My son and I had an argument the other day about superheroes.
(My son and I do not have discussions; we have arguments, some of which have been going on for years. We will often pause in one argument so we can begin another, which is why they last so long. I am quite sure that we are still in the middle of arguments that we have paused for so long that we have forgotten what they are about. Don’t worry; I’m sure one of us will remember eventually and continue the argument pretty much where we left off.)
Back to the superhero argument: it started because my son asked me which superhero was my favorite, to which I answered, Batman.
“Batman is not a superhero.” My son began the opening volley of the argument, which he often does.
“Well, of course Batman is a superhero.”
“Nope. He’s not. He doesn’t have any superpowers. Superheroes have to have superpowers.”
“He does have superpowers.”
“What superpowers? He’s just smart and rich and has fancy tools and stuff. That doesn’t make him a superhero.”
I begged to differ. If he is rich enough in today’s economy to spend money on things like batsuits, well, that’s a superpower. But my son wasn’t hearing any of it.
“He has a superhero suit, so he’s a superhero,” I shot back.
“You mean if I go and get a spandex suit I can be a superhero?”
“Sure, as long as you don’t tell anybody I’m your father. We’ll call you Annoy Man and your superpower can be the ability to make me cringe whenever you talk.”
“Funny. Batman still isn’t a superhero, though.”
Our argument continues today because it devolved to the point where we were just looking at each other and repeating “Is so,” “Is not,” and after an hour or so, it got tiring and we moved on to another argument. This argument focused on what superpower would be the best to have.
We both thought strength would be a fairly good superpower to have, but we differed on flying. I believe that would be a pretty incredible superpower, but my son thought it would just make him throw up. That could have something to do with his fear of heights. Other than that, we argued the merits of vision, hearing, speed, telekinesis and extrasensory perception. We both wondered why there wasn’t a superhero with super smelling ability, and if there was such a superhero, what use would he be in a fight?
And then it hit me. A middle-aged man and a teenager were arguing about the merits of superheroes and superpowers. We were geeks. Not only were we geeks, we might actually be classified as supergeeks. At least we weren’t arguing about whether Luke Skywalker would be classified a superhero. I was about to mention this to my son but then realized we would argue about it, thus continuing our evolution into supergeeks.
My mind, being somewhat twisted by a lifelong habit of thinking abnormal thoughts, began to wonder two things: If we truly were supergeeks, what would our superpowers be? And would I be my son’s sidekick or would he be mine? I came to the immediate conclusion that I would have to be my son’s sidekick. I would be the old, wizened former supergeek who had passed down his super spandex costume to carry on the family tradition of geekdom. On second thought, scratch that. The thought of passing down a spandex costume is almost as troubling a thought as thinking about wearing a spandex supergeek costume. He would have to get his own supergeek costume and go out and save the world from cool people who stand around and look cool, but don’t actually accomplish anything.
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I looked up and noticed that my son was watching me, smiling happily as I was lost in my twisted thoughts.
“You’re thinking we’re supergeeks, aren’t you?”
“What color were our costumes?”
“Black,” I repeated, and the next argument started with almost superhuman speed.
James L. Davis is a husband and father of seven who lives with his family in Spanish Fork. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org