With-a-Why and his father recently started reading comic books together. I've got mixed feelings about comic books, but I admit that I don't know much about them because I've never read them. So when With-a-Why starting talking about them on the way to his piano lesson the other day, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about my son's new interest.
"Mom, if you could choose any superpower, what would you choose?"
"Like a supernatural power?"
I thought for a minute, and then remembered the motto of a local peace group about turning swords into ploughshares.
"I'd choose the power to turn weapons into loaves of bread."
"See, a war could be going on, and I'd snap my fingers, and people would just be throwing loaves of bread at each other. And then they could sit down and make sandwiches and talk to each other."
"That's not a superpower."
"No. You have to pick one that someone already has."
"Like shooting flames out of my butt or something like that?"
"Mom! You know what I mean."
"Like it has to be from a comic book? But I don't read comic books."
He decided to give me examples.
"You could be Wolverine. He heals."
"A healer? Like a shaman? That would be cool. I could heal people."
"No, he doesn't heal other people. He heals himself."
"Yeah, but he has claws. Made of adamantium. And he can hear and smell really well."
"But he can only heal himself?"
"Yeah. He heals himself. Mostly after he beats the shit out of people."
"Well, that does not sound like a healer."
He took the hint and moved onto another character.
"How about Magneto?"
"What does he do?"
"He can control metal. He's really good at it."
"Yeah, he wears a helmet that stops Professor X from seeing into his mind."
"What? The professor is a BAD GUY?"
"No, no. Professor X is a good guy. Magneto is a bad guy."
I felt relieved. And decided to take a different tack.
"Aren't there any women with superpowers?"
"Uh, Jubilee. She shoots fireworks."
"Yeah, that's it. She's kind of lame."
"Aren't there any strong women?"
"Oh, yeah, Phoenix. She's strong."
"Wait, I've heard of her. You all went to a movie, and Daughter said Phoenix reminded her of me."
"What does she do?"
"She gets angry and goes crazy and turns into a giant firebird."
"WHAT? That's like me?"
"It's not me who said it. Big Sister did."
"You think I'm like Phoenix?"
"You don't have as many powers."
I decided it was time to change the subject.
"Okay, which powers would you choose?"
"I'd be Night Crawler. He's blue and has a tail. He can teleport and he's mad acrobatic."
"You want to be blue?"
"I want to teleport and be mad acrobatic."
"I could snowboard down a mountain and whoosh! teleport to the top. I could hang out on top of buildings.
"That doesn't seem all that useful."
"Well, if bad guys chased me around a corner, I could teleport, and they'd think I went into a store or something."
"How often do bad guys chase you?"
"Well, if I'm messing up some evil guy's plan, he's gonna chase me."
"Do you know any evil men?"
He thought for a moment. "George Bush?"