Saturday, October 27, 2012

Just Being Batman

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:

I’m immortal.

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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jon Messenger, Delivery Boy

This post has nothing to do with writing.  No, really.  I'm not kidding.  I know I'm a writer and this is a writer's blog, but I just don't have anything interesting book-related to say.  No, this blog post is about the endless possibilities of job opportunities that were afforded to a much younger Jon Messenger, and how they never came to fruition (or did they???).

A few months ago, I started a new job in Washington, D.C.  As part of my job, I read and watch the news daily, to see if I can understand the correlation between world events and the impact they might have on the Army Medical Department.

Trust me, it sounds FAR more exciting than it really is.

During one of my union work breaks in front of the television, I watched a news story about Fiona Apple being arrested on the Texas/Mexico border, for possession of marijuana.  At first, I, like many of you, couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Fiona Apple, who once innocently sang about sexually molesting a vulnerable man, also does drugs?  What has the world come to?

It wasn't the story that really interested me, or the subsequent insults thrown back and forth between the Apple camp and the local Sheriff (though I appreciated the Sheriff's reply of, "shut up and sing").  No, what interested me was the title of the story:

"Fiona Apple, singer, arrested for drug possession."

Many of you re-read that sentence a few times, just to see the secret message hidden within.  Let me help you:

"Blah Blah, singer, blah blah blah blah."

When I first saw this story and then, later, read this story online, they repeatedly commented on Fiona Apple, the singer.  Apparently, since she put out "Criminal" in 1997, she's been touring (I have to assume singing only her one song over and over during a 90-minute concert).  She's even, apparently, putting out a new album, which could only be titled after using every letter in the alphabet at least twice.  No joke, here's the title of her new album:

"The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do"

But her only hit and worthwhile album was put out in 1997.  That was 15 years ago!  For the past 15 years, she's done nothing else really worthwhile, but she's been living off the title of "singer", despite not really doing much singing.

15 years ago, I was a dead sexy college freshman hanging out on the beaches of Los Angeles.  When I wasn't in college, I was a delivery boy.  I wasn't exactly proud of being a delivery boy, but I was damn good at it.

Now, I know what you're thinking: she's techinically still singing, so she gets to keep the title of Fiona Apple, singer.  Well, technically I still pick up food for the family on the way home from work.  Therefore, I get to keep my title:

Jon Messenger, Delivery Boy.