Monday, March 09, 2009

Some of My Super Powers

I know most super heroes like to keep their powers under wraps, so as not to alarm the populace.

However, there is little point in my trying to be all slick and Jane Not-S0-Special, because as you probably know, the word "Powers" is actually part of my name. Me = busted by my own birth certificate. Also, my dad who has that name, and my mom who took his name when she married him.

So in order to help the public feel a little more comfortable around super heroes, I've decided to pull back the curtain and reveal some of my not-secret-for-very-much-longer abilities:

1. Gravy - I've been pretty forthright about this, but let me clear up any lingering misconceptions: I make the finest G.D. gravy known to man. It can from a turkey, it can be from a standing rib roast, no matter. The resultant liquid will be so potent and flavorful that grown men will attempt to fill a syringe with it, the better to inject directly into their veins. Needless to say, my powers of gravy making come with tremendous responsibilities, and I have always been careful not expose small children or the mentally feeble to the full brunt of my abilities.

2. Advance Planning - I have executed post-college nine moves to date, three of them involving transitions across multiple states and/or time zones. Five were solo missions, one of which involved picking up a Budget rental truck in the Bronx and driving the length of Manhattan in order to reach the Williamsburg bridge. In order to move to Los Angeles, I planned a week-long cross country drive, tied to the one night in July when there was an available cabin at the Grand Canyon National Park. I have also planned a wedding for 130 guests, a handful of mindblowingly elaborate birthday & Christmas dinners, and my own application to and enrollment in graduate school.

I totally rock the check list, yo.

3. Predicting the Future - First thing this morning, I discovered that the charger outlet in my car had died. This was a minor problem, in as much as my iPod adapter needs live current to play through the radio. But a brief rummage through my glove box revealed: a) a small box of replacement fuses, and b) a fuse-puller. Why were these things in my glove box? Because I know me, and I know that I will want to replace a burnt fuse THE VERY SECOND I realize it has gone to the Fuse Shop in the Sky. I will not want to stop at an auto supply store and buy a fuse and fuse puller. And so, very cleverly, I stocked the very things I would need, in my glove box.

(Also in my glove box: a jar of Advil Gel Caplets, a thing of Secret Powder Fresh, nice stationary, a ball point pen, and a disposable camera -- in case I'm in an accident and need to document the scene.)

4. Solving - Simple math problems, of course. But also larger difficulties, like: Why doesn't this drawer open smoothly anymore? Why does this one chair make such an annoying squeak when anyone sits in it? Why doesn't my iPod adapter work? How can I make sure the cats have a satisfactory scratching post without buying them a new one every six weeks?

(MG says this last power is obviously something I get from my engineering-minded Dad, but I submit that my Nurse Practitioner Mom diagnoses 8-year-olds with a thermometer and a juice box, and treats homeless people with whatever medical supplies can fit in a large suitcase, so I think they both have to get credit.)

5. Ability to Identify A Movie from Less Than 1 Second of Footage - This is probably the most terrifying of all my powers, and something I know MG struggles to accept, because it's one of those things, like x-ray vision, that just doesn't seem possible. But in the past month alone, I have identified "Some Like It Hot" from a shot of the mafia banquet -- a frame that did not show either Jack Lemmon or Tony Curtis, and "Jaws" from a shot of a sneakered foot climbing around the edge of the boat.

(MG, btw, should know better than to doubt me, since he can identify pretty much any jazz standard in under 10 seconds, no matter how unbelievably deconstructed/riffed upon the performance.)

6. Mastery of the Obscure Cocktail Recipe - When I recreated Brennan's Absinthe Frappe, I thought it was a one-time thing. Also, I was incredibly motivated, because I love Brennan's Absinthe Frappe, and when the hell am I ever going to get back to New Orleans? But I have now mastered the Queen Elizabeth, a recipe so complicated it calls for an eye dropper, and I think we have to face the very real possibility that this is yet another one of my super powers.

7. Seek, Locate, Obtain - I am descended from apparently the Queen Mother Champion Berry Gatherer of Northern Europe, because there's almost nothing I cannot track down, given sufficient resources and time. Sometimes I use this power for my own personal gain, as when I tracked down a replacement Burleigh Arden tea cup and saucer, to replace the set that broke some years ago. Sometimes I harness these abilities for the benefit of others, as when I found a vintage fertility pamphlet produced and distributed in 1963, as part of my research for a certain show set in the year 1963, in which certain characters were struggling with fertility issues.

An off-shoot of these powers is my mighty Research Fu, which is so relentless that I will get up at 6 a.m. in order to reach a volunteer docent at a Navy museum on the east coast in order to find out how WWII vets pronounce "keitan," the Japanese word for their one-man suicide subs. As with many of the martial arts, this one involves me entering an out-of-body state, in which I seem not to register pain or fatigue. You might also call it a kind of focused, berserker rage, a description born out by one witness's observation that I am "a fucking Viking" when I'm tracking down an answer.

And that, for now, will have to be the final power I reveal today. The first draft of this list was quite a bit longer, but the government redacted the remaining items as classified and not for public knowledge, so I'll have to content myself with this partial inventory.

However, in the spirit of encouraging public discourse, I invite you to post your own secret powers in the comments.

Embrace your awesomeness, Super Persons! You have nothing to lose but your cleverly disguised alter egos!

1 comment:

Tom said...

I almost became a super hero similar to peter parker and the radioactive spider, I used some zicam and thought I had become immune to offensive odors. I fantisized about riding the odor free CTA, loitering in City alleys, never showering again, and farting with impunity. Alas I think my smell may be returning....I guess my powers will soon be gone until I catch another cold....