Around the time I wrote my post on fictional characters, I also wondered what it was about some of them that intrigued us, especially comic book characters. I came to the conclusion that one of the things we like about some of them is that they seem to have extraordinary abilities of some type, akin to superpowers, though not always necessarily seen in that fashion.
For instance, you look at someone like Superman and you see, well, all sorts of superpowers. Then you look at someone like Bugs Bunny and realize that he may not have a traditional superpower (traditional; hah!), but he can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. I remember the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, one of my favorites, and how the cartoon characters could fall and fall and fall, and nothing mattered because they could always get back up and go again.
Even Archie Andrews kind of has something most of us wouldn’t mind. He’s been a 17-year old teenager for almost 60 years at this point; man, who wouldn’t love to live a long life like that, perpetually young and seemingly invincible if only for that reason?
It begs the question then; what power would you want to have if you could have a superpower? Many people think this is an easy one to answer and will throw something out quickly, but I always figure that how you answer a question tells a lot about the way you think, or don’t think. For instance, let’s look at the ability to fly. Yup, this one sounds great, but what if you could fly, but had no other power to protect you? It would mean that even with the ability you couldn’t just fly indiscriminately. You couldn’t fly in inclement weather. You might not want to fly if it was extremely cold or hot. You’d have to deal with things hitting you in the face, including birds and bugs. What if you could fly only if you maintained or stayed under a certain weight, and that meant you couldn’t wear a coat or gain weight?
What about super strength? That sounds cool, until you realized that you had to then learn how NOT to break stuff. That, and really, how often would any of us use something like that? Same goes for super speed or x-ray vision. You might still want these things if you worked in certain professions, but for general purposes how would you use these powers, and when? If you’d use them for bad things, what would that say about you as a person?
So then, after you’ve given it a little bit of thought, which superpower, or extraordinary ability if you will, would you want? You have to pick a specific one, but of course you’re going to have many choices to choose from. I whittled my list down to 3 to work from. The first one I had then finally let go was super intelligence. The problem with it is that you’d never be able to forget the bad things, and there’s an interesting blessing in being able to put some of that stuff behind you.
The second one was difficult, as it’s always been the one thing that I’ve said would be my number one, but as I think about it I’d rather not, that being the ability to never have to sleep. Sometimes I like sleeping, though I don’t do it well. I could get a lot of stuff done, but the act of dreaming sometimes brings ideas to all of us that we’d never entertain if we never slept.
That means I’m at my number one choice, which is longevity. I’d love being 50 years old and having the face and body of my 20 year old self; at least the day I turned 20. Heck, I’d want that at age 100. Sure, no one lives forever, but I’d like to live as long as I wanted to, looking and feeling as young as I wanted to, and only aging when I felt it was necessary. Strange as it sounds, I think I’d love to be my 35 year old self the best, and might stay there forever. But that would be it for me; and no stupid Dorian Gray pictures either!
There you go; what’s your answer?