Barry Smith: Irrelativity
July 30, 2012
It’s been quite the summer for superheroes. For the past few months the big screen has been filled with fantastical, superpowered beings: Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man, Abraham Lincoln.
I understand the concept that you should set your goals higher than you can reach just so you’re constantly striving, but all these larger-than-life characters are having exactly the opposite effect. They’re kind of discouraging me. I have such a long way to go before I’m even close to being a billionaire playboy genius in an invincible iron suit or a billionaire playboy detective with a cool motorcycle or being bitten by a radioactive spider and suddenly able to climb walls or freeing the slaves while killing zombies. I just can’t relate. In fact, I did get bitten by a spider recently, and unless you consider swelling and abdominal cramping a superpower, well …
Since these big, splashy, iconic superheroes are no longer doing it for me, I’ve decided to create a whole new batch of much more personal superheroes, ones whose powers seem a bit more attainable to me.
Power-Nap: Rescued from the doomed planet Posturpedicon, Power-Nap often feels sluggish right after lunch but is able to recharge himself after a brief 15- to 20-minute lie-down. This gives him a distinct advantage over his archnemesis, Slug-A-Bed, who often attempts such efficient afternoon rests but ends up sleeping for like three hours and then wakes up all groggy and can’t get to sleep at a normal time that night, so his whole schedule is thrown off for the next day.
Remember Exactly What I Was Doing Man: This Lycra-clad figure can walk through a room, any room, without stopping dead in his tracks and muttering aloud things like “I know I came in here to get something, but what?” or “Seems like I was – huh – where was I going?” or patting repeatedly at his pockets while chanting, “My keys – I coulda swore I just had them.”
Washer (aka Doesn’t Leave Dishes in the Sink Man): After barely surviving an explosion in a radioactive janitorial-supply warehouse, Washer awoke to find himself gifted with the power to project himself into the future, namely the following morning, and what it will be like to wake up to a kitchen full of baked-bean-encrusted dishes. Again. Washer is often thwarted by his rival and former sidekick, What’s the Harm in Letting Them Soak While You Watch Just One Episode of “Dr. Who” Man.
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Doesn’t Rub His Eyes Immediately After Petting the Cat Man: Mildly allergic to cats and yet for some reason still an indoor-cat owner, Doesn’t Rub has the astounding ability not to touch his face right after playing with his shedding feline, thus allowing him not to become a wheezing, runny-nosed simp. Not to be confused with Doesn’t Talk About His Cat at Social Gatherings Man, the tragic hero who was soundly defeated by Brings His Pets With Him Wherever He Goes Man.
The Shaver: Formerly called Hygiene Man (but unable to live up to the hype), The Shaver has the superhuman wherewithal to get up each morning and drag a razor across his face rather than waiting a week and a half until his beard gets all scratchy and shaving becomes a big ordeal that involves clogged sinks and lots of little squares of toilet paper. Also, The Shaver has freed himself from landfill guilt, so he doesn’t continue to use the same disposable razor long after it’s become dangerously dull.
The Unstoppable Practice-Man: Not letting a lack of musical abilities quench his burning desire to make soulful sounds like an old dead blues man, The Unstoppable Practice-Man realizes that merely buying (and skimming) an instructional DVD called “How to Play Guitar Like Mississippi Fred McDowell” will not actually improve his guitar playing. Each day he battles against the wily schemes of Maybe You Should Just Buy a Few More Instructional DVDs Man.
The Con-Crastinator: Get it? Con-Crastinator? Opposite of pro? The Con-Crastinator deals with things – all things – as soon as they come to his attention. He doesn’t just put them in a pile on the corner of his desk only to have them quickly stack up and become so unbearable to look at that he eventually just throws the whole pile into the garbage while hating himself and all that he’s become. No, he doesn’t do that. Because he’s a superhero. A totally unrealistic superhero.
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