I’m not sure when exactly it became cool to be into superheroes, but my “I told you so’s” in 1989 when Tim Burton’s Batman came out certainly didn’t seem to help my cause any. When Avengers 2 came out a few years ago, I was the first one in line. Well, once the crowds thinned out a bit.
Whether you know Stan Lee’s original origin story for Thor or just think Chris Hemsworth looks pretty good dressed as a Viking, everybody has at one point or another wished they had superpowers. It’s part of the appeal of these movies. Who has never wanted super-strength or the ability to fly?
When I was young I would have used my powers for good. I’d have chased down bad guys and saved people from burning buildings. Flight, super-speed, laser-eyes; these are the powers I would have wanted. At some point, invisibility would have been my pick, but that’s just because twelve-year-old boys are little perverts. All of them.
As I grew older, I got more selfish. There comes an age when you still feel invincible but it becomes increasingly clear that you are not. I went to a lot of funerals for too many young people in my late teens and early twenties. A healing factor or some type of invulnerability would have been high on my list.
At thirty I would have wanted to time travel. It’s not a conventional superpower, usually achieved only with a machine, but not completely unheard of. The X-Men have been going back in time and getting do-overs for years. I had quite a few things I would have changed about my twenties.
Last week my wife and I picked up Alaina at a park, where she was playing with two of her cousins. After twenty minutes or so of the three kids playing beautifully in a sandbox, my brother’s two-year-old son stood up, walked over to an area covered in woodchips, calmly laid down, and did nothing but roll around until he was filthy. It was hysterical because it wasn’t my kid but also had me wondering what the hell he was thinking. Was he scratching an itch, looking for a reaction from his mom, pretending to be a steamroller? Did it just seem like a fun idea? I want to know.
Now that I am a husband and a father, the superpower I want is telepathy. I am completely fascinated by the ongoing development of Alaina’s thought process. I want to know what goes through her three-year-old mind. What level of complexity is actually in there? How much does she understand of the world around her? Why isn’t she more scared of it? Does she really mess with me as much as I think she does?
I’d have to use it sparingly with the wife and teenager, with a secondary power of very thick skin, but how much better of a husband and father could I be with an occasional peek inside their heads? Some inside knowledge of what they really wanted and expected of me? I have a secret for you ladies. As dense as you think men are, we’re probably even worse at figuring you out than you think.
So there you have it, Beyonders, Celestials, and other empowering space gods, I’ll take telepathy, please. (If you want to throw in a little anti-aging or extra energy I’ll take that too.)
Previously published on Musings of a Thirsty Daddy
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