“Don’t you ever sleep?” I asked my friend, Heather. She is always awake. Pretty much every minute. I can verify this because I wake up at about 4AM to write for a couple hours. She is there. I see her posts after I go to sleep at my somewhat religious 10PM. It’s amazing to me. Waking up as early as I do, I’d probably go to bed an hour earlier, myself, but I seem to have The Boy Who Doesn’t Sleep which makes it difficult. Maybe he belongs to Heather and a mistake was made in the nursery. I’ll have to check her whereabouts for that day. It’s worth spitting onto a paper and sending it in to a geneticist to check.
“I don’t need to sleep,” she replied. “It’s my superpower.”
“Wow,” I said. “A superpower.”
I wonder if we all have a superpower, and if so does it mean we’ve taken powers from other areas and concentrated them? Or that we’re just endowed with extra talent and the world can’t touch us?
Now I’m wondering. Do I have a superpower? What could it be? Let me check the superpower checklist:
Able to leap small buildings? No, but I once ran around the entire track jumping the 400 hurdles and only fell on my face once, toward the end. After testing me on the high jump just in case, Coach said I had to stay on the ground. I’m not really fast, agile, and can’t teleport either, and I haven’t been running much lately. Maybe leaping and transportation are not my thing.
Super healing powers and ability to regenerate? I wish I could cure cancer and other serious diseases. I’d use this to help a lot of people. I can’t, though. However, every time I slice myself cooking, I seem to be able to manufacture the correct amount of butterfly stitches to avoid the hospital–all one-handed while bleeding. That’s pretty cool. But my wound doesn’t heal spontaneously, so perhaps that’s not a superpower after all.
Can I control nature? No, but I can watch The Weather Channel and predict when a storm is coming. I can even I shovel snow, putting nature where I want it, and making shapes out of it like snowmen and angels. I can bend the will of nature–I helped train my dog. And I heed the call of nature when necessary.
Mind control? I want mind control. I needed it yesterday teaching my seniors–the last class of the day. I’d like to control their minds directly–make them pay attention even though it’s period seven and they are five months from graduation. If I can’t have their minds, I’d like a chip for their phones that annoys them till they focus. Someone build me that app. Without mind control, I try to stare them down. They don’t think I’m planning an evil consequence, because I never look evil–I missed evil class in teacher school. Evil consequences are not planned by superheroes, anyway. They are planned by arch-villains.
One time, I did use telekinesis to explode an Orange Crush. That’s a superpower.
“Put that away,” I said, “before I unleash the chi.” The student laughed.
“Never…doubt…the chi….” I said, circling my hands sending energy toward the soda.
The Orange Crush exploded instantaneously, spraying sunlike stickiness all over the doubting student and three others nearby. The chi became my superpower, even though in my heart of hearts I know it was a combination of a shaken soda and incredible coincidence. But the story is passed down to this day, and somewhere in a corner of the internet I’m not supposed to know about, there is a Facebook page touting my skills as a ninja.
Maybe that’s my superpower. The story. The legend. The lore. Maybe that’s what most superpowers are. That image of that larger than life person you won’t mess with because they just might explode your soda. Or the picture of that person saving the world that makes you want to save the world, because if we all do our little bit, the world indeed gets saved.
That is my superpower. The art of the story with a touch of humor, maybe even the ability to see possibilities in students others can’t. Most would argue, that’s not really a superpower, it’s someone who needs a good shrink. But I’ll take what I can get, because superheroes don’t get to choose their powers, they just try to do the best they can to save the world while avoiding all the kryptonite.
[Credits: A special note on the image credit. I borrowed it from Living in High Definition, a beautiful blog about a family facing heartbreaking medical challenges with grace. I am grateful to this image for leading me to their story. If I had superpowers, I would help them first.]