In the midst of my second year at Louisiana College in Pineville, LA, I met a friend, Danny Hoychick, who would quickly become like a brother to me. Even that doesn't quite do our relationship justice. We weren't really "like" brothers, we sensed that somewhere, somehow, we might actually have the same blood flowing through our veins.
I know it sounds crazy, but we were so alike, so closely connected, that it didn't seem like that far of a leap. And then we met Doc Savage.
Doc Savage is a pulp fiction (not the movie, but the genre of literature) character who came on the scene in a series of graphic novels that began in 1933. It was Lester Dent who crafted the character, known as "The Man of Bronze", into the superman that he became. Dent, who wrote most of the adventures, described his hero - Clark "Doc" Savage Jr. - as a cross between “Sherlock Holmes with his deducting ability, Tarzan of the Apes with his towering physique and muscular ability, Craig Kennedy with his scientific knowledge, and Abraham Lincoln with his Christliness.” But the thing that drew Danny and me to Doc Savage was a puzzle that Danny's uncle had hidden in his attic.
For some reason that puzzle - a picture of raw toughness - appealed to our sense of adventure, masculinity, and sheer stupidity. We just thought Doc Savage, with his torn shirt, raging pectorals, and clinched fists, was the nastiest dude we had ever seen. And there was something about the look in his eyes that called to something deep within our souls. It was as if we were Luke Skywalker in the final scene of The Empire Strikes back, and Doc was Darth Vader. If we listened closely, we could almost hear Doc whisper "Boys, I am your Father."
I don't know if it was our need for a mentor or what, but Doc Savage became the inspiration for everything we did. We tore our shirts, framed the puzzle and hung it on our wall, and even reminisced about how Doc had led us in and out of certain situations in our lives, even though we didn't even know he existed. It was like life suddenly made better sense now that we had uncovered this hidden heritage. We were part of a greater story, the story of Doc Savage, and there was a strange pride and connection between us as a result.
Danny and I have been out of touch now for somewhere around 10 years. About two weeks ago, Danny emailed me. We spoke on the phone that night, and it was clear that we had both changed quite a bit. Those days of drinking until we couldn't remember our names are distant memories, but our connection remains as close as ever. This time around, though, our connection isn't centered around Doc Savage (although we still know that Doc is our daddy). Our main topic of conversation these days is Jesus Christ.
So, after all these years, Danny and I still find ourselves reminiscing about being led along on an adventure greater than ourselves. We are still drawn to a bigger story with a vast heritage. We're as close as ever to the one who says in a still, small voice, "I am your Father." We have a new hero, and our friendship has never been better!