X factor: From nachos to camels | AspenTimes.com
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X factor: From nachos to camels

Barry Smith

The X-Men, in case you’re just joining us, are mutants. See, in the not-too distant future, human beings began mutating, and these mutations gave them specific powers; there’s the guy who can manipulate metal, the girl who can walk through walls, the guy who shoots laser beams out of his eyes, the girl who can control the weather and the guy whose mutation involves being lucky enough to look like Hugh Jackman.The world of the X-Men is like a superpower potpourri – it’s not just a choice between being able to fly or being invisible. Whatever freaky ability you can imagine, in X-Men world, the human gene has already begun to mutate toward it.Cool.I just came from seeing the latest X-Men movie, and it got me thinking: In a world where any mutation is possible, which ones would I want?Well … I made a list … MUTATION: ABILITY TO LIE – Now, I’m pretty good at lying, but not “mutant” good. I get all nervous and twitchy when I’m really trying to cook a big one up. How cool would life be if I could look you right in the face and blatantly lie with no outward signs to tip you off? I’ll tell you how cool – White House Cabinet Appointment Cool.MUTATION: INABILITY TO READ SOMEONE’S SCREENPLAY – “Hey, Barry, I just wrote a screenplay. Will you read it and tell me what you think?” Nope. Sorry. I would if I could, but I have this mutant thing going on … you understand.MUTATION: WEEKLY URINATION – Coffee, beer, iced tea, Gatorade, more beer – and only one (longish) trip to the bathroom a week. Like a camel in reverse. Sign me up.MUTATION: ABILITY TO WHISTLE – Sure, I can whistle, but only one of those wimpy little twitter whistles, not one of those “YO, TAXI!” whistles where you put your fingers in the corners of your mouth and emit window-rattling decibels. And I’ve tried, believe me. The result was frustration, excessive spittle and near hyperventilation – AND someone else took my taxi. Please, Mother Nature, twist my DNA around one more time so that I may whistle like a man.MUTATION: FREE SUSHI/PARKING – I’m not sure what this has to do with genetics, it just sounds like a pretty good arrangement to me.MUTATION: ABILITY TO NOT TALK ABOUT CURRENT MUTATION – There’s this one mutation that I already have – the ability to squeeze my cupped hands together and make funny little squeak toy sounds come out. It’s a subtle, more sophisticated version of the hand-in-the-armpit noise that you’re probably more familiar with. I’ve suffered from this mutation since my teen years, as there weren’t any girls in my neighborhood.However, the mutation I WANT is the ability to stop demonstrating how I can make my hands squeak to people I’ve just met.MUTATION: ABILITY TO SAY, OUT LOUD, TO ANOTHER PERSON – RATHER THAN JUST SITTING THERE THINKING ABOUT SAYING IT – “YOU KNOW, CELLULAR PHONE TRANSMISSION TECHNOLOGY IS ACTUALLY QUITE ADVANCED AND SENSITIVE, SO RATHER THAN TALKING REALLY, REALLY LOUD AT YOUR PHONE, YOU’D ACTUALLY GET BETTER RESULTS IF YOU JUST SPOKE IN A NORMAL VOICE DIRECTLY INTO THE PART WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO TALK, THEN THE REST OF US DON’T HAVE TO BE SUBJECTED TO YOU YELLING LIKE A LUNATIC INTO THE EMPTY SPACE IN FRONT OF YOU.” Yep.MUTATION: ABILITY TO SORT OUT MULTIPARTY RESTAURANT CHECKS INSTANTLY AND FAIRLY – I’m dining out with twelve friends; there were pitchers and multiple apps, some had a salad and some had lobster, some had dessert and some didn’t. The check comes and, rather than breaking into that clammy sweat that comes from knowing I’m about pay far more than I need to, I ask that it be handed to me. I glance at the bill, stand up and announce, “Howard, you owe $35.45. Karen, $28.10. All of these totals include a 20 percent gratuity, by the way. Willie, you scarfed most of that calamari and were swilling from the margarita pitcher 73 percent faster than anyone else – you owe $68.55. Nancy, $12.50 … ” and so on. Freak of nature? Sure. But it beats paying $80 for two bites of a nacho platter, a domestic beer and a side Caesar.


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