"I'm the best there is at what I do - and what I do isn't very nice."
"I am not a gun."
-- The Iron Giant
I feel that the character of Wolverine is well summed up in Ultimate X-Men #41. (Stick with me!) In that issue, a young mutant kid comes into his powers. Unfortunately, instead of getting nifty cool powers, this kid's power is that he exudes something that kills everyone within a certain radius. When he figures out what he's done, he runs away to a cave in the mountains to isolate himself.
Enter Wolvie - due to his healing factor, he's able to be around the kid. And they talk. They talk about life. They talk about the raw deal the kid got. And as they talk... the kid finally looks up at Wolvie and says "I... can never leave this cave, can I?"
Wolvie passes the kid a beer.
And a little while later, he exits the cave alone.
And you know none of the other X-Men know about this mission. Wolverine is the one you send to do the work that would break anyone else. Wolverine is the weapon, the berserker. Yes, Weapon X. But seriously. Wolvie is the person who does things like this, things no one else can.
Of all the X-Men, I identify most - due to my childhood, my adolescence, the training I had - with Wolverine.
The Iron Giant is one of only three movies I've ever cried at. It's retro-'50s, about a kid who finds and befriends a giant robot in the woods.
The problem is that the robot, gentle as he is with the kid, was designed as an alien weapon. And when he thinks the military, attacking him, has killed the kid... he goes on a rampage. The kid regains consciousness just in time to stop the Iron Giant... and the Iron Giant, realizing what he's done in spite of the kid telling him he didn't have to be what he was designed to be - that he could be what he wanted to be -
- tells himself, quietly, as if trying to convince himself: "I am not a gun."
I wear four silver cuff bracelets on my left arm. Three of them have exterior decoration. One doesn't. On the inside of the plain bracelet, the words "One Day at a Time" are engraved.
This is not just a recovering-addict thing.
This is because every day I stand, and I metaphorically look at myself in the mirror. And with everything that I could beat the crap out of - with all the situations I could alter in my favor if I abuse what power I have -
I tell myself: "I am not a gun."
I do not have to be what I was raised to be, trained to be. The people who instilled those reflexes in me are long gone. I choose.
I am not a gun.