I don’t get the widespread need for a hero. The idea of sitting, waiting for someone to come and save us, or the mistaken belief that the hero is the one that wears the cape and not the little girl who sews thousands of them in a basement in Tucheng.
But if you insist I will always say, without a shadow of a doubt, that my hero is Max.
At first glance Max seems like a normal person, just like you and me. That’s until you know his story and realize he’s not (if you haven’t heard it before, she will tell it to you in Spanish, or if you prefer in English, Obama himself can read it to you). Max is a great hero, one who battles against enormous and terrible wild things.
The wild things that attack Max are not evil robots, giant insects or aliens from another planet. We know them very well; they’re the same ones that attack us every day. Misunderstanding (Alexander in the movie), excessive rationality (Douglas), loneliness (K.W.), aggressiveness (Judith), insecurity (Bull), lack of character (Ira), jealousy (Terry and Bob) and, above all, our own self-destruction and our impulsiveness (the unforgettable Gandolfini-Carol).
One night, Max decides to do what almost no one does: confront all the wild things. He knows the trick: look them straight in the eyes without blinking until they become afraid of him. It’s not easy but Max, as I was saying, is a brave boy.
The problem is that challenging them is not the hardest part. The real adventure, the bravest part, is reaching the place where the wild things are. For this we need a special boat capable of crossing the sea days and nights. And that boat is at the end of a great forest that appears only when we are alone.
Each day becomes increasingly more difficult to find and pass through that forest. Wherever we look we see detours. The wild things put them in our path to prevent us from reaching the ocean where the boat is waiting. Facebook requests, Whatsapp messages, Instagram pictures, ‘urgent’ emails, tweets that ‘you have to share’… thousands of barriers that are difficult to escape. We have forgotten to cross the ocean every now and then and that’s why the wild things still reign.
Not Max. Max succeeds, he gets on the boat and when he meets the wild things he stares them without blinking once. They get scared and decide to crown him king. Only then, Max already knows, does the party begin. “Let the wild rumpus begin!” The wild things are now kids like him, and Max can even make fun of them.
Becoming king of the wild things is not only fun. Winning this game has a fantastic prize: now that the wild things are not in power, Max is free to return home where “someone loved him best of all”.
Someone who won’t disappear after we’ve ignored their second Facebook message or after we haven’t replied to Whatsapp; who will be waiting with dinner on the table, every time we need to be alone, become king and come back.
One day the sea will be full of boats. We will get tired of all the distractions and, like Max, we’ll embark into the deepest of oceans till we get to where our wild things are. And everyone, without exception, will become king.