When I was 19 years old, I was in a terrible car wreck. Not terrible in the sense that I was injured. In fact, I walked away with only a dislocated thumb and a small cut above my left eye. The accident was terrible because the car was destroyed. I struck a total of seven trees and a concrete drainage ditch before the car came to rest. Everyone was amazed that I walked away at all, much less with so few injuries. It was at that moment that I realized a truth that shaped my foreseeable future:
Okay, maybe not immortal. Just invincible. I’m talking Bruce Willis Invincible.
I guess everyone thinks that when they’re young. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve started to realize that maybe (and, realize I mean only JUST maybe) I may not actually be immortal. I now approach the fun activities of my youth – bungee jumping and whitewater rafting – with the realization that I have grown surprisingly fond of my limbs and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to part with them.
This mortal sensibility recently crept into my writing. I wrote “Card Tricks” about a superhero that truly wasn’t; a man who didn’t want the powers he had, nor were they the powers he would have chosen if given a choice.
Everyone thinks about getting superpowers when they’re young. Everyone wants to be Batman (minus the murdered parents) or Superman (minus the dead parents) or Spiderman (minus the dead parents and murdered uncle). When confronted with the question of what power they’d have if given the choice, they say “I want to fly” or “I want to be invincible” or “I’m Batman”.
The mortal sensibility in me, however, starts evaluating how truly effective those powers would really be. It would be great to fly faster than the speed of sound, but unless your power also gave you skin that can handle the wind sheer, you’d wind up as little more than a red mist the second your broke the sound barrier. Don’t even get me started on how hard it would breathe when wind is driving into your face at 800 miles per hour.
These crazy thoughts are actually driving a future novel of mine, which will examine just how much life sucks when you become a superhero. If you want to see where it all starts, go read “Card Tricks”.
Until then, I think people should analyze more closely their superpower wishes. When asked what superpowers you want, be sensible. Just stick with being Batman.