I really liked the music playing in the restaurant. The songs were classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including a good number of New Wave tunes — Blondie being the best example. I asked my server about the station, and she said, it was the owner’s favorite, and later, told me that if they tried to change it, (the owner) would fire us.
Now, that is an example of ultimate power. Sadly, it’s ultimate power over a very small part of the universe – Top Hits of the ‘80s – but I care about ultimate power, having grown up under the spell of superhero comic books. I always look for ultimate power, and I admire it when I see it, even if it’s only the ability to control the sound system in a restaurant.
Super heroes had ultimate power.
Superboy could fly and melt steel with his eyes, and the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes could collectively do anything imaginable – that was the intent of a “legion.” I wanted to be Superboy, or Mon-El, or Cosmic Boy, or Lightning Lad. I wanted super powers, and I would have even had “Kid” or “Boy” or “Lad” in my name if it meant I could walk through walls or shoot bolts of lightning from my fingers. Every boy in the ‘60s wanted to be super, and we wanted ultimate power. Who knows what the girls wanted. Well, they wanted Bobby Sherman, but that’s just too painful to think about. What super powers did Bobby Sherman have? Or Donny Osmond, or Davy Jones, that cute and lovable Monkee? They couldn’t melt steel. They couldn’t fly. Girls! The only girls who made sense to me were ones like Saturn Girl, a blonde super hero with a wicked ability to control minds.
As did most of my chums, I mostly outgrew comic books, but I didn’t outgrow my desire for super powers. To this day, I’d love to have the power of invisibility. I wouldn’t use my powers for evil — say walking into a movie theater without paying — but what would I give to be able to disappear in a crowd, or at a dull party, or at the opera! And I still want to be able to fly, even though I won’t go out on a hotel balcony if I’m up higher than the second floor. But if I could fly, surely I’d also have a spare super power to overcome neuroses and phobias, right?
Freud has a special interpretation for dreams involving flying, but what did he know? Flying is freedom. Driving to church the other day, I watched as I got closer and closer to a bird who was resting in the middle of my lane. “Stupid bird! You’d better move!” If you ride with me, you’ll find that I offer vocal advice to all woodland creatures. Well, the bird sat and sat and then decided to fly at the last second. He flapped and he was up in the air in a blink. “Arrogant bird. He knows he can fly! He’s just rubbing it in my face.” If you ride with me, you’ll also find that I attribute sadistic tendencies to woodland creatures. Arrogant birds aside, I think flying would be such a gift, and I wouldn’t be stupid enough to sit in the middle of the street, if I had been so blessed. I wouldn’t eat worms either. Nope.
Sadly, I’m not going to get any super-hero-class super powers in this life, so I’ll have to pretend. When I go to renew my driver’s license and the line is short, I can pretend that I used mind control to make everyone else forget about their expiration date. If I watch a teapot and it actually boils, I can pretend it’s because of my heat vision. And I guess I’ll have to leave all my flying to Delta and my dreams, Freud or no Freud. I’ll have to be content with being Super Dad, or Super Husband, or Friend of Steel, or Grandfather Boy, if that makes sense. As long as someone gives me a cape, I’ll be happy. Although, if someone would give me the power of invisibility, I wouldn’t need a cape. I could even wear white in winter and seersucker after Labor Day and no one would notice! Talk about real super powers!
David McCoy is a lifetime resident of “The Glorious South” and a repeat winner of the Georgia Press Association’s Joe Parham Trophy for his humor column, Pecan Pie for the Mind. David lives in Covington, Georgia but can often be found among the North Georgia mountains, depending on the weather and the availability of clean towels and fresh, hot coffee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.