Put On the Hat

NEW YORK, 1981

A man–yet just a man–sits on a metal girder high above the city of New York City. The sights and the smells of the sounds of the city assail him, but up here he is above them all. Up here he can merely look down and wonder.

Behind him the glorious city skyline and with it: innumerable possibilities.

But Mario is a man–just a man–and the wind tousles his hair.

At the top of this vert construction site a monstrous, enraged gorilla is hurling barrels at those below. And held captive by that gorilla is Pauline, Mario’s girlfriend.

Even now a flaming barrel comes tumbling through the sky and explodes as it strikes the ground below. The authorities will surely be on their way: soldiers with sniper rifles and fancy helicopters. They will kill the gorilla and rescue the girl, Mario is sure of it, he’s seen this motion picture before.

Beside Mario, on the steel girder, there rests an upside-down hat. It is Mario’s hat, emblazoned with a red M such that nobody else could mistake it for their own. The girders vibrate with the quaking of the monkey’s rage, but the hat does not fall.

Such weight does that hat carry: such density of destiny. Does the hat sparkle in the light or that tears in Mario’s eyes?

For he knows that the moment he puts that hat upon his head he will become something else. No longer Mario, but…

Super Mario.

— The Weight of Destiny