For most of my life now, I’ve been preoccupied with a certain question: if I could have one super power, what would it be? This question is inherently difficult because there is always the argument over what constitutes just one super power. You might think it would be enough to say, “I’d choose the powers of Superman,” but what is Superman if not just a collection of various super powers? There’s the flying, the super strength, the ice breath. It’s a total copout. And that’s why Superman is just this huge loser. And that’s why all of the Superman movies are terrible. What about Spider-Man? He’s definitely got a lot going on, Spidey-Sense, wall-crawling, he’s kind of strong. But in this case I don’t think it would be fair to be limited to choosing just one of his kind of mediocre powers.
I think that in Spider-Man’s case, you could argue that his one power is a collection of weird spider-like attributes. All of his powers together make him a little more super than the rest of us. But then again, you have Superman, where any one of his powers would usually merit their own superhero. It’s obviously just a little too much. So when choosing super powers, I’m going to argue that it has to be something less than a god, but obviously more than a human. If you, after reading what you’ve read so far, say to yourself, “well I’ll just pick Batman, he’s pretty cool” then the joke’s on you, because Batman doesn’t have any powers. And if you really said that to yourself, and really didn’t know that Batman doesn’t have any powers, then something is wrong with you, because what, you’ve never seen a Batman TV show or one of the very successful Batman movies? Actually, Batman is super rich, which sounds about as realistic of a super power as any other.
My approach to the super power question has evolved as I’ve grown up. When I was little, it was enough for me to read Spider-Man comics and then wish that I could be Spider-Man. But he’s been around since the sixties, and after spending nearly two decades of my life following his many adventures, I’m just not sure that Spider-Man’s powers would be compatible with the kind of lifestyle I’m used to. Even if I were smart enough to invent my own web shooters, for example, which I’m not, I doubt that I’d have the balls to use them to jump off of tall buildings and swing around the city. What if I missed? I’d be dead. Maybe I’d sneak out of the second story of my house every now and then, but I probably wouldn’t, because there is absolutely no reason to. I’d most likely be more comfortable using the front door.
Now that I think about it, most of your classic super powers seem kind of just a little too much for what I would want in my life. I wouldn’t be able to pick anything too dramatic. What would happen if the media got wind of some guy that could suddenly fly or run at super speeds? The government would have that person confiscated and dissected very quickly. If I can fly, what am I supposed to do, fly away from a government fighter jet sent out to bring me in? I would need super speed on top of the flying, which would technically be picking two powers, which I already labeled as copping out. Also, if you could fly, and you didn’t have super strength, wouldn’t you have to keep yourself in ridiculous shape just to be able to go any significant distance? It’s like, everyone can run, but for how long can they keep it up? It has to be the same with flying. It just sounds like way too much work.
And then I think about the super powers that you could keep hidden, like mind reading, or invisibility. But I think that these powers would just suck the humanity out of me. If I could read everyone’s thoughts, I might not like what I’d hear. And unless I saw every movie or TV show before anyone else, I’d constantly have the endings of everything just totally ruined. And even if nobody saw anything before me, there would always be the chance that I’d run into one of the show’s writers, and then not only would that season be ruined, but all the potential ideas for any future stories would also be prematurely revealed. In the case of invisibility, I think that would turn anyone into a huge creep, because wouldn’t you have to be naked all the time? There are no easy answers here.
I think that what I’d like best is a really obscure kind of super power, one that would grab everyone’s attention as it was happening, but afterwards, everyone would just be kind of like, “eh, I’m over it.” I think I’d have to pick as my super power the ability to win at rocks-paper-scissors every single time. It’s the perfect supernatural gift for where I’m at in life right now. Just think about how many ridiculous chores or arguments I could completely avoid. “I don’t feel like taking out the trash either. Rocks-paper-scissor you for it?” And I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do more than to go out to a bar with a group of people and, after we’ve all had way too much to drink, making the announcement that I cannot be beat in rocks-paper-scissors. Everyone would object, thinking that I’m full of shit, and people would start lining up to prove me wrong. I wonder how many rounds I’d have to play before a hush would fall the entire bar, people slowly gathering around to see me beat the odds every single time, over and over and over again, and eventually someone starts clapping, until the whole place is going nuts and lifting me up on a chair parading me around the room chanting, “Rob! Rob! Rob!”