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I’m an X-Man

I finally got a chance to check out the new “X-Men: Days of Future Past” movie in 3-D. I’ve been reading X-Men comics since the late ’70s, and they always have been one of my favorites.

The general X-Men premise, not specific to this particular film outing, is a simple and brilliant one: Humans have began to mutate/evolve in accelerated and specific ways. Some grow wings. Some have super-telepathy. Some have gills. Some can move at lightning-fast speeds. And so on. And for some reason, they all give themselves cool “code” names, like Magneto, Beast, Cyclops or Professor X.

The normal, non-mutated humans are not happy with this, as it’s a natural human tendency to feel threatened by those who start to display different evolutionary paths. (Known to the scientific community as “Genus envy.”) Some mutants are sympathetic to the lowly, glacially evolving humans and want to use their powers to aid and protect them. Other mutants think the humans should be destroyed to make way for the new, improved mutant humans (now with 20 percent more gills). These two factions often fight each other, which is cool.



As I watched the latest X-Men movie — awesome, by the way — I found myself thinking the same thing I thought while watching the previous X-Men movie: I wish I had some cool, awesome mutational superpower that would allow me to stand head and shoulders over normal humans.

And then, possibly due to the advanced 3-D technology, it hit me. I do have superpowers. Lots of them. Any one of my specific mutations would qualify me to be a real-life X-Man with a cool code name, belt buckle and everything.



I quickly made a list, which isn’t easy to do while wearing 3-D glasses.

Barry’s X-Men-like superpowers:

Code Name: Whoa Nellie

Power: When it comes to undertaking projects, “normal” people tend to start out with realistic, clear-headed intentions and plans, then they see them through with dedication, focus and plodding tenacity. Bah! Using the power granted by my mutation, I release a supernova of energy at the beginning of any new venture, ensuring that I’m totally spent and have lost all momentum and interest before things are even barely off the ground. I immediately begin recharging my internal power grid for a concentrated burst on what I’m going to start — and quickly be bored with — next. I am your future, humans. Gaze into my deeply distracted eyes and see yourselves!

Nemesis: Professor Follow Through.

Code Name: Ma-X-Well House

Power: While the rank and file spend their days quietly sipping coffee without comment or incident, I’ve spent my days/months/years quitting, binging, cutting back, swearing off, lapsing, embracing, rejecting, decrying, worshiping, substituting, purging and flip-flopping with the bean in a way that leaves others in the coffee-ground-littered dust. Enjoy your coffee, mortals. I, Ma-X-Well House, will trump your mere enjoyment with my never-ending, on-again-off-again, self-absorbed, hyphen-rich jibber jabber.

Nemesis(es): A loosely knit rogue’s gallery consisting of The Dull Tooth, The Jitterz, Jimmy Leg, The Squirmy Imp, Juan Valdez and Urinary X-Cess.

Code Name: Ignoro

Power: We all have that voice of reason in our head — the one that says things like, “Your best bet right now would be to sit quietly and listen rather than just blurting out whatever loosely related movie quote pops into your head,” or, “Do not, under any circumstances offer an opinion that relates your host’s food, even favorably, to cat litter, used or otherwise.” Through the miracle of genetic progress, I am able to totally override that voice and forge ahead to victory. “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”

Nemesis: Seniorita Social Conventions and her sidekick, No You Di’n’t.

Code Name: Scribblo

Power: Near-obsessive ability to make stupid lists in a tiny notebook during an exciting film while wearing polarized glasses. Coupled with the power to stretch these barely legible notes into a 700-word newspaper column, I, Scribblo, am practically unstoppable.

Nemesis: The Dead Line: a crimson-cloaked ghoul with the face of my eighth-grade English teacher. At least once a week Scribblo fights a battle for his very soul against this wellspring of evil. With varying results.

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays.


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