Why Destiny Matters and The Tick

"FF: The Tick" | Art by DragginCat. Used with permission.
The Tick doesn’t do a lot of thinking. He’s not a smart guy; but he knows evil when he sees it, and he’ll spring into action because he knows that fighting evil is his destiny. The Tick’s origin is something of a mystery; he has no idea where he came from and knows very little about himself. The only thing he’s certain of is his destiny, and it drives everything that he does. The rest of the rational world spends their time asking the question “Who am I?” as they search for meaning. Not The Tick. He’s defined entirely by his drive to conquer evil, and as far as he’s concerned, this destiny has no connection to his past, and requires no other pertinent details—only that he should embrace what he was made for and live it out every day.

So, what is this force he calls destiny? If you ask him, he’ll tell you, “Destiny’s powerful hand has made the bed of my future, and it’s up to me to lie in it. I am destined to be a superhero. To right wrongs, and to pound two-fisted justice into the hearts of evildoers everywhere. And you don’t fight destiny. No sir. And, you don’t eat crackers in the bed of your future, or you get all… scratchy.” Again, The Tick’s no genius, but he gives good advice—you should never eat crackers in bed. It’s folly. And you don’t fight destiny… unless, of course, you enjoy being sad and unfulfilled.

Like The Tick, it’s up to me to live out what’s in my heart, or not. I’m not a puppet.

As a Catholic Christian, I too, have a sense of destiny. I believe that I was made by God for some very specific things—some of which I have in common with everyone else in the world—and some others that make me unique. The common ones are that I was made to love and be loved, made for relationship, and that I was made for far more than what I can experience here on earth. I believe that every single person God ever created was made for heaven; to live with God forever in peace and joy. The more unique things have more to do with my personal qualities, whether good, bad, or ugly (and often all three).

If you look at The Tick’s enormous blue frame and costume, you can guess he’s supposed to be a hero. He’s also nigh invulnerable—what a waste that attribute would be if he settled down in a desk job. It’s not his leadership skill, intelligence, or history that unites the other wacky, ineffective heroes in The City, helping them to take it back from the villains that run amuck—it’s simply his sense of justice. He is literally built to be a hero, and if he tries to be anything else, he would be out of place and The City would still be in chaos.

His sidekick, Arthur, discovers his destiny the hard way—when he finds the moth suit and feels drawn towards something new, he has a choice to make. After he wears the suit to his accounting firm, it makes everyone uncomfortable and he’s told it’s not allowed. So his choices are to ditch the suit or pursue a passion that pulls at his heart. I believe passions like those are placed in us from the beginning, and when we discover them it’s difficult to pursue anything else. Arthur would never have found fulfillment if he remained an accountant, and he knows that. So, he chooses a life of excitement and crime-fighting with The Tick—even if it isn’t the safest journey.

“You don’t eat crackers in the bed of your future, or you get all… scratchy.”

I’m no Tick, and no moth suits have come across my path, but I’ve always felt a pull towards certain activities. I’m passionate about writing, helping people, my family, and becoming a badass fighting machine. I’m still working on that last one, although I would never hurt anyone (I apologize profusely every time I even graze someone in my karate class). I believe that God built those desires into me, and that I was hardwired from the womb toward these things because of His plan. The understanding of that plan is constantly unfolding—I’m frequently surprised at where it takes me. But, like The Tick, it’s up to me to live out what’s in my heart, or not. I’m not a puppet; I have a choice. But, if I don’t live what’s most natural to me, I might as well be eating crackers in my bed, because I’m going to get itchy, unsettled, and unfulfilled.

Responding to destiny is reacting to what’s most true in my heart, the unique contribution that I, and my weirdness, can make in this world. Destiny offers direction, makes a path for me to follow, and even puts people and circumstances in my life that help me live out my various vocations. The Tick expresses it this way, “Destiny, that finely-shaped engine of the universe with the warm hands and the tasteful footwear, pushed Arthur, wings and all, into my path. We were meant to be together, friends to the end. He has a three-pound brain, and it’s all smarts.” Sometimes my destiny is intertwined with another’s; we help each other and it’s magical the way those connections are made. We’re all the heroes and sidekicks of numerous side-streets, mountain paths, and dark alleys of destiny, leading us to our final destination (see? Even the word “destination” has “destiny” in it); though whatever path we take, we’re all aiming for the same location in the end.

Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

Contributing Writer at Area of Effect
Jen is a pastoral minister, wife, mother, ninja and writer. She loves sci-fi, superheroes, and classic literature, and prefers to share her Catholic faith through such lenses. Her book, "Comic Con Christianity" is available from Paulist Press.
Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

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