a moment’s notice to a baby’s delivery, or the bedside of an ill elderly person, and I remember my nights in medical school prowling the streets in search of people in severe need.
I remember my frustration that house-having people like me would feel good about themselves after these rounds, while to my eyes, the people we served still hadn’t had their problems solved–they were still homeless, still lacked access to medical care, still suffered severe drug addiction or some form of legitimized slavery.
The cool actions that bring the act-or glory aren’t enough to solve the long-term problems.
Look, by definition a superhero needs to have the ability to do those short-term actions–needs to go out on the rooftop, learn a martial art, put their life into serving, be willing to be the one who gets shot if shooting can’t be avoided altogether.
Otherwise they’re just a nice person or whatever, or perhaps a woke thinker, not a superhero.
But if a superhero is to be actually effective, they’re going to have to learn beyond those short-term actions, and think about the big picture things (which is why in many iterations of Batman, in addition to funding most superheroes he also runs these nonprofit projects for medical research, the environment, the poor, and so forth).
Someone who ONLY thinks big picture is just an activist or a politician. You gotta have the down and dirty actions to be a superhero.
But to help us think about the big picture, I’ve done a series of interviews about some of the “big picture” processes that create heroes and happiness.
For the first of these interviews, I sat down with Chef Giang Luu to talk about how we can use FOOD at the granular level–to be nice–and at the larger, big picture level, to make the world a better place.
I certainly hope you’ll take the time to take a look.
And if you’d like to get regular superhero alerts from me each week, join me here on email!
And check out the Becoming A Real Life Superhero channel, too.