Thursday, July 23, 2020


            In an ad for a dating service one couple-to-be asked what superpower each wanted to have. I’m not sure what answer would have landed a date (speculate here), but the question led me to ask it of myself. Here are some possibilities:

Flying. Nope. We don’t get stuck in traffic up here, and we don’t have a lot of places where we want to go. I also think about hitting bugs at low altitudes.

Invisibility. I remember at a dinner party asking everyone in turn what was their strategy to get through adolescence in their family. My answer – invisibility. But as an old guy I am pretty much invisible already, so I don’t need the superpower.

Strength. No need. I can already unscrew the lids of jars, and that’s sufficient. And I can move rocks around to landscape the yard. I would not get any credit for lid-removal if I had extra strength as a superpower.

X-Ray Vision. No real X-Rays, but the kind Superman had, allowing him to spy on Lois Lane. Not my cup of kryptonite.

Ability to Read Minds. When I asked Kim what superpower she wanted, she said it would be the ability to know what other people were really thinking and feeling. She wants to be able to read those thought bubbles that float above cartoon characters. I told her that she already had that power, and she’d have to come up with a new one. I don’t have any interest in that power – best not to know some things. Kim also added

Astral Travel. She would like to have her soul or “astral body” leave her physical body and travel anywhere she wants, so she can see “all the good stuff that is going on.” Her claustrophobia keeps her off of airplanes, so I suppose astral travel is the way to go, though I doubt you get frequent flyer points.

Infinite Coordination. When I taught The Invisible Man (H.G. Wells version), I asked my students to give themselves a superpower and describe a day in their lives. One guy, who was noticeably unathletic, gave himself “infinite coordination.” His paper didn’t work out all that well, but his concept stuck with me for over 50 years.

Immortality. (As Jonathon Swift cautioned, be sure to include as part of the deal that you don’t keep growing older.) Not sure about this one. We are looking forward to disastrous global warming with the pandemic rebooting every year, like the flu? Or will human creativity, morality and common sense win out? Ask me again in November.

Control of Election Results. Nope – this one has already been taken by the Russians.

Perfect Health. Not really a superpower, is it? Still, plenty appealing, if you disregard the envy of everyone you know.

Infinite Empathy. Nope – too painful. I might like to be friends with someone with this superpower.

Ability to Fix My Computer. Or phone. Not just fix it, but simply maintain it, use it after “upgrades,” etc. People my age know why this is a good candidate.

Time Travel. But with some restrictions: I have no interest in transporting into the future, other than mild curiosity with dystopian overtones. I would love to visit the past – ancient Greece, Renaissance Florence and London, pre-Columbian North America, the Roaring Twenties. I would also like control over when and where to travel, unlike the guy in The Time-Traveler’s Wife, who gets jerked, naked, backward and forward in time with no control. And there is the movie, About Time, where the ability to time-travel allows the protagonist do-overs when he needs them, such as for his first sexual experience, which was eventually outstanding. Yes, I think Time Travel is my superpower of choice.

            We would love to hear back from you about your superpower of choice. Please respond by email to or

From Terry Segal:
Ability to shoot below 90 at golf

From Don Lombardi:
You would be interested to know of my friend Mohammad Sayed, a real live superhero who has created a character Wheelchair Man whose superpower is to make a person who is about to commit a crime see the consequences of the crime before committing it. See

Forwarded from Vince Simmon:  

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