Mario is a hero, give him the Purple Heart

Matt Sussman and Matt Sussman

I grew up idolizing a certain hero. He was the man. He saved a beautiful princess and kicked the bad guys’ tails from here to Level 8-4. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any hardware that acknowledges his heroics.His name is Super Mario, and he deserves the Purple Heart.Mario’s first courageous act came in 1982, when he bravely jumped over rolling barrels to rescue a young lady from the clutches of Donkey Kong.His greatest feat occured in 1985, documented in the hit Nintendo game “Super Mario Brothers.” Mario, along with his brother Luigi, lost many lives but racked up several points and gold coins to defeat Bowser and rescue not only Princess Toadstool, but seven of her Toadstool servants.The list of Mario’s brave conquests is almost infinite. Not only has he rescued Princess Toadstool several times, he also helped rescue Yoshi from his egg. He even took some time out to release a popular Super Nintendo game, “Mario Paint,” where Mario shows the artistic side of being a legendary plumber.In the Nintendo 64 game “Super Mario 64,” Mario got a letter from Peach saying she baked a cake for him. Mario went above and beyond the call of duty by going into paintings and recovering lost stars that held the key to rescuing Princess Peach. Who else would have done that? Better yet, who would have done that — and ask only for a high-calorie dessert in return?The Purple Heart belongs to Mario because, well, he’s died a lot.Mario has lost countless lives over the years. He’s accidentally ran into the sides of Koopas. He’s fallen off tall platforms. He’s even run out of time, which in the Mushroom Kingdom, can kill you. Of course, some people will try and devalue Mario’s accomplishments for whatever reason. They will say that in “Super Mario Bros. 2,” Mario didn’t really save anyone, since the entire game was really a dream Mario had. They say that anybody could have defeated Bowser with well-placed Starmen and raccoon suits.Why would they do this to the most noted hero of our generation? While the technology of Nintendo consoles has improved over the past 20 years, so has the legend of Mario.He’s a quiet man, one who doesn’t ask for much recognition. He’s not looking to have an airport named after him or run for president. The most noble plumber of the past twenty years has probably done enough to merit anything from a golden statue in his honor to a consultant job for Halliburton.All it takes is someone like myself, an admirer of Mario’s exploits, to get the ball rolling on such a worthy cause.The lack of hardware on Mario’s overalls is appalling. Give him that shiny medal that brave injured heroes deserve.Join Matt’s crusade. E-mail him at [email protected].