September 17, 2006

I think I could rise from the ashes

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?"
"Any power?"
"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."
"It isn't?"
"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."
"Just 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."
"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?"


Songbird said...

I love everything about this conversation!

Prof. Me said...

Simply an awesome conversation, Jo(e). Thanks for recounting it here!

Ianqui said...

A couple of my friends had this conversation recently and we decided that the best superpower would be the ability to stop time.

Shelly said...

I get this question every few months. My answer is always the same, but it's not as interesting because it's not related to politics but superpowers: flying! They actually now answer for me after asking.

kyra said...

Ha ha, that is the best conversation I've heard in ages. And with the perfect ending!

Chip said...

omg this is too strange and funny. I have had this exact question from BK so many times. And the conversation always goes about that same way... Have our kids been hanging together??

jo(e) said...

Chip: Well, they should be. I mean, we are practically cousins and all ....

Linda (FM) said...

What a great conversation.

I love the image of throwing loaves of bread, making sandwiches, and sitting down to eat!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I LOVE YOUR superpower of the loaves and sandwiches!!! And I love HIS evil guy--George Bush, the epitome of evil!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Actually, I don't love George Bush at all. In fact . . .

Queen of West Procrastination said...

That's far better reasoning than I've had, when asked this same question (my little brother has always asked these sorts of questions). I've always figured that I wanted to be all stretchy, like Mr. Fantastic or Elastigirl. That way, when I'm feeling lazy, I can always reach into the kitchen and get a glass of water.

And that's why I don't have superpowers.

Inkling said...

That was hilarious--Mr. Quiz and I have that sort of conversation occasionally. I'm glad he's never likened me to a superherione yet--you ought to be flattered!

Sarah Sometimes said...

I love that there is actually a punchline to this conversation--kind of an extra treat.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I thought you wanted to be Elastigirl, from The Incredibles.

zelda1 said...

My son used to ask me which super power would I be and he wouldn't let me be the men super heroes. For him, they were the masters of the universe guys and so I would say wonder woman and he would roll his eyes. He always wanted the ability to run fast and jump high. Real cool things.

lostinthemiddle said...

My 5-year-old calls Bush "that bad man in charge." We keep telling him it won't be for all that much longer!

I was never much of a comic book person, either, but then someone got me to read Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics/graphic novels. THEY ARE FANTASTIC, expecially the shakespeare re-writes. Ask around. Someone will loan them to you.

Chip said...

update: by even mentioning this thread, BK once again was pushing us to choose superpowers. My wife chose flying, BK chose morphing. I usually refuse to choose any one power...

turtlebella said...

Ha! That's so great. The end of your post was just beyond the bottom of my screen. And when you asked "Do you know any evil men?" I thought, do I know any evil men? My answer? I know George W Bush and Cheney! And so imagine my not-surprise when With-a-why answered simlarly!

ScienceWoman said...

I love the punchline. What a great way to start my morning.

Sara said...

This had me laughing out loud, especially the part about Phoenix and your daughter. You project such feelings of calmness and serenity here that it makes the image of you as a giant firebird of rage that much more amusing.

I love the frank discussions you share with your kids.

delagar said...

I like the meta-criticism, and how you manage *not* to get your kids annoyed at you. My kid would be spitting tacks right around the point where I pointed out Wolverine wasn't a healer. You must do tonal better than me. (She's still not speaking to me over the whole socialist reading of Winnie the Pooh thing....)

Yankee, Transferred said...

Clearly above average. I love WAW.

Mona Buonanotte said...

With-a-Why's my boy! (re the last sentence)

There's so many superpowers I'd love to have, but shooting flames out my butt beats the ones I had in mind...!

YourFireAnt said...

The ability to be a fly-on-the-wall, and snoop to my heart's content!


Leslee said...

I'd have powers like Rouge. She absorbs peoples powers by human touch. The down side is she can't even kiss a boy without almost killing them.

(my husband has about 10,000 comics so I'm forced to know about an extent)

Lauren said...

Great story!

listmaker said...

What a great story!

Kyla said...

Great story!

molly said...

Your son is discerning.

RageyOne said...

That is a *great* conversation! The ending was totally unexpected and so very fitting for the conversation. :>)

Marie said...

I'm with everyone else. Fabulous conversation. (I wish WAW was in my class!) And the punchline is just priceless! I love that you have a politically aware kid!!

Jane Dark said...

This was fantastic.

I have always wanted to be able to fly, but oddly enough, I never think of it as a superpower. It's just something I haven't mastered yet.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

First, I love With-a-Why.

Second, I have always said I wanted telekenesis. Because I am a lazy-ass. So I'd like to be Phoenix without the big dose of crazy. In other words, Jean Gray.

monkeypants said...

What a great conversation! I figured I wanted to be like Night Crawler too. But the weapons-to-loaves thing sounds more mature. Maybe I'd have to be a grown-up superhero.

Tree of Knowledge said...

Which superpower do you want/ which superhero are you and why is a freewriting assignment I give my students. It's one of my most popular, and such a sneaky good way of finding out what people's insecurities are. Although today I asked them about being smurfs.

Scrivener said...

I think it would be cool to be wicked acrobatic like Nightcrawler. I always liked him.

Psycho Kitty said...

Phoenix does kick some major ass. You could do worse.

Silver Creek Mom said...

LMAO! I love that. Turn Guns into sandwiches..>Now I'm hungry.

I don't have a problem with Comic books. It's not great Literature but it's still reading and any type of reading is good in my books. I have an adult friend who still collects comic books weekly...and he reads everything but the comic books.