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Sunday, June 6, 2021

Super Power for a Night

 

Invisibility. For some of us it can come as easily as riding a bicycle.

 What Everybody Knows

As most people know, comic books are fictionalized accounts of real life. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

For every tale told of the Incredible Hulk there is a real-life event upon which that tale is based. It has long been established in scientific circles that extended exposure to certain forms of radiation can result in mood shifts, incredible feats of strength and unfortunate complexion problems.

As anyone who has ever been bitten by a radioactive spider from a nuclear power facility knows, you can almost immediately expect to experience a sense of heightened awareness. Of course, few of these effects are permanent. It is unlikely that you’ll ever master shooting webs out of your wrist before the power wears off.

In most cases the effects of super-powers brought on by artificial means such as exposure to radioactive insects, a yellow sun, or just ordinary unethical lab experiments are short lived. There are some documented cases where the super-powers have persisted for years, even decades, but they’re rare.

My story is the true story of a case of a derived super power. It didn’t last for years, or even days. It dissipated within a couple of hours. But it did happen.

How It Began

The exact trigger mechanism for most super-powers is seldom immediately known. Mine was no exception. It was only later that I was able to surmise that my powers had been brought on by the unprotected viewing of this once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower.

It was well after sundown on a new moon night. Several of us, not many, were wandering along the Wildwood beach at low tide. It was so dark that I could barely see my own hands.  

The meteor show started in unspectacular fashion. A single shooting star shot across the dark sky. A full five minutes went by before there was another and then another. Soon the floodgates had opened. It was one, two, three and then dozens! The sky was almost solid with the long trails of the meteors.

No doubt these meteors had travelled many light years through several galaxies before reaching their final destination. They disappeared in a cosmic mist, some of which fell to the earth, but some of which was captured by my lungs; the normal path to safe dissipation in the sea being disrupted with every breath I took.

I could smell the stardust. It was a sweet smell, yet not unlike aluminum foil. It clearly wasn't of this world.

I looked towards my fellow humans on the beach. I could see their outlines in the darkness but they did not appear to be able to see me.

I called out and they turned in my direction, but they did not acknowledge my presence. It was as though they were seeing beyond me. Obviously the cosmic dust had turned me invisible.

Invisible! What luck! I finally a super power of my own! I would have preferred x-ray vision but as a second choice invisibility wasn’t bad.

Pizza for Five

I left the beach and walked up on the boardwalk. There was a pizza stand with a few small tables. Four guys who I had never seen before were just flipping open the lid on their box. Little did they realize that the fun was just about to begin.

They had ordered a pepperoni pizza, my favorite. I grabbed a single slice and made it float in the air like a star fighter. Swoosh! Swoosh! No doubt the flying slice of pizza had caught them completely off guard.

I heard what sounded like a shriek. I let out a hearty disembodied laugh and took a bite. One of them, obviously swinging blindly took a swing. He got lucky and caught me in the gut. I spit out the chewed piece of pizza. I can only imagine what that slightly chewed piece of pizza must have looked like as it emerged from thin air. I almost wished that my super power had been mindreading.

I dropped the remainder of the slice back on the table and ran down the boardwalk.

“I’m here,” I called out. “No, wait, I’m over here.”

The looks of confusion on their faces as they attempted to reconcile the location of my disembodied voices were priceless.

I continued running. One never knows how long these super powers might last and there was still more fun to be had.

I ran back down on the beach. It was much more crowded at this end. There was a bonfire going and dozens of people were gathered round.

Skinny Dipping

Skinny dipping! It was something that I had often thought about but I’d never had the courage to carry through. Tonight I would step into the ocean naked. I was invisible, so, why not?

I started removing my clothing and immediately noticed a problem. As soon as I removed a piece of clothing it would apparently became visible. People would pick them up and throw them into the fire. Oh well, this might prove inconvenient later on, but it was of no consequence now. I shed the remainder of my clothing which various strangers obligingly burned. I turned and ran into the ocean.

It was cold, really cold. I kept going until I was chest-deep in the water. That was enough! I ran back toward the fire to get dry and warm.

Uncovered

This was when the problems began. As I approached the fire it seemed as though I had developed a second super-power. Moses had been able to separate the waters of the Red Sea. I seemed to have developed the power to separate people. A clear path opened up before me.

I got as close to the fire as I could without crisping the ends of my hair. I turned around to dry my back. That was when I noticed that I was casting a shadow. My invisibility was fading fast!

I heard some swallowed screams and a few utterances of disgust. Then I saw the four guys whose pizza I had recently levitated. I knew they wouldn’t be able to identify me yet they were coming straight toward me anyway. I looked up, hoping to see a shooting star that might yet save me. I didn’t see one — not exactly.

Recovery Room

I woke up in a strange room. My face and ribs felt slightly swollen but somebody had lovingly draped a warm blanket over me. They had also strapped me to a gurney.

A beautiful woman, she may have been a doctor, a nurse or simply an angel, looked into my eyes and asked me my name. As soon as I started to tell her she turned and yelled, “He’s awake. Get him out of here.”

I looked out a window and spotted a shooting star. With any luck I would once again be invisible. They would see the empty gurney and never know what had happened.

 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Live Free, Without Fear

Photo by Judith Prins on Unsplash
Photo by Judith Prins on Unsplash
Not counting those of us currently suffering from hiccups we all crave fresh air, but do we really need as much as we crave?

Fresh Air-Yes, but Remember Mother?

Does anybody remember the standard for being properly bundled before venturing out on a cold winter day? It made no difference if it was to walk to school or to simply play in the snow. The build-up of fabric intended to protect our insides from the outside was impressive.

It all started with a collar that could be pulled up and secured around the neck. At least one of the layers of clothing would include a hood. If we had one, a ski mask was mandatory. If we didn’t have a genuine ski mask then a wool hat that we could pull over our ears without completely covering our eyes was substituted. To seal it all in there was a scarf, actually there were usually two. One might be a little thin but it served to secure the heavier scarf—the one capable of blocking any cold front.

Of course, most of us also had our natural defenses running full time in the form of our noses. We were equal parts stuffed and runny. Nothing was easily passing, neither going in nor coming out.

And this we considered safe enough for a day of hoard play outdoors.

Snowflakes

Today, health officials in the government have dared to ask us to wear thin cotton masks and some of us are screaming bloody murder. Whatever happened to the nation of hardy pioneers? The greatest generation?

 We’re asked to place thin tissue paper across the front of our faces and we go all apoplectic. We can’t breathe. We’re dying. We're losing our Freedom!

Freedumb

No doubt there will come a point where we encounter someone with a laminated medical alert card. The problem with these cards is that there is no way to distinguish between a legitimate medical alert card and a meaningless laminated hoax shipped from some off-shore online outfit profiting from the gullible for "freedumb".

Pants Free

Do people who refuse to wear masks also refuse to wear pants? If not, why not? Do they get upset when they run into other people wearing pants, or that their local restaurant requires them to wear pants? They should. Pants can promote hold moisture which can promote bacterial growth. Is there anybody who couldn't use a little air down there? Perhaps that extra bit if sunshine is all that is needed to fight infection.

End of Rant

Facemasks are not about freedom. They’re about responsibility. During times of pandemic, in fact arguably during every flu season, regardless of how immortal we believe ourselves to be, we have a responsibility to try and not infect our neighbors.

We are free to stay hidden away if we prefer to not wear a mask. Have your groceries delivered if you must. If you can't afford it then welcome to the real world of people who can’t work from home and are forced to intermingle with too many don't-give-a-crap anti-maskers every single day.

I'm sorry if after years of hearing clever phrases like libtard and snowflake that I’m just not feeling too sympathetic about your facemask panic attacks. There is no shortage of things to be worried about when it comes to your rights. Your voting rights are under attack. Basically all of your rights from the 1st to the 14th amendments are being threatened. Facemasks are intended to reduce the spread of a virus that might otherwise overwhelm the healthcare system. As a threat to your rights, they don’t even register as a blip.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Genius of Donald Trump

The sum of his diversions will always be greater than the worth of his parts.

The Magic Formula

There he sat, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, fitted into a chair so tight that there was little doubt that it must have been meant for a child. How else to explain this spectacle?

How is it possible that a serious reporter could maintain any sense of decorum in the face of this blatant ridiculousness?

"Why are you sitting at a kiddie desk?"

Why did no one dare ask?

Perhaps some reporters were waxing nostalgic for a time when they might have considered themselves serious people doing serious jobs. I wonder how many could pinpoint the day that they'd left journalism behind for this circus gig.

It seems reasonable to believe that either Trump or his handlers had achieved the affect they had been hoping for. Sure some reporters tried to ask serious questions in the face of lunacy but the President was only offering nonsensical non-answers. What did it matter? Expectations had been so lowered that nobody seemed to care.

Trump's performance was not so much presidential as it was more akin to the Queens of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Woody Allen as the leader of a banana republic in his 1970's film, "Bananas", presented a more serious image than Trump.

Reporters might recall that Trump answered with little more than “Fraud, blah, blah, blah” and “stolen, blah, blah, blah”. But nobody seemed inclined to press him on any matter. Perhaps the sight of a very big man packed like a sausage behind a very small desk was just too much to fathom.

Do You Believe in Magic

Of course we don’t believe in magic. Most of us are older than 12 and realize that it's all just trickery. That's why David Copperfield requires 20 or so near-naked dancers to draw our eyes away from what might otherwise be an obvious deception.

Trump and his tiny desk proved once again that Trump in indeed the David Copperfield of presidents. That's not to be confused with the greatest President of all time. But if you're looking for a professional liar who has turned his lying into an art form, he would be hard to beat. 

Unfortunately his is an act that has been repeated that it appears that the people who should be paying attention have decided that it is no longer worth the effort. Who can blame them? What's the point? Trump will only ever respond with another lie. So maybe we can't blame the reporters for focusing on the only truthful point of the evening; the tiny desk.

The Secret of His Genius

Donald Trump's secret of genius is distraction. Even when he is talking and noise is coming out of his mouth he manages to get the press to focus in something else. They ignore what he says and get lost behind the optical illusion of the tiny desk. His little hands flail in all directions while he assigns derogatory nicknames to his critics but nothing of worth is ever said.

If the so-called liberal press had ever been paying attention to what Trump actually has said they would have exposed him as a con-man with no qualms about flirting with fascism a long, long time ago. But they can't take their eyes off of that tiny, tiny desk.