I've decided that my vast beauty, intellect, and athletic prowess are just not enough in this life: I also want to save the world. "But Meg," you say, "you have already saved me. Isn't that worth something?" Well, loyal readers, no. No it is not. The thing is, we all consider how we would make decisions differently from politicians. We ponder how we would solve the problems of famine, sarvation, the spread of disease, and unfair treatment of others. But then all we do is sit back and smugly make fun of our president and the silly things he says. If only there were a simpler way to fix everything without exerting too much energy. I know! Genetics! Why can't I just have some magnificently powerful, useful, and cool genetic anomaly? I seem to have basically inherited my mom's eyes and my dad's grouchiness. Why not also the ability to fly? Or superstrength? Maybe just laser vision? Actually, no offense to Cyclops, but that was never a trait I desired. Then again, I'd take it over nothing. And if mutated genes aren't the way to go, I'd be willing to get electrocuted, nuked, or pushed into a vat of acid if it meant I came out bigger, better, stronger. The good news? Last week I was bitten by a spider (no, really). The bad news? So far the only outcome is a disgusting oozy mess. I'm still waiting...
Top 5 Super Powers
This is the clever word used to describe what Nightcrawler does in X-Men. I don't exactly want to be a blue, devil-tailed Mensch, but when it comes to teleporting, we can't be too picky, can we? After much deliberation about the rules and scientific possibilities of such an attribute, I came to the conclusion that you couldn't travel through space in such a way, without also being able to manipulate time similarly. Apparently Tim Kring thought the same thing when he created Hiro Nakamura. This is totally a double-whammy superpower. I could go back in time, travel the world, and I'd absolutely never, ever have to sit in traffic. Heck, I wouldn't need a car. Or pay for an airline ticket. I could jump off buildings and bamf out of there before landing. I could explore under the ocean for the 47 seconds I'm able to hold my breath. I could freak people out by waiting for them in their living rooms as they open the front doors of their just-unlocked homes. Okay, maybe not that last one. Thing is, I've always put teleportation at the absolute top of my list. Just imagine a typical lazy Sunday. I could vacuum and then take a walk around the local park. Productive and nice, but why not bamf over to Paris for the day and shoot right back home before bedtime?
I'm still working on a name for this one. Help me out. This is basically the ability to absorb all knowledge. I would know anything the first time I heard it. I could read books very quickly and understand everything about them. Learning languages would be a snap. (Useful if I'm heading over to France for the afternoon.) There is something very sexy (and nerdy) about infinite knowledge. Just think what I could invent. I would be great at diplomacy and every type of problem-solving. People would line up for my advice. I would write thoughtful, inspiring books on every topic. I could truly examine all sides of an issue and know which was best. People would demand that I run for president, but I would turn them down, because I know that with knowledge comes wisdom.
Who doesn't want to transform her physical being? One day I could try blonde hair, and the next double as a celebrity for a day. I could look like anyone. This doesn't sound that cool at first, until you think about what it would be like to be absolutely anyone. Although shapeshifting wouldn't change my mental self, appearing to be other people completely changes how others treat you. I could conduct psychological experiments comparing beautiful vs. ugly, agile vs. disabled, male vs. female, black vs. white. I could see what it's really like for a starlet to deal with papparazzi, for an athlete to run the 4/40, or for a senior citizen to deal with youth. Truly, this would be a lesson in perspective with endless possibilites. Plus, Halloween would be a snap.
This power prolongs life. It would be difficult to watch those around you age more quickly and die (especially those you love), but how interesting to be able to watch the world change to such a large degree. This is a power that allows a lot of fun, as well as risk, in one's life. I could climb mountains with lungs that don't suffer from asthma, travel through Africa knowing my immune system would beat nearly any disease, and maybe even play Russian roulette every once in a while. I wouldn't even need health insurance, because my body would take care of itself. I still don't think I'd take up smoking, but it might be fun to learn how to throw knives.
Technically, this is the only one on my list that isn't so much a super power as a statistically nigh impossibility. We are talking Ghost Dog, here. Batman. Lone Wolf. Badassness involves lightning-fast reflexes, intense focus, physical perfection, strict moral code, mind-blowing coordination, impeccable timing, and a clear, zen mind. I am a loner at heart, but that is where the similarities end between my biggest fictional heroes and myself. Since this could arguably be achieved in real life makes it somehow the most difficult power to truly imagine attaining. Why? Because I'd have to count on myself instead of a freak accident or genetic coincidence.
And that's the thing. How much did I really talk about helping other people and bettering the world? Perhaps super powers don't exist because some higher being knows we'd only use them for selfish (albeit mind-expanding) reasons? I'd save some poor souls, but oh, wait, I'd like to visit every country in the world before I started that whole crime-fighting thing. Perhaps we should view many of the things humans can do as super powers. After all, we are the only animals on Earth who can invent new ways to communicate. We create art. We have learned to enjoy recreation beyond survival. We have realized our own mortality, and think where the human race would be without that. You think we have problems now? Thing is, man is a very well-intentioned creature. We all want to save the world, but we have such different ways of seeing how to do that. The really super power would be figuring out how to organize large groups of people who all understand one another. In the mean time, we'll just have to marvel at those individuals who really do seem to have a slight evolutionary edge over the rest of us: Albert Einstein's brain contains levels of chemicals different from the average person; Michael Phelps is--physically--a freak; and Socrates chose hemlock over exile. Blessings and curses run hand-in-hand. I'm really not a fan of Spider-Man, but we must all remember that "With great power comes great responsibility." Keep that in mind with whatever you do.