it's a great time to have a hero / by mrm

I never would have said this in high school, but I really, really want to be a cheerleader.

For Kima Greggs.

Actually, think I want to be her sidekick. Yes, that’s more like it. I would REALLY like to be her sidekick. As far as I can see, the only potential obstacles that could possibly prevent me from achieving this goal are:
- she’s a fictional character
- her show is over
- she doesn’t really need a sidekick

Aside from that, I don’t anticipate any problems.

If you haven’t watched The Wire, which yes I know is over, but I am slow – and perennially dragging my feet at the end of the pop-culture parade, long after the band, the mayor, the beauty queens, and the float for the county feed store – and so I’m only partway through the second of five seasons. Thus far, at any rate, Kima Greggs is a hard-ass, semi-butch, wise-cracking, take-no-shit, African American lesbian cop. What a non-stereotypical television character, and yet the show is written in a way that shows the variety of human experience and nature, rather than dealing in easily recognizable cardboard people. So she doesn't stand out as "different," she's not a foil for a cute blond ladycop. Kima ain't no lady. Don't take my word for it, she'll tell you. I’m having a hard time recalling when – if ever – I admired a fictional tv character to this extent. Probably the closest runner-up is Alex Mack, but that was when I was about 12, so a few things have changed since then.

But how could I respond with anything but unbridled enthusiasm for a female character that is smart, confident, pragmatic, tough, funny, bold, unintimidated and unimpressed by the shenanigans and horseplay of her less committed and generally less intelligent colleagues, who are almost uniformly male. I think Sonja Sohn, the actor who plays Kima, is nothing short of tremendously perfect in the role, to understate the case a bit. I wondered briefly whether I was more interested in the actor or the character, and quickly decided that while I’d be happy to see Sohn do something else in the future, Kima Greggs is the one I’m really rooting for. And I do mean rooting – I watch Kima with nothing short of glee, occasionally augmented by verbal encouragement. This is how I find myself at times: alone in my room, watching a 4-year old tv program on my laptop; generally silent, but with occasional cheers.

Which tangentially, reminds me of when I was grocery shopping this evening. There was an old lady, who seemed more than a bit off. She was walking in uneven circles, pushing her cart around the store, and talking out loud. At one point I saw her stop in front of the Haribo display, and start singing in a warbly voice “Hallelujah” over and over, until she quit because she started laughing. For a moment I thought: she’s crazy, and then I thought: no, she’s just like me, only louder.