Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a man who really doesn’t have time for this, but is still taking off work to save the day!

Hello, I’m Superman. You may remember me from when I flew around the world and reversed time or my work punching out anachronistic gangsters or that time this morning when I caught a meteor that was on a collision course with the Earth and hurled it into the sun.

Yes, we all lived to see another day, but it’s a day I’ll be held accountable for by HR.

That’s really why I’m here. I’d like to take a moment to talk to you about something most people either don’t realize or don’t want to accept. You see, times have changed… and the never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American Way has become harder and harder to fight. I’m not Superman, for God’s sake. …You know what I’m trying to say.

I’m sure some of you have guessed that I have a private life. Lois Lane at The Daily Planet pretty much threw away her credibility as a journalist trying to figure out my secret identity instead of writing about literally anything else for several years. Well, she was correct. I’m not always Superman. Sorry, Miss Lane. And my condolences to the families of anyone who died while I was stuck in a meeting.

Unfortunately, I do have to make a living. Like many of you, I did not realize I was making a terrible mistake when I declared a major in college. As it turns out, the only subject I’m really educated on—I mean, beyond punching things—is a dying industry. I thought it was important work, especially in our complex modern world where it’s hard to tell who’s telling the truth. The sales figures disagree. You would think the government I’ve single-handedly saved from being conquered by aliens, Lex Luthor, and aliens in cahoots with Lex Luthor would at least forgive the interest on my student loans. They have not.

As many of you know, I’m from another world that exploded many years ago, but I’m also from America’s Heartland. I’ve spent my whole life working long, hard hours in spite of crushing generational debt. If either one of my careers—as Superman or whomever I may be when I’m not Superman… Hal Jordan, say—have proven anything, it’s that I’m not afraid to leap tall buildings and change the course of mighty rivers if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

And yet, it’s not enough. The plain fact is that I can’t make ends meet when one of my two full-time jobs is unpaid public service. I know I’ve said it myself, “This is a job for Superman!” but is it really a job if you only get paid in exposure? My landlord knows who Superman is, but that doesn’t pay the rent. I’m not made out of money like Bruce Wayne.

Of course, I’m always happy to help, but in this economy, I have to work smarter, not harder. I have to budget my time to successfully budget my income. It isn’t really my responsibility to drop everything and rush in to wrestle a monster. I get that the police and military aren’t really equipped for that sort of situation, but they also have pension plans and paid time off. I cut my own hair.

You see the problem.

That’s why I think it’s not too much to ask that, after you call me for help, you at least think about taking advantage of one of my several convenient tipping accounts. Buy me a coffee or a beer. Or, if you’re feeling generous and appreciate my work, consider subscribing to my Patreon. No, I’m not going to give you a free signal watch or come to your house and entertain your children or help you move, but I will continue to provide the finest quality day-saving available in this price range.

If you’re uncomfortable paying for a service that to this point has always been free, please visit one of my online stores. There you’ll find Superman T-shirts, caps, mugs, and signed 8 x 10s. Looking for a reputable news site that reports the facts instead of the spin? Click The Daily Planet link on my homepage to subscribe to The Daily Planet for twenty percent off the first year. No, no, I don’t gain anything from selling subscriptions, but they’re a fine newspaper and every new customer helps them pay their world-class reporters the sort of generous salary they deserve. I think we can all agree that Clark Kent—America’s Newsman—is worthy of a raise. Maybe a sponsored podcast.

Kryptonite isn’t my only weakness. Like all of you, I’m at the mercy of my means. Take it from me, it’s much easier to break literal chains than the chains of late-stage capitalism.

Thank you for your time and your generosity and remember… all of us can contribute something. Especially Bruce Wayne.