Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Lone Superpower
I was bragging this morning to a friend about my lone superpower. I have the ability (through certified letter) to persuade neighbors that would be otherwise disinclined, to cut down their trees. It’s not so much that I take pride in this superpower, as relief. Especially on a day like this one: 30-40 mph sustained winds, 60 mph gusts.
I would have read my friend the letter if he’d asked, but he didn’t. So I just summarized the events: neighbor’s branch fell on our fence, I wrote letter, they cut down two trees. If not for that fact, I would be spending the day in the basement, huddled under the ping-pong table. The gusts are coming about every 35 seconds now, and when they do, it sounds like the IRT is running through my backyard.
I guess the part I’m most proud of is that the letters I write are nice. Not just civil, but thoughtful. Yet they get the job done. My friend suffered through my back-patting and said simply, “You could join the Legion of Superheroes.”
At first I thought his statement was a dig, but it was actually his way of agreeing with me. Acknowledging that not only is my self-proclaimed ability effective, but also yes, it does appear to be the sole thing I do well. The Legion of Superheroes is a conglomerate of just that – regular citizens that have a single superpower. And they are named as such. Lightning Lad, the guy who can zap anything with lightning. Triplicate Girl, who was able to split herself into three beings (and who eventually had to change her name to Duo Damsel when one of her incarnations was killed in an adventure). And then my favorite, based on name alone, Matter-Eater Lad, who can consume anything. Anything!
There are only a few obstacles that keep me from joining the Legion of Superheroes. One is that the members are young – really young. They’re all named Lad and Lass and I think I miss the age cutoff by about 25 years. The other thing is that it’s comic book fare and (I’m sorry to break this to you, Dave) not actually real. But the last and best reason is: I may in fact be good at one other thing.
I just have to toot my own tennis horn for one quick minute. I played such a great net game this morning, I astounded even myself. Okay, it’s not a “superpower.” I missed a lot of shots. But I was playing across the net from a woman in her early thirties (if that) and all she kept saying to her partner was “Keep it away from Jessica.”
That is a sentence I’ve never once heard my entire life. Not only am I not even the least bit athletic, I’m not even mildly coordinated. But watching me play today, you’d never know that. I was paying attention. I was in the right place at the right time. Those two things alone can get you pretty far in almost any endeavor.
I have always believed that if you do something often enough, you will eventually become good at it. And today, on the tennis court, things magically clicked. I’d yell, “Got it!” and I’d actually get it! It was like I myself turned into Triplicate Girl, pelting and dinking all over the place.